Native Roots
2012_Time for Change
Ayahuasca Info
Ayahuasca Cautions
Cultural Survival
Save the Amazon!
Ayahuasca Tourism
Ancient Amazonia
Native Roots
Native Worldviews
Native Prophecies
Native Connection



xNative American Roots

Permaculture shows that the challenge the West faces now is to change our thinking to become in line with Indigenous worldviews.
Our survival now depends on it. Can we face the truth of our history in time to change our future?


Table of Contents


Spiritual Awakening

Permaculture is part of the growing spiritual awakening. It is not just a new (old) way to grow food -- but a new way (old) to grow up, a new (old) way to think about ourselves and our place in the world, in the cosmos. The principles of Permaculture involve a raising of our consciousness to embrace a more holistic value system and worldview. It teaches us to be more respectful of the land, more responsive to the needs of place. This way of being promotes peace, harmony, humility, and gratitude. Permaculture does not just transform how we feed ourselves. It transforms who we are, how we define ourselves.

In this transformation, we are finding an inspiration for a deeper definition of ourselves and reality through the wisdom of indigenous cultures. Permaculture is consistent with the principles of yoga that is becoming popular with an increasing number of people. One of those principles is to speak the truth. One truth that needs to be acknowledged is that the Western world is in a strange situation, whether we admit it or not, as we seek now to find sustainable ways of living. We are discovering that we have much to learn from the indigenous peoples of the world. These are the peoples we were taught to disparage -- and to whom we must now turn to find the wisdom to survive! The premise of the Permaculture philosophy is that we must learn to develop a respectful relationship to the Earth like that of native peoples.

Yet, the irony is that the land which Americans are now finally learning to treasure rather than exploit is not ours. Anyone who knows our history, knows that everywhere in the Americas, we are on Indian land. We are uninvited "guests" with a most regrettable relationship to our "hosts" whom we have been taught to see as inferior!

Pharmaceutical companies now race to learn the ancient botanical wisdom of the peoples of the Amazon. Yet, the results have often been disastrous for indigenous peoples as their knowledge is exploited in a process called "biopiracy". So, even as the West now admits the superiority of indigenous botanical knowledge, it still often shows little respect for indigenous peoples. It is acknowledged now that the indigenous Peruvians are among the world's top agronomists. We are indebted to the native Peruvians for the potato! (See below). The secret of "Terra Preta do Indio" (Indian Black Earth) created by the ancient indigenous Amazonians has yet to be rediscovered by modern science. (See below).

The list of our debt to the First Peoples of the Americas is very long, as shown in the book by Jack Weatherford called Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World . That debt involves over 300 food crops including the potato, tomato, and corn that transformed the world. The Indians gave the world 60% of the food crops now in cultivation! In addition, we are indebted to Native America for many of our medicines as well as the enormous mineral wealth (starting with gold and silver) that continues to empower Europe and the Western nations. That debt includes the inspiration for the Enlightenment. The book shows that even our concept of freedom and the US Constitution which has so defined America to the world were directly inspired by the peoples of this hemisphere. See the sites at: and

The founders of Permaculture have a respectful relationship not only with the Earth, but with indigenous cultures around the world. David Holmgren, a co-founder of Permaculture, shows the respect for aboriginal culture inherent in Permaculture concepts.

He says, in part, at:

Growing a New Mind
Permaculture invites us to grow a new mind -- a mind closer to that of indigenous cultures. Unfortunately, most Americans grow up with little knowledge of the powerful and inspiring Native American cultures on whose lands we live. For example, most people on the East coast, even those in Manhattan, have no idea that the Haudenosaunee live in upstate New York -- or that their system of government inspired our Founding Fathers to write the US Constitution!

The growing popularity of yoga is helping to familiarize Westerns with the Yoga Sutras, the ancient text on which the philosophy of yoga is founded. Its 8 limbs provide an ethical basis for attaining a higher consciousness and enlightenment. However, only the Native American cultures are so grounded in a love of the Earth. Permaculture reflects the Native American respect for the Earth, other peoples, and other species. A Permaculture perspective combined with an understanding of the yoga philosophy is an excellent way for Westerners to begin to acquire the values reflected in the Native American mind.

