WHITE FRAGILITY AT MUSIC FESTIVALS: A Native American’s Experience With Hippies

Every indigenous person is on a different level of personal understanding of their culture and it’s practices. We have our own internalized struggles that are focused on decolonizing our lives and weeding out the influence of society upon our own lifestyle. Not only do we have to fight to maintain our traditional values in our own community, but those values that we do protect to are watered down in American society for the sake of our survival. They only want us if we are practicing our culture on their terms, and even then we have problems.

Here’s what I mean by that. It’s hard enough being a minority in America even when you’re trying to live is part of the system. It’s a struggle to be the white man’s Indian. It’s a struggle to get a job and be part of the system as a minority. You can only imagine how difficult it is if we did not water down our practices for the sake of survival in the system.

The sense of discomfort we have is an everyday struggle. Whether we are struggling to fit into the system, or whether we are struggling to survive outside of the system, we live with a level of discomfort that European Americans will never fully experience or understand. At least, that’s what I thought.

I was invited to a music festival buy a friend of mine. The first thing I thought of was a bunch of young white men and women dressing in suede fringe and wearing dyed turkey feather headdresses. I was assured it was not going to be like that. Trusting their word, I decided to go.

To my relief, I did not see anyone wearing anything that was inappropriate. What I would consider the hippie community seem to be very aware of the recent discussions on cultural appropriation. Everyone was very positive and I could not and could not tell if they were genuinely happy, or they we’re just really good at keeping a peaceful demeanor. We’re just really good at keeping a peaceful demeanor. Even when they got into disagreements, they formed sentences that can only be described as the most offensive positive words I have ever heard. You would think in such a positive environment, people would be open to all walks of life. I found that this was not the case and even hippies have limitations on their willingness to accept other people.

My friend who invited me to the festival who just so happens to be Apache was having a discussion with me at the dinner table. We were discussing modern social challenges involving Native American people. Things such as the very real consequences of the genocide and assimilation we still have to struggle with today. We talked about the conditions on the reservation and how it was intentionally engineered to be that way by the American Government to keep us from progress. We talked about our uncomfortable situations having to put on a mask simply to exist in society. Occasionally I would look up at the people around the table who seem like they wanted to chime in on the conversation, but their face is expressed that they felt extremely uncomfortable with the discussion between me and my friend.

One by one people’s discomfort got so bad that they started to leave. Eventually by the end of the conversation we had cleared the entire table. Why is this such a big deal? This could have been the very first time in their lives that they felt on a very basic level, what we what we feel every single day. They felt discomfort but had the privilege of simply getting up from the table and walk away. We don’t get that same privilege. Not a Native American or any other minority in this country has that privilege. We have to live with discomfort day in and day out on top of all the other social challenges we face in this country. Every single day we have to live with the discomfort that they couldn’t even handle experiencing for 10 minutes eating dinner.

If you are a European American I’m hoping that you could read the words in this article and reflect upon them. If you were sitting at the table, what would you have done? If you would not have spoken, would you have at least listened?

I would like everyone reading this article regardless of ethnicity and regardless as to whether or not there the majority or the minority in the country. Step out of your comfort zone every now and then to expand your understanding and worldview. In the same way an individual must step outside of their comfort zone to progress in life, you must also step out of the comfort zone to progress your mind.

DIY LAUNDRY MACHINE: Less Than $10! (With Video)

If you were living on the road, homeless, homesteading, or don’t feel it’s necessary to use so much water and energy on the laundry machine, this may be your solution. As some of you know, I live full-time on the road as a modern-day nomad. I do have many options for laundry. I could stop at a friend’s house, use a bucket water valve from somewhere, or cough up some money for a laundromat.I looked online for any type of viable solutions that involved a more self-reliant method. I found that a laundry machine can be made with nothing more than a 5 gallon bucket, a lid, and a toilet plunger.Here’s what you do. You want to drill a hole in the lid of the five gallon bucket to fit the handle of the plunger. In the video, you’ll see that I actually used a burning coal to burn a hole through the lid because I did not have access to power tools. Once the whole has been made, he simply put the plunger through the hole and put the lid on the 5 gallon bucket. If I had access to a drill, I would have drilled holes in the rubber of the toilet plunger. From what I hear, it makes a world of difference, but my undrilled plunger seems to work just fine.

