Cowboys and Indians

“It’s turned us back into cowboys and Indians again,” he [Chapoose] said. “The tension is higher than it started but it hasn’t reached a plateau. That’s going to happen Monday. Then we’ll see the battle lines.” (Shaun Chapoose, councilman of the Ute Indian Tribe business committee)

Two areas designated as national monuments have knocked down to size, reduced by nearly two million acres all told, so as to be opened for development. White men coming in to extract resources is, of course, simply a variation on one of America’s central themes. It’s also an illustration of the way capitalism works.

One of the essential elements of capitalism is fairly simply: turn the living world into dead money, as quickly as possible. That’s putting it directly, though the truth of it is rarely stated so bluntly. Still, that’s what it is: trees become lumber, minerals become iPhones, thriving eco-systems get turned converted into strip malls. Pave paradise and put up a parking lot, etc.

The reason capitalism works this way is simple: there’s no regulation. Sometimes regulation exists, of course, but regulation is always considered the enemy of “business,” just listen to conservatives. To radically roll back regulation, of course, all you need is a Republican majority, or some reliable centrist Democrats.

The love of money and the pursuit of profit proceeds unchecked. That’s capitalism.

“Davis Filfred, the son of a medicine man and a Navajo Nation council delegate, said he did not want to see Bears Ears become like his tribe’s land, which he said had been contaminated by fossil fuel development. Coalmining in the Four Corners area, he said, offers a cautionary tale.”

‘We’ll see the batle lines’: Trump faced by Native American alliance over Bears Ears

Trump shrinks two huge national monuments in Utah


Published by

Jonathan Erdman

Writer. In the summers, I live and work in the incredible state of Alaska, in the bush community of McCarthy, as the Executive Director of the Wrangell Mountain Center. When not in McCarthy, you'll typically find me in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California, writing and working with local activists. My primary writing project right now is a novel set in remote bush Alaska, of the magical realism genre wherein an earnest and independent young woman finds a mysterious radio belonging to her grandmother, a device that has paranormal bandwidth and a disturbing ability to mess with one's mental stability.

Consider this post an invitation, an invitation to comment and collaborate ~ In Solidarity, JE

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