In fact, Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence  by Gregory Cajete and Leroy Little Bear says, "The new science of permaculture, a system based on ecological principles of creating a sustainable Earth, is in reality applied Indigenous science....Rediscovered permaculture techniques are being adapted to feed populations around the world."

Permaculture has made a great start. However, there is still a great deal more that can be learned from Native cultures that is important for our survival now. Fortunately, there are many wonderful books and websites that make it easy to begin the exciting venture of discovering what these ancient, profound, sophisticated, inspiring, wise, and beautiful Native American cultures can teach us about being more human and humane. It can be a lifelong study because there is so much to learn!

In his June 2010 book called Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar: Ancient Wisdom for a New World, Jeffrey Armstrong writes: 

Paradigm-shifting ideas can germinate for years, even decades, until the time is right for them to manifest. So when I heard that it took over twenty years for director James Cameron to develop the vision for his recent megablockbuster film Avatar, I was not surprised....James Cameron's choice of the word Avatar -- a key word from the Divine stories of ancient India, and my special field of study -- inspired the writing of this book at this precise moment....

Both the film and the book converge on this historical moment, when what we do next could affect positively -- or tragically -- all life on our planet. Through science and technology, we have grown too powerful to continue the unconscious and at times irresponsible use of our resources and abilities. We are at a crossroads where we must somehow learn to more deeply cooperate with one another and chart a course for the future that includes the safety, dignity, and well-being of all living entities. Unless we do so, we risk catastrophic consequences, militarily or environmentally....

As you will see from this book, India and the many noble Aboriginal cultures have been the historical keepers of the secrets of living in greater harmony on the Earth. The word aborginal means 'with the origin'  -- in other words, 'awareness of the original intention' of life....Another important issue raised by Avatar is the meeting of technological science with Indigenous science. In other words, how can we advance technologically without going against Mother Nature's vast intelligence? How can we even come to believe in an intelligence that to so many is self-evident?"

Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence  provides an excellent contrast between the Western mind and the Native American mind -- and a path for the West to achieve the sense of responsibility Native nations have shown for thousands of years. The worldviews of the 500 nations of the First Peoples of the Americas enrich anyone who takes the time to learn even a little about them.

It points out:

In the West, techno values of power, control, and efficiency are championed by institutions and organizations, and the modern hero is a practical, action-oriented, business-minded individualist...who symbolizes the technological civilization and the cosmology on which it is based....Actions have literally no frames of reference other than individual gratification and institutional profit and include the plunder of the natural world as a means to self-serving ends. Consequently, our applied technology, science, and economics have trivialized our lives and sterilized our spiritual sense of being.

An immature cosmology spawns immature individual values and institutions. But the immature Faustian individual is experiencing final self-indulgence....In his [Henryk Skolimowski's] 1981 study, Eco-philosophy: Designing New Tactics for Living, he states that because current political systems threaten to rob us of our highest values and because the current basis for action is no longer deeply rooted in life-serving purposes or reverence for nature, we need a new philosophy to inform and guide us. Skolimowski write of the loss of soul in modern philosophy, bereft of a language that cannot speak of love, soul, or spirit, and advocates the recycling of minds toward the realization of a living philosophy.

Because the current worldview causes escalation of our destructive relationship with the environment at every level of life, human meaning atrophies. The emerging environmental cosmology will be in conflict with the popular mechanistic view. This 'cosmic' conflict can be seen in the energy underlying philosophical, political, religious, and economic debates all over the world. A modern 'ecosophy' would be about the rediscovery of meaning as it relates to our universe. It would require not only a different way of thinking, but also a different way of knowing and living...It would be, essentially, the philosophy Indigenous people have lived by for generations, writ large....The emphasis of education must be turned toward conditioning for what Skolimowski calls the 'ecological person,' a contemporary version of the Indigenous man and woman.

Eco-philosophy is another chapter in our continuous dialogue with the every-changing universe. In changing ourselves and our relationships, we are changing and co-creating the universe....The first step in the work is one of inner reconstruction, so that we achieve some balance, some harmony within, some clarity of vision, the sense of our place in the larger universe; that we acquire, in short, wisdom. Eco-philosophy seeks to reintegrate values with a worldview, in a direct and ecologically informed way that mirrors the level of integration once achieved by Indigenous peoples.