Once the laundry machine has been constructed, throw in a a few pieces of your dirty laundry with some water and soap. Move the handle of the plunger up and down to agitate the water. Once you feel your clothes have been thoroughly affected by the soapy solution, remove the lid and hang the clothes to dry. If I’m not in a place with access to a lot of tree branches to hang the clothes, I tie a piece of cordage between two chairs that I keep in the back of the vehicle. I’m sure there are many other ways to find a place to dry them. Living in a vehicle and doing things off the grid does take a little bit of resourcefulness and ingenuity.

Keep in mind that this article was written assuming that you’re going to be camped outside the city somewhere. I have followed these instructions within city limits, but it does take a little bit of courage to make yourself so vulnerable in the public eye. By this time on your nomadic journey, I’m sure you would have gotten over any insecurities based on people’s judgments of you. I have not yet encountered anyone giving me problems for washing my clothes in a parking lot. In fact, I’m pretty sure most of the people have no idea what I’m doing and they are too afraid to approach me and ask.

I hope you enjoy your brand new DIY washing machine. I’m sure everyone around you will appreciate that you don’t smell like dirty sweaty clothes.

TOP 3 BUDGET BUSHCRAFT KNIVES

My Old Hickory with a homemade rawhide sheath.

For those of you who have been habitually carrying​ a knife on their hip or around their neck, you know the importance of having a knife as a tool to assist you in your everyday life. Even individuals who do not often find themselves in the wilderness can benefit from having a knife on their person at all times can come in extremely handy. I have personally used my bushcraft knife many times to cut fruit for my son, open packages, and much more. It’s one of those tools you may have always lived without, but when you carry one on your person you will wonder how you ever survived without one because you’ll always find a use for it.

I wanted to compile a list of the top three knives according to my personal experience, in hopes that this article can assist you in getting your foot in the door to the wonderful world of outdoor self-reliance skills. Keep in mind that if these knifes are purchased through the product links in this article, the Indigenous Sustainability Project gets a small commission of the purchase price.
1. Old Hickory Butcher Knife
 
This is probably the most bang for your buck when it comes to the top to your bushcraft knife on a budget. This is a 1095 high carbon steel full tang knife with a 90-degree spine. It can do anything from sparking with a striker, scraping a ferrocerium rod, batoning​ thicker pieces of wood, and much more. If you’re looking for a quality knife that can handle a beating, this is the night for you. I know many people who choose this as their E.D.C. belt knife, myself included. I typically only use this knife for hide processing and food prep. The edge is always kept razor sharp. My “work” knife is typically a secondary belt or neck knife. The knife does not come with the sheath, but the Ka-Bar sheath I linked above works perfectly with the Old Hickory Butcher Knife.
2. Mora Eldris
Amazon: Mora Eldris
 
This life is the complete opposite of the Old Hickory Butcher Knife. Featuring a full light handle with an extremely small blade, this knife excels at smaller tasks such as detailed carving, and skinning. This is a stainless steel blade so you don’t have to spend as much time maintaining this tool as opposed to a high carbon blade which is more susceptible to rust. If you carry a hatchet, tomahawk, or small axe to do the heavy work, or if you’re not planning to use your knife to baton firewood or do any kind of heavy slicing, this may be the knife for you. Typically a knife like this would be a secondary knife to complement your belt knife. The small scalpel-like blade makes this knife very practical to store in a first-aid kit as well.
3. Mora Companion
 
This knife has been time tested and approved by the bushcraft community time and time again. The number of purchases and reviews on Amazon.com can testify to this statement. This knife can be ordered in carbon steel or stainless steel. It can be used for light batoning, slicing, and is particularly exceptional in carving. This knife does not come with a 90-degree spine, but this can easily be remedied with a file. This knife is a perfect mix of the sturdiness of the Old Hickory and the Precision carving abilities of the Eldris. With all this quality at such a low price tag, it’s no wonder why the Mora Companion can be spotted on a good majority of people’s belts at any bushcraft or survival skills event. This is the “companion” to my belt knife. I have one in the SUV as well as one as a backup in my pack. I have provided links to both the carbon steel and stainless steel versions of the Mora Companion.

NATIVE AMERICAN BOARDING SCHOOLS: What Can Indigenous Millennials Learn From Them?

