When Land Was a Part of Us


There was a time before capitalism when land was not a commodity to be won or bought, but an entity which lived, and provided life in turn. There is still a time, outside the timeline upon which capitalism runs, where this remains true. Where nature and humanity are recognized as inextricably linked, and the goal to save one is the goal to save the other.

The Euro-American, colonial idea of ownership is to be master of what you own. When you own land, you master it, and it becomes your slave. These are the conditions under which capitalism thrives. These are the conditions which sever ties to land, put a choke hold upon the part of it that calls to us, the part which sings in our veins, and cries out for help. When you let this happen, you are cutting off a part of what it means to be human, and what it means to exist on the earth.

Before the era of colonialism, when all people were indigenous; before the empires ravaged first Europe, and then the world; in this parallel time-space which recognizes indigenous epistemologies, we belonged to the land just as the land belonged to us. We knew we could not survive without the land, that our very existence would end the moment we tried to conquer it. And yet…here we are.

Artificial borders erected across the globe, and ones that don’t make sense. We say that we must have these borders for things to work, and maybe that is true. We must have these specific borders for neoliberalism, for capitalism to work. But borders existed before neoliberalism and before capitalism. Borders constructed along cultural differences, along ethnic differences, along spacial differences. These borders were allowed to change through the passage of time with the changing of these differences, not by the passage of money from one set of greedy hands to another. Perhaps this is not the best way to go about things.

In this timeline outside the timeline of capitalism, still existing upon the Earth today, are people who remember, who understand, and who practice these traditional ways of knowing the land, and of understanding its connection with humanity. This knowledge can move between the timelines, from the indigenous thinking timeline to the capitalistic timeline, and back, but ultimately it is this knowledge, this timeline, that must root out the other. The roots of capitalism are strangling the earth, are strangling humanity, and soon all could be extinguished. Because we are so intertwined…when the earth goes, we go also.

It is a time of change which is upon us. We know what we know now, and we know what we’ve known then, and we must choose the path of most resistance. It will not be easy to break away the grip of capitalism on the minds and hearts of the world’s majority, but it must be done if only in order to fully open their eyes to the horrors that await us if the soul of the earth is suffocated to extinction.