It is a given in Native traditions that deep knowledge is not easily gained and requires time and dedication to attain. Sanction and commitment are also connected to ethics, or the care and attitude in which important knowledge is gained and shared. In this way, sanction and commitment act as foundational safeguards for both individual and tribe and form a kind of check and balance for important knowledge. The maintenance of dynamic balance and harmony with all relationships to nature is the foundational paradigm in Native science. Reality is based on mutual reciprocity, the rule of 'paying back' what has been received from nature. The world operates on a constant flow of give-and-take relationships....

It must be emphasized that what we think and believe and how we act in the world impacts on literally everything. We bring our reality into being by our thoughts, actions, and intentions. Native science is about creating the inner sensibilities of humans, or the inner ear, which hears the subtle voice of nature...."

How can heartfelt thought and energy be mobilized to engender knowledge and values, reorient power and intent, move from arrogant humanism to the development of the ecological human, and create a modern cultural base for ecological ethics and a reverential consciousness toward all life? These are the foundational questions. One of the most crucial dynamics that must be engineered and facilitated if tranSformational learning is to take place involves a fervor for evolving a true eco-cosmology in contemporary lives. We need an impassioned 'mistica' -- mission, passionate desire, and empowered need -- to strive for 'ecological personhood'.

Very simply, our very survival as a species depends on our ability to make such a transformation...This 'seventh generation principle' of the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy is well understood by most Indigenous people as a prime directive of human and cultural sustainability. Cultures that violate this directive gradually cease to be viable and vanish over a period of time as a result of cumulative degeneration....Only by truly touching the Earth can we honor and enable the vision and action necessary to recapture the feeling and understanding that we have always been a part of a living and 'conscious' Earth".

Additional Pages
The worldviews of the 500 nations of the First Peoples of the Americas enrich anyone who takes the time to learn even a little about them. It is increasingly acknowledged that it is these profound worldviews that we must all adopt now to survive. Western science (quantum physics especially) is finally catching up with these sophisticated perspectives.

For more information on Native American perspectives, please see the following linked pages:

Table of Contents

Nurturing the Seed

Parts of the article at: are copied below.
It shows the profound difference in the ways native Peruvian farmers see seeds from the Western view.
The article defines "chacra" as a plot of land (1-2ha) for cultivation, a place of communion.

Native American Food Revolution

In his book Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World , Jack Weatherford discusses the profound and continuing impact of Native American foods on the diet, nutrition, health, population growth, and power of European countries and around the world.

"The discovery of America sparked a revolution in food and cuisine that has not yet shown any signs of abating. Tomatoes, chilies, and green peppers formed the first wave of American flavorings to circle the globe, but the American Indian garden still grows a host of plants that the world may et learn to use and enjoy. These plants may have practical uses, such as providing food in otherwise unusable land or producing more food in underused land. They also vary the daily diets of people throughout the world and thereby increase nutrition. Even in this high-tech age, the low-tech plant continues to be the key to nutrition and health.

Despite all the plant improvements brought about by modern science, the American Indians remain the developers of the world's largest array of nutritious foods and the primary contributors to the world's varied cuisines.

On Thanksgiving Day North Americans sometimes remembers the Indians who gave them their cuisine by dining upon turkey with cornbread stuffing, cranberry sauce, succotash, corn on the cob, sweet potato casserole, stewed squash and tomatoes, baked beans with maple syrup, and pecan pied. Few cooks or gourmets, however, recognize the much broader extent to which American Indian cuisine radically changed cooking and dining in every part of the globe from Timbuktu to Tibet. Sichuan beef with chilies, German chocolate cake, curried potatoes, vanilla ice cream. Hungarian goulash, peanut brittle, and pizza all owe their primary flavorings to the American Indians.

World Cuisines
Weatherford adds, "American foods did much more for the world than merely provide a bonanza of calories and ne crops for fields that had been only marginally productive in the past. American food and spices made possible the development of national and local cuisines to a degree not previously imagined.

