Date: Sat, 5 Nov 1994 17:01:45 -0800 From: Dan Alford 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 of spirits. 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> <-- John Lennon>