 

As an indigenous man living in 2017, I can never understand the trauma that my grandfather’s generation suffered during the boarding school days. I can’t even pretend that the modern educational system is in any way comparable to the horror that they experienced. I can, however, apply critical thinking to the past and recognize patterns in the present. We have the opportunity to look at the past as a lesson to better navigate our future. We do not have to repeat the past! As a parent myself, I look at my two year old son and feel extremely sad knowing that one day his energetic curiosity is going to be systematically destroyed by the public educational system. School is the first step towards assimilation and I personally will not willingly subject my child to indoctrination.

There’s not many Native American families who have not been affected by the boarding school system. If you have ever had experience with Catholic School, it was kind of like that; only a lot worse. We’ve all heard about people getting their mouth’s washed out with soap or being left with cuts and bruises from the physical abuse inflicted by the nuns. If they were willing to do that too young European American students, you can only imagine the horrors that the young Native American children had to face during boarding school.

They really thought they were doing us a favor. They thought that they were going to kill the Indian inside of us and save the man. They thought they were saving us from a life of “savagery” and conditioning us to a life of civilization. We as a collective unit in the Native American culture are still feeling the consequences of the indoctrination of Western thought and philosophy to our culture.

Many families have stories of white men dressed in fancy suits coming to take away their children. The parents of the child had no say in the matter. The children would be abducted from the family because it is the law for a child to go to school. To this very day parents do not have the opportunity to withhold their child from education without consequences from the legal system.

Just for a moment, let’s pretend that boarding school was not abusive. Let’s pretend that boarding school was no different than the modern education system and the child was being brought to kindergarten. When you have a culture that is focused around family, where children were traditionally mentored by a parent or relative, the very thought of their child being taken away to participate in kindergarten would be nothing short than traumatic.

How could we as a society have gone so far from our roots to not be traumatized at our children being taken away from the home and placed in a seat where they are to sit there for multiple hours a day. If the child does not sit and listen, which seems to be against the high-energy curiosity of a child to begin with, they are diagnosed with learning disabilities. Don’t worry though, I’m sure the pharmaceutical companies will appreciate drugging your child up so they’re able to sit half comatose in their seat absorbing information.

Does this not put into perspective how indoctrinated we have become? In just a few short generations we now willingly send our children to school. Many people now take pride in their child succeeding in the educational system. In fact, the educational system to some people is the only way they think they can protect indigenous values. Some people leave to college and claim that they will come back and use their education to help their people. Some people decide that education is a waste of time and would much rather stick around to learn the ancestral lifeways because they do not teach those thing in college.

Thankfully, there are options. There are families that home school their children. This gives them the opportunity to mentor their children. Sure, you will have to teach them all of the standardized education not the law requires the child to know, but many of these families also take the child out in nature to teach them valuable life skills. These families also teach their children how to survive in society.

People say that the educational system is doing nothing more but creating a wage slave, but I don’t even believe it does that. If it was true, they would have taught you how to apply for a job. With the modern educational system if an employer asks what your qualifications are for the job, the young man or women right out of high school may respond with a blank stare followed by “Lincoln was the 16th President.” They know schooling has taught them nothing relevant to most of the jobs in the workforce.

Yes, that is what college is for. The only useful education is the one you have to pay for. The only useful education is one you don’t receive until you’re 18 years old, whereas it was common for children in indigenous cultures to be mentored by a parent or relative as early as the age of 6 to 8 years old. The best part is they didn’t have to go into debt or pay an arm and a leg for this practical education.

Hopefully by exploring alternatives to the public educational system, we can nurture a child’s natural curiosity and develop upon their passions and interests instead of systematically breaking the individuality and free will as if a cowboy was breaking a horse. I will not allow my child to become a broken human being.