This is shown quite clearly in the curries of India....The cooks of India and Sri Lanka adopted the hot peppers and cayenne very quickly and assimilated them into their curry sauces...[they] incorporated the American tomato and potato into their cuisine, as well as the peanut and the cashew....Even though the style of cooking is uniquely Asian, many of the ingredients are typically American....The Chinese shared the Indian fondness for the peanut, which quickly found a place in a range of meat and vegetable dishes. The Chinese also transformed the new sweet potato by making it into very delicate noodles that rivaled wheat noodles in popularity.

American spices and condiments had an even stronger impact on the diets of Europeans. Prior to the introduction of American tomatoes and sweet peppers, the Italians endured a dreadfully dull diet. Cooks had few choices of sauces to ladle onto their hundreds of varieties of pasta....With the arrival of the first foods from America, Italian cuisine exploded with new ideas, and the tables of rich and poor alike groaned under the weight of many marvelous new dishes. Yellow, orange, green, and red tomatoes from cherry to almost melon size and in round and oblong shapes found their way into the Italian kitchen to be pickled, sliced, chipped, diced, dried, pureed, and made into hundreds of sauces. The Italians added as diverse a set of American sweet peppers, varying in more sizes and shapes than the tomatoes...With virtually no other ingredients, the Italians had the perfect sauce for spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna, and a host of other noodle dishes, as well as for meats.

In addition, the Italians liked at least one of the American squashes. They adopted the long, thin, green one and called it zucchini, the diminutive of the Italian zucca, "gourd." And they added a few American beans to their diet, including the green bean and the kidney bean. These beans and peppers along with broth and some noodles became the standard ingredients in minestrone, the unofficial national soup of Italy.

American Diet
The Indians taught the New Englanders to catch and enjoy a number of ocean foods that they had not known in Europe. The clam ranked primary among these, even though the Puritan settlers thought it poisonous until the Indians taught them to bake the clams in an earthen oven with seaweed. New Englanders still follow this same clambake procedure today.

In the American south, the diet became more Indian than probably in any other part of the country. Wheat grew very poorly there, and the population adopted with great gusto the various forms of corn. From the Indians, the settlers learned to enjoy the corn on the cob, stewed, in succotash, made into hominy, ground into grits, popped as a snack, and baked into bread....the southerners also became great connoisseurs of the sweet potato, which they baked and then peeled like a banana to eat as a snack, or mashed, baked, and fried to make pies and pones....The southerners also picked up tapioca, a residue from processing the cassava plant, as a favorite ingredient in making puddings....Later, tapioca became more widely used in the United States as a major ingredient in many kinds of baby foods. Southerners also became very fond of the native American pecan, which they used in a number of dishes, notably pecan pie.

Southerners also adapted the custom of barbecuing food....Different regions of the United States adapted the art of barbecuing to different styles and different sauces....The most distinctive of all southern cuisines, the Creole and Cajun cuisine of Louisiana, is frequently associated more with French than with Indian cooks. But these foods are no more French than tacos and tamales are Spanish. Creole and Cajun foods came to us via the mixture of people who incorporated French, blacks, and Indians into their heritage. The resulting food is primarily Indian, secondarily black, and only tangentially French.

Nowhere else in the American cuisine, however, have Indian foods had such an impact as in snack foods. Potato chips and french fries have strictly American pedigrees. Similarly, corn chips, nachos, and tortilla chips are all corn products from the American southwest, as are the tomato sauces, salsas, and guacamole that people dip them into. ...Popcorn and peanuts are both of Indian origin. Indians sometimes dipped this mixture in maple syrup to make a snack that sells today as Cracker Jack in the United States. In the domain of sweets, Indian chocolate and vanilla rank as the commonest flavors for snack foods, while Americans universally prefer maple as the flavor of their syrups. As much as any other foods, these snacks form part of the modern diet and a part of the legacy of the American Indians to world cuisine....

The types of berries used by the Indians surpass even the nuts. Nearly every part of North America had several varieties of berry bushes that the local Indians nurtured. Forty-seven types of American berries have been identified. Some of these types, such as the blueberry, had up to twenty variations.... Even a plant as well known now as the avocado was virtually ignored outside Latin America as recently as only one generation ago....The avocado is one of the most nutritious fruits ever domesticated...."Squash" survives as one of the few English words from the language of the Massachuset Indians.

