Indigeneity & Indigenuity in an Age of AI
This is Part 2 of the FirstEARTH.LIVE Series [Introduction here]
(Noun) the quality of being indigenous
Usage: In a similar way, “indigeneity” is derived from “indigenous” which means born or produced naturally in a land or region; native or belonging naturally to (the soil, region, etc.),” from indu, an old Latin root meaning “within” (like the Greek …, endon) and gignere meaning “to beget.”
My life began with officialdom dictating my identity: ‘Caucasian’. In a 1001 forms filled out on the question of ethnicity I’ve checked the box ‘caucasian.’ If no caucasian option, I check the box ‘white’. Inculcated with this meaningless ritual I ultimately self-identified as caucasian without a clue of what it meant.
I didn’t question this sadly vacuous process until I uprooted myself and moved West. Instead of cowboys I met ‘indians’ — those indigenous to the Great Plains and to the Northwest. I learned some of their histories and stories and was invited to share in the traditions and ceremonies that survived the brutal onslaught of ‘white’ European colonialism. In a long and painful but ultimately enlightening process I came to better understand Western culture and my own ancestral roots.
My conclusion: though perhaps we white people were once indigenous to the far side of the Caucasus mountains between the Caspian and Black Seas, we are now a polyglot of lost and wandering tribes; for the most part tragically bereft of our innate ability to apply our own natural intelligence and feel connected to, and learn from, our kin in natural world and the cultures who maintain this vital link. A few gifted teachers have guided me through word and deed along a path of grace and blessing that lead to an understanding of my planetary indigeneity and my responsibility to care for our Earth home with all the intelligence and verve I can summon.