The COVID-19 pandemic has taken an exceptional toll on Native Americans, leading to twice as many deaths as in the rest of the society. Along with the passing away of the tribes’ elderly, we are witnessing the disappearance of the last link between knowledge, tradition and language. Aid proves harder than usual, owing to a lack of trust between people and a government that has a long track record of using modern medicine as a means of wielding power and effecting violence.
The Indigenous peoples of North America are currently developing unique ways of adapting to the modern world of technology without breaking away from what sustains and nourishes all people: the dynamic, evolving planet. This process is extraordinary, since it occurs after centuries of bloody conquests, thievery of land and resources, manipulation, lies and violation of treatises – not to mention brutal acculturation attempts, which continued almost until the end of the 20th century (including compulsory boarding schools for Native children in both Canadian and the US). Still, Indigenous cultures not only managed to survive, but have also enjoyed a dynamic revival. Tribal languages have been made part of school curriculums, while activists have battled to grant these societies the right to self-determination in political and cultural terms. Finally, efforts have been made to reinstate native legal systems, which take a different approach to Earth and its non-human inhabitants than those characteristic for Western thought.
Various forms of