History of the Potato

Andean Origin of the Potato


In Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World , Jack Weathford discusses the development the potato in ancient Peru. He says, "The ancient Peruvians had been among the world's greatest experimenters with agriculture...the Indians of the Andes probably did more plant experiments than any other people anywhere in the world. Starting thousands of years before the Incas, the natives ascertained how to produce extremely high yields of potatoes from small plots of land....They sought to develop a different type of plant for every type of soil, sun, and moisture condition. They prized diversity. They wanted potatoes in a variety of sizes, textures, and colors, from whites and yellows through purposes, red, oranges, and browns. Some tasted sweet and others too bitter for humans to eat, but the later were useful for animal fodder."

"Indians of the Andes have cultivated the potato on their mountain slopes and in their valleys for at least the last four thousand years. Apparently the potato descended from a tuberous Solanum that grew wild throughout the Americas....At the time of the Spanish conquest, Andean farmers already were producing about three thousands different types of potatoes in the Andes. This contrasts with the mere 250 varieties now grown in North American, and of those no more than twenty varieties constitute three-quarters of the total potato harvest in the contemporary United States.

They did not see diversity merely for the aesthetic pleasure of having so many shapes, colors, and textures, but rather for the practical reason that such variations in appearance also meant variation in other, less noticeable properties. Some potatoes matured fast and some slowly, an important consideration in a country where the growing season varies with the altitude. Some potatoes required a lot of water and some required very little, which made on variety or another more adaptable to the highly variable rainfalls of different valleys. Some potatoes stored easily for long periods of time, others made excellent food for livestock.

The Andean farmers also devised and perfected the first freeze-dried method of preserving the potato. At night, farmers put their potatoes out in the freezing air of the high mountains. During the day the sun thawed the potatoes, and the farm family walked over them to press out the melting moisture. After several repetitions of this process, the potato dried into a white chunk which very much resembled modern plastic foam. In this very light form the Incas easily transported the great numbers of potatoes to distant storehouses where they could b preserved for five or six years without harm. When needed, the potato could be reconstituted by soaking it in water and then it could be cooked.

Impact of the Potato on Europe

In discussing the impact of the potato on Europe, Weatherfod says, "It is difficult to imagine what Ireland would be today without the potato. What would the Russians, the Germans, the Poles, and the Scandinavians eat? Without the potato, the Soviet Union may never have become a world power. Germany would not have fought two world wars, and northern Europe and the Benelux countries would not have one of the world's highest standards of living. Before the discovery of America, the Old World depended primarily on grain crops of domesticated grasses such as wheat, rye, barley, and oats...All of these plants, however, face numerous problems in their growing cycle....For centuries the northern countries such as Russian and Germany suffered periodic famines when the grain crop failed because of unsuitable weather.

Together with maize corn from Mexico, potatoes were what French historian Fernand Braudel called 'the miracle crops'....Adam Smith...accurately predicted that increased cultivation of potatoes would cause an increase in production, an increase in population, and an increase in the value of land....Adam Smith knew...a field of potatoes produces more food and more nutrition more reliably and with less labor than the same field planted in any grain....In northern climates, where long winters without fresh vegetables were the rule, the potato offered a new source of vitamin C that greatly improved the health of the population....Nutritional diseases declined steadily, and early in the eighteenth century, they virtually disappeared as causes of death in Europe....potatoes replaced about 40 percent of the cereal consumption in Flanders. The nutrition of the people improved markedly and the population grew accordingly.

With the new calorie source and the new source of nutrition, the potato-fed armies of Frederick of Prussia and Catherine of Russia began pushing against their southern neighbors. During the Age of the Enlightenment these northern cultures wrestled free from the economic, cultural, and political domination of the south. Power shifted toward Germany and Britain and away from Spain and France, and finally all were eclipsed by Russia. Russia quickly became and remains the world's greatest producer of potatoes, and the Russians are among the world's greatest consumers of the potato. Their adoption of the potato as their staple food preceded their rise as a world power.

