This interview was by request of an anarchist news thread. While Ria does call herself an anarchist their primary interests appear to be animals (in the vegan sense of the word) and native plants (in the rewilding sense). This conversation ends up being a mix. I think both of us tried to respond to the questions from the @news thread but I was a little spaced out due to a brain malfunction. Ria was a gentle interlocutor, quizzing me about books and vegan things.
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The Failures of Farming & The Necessities of Wild Tending: A Collection of Essays
by Kollibri Terre Sonnenblume – former urban organic bike farmer
*Agriculture as ‘wrong turn’
*Out in December
Bringing Back the Bush: The Bradley Method of Bush Regeneration
by Jean Walker and Joan Bradley – sister team forest stewards
*Simple, adaptable approach to wild habitat regeneration based on helping the wild to help itself.
*Outlines basic principles and provides the practical techniques to put them into practice.
Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife with Native Plants
by Douglas Tallamy – entomology & wildlife biology professor
*How anyone can restore habitat for indigenous wild life
*People doing this create connectivity corridors for struggling species.
*Science explaining why native plants work & nonnatives degrade wild habitat
Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses
by Robin Wall Kimmerer – plant ecologist & author of Braiding Sweetgrass
*True stories blending science and indigenous awareness on how mosses live and how their lives are connect with the lives of other beings, from salmon and hummingbirds to redwoods. She explains the biology of mosses, while reflecting on what mosses can teach us about life.
Growing Up in Occupied America
by Finisia Medrano – tranny-granny wild tender
*Collection of hilarious, sad and informative adventures by a rewilder of the Sacred Hoops, a traditional life ways from the First Nations of the Great Basin, Snake River and Colombia Plateau.
*Stories and teachings offer a glimpse into an almost lost way of being with the land that humans are invited to join.
Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island
by Will Harlan, forest ranger who races marathons with barefoot Tarahumara Indians & runs naked thru woods.
*Biography of the wildest woman in America
* Naturalist-Activist who wrestles alligators, eats roadkill, rides sea turtles underwater & feral horses bareback, dissects animals bare handed, and lives in a ramshackle cabin she built by hand in an island wilderness
*Inspiring, outspoken, unapologetic, fighter for nature in general and sea turtles in particular.
An Unnatural Order: The Roots of Our Destruction of Nature
by Jim Mason – ethicist
*An anthropological, sociocultural perspective of how and why we have cut ourselves off from other animals & the wild, and the toll this has taken on our consciousness, our ability to steward nature wisely, and the will to control our own tendencies.
*He writes: “… We humans evolved with other living beings; their lives informed our lives. They provided models for our existence; they shaped our minds and culture. With dominionism out of the way, we could enjoy a deep sense of kinship with the other animals, which would give us a deep sense of belonging to our living world.”
Man the Hunted: Primates, Predators, and Human Evolution
by Donna Hart & Robert W. Sussman – anthropologists
*Reports on fossil evidence that primates, including us, evolved as the prey of large ancestor predators of cats, dogs, hyenas, snakes, crocodiles, and birds.
*Suggests that we moved up the food chain with adaptations that wiped out our predators.
*Destroys the myth of early humans as fearless hunters dominating the earth.
A View to a Death in the Morning: Hunting and Nature Through History
by Matt Cartmill – biological anthropologist
*Explores cultural history on origins, and the strange allure of ‘Man the Hunter’ myth.
*Shows hunting’s place in the western imagination from the myth of Olympian Goddess of the Hunt Artemis to the tale of Bambi, and how its evolving image has reflected our own view of ourselves.
*Reveals how the hunter has always stood between the human domain and the wild
The Animal Oppression and Human Violence: The Vulnerability of Success
by David Nibert – sociologist
*Traces the history of how animal domestication thru nomadic pastoralism and commercial ranching for meat-centered diets correlated with large-scale violence and disastrous patterns of destruction, laying waste to whole cities & societies.
