Date: Sat, 5 Nov 1994 17:01:45 -0800
From: Dan Alford dalford[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]S1.CSUHAYWARD.EDU
Subject: Re: Algonquian et al.
Thank you, Prof. Lancaster. I only hope the reality is as impressive as the
shadow, smoke and mirrors. Perhaps a note of introduction would not be too
onerous for this list. After UCLA training in English and Linguistics in the
late 60s, I soon found myself on the Cheyenne Indian Reservation (dumping
my Chomskyan training down the toilet of abstraction) administering a federal
bilingual ed program and crafting an alphabet and writing system. On return
to California four years later, to doctoral studies at Berkeley, I found and
was adopted as a deep friend by an Algonquian couple, two of the early few
American Indians to receive doctorates, who were teaching there. Marie
Battiste went on to head the Mikmaq educational efforts in Nova Scotia (and
was voted Nova Scotia Woman of the Year three times or so), and Sakej
Henderson has parlayed his Harvard law degree into working on the Canadian
Constitution, being a delegate to the United Nations, and now heading the
Indian Law Center for Canada. Meanwhile, these two hooked me up with David
Bohm just before he died, as he convened the first Dialogue Between Indigenous
and Western Sciences in 1991, as physicists, American Indians, a few linguists
and some others, including elders, talked about how reality is constructed.
I happen to think it's an event of staggering importance -- Indians were
invited in full cognitive equality for the first time in history to talk
with some of the world's greatest scientists. And the results were equally
staggering: they agreed on key concepts of reality (everything that exists
vibrates; the only constant is flux; the part enfolds the whole), except the
scientists called it the subatomic realm and the Indians called it the realm
If anyone wants to know more about these Bohm Dialogues (still ongoing), I'd
be glad to post more about it.
If anyone would like to see the SUMMARY I posted on Linguist to a claim by
a Blackfoot woman, quite Western educated and working in theater, that when
American Indians are speaking their own languages they don't speak in
metaphors -- ever, no matter what it sounds like in English, let me know.
Meanwhile, a riddle for anyone who's made it this far: My momma comes from
a place where people refer(red?) to a certain stage of milk as "blinky".
She also says "warsh-rag" and "liketa" for almost ("He liketa died!").
Any guesses where she's from, or did I narrow it down far enough?
Finally, a story to go with my signoff. One fine imaginary day, two
astronomers were walking along an imaginary beach together and sat to
watch the nightly lightshow in the sky. One saw a "sunset", with the
sun circling out of sight around the earth, and the other saw an "earth-turn"
as the earth circled the sun.
-- Moonhawk (%- )
"The fool on the hill sees the sun going down and
the eyes in his head see the world spinning round"
-- John Lennon