American foods brought about the miracle that centuries of prayer, work, and medicine had been unable to do: they cured Europe of the episodic famines that had been one of the major restraints on the population for millennia....As little as an acre and a half sufficed to nourish the average family if they planted the land in potatoes and supplemented these with milk, butter, or cheese. With the revolutionary crop, the population of Ireland expanded from 3.2 million in 1754 to 8.2 million less than a century later in 1845. During the same century an additional 1.75 million Irish left Ireland for the New World. Thus in the first century after the introduction of the potato, the population of Ireland effectively tripled. Then when the potato blight hit, thousands of Irish starved or emigrated because without the potato Ireland could not support such a a massive population. Had the Irish followed the Indian technique of planting many different types of potatoes rather than just a a few, the effect of the blight probably would have been considerably lessened.

Despite the Irish famine, the population of each country boomed as it adopted the potato....If we look at the larger population picture since the spread of the American crops around the world, we see much the same process. In the three centuries between 1650 and 1950, the population of Europe (including the Soviet Union) climbed from just over 100 million to almost 600 million a sixfold increase....On the world scene, the total population in 1750 has been estimated at 750 billion. It reached a billion in 1830, two billion in 1930, and four billion in 1975. In recent decades, medical advances have accounted for some of the increase in population, but most of the population growth preceded the medical innovations. Improved nutrition accounts for most of the growth prior to this century. Only later did improvement in public health and sanitation have an impact.

The potato alone cannot claim full responsibility for the great population and health boom of the Old World. The American Indians cultivated over three hundred food crops, and many of these had dozens of variations. The people of the Old World gradually transplanted many of these crops from America, and each in turn contributed in various ways to improving the world diet in both quantity and quality of foods. The Indians gave the world three-fifths of the crops now in cultivation. Many of these grew in environments that had formerly been inaccessible to agriculture because of temperature, moisture, type of soil, or altitude.

The protein supply of the Old World also increased with the great variety of beans brought in from America, principally from Mexico, where beans, corn, and squashes had been the mainstay of the Indian diet.

Preserving the Potato

Imagine life -- especially in Ireland -- without the potato!
Yet, how many people know that we are indebted to native Peruvians for the potato?

Part of the article from is copied below.

See the site for the UN International Year of the Potato at:

Part of the article at is copied below.

Iroquois White Corn
Another example of the maintenance and resurgence of Native American foods is shown below.

In his book Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World , Jack Weathford discussed the impact of corn on Europe. He says, "The population impact of maize corn was much stronger in southern Europe than in the north. During the eighteenth century, when corn and other American crops were being widely cultivated in southern Europe, the population of Italy grew from eleven million to eighteen million, and the population of Spain doubled."

"Corn is the kernel of the culture."

--Dr. Carol Cornelius, Oneida Cultural Heritage Department manager

The Oneida people have not only grown the white flint variety of corn since before European contact, but have relied on it as their Tsyunhehkwa ("Life Sustenance"). The Oneida brought the white corn with them in their migration from New York State in the 1820s, and replanted it along with their culture in Wisconsin soil. Traditionally, white flint corn was grown by many Oneida families, and was seen as central to the survival of the tribe and the community.

Corn was part of an integrated agricultural system called the "Three Sisters," consisting of growing corn, beans, and squash together in the same mound, in a practice that scientists today call "inter-tillage." The tall corn provided a structure for the beans to grow upon. The beans, along with the nutrients they provided, fixed the nitrogen in the soil, making more nitrogen available for the corn to consume. The squash spread out into the spaces between the mounds, and covered the ground to suppress the weeds and keep moisture in the soil. The Oneida still grow the Three Sisters today, using both traditional and modern methods, as one example of a national Indigenous trend to reintroduce Native foods back into tribal food systems as healthy alternatives.

It is no short of a miracle that white flint corn is still grown today in Wisconsin, given the formidable historical obstacles presented to the Oneida. The Oneida, or On^yote?a.ka ("People of the Standing Stone") are originally from New York State, where they were one nation within the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy, or Haudenosaunee. Within their village palisades, the Iroquois grew white corn in complex agricultural beds. After the Revolutionary War, American land settlement pressured the Oneida to search for more secure land to the west (see map on poster). In 1823, some Oneida migrated to land they purchased west of Green Bay, where their 65,430-acre reservation was established in 1838.