LIVING IN A VEHICLE: An Unexpected Journey to Decolonization

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From a young age I was told that I should do good in school so I can have a job. This job would be my everything. This job would put food on my table and a roof over my head. In my early 20s, I found that this was not always the case. Companies don’t really care about their employees. None of the suits at the corporate building are going to care if a low-level employee gets laid off, but to that employee it could be the difference between ending up on the streets or making next month’s rent.
I ended up getting sick and going to the emergency room. The doctor in the emergency room told me that I was advised not to work for the next 4 days. Naturally I asked them for a written statement to give to my employer. I called my boss and let him know the situation, and on the fourth day when I return to work they called me in to the office telling me that I had missed an inexcusable amount of work and they c

 

ould not accept an emergency room note because company policy states it must be from a primary care physician. Thus ended my time of employment.
Situations like this happen to me more than once. Particularly When winter comes and business becomes lower and people have to be let go. I learned very quickly that the jobs I was told would be the backbone to support my life was not as reliable as I thought.
During these times of unemployment I was forced to live in my vehicle. I have a background with wilderness survival skills and I am extremely resourceful with what little I may have available to work with. I quickly made over my SUV into a minimalist tiny home complete with a sleeping area, storage, kitchen, and a DIY laundry machine.
The amazing happened to me happened to me during the time of living in my vehicle. I no longer have to live according to the clock. I no longer had to dress a certain way, groom myself a certain way, or feel guilty the way my boss seems so unconvinced when I have to call in sick when I’m legitimately sick. I no longer had to sac

 

rifice any of my life to an employer that made me feel like I was kept as their property shackled with a ball and chain. I realized I didn’t need them. I realized I could be free.
I applied for EBT which gave me access to food if I was responsible with my budget to make the money last all month. I know this is still part of the system​, but it was a necessity at this time in my life. Keep in mind that I don’t think the system is entirely bad. The system has a lot of good things to offer, such as giving my son medical insurance through the state. I believe it’s only a problem when people become dependent on the system.
The next course of action was to find out how to make income.  I did everything from day labor to odd jobs on Craigslist. I started organizing groups to teach wilderness survival skill and plant identification and plant identification for people who are interested in foraging they’re on food and medicine. I turned it to my culture for answers. I sold beadwork, porcupine quill work, handmade bows, bags, and even skinned and​ tanned roadkill for the sake of saving the beautiful fur and leather. M

 

any of my resources came directly from gathering them in nature.
Looking once again to my culture, I found myself living a hunter gatherer nomadic lifestyle that my forefathers once lived, only modernized. Technology doesn’t have to be counterproductive to decolonization. My ancestors gladly traded stone knifes for metal ones. We did not allow these new technologies to assimilate us. We used them to develop upon our own lifestyle.
Unlike agricultural societies, who could continue practicing their ancestral lifeways after colonization, hunter gatherer nations could not. Her choices were to become agricultural, or assimilate into the system. We could no longer live as nomadic hunter-gatherers. In fact, most of those practices have now been made illegal. Hunting and trapping without a license to provide for your family has become poaching. Gathering wild plant life has become trespassing and destruction of property.
It became a passion to explore this as an alternative lifestyle as opposed to the nine-to-five wage slave trap everyone was taught to participate in because by complete accident, I stumbled across a possible solution to modernizing the lifestyle my ancestors fought to preserve for me.
To my surprise, I found a whole community of individuals in my age group or living various forms of what they call the #vanlife. I’ve seen everything what is hashtag used on Instagram, blogs, YouTube, and any other social media platform. Proud to be part of this community open this article has value to the reader and opened their mind to the possibility of a brand new life.
Consider this an introductory article to future posts and videos that offer in more detail about anything from nomadic living, alternative living, bushcraft, rewilding, and anything in regards to being self-reliant outside of the system.

THE ILLUSION OF SOVEREIGNTY: The Fight Against Native American Oppression

If you’re in a relationship that is not healthy, there is only so much you can handle before you decide that you’re done. You can’t handle it anymore. You remove yourself from the situation. That is what some of us has done to cope with surviving the oppression of a broken system. The best way to fight a broken system choosing not to feed in to it.

It’s no secret that Native Americans are treated as unfairly as any other minority in the country. Well, it may be a secret to the rest of America who thinks we’re rich with casino money, but the reality of life for an Indian is very different. Genocide started over 500 years ago and continues to this very day. Every single day is spent both suffering the consequences of what happened to our grandfathers, as well as dealing with the problems we face in the present time.

The problems we face are not the same, but are very similar to other minorities in America. We have to wear a mask for the sake of survival to function in society. We learned English. We packed away our traditional clothing to instead wear a suit and a tie. We participate in the educational system and the workforce. We’ve adopted the life of a white man. We willingly kill the Indian and save the man to the point where a modern Native American living in the city may have a life that is completely indistinguishable from everyone else, yet we are treated like we are unwanted.