*He situates the domestication of animals as a precondition for the oppression of humans low on the ladder, particularly indigenous peoples.
*For him, most animal-advocacy campaigns reinforce oppressive practices. He suggests reforms that challenge the legitimacy of both domestication and capitalism.
On Their Own Terms: Bringing Animal-Rights Philosophy Down to Earth
by Lee Hall – animal law professor
*Updates animal rights theory.by placing it in the context of today’s wild habitats.
*Love that he includes ‘pets’ as oppression
*Warning – it’s activist based.
Dominance and Affection: The Making of Pets
by Yi-Fu Tuan – humanistic geographer
*Explores the history of the condescending human treatment of animals as ‘playthings’ that exist only for our entertainment, tying it to male domination over women, children and others.
*Study of power over animals in the world of pleasure, play and art
Julie of the Wolves
by Jean Craighead George – naturalist & author of My Side of the Mountain, etc.
*An Eskimo girl lost on the Alaskan tundra, staple in children’s literature
*She tries to survive by copying the ways of a pack of wolves to be accepted into the wolf family.
*At the end she’s torn between primitive & civilized life.
*Helped me to see the difference between indigenous and primitive
*I wrote a review on my blog veganprimitivist.wordpress.com
by Charlotte Perkins Gilman – early humanist, poet, feminist
*1915, Utopian/Dystopian hidden community of vegan feminist women, no domination
by William Golding, author of Lord of the Flies, he picked this as his own favorite
*About the extinction of one of the last remaining tribes of Neanderthals at the hands of the more sophisticated Homo sapiens.
*1955, amazing recreation of their lifeway and speculation on what the encounter may have been like
i appreciate that she has read a lot of books, and that she’s turning the tables (or whatever) on the interviewer (i really do, it’s a sound and appropriate tactic), but the list went on way too long, and got really obnoxious. an interview is interesting because it’s two people talking to each other, not because one stranger is testing another. it would’ve been better to do five titles or something, and then write her list of good books to supplement the interview.
the conversation in response to the questions otoh, is really good. so, i’m glad it ended with that part!
The interview today raised a few issues for me that I would be interested in hearing Ria’s response (Aragoen!’s as well). I genuinely raise these issues in the spirit of dialogue, but I also raise them because I think the stakes to these issues are very high ad important both to the conceptual realm of anarchy and the material/psychological violence and control in our world.
1) There were strong currents of cultural appropriationism in the discussion which was articulated as white/settler imaginaries and desires of a pan-Indianness.
2) Much of the discussion (I think this is a larger problem in AP in general)
was propagated on “noble savage” and “vanishing indian” concepts (which are long standing settler fantasies.) The AP ideology generally has no anti-colonial or settler state analysis coupled with the anti-civ discourse being used as a way to side-step colonial legacies. The “we are all colonized” discourse erases the material historic and present effects of genocide on peoples of this continent. It, also, then misdirects and creates huge gaps i the conceptual framing of struggle and resistance.
Veganism – the only colonial enterprise acceptable to anarchyists..
Whēkanatanga/kaimangatanga as we call it in te reo Māori here in Aotearoa might have been created conceptually by Donald Watson in the UK, but many of us Māori vegans have incorporated it and assimilated it into a tūturu Māori framework. So you can all it a colonial enterprise, if that sharpens your dull edge, but we here in Aotearoa, who live whēkana, don’t see it as colonising. We have tīpuna/ancestors like Toi-kairākau who ate vegetation i te ao tawhito before contact with Europeans, so it’s not something unknown to us.
The internet isn’t the greatest place for dialogue and I’m sure this particular Māori perspective won’t change your mind, but I thought someone should pipe up and say something in responsive to your comment. I’m off to find some band-aids because I sure as hell was cut by all your edge.
Ria’s father is Lakota. She rejects the customs and traditions and identity politics of all cultures.
Addressing the concrete effects and legacies of genicide is not “identity politics”