Dr. John Mohawk
Until his death in 2006, Dr. John Mohawk (Seneca) was a leading scholar and spokesman for the Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy. He served as director of Indigenous Studies at the Center for the Americas at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Mohawk was also director of the Iroquois White Corn Project which promoted and sold Iroquois white corn products and foods and supported contemporary indigenous farmers. He was a columnist at Indian Country Today and his last book was "Utopian Legacies: A History of Conquest & Oppression in the Western World."

In an interview with Kirkpatrick Sale at: ,

Dr. Mohawak said:

How is your idea of a future that would be better than what is happening now not a utopia?

I define utopia as a place that is conceived by human agency undertaking steps to create a world in which all of humankind’s problems are solved forever, and in that regard those with utopian visions have always believed they’re on an almost sacred path and that there’s no cost which shouldn’t be paid to reach their goal. The way I think about the future is a lot less ambitious than that because I don’t believe the world is perfectible. I certainly don’t want to crack anybody’s eggs.

In the future I envision, we will approach our spending moments by thinking about what it is we’re spending on, because the pair of shoes we buy is not just shoes, you know. We’re buying more than that. I also think it is possible to live in human cultures in which food is abundant and good, the living surroundings are good, the people around us are good, in which there’s a continuity of our communities and our cultures, and in which we can actually spend time enjoying what are considered the simple things, although I do have to qualify that. The simple things require a lot of skill.

I was a truck farmer when I was in my twenties. People think farmers are not very bright. Well, just try it! To be a farmer you have to be a mechanic, a botanist, an engineer, a negotiator, an accountant, and sometimes you have to be a lawyer. All those skills are needed. I think our attitude toward farming should be turned around. We should regard the food producers as the heroes of our culture. It’s starting to happen, I do believe. I see tastes changing. People are tending to want organically grown produce if they can afford it.

The world I would like to see would assign more value to those things we can do for ourselves and to building on that, looking to our neighbors for those things they can do that we can’t. It would pay attention to rebuilding a culture and an economy around localism. I think this approach is more crucial than ever because in my opinion, self-sufficiency is the bane of the global economy. I do not mean individual self-sufficiency, I mean regional self-sufficiency. To the extent that we can produce more locally—that means having local tailors and local bootmakers, for example—two things will happen: first, we will slow down and stem the global economy, the worst elements of it, and second, we will gain control over our own lives again. Not only that, but we will also get better products. What you do for yourself is almost always better than what’s made up for you in an assembly line.

Dr. John Mohawk recommended the book Indian Givers by Jack Weatherford, shown below.

Title and Author(s)
Original Instructions: Indigenous Teachings for a Sustainable Future Melissa K. Nelson
Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World Jack Weatherford
Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America Jack Weatherford
Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence Gregory Cajete / Leroy Little Bear
The American Indian Mind in a Linear World: American Indian Studies and Traditional Knowledge   Donald Lee Fixico
The U.S. Constitution and the Great Law of Peace: A Comparison of Two Founding Documents Gregory Schaaf
Spiritual Teachings of the Avatar: Ancient Wisdom for a New World Jeffrey Armstrong
Terra Preta do Indio
Amazonian Dark Earths: Explorations in Space and Time  Bruno Glaser
Amazonian Dark Earths: Origin, Properties, Management   Johannes Lehmann
Amazonian Dark Earths: Wim Sombroek's Vision  William Woods


Below are the Editorial Reviews of Indian Givers on

Terra Preta do Indio

Peruvian Terraced Fields

Many locals living in the small villages of Peru, use the same techniques for farming on the terraces etched out by their ancestors centuries earlier.

See what Andrew Faust, Permaculture instructor says about the terraces.


This page was last updated on: 08/14/2010.

Home | 2012_Time for Change | 2012_DVDs | Ayahuasca Info | Ayahuasca Cautions | Cultural Survival | Save the Amazon! | Ayahuasca Tourism | Ancient Amazonia | Native Roots | Native Worldviews | Native Prophecies | Native Connection

This site was last updated 08/14/10