Every minority has worn this mask for survival, yet society still does not accept any of us as equals. We all fight the same uphill battle to survive in society every single day. For 500 years we’ve been fighting but we have essentially gotten nowhere.

Making use of a roadkill Squirrel.
The meat was eaten and the hide was
tanned and turned in to a bag.

Where do we go from here? How can we force a system to accept us when it’s clearly not part of their agenda? If we’re going to struggle, should we not struggle to be who we are instead of what they want us to be? What if the next step of oppression is freedom and sovereignty? What If instead of trying to fight the system, we drop out of it entirely? They don’t want us anyway, but in all honesty we don’t want them either. We don’t need them. We haven’t needed them since the beginning of time and we don’t need them now. We don’t need their handouts or their system. We don’t need to have nation-to-nation relationships pretending like they care about our treaty rights. Fighting for treaty rights its like fighting for a longer chain on our shackles. We need to become self-reliant as individuals so we can be self-reliant as a nation. Yes, this does take work. As things are right now, we are dependent on the both government and capitalism. Until we break our dependency on these things and become self-reliant as individuals and as a nation, our freedom and our sovereignty will always be nothing more than an illusion.

 

What if we choose to explore alternative lifestyles outside the system where we no longer needed to hide or identity? Do we not have the ability to create communities both on and off the reservations that operate outside the structure of society so we don’t have to adapt to society?

Our ancestors fought and died so that we can continue living the life they wished us to live. That is the life we should be fighting for. We don’t need the system to live that life. We are industrious, resourceful, and resilient. We have our own way of doing things. Well, we had them. We were forced to try something new but it’s not working. Isn’t it about time we go back and do things our way? You might be thinking, “But the tribal council would never…” Stop it! You don’t need them to do anything for anyone because they won’t do anything for anyone. This change starts with the the people. It starts with organization and community building.

Harvesting Yucca root for shampoo and soap.

After losing my job I just decided not to get another one. When I couldn’t make rent on my apartment I decided not to get find another place to live. I realized that the safety of the system was nothing but an illusion that you are conditioned to believe. I got facial tattoos according to cultural traditions that I couldn’t get while in the workforce. I didn’t have to worry about what my employer thought about my piercings or my scalp lock haircut that was considered less than professional. Sure I am still “part” of the system, but my contributions to the system is nothing it could survive on because I hardly spend any money at all. I do pay a cell phone bill and insurance for my SUV, which is also my home. I do buy gas for the SUV to run. I buy and forage food. I am not involved in consumer culture and I do not make enough money to pay yearly taxes. My lifestyle demands such a little amount of money though, I have never gone without. No more rent, gas, electric, water, or Wi-Fi bills. No more living by the clock. I was free.

I started researching alternative lifestyles and found out that there are a lot of people who are already surviving outside the 9-5 wage slave trap. Off-the-grid community living, homesteading, permaculture, van life, living in an RV, even train hopping hobos. I always take the time to stop and visit with them for a conversation. It seems as if most of them are on drugs and have a drinking problems, but if they were sober, had outdoor skills, and had an arsenal of trade skills under their belt, they would make a great example of what it means to be truly unaffected by the grips of society. Part of me admires the fact that they are living the modern lifestyle that has the potential to be the closest to my hunter-gatherer ancestors way of life, and part of me is very upset at the fact that addiction and lack of responsibility sabotage what could be a very viable alternative lifestyle.

Pine resin is being collected for it’s 
antibacterial medicinal properties.
It can also be used to make 
“pine pitch”glue.

It’s not a wise idea for anyone to become completely dependent on anything. I’m not proposing everyone take it to that extreme, but I think everyone should detach according to their own level of comfort. This could mean anything from becoming a traveling hobo to working an online job so you can avoid dress codes, work on your own time, and travel the country as you please.

I began to realize that the oppressive system cannot function if we do not participate in it. All of the power that the government has over us would cease to exist once we understand that we don’t need the system to survive. The oppressors will lose control over he oppressed.

I don’t believe it would be in our best interest to get rid of the system entirely because some of the fruits of this system include health care and other benefits. The system is not inherently bad. The system is only a problem when we believe we are dependent on it. If enough people abandoned the system, it would be forced to adapt to the will of the people.