My Internship with Noodin

by James B Beard aka Noodin

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Posted by noodin
By Andrea Cadwell, MA. MSc

I am a graduate student in the Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability program at Antioch University New England in Keene, NH. My work at Antioch has centered on farming and the traditions that native/indigenous people maintain with land and ecosystems.

Last year I worked for Dr Vanadana Shiva and Dr Vinod Bhatt of Navdanya in India. I lived and worked alongside farmers from a variety of spiritual and agrarian systems. It became obvious to me that in order to preserve traditional knowledge and economies that rely on relationships with land and ecosystems, I must open a dialog regarding globalization and the exportation of educational and economic models that are creating assimilation of people and the destruction of ecosystems both in India and at home. “We put out this idea, which I think is a blatant lie, that if people buy into the dictates of our economic paradigm that somehow they will magically achieve the wealth that we have enjoyed in the west…ain’t going to happen…just on energy resources alone it would take four planet earths to bring the global population into our level of consumption…We project this world view overseas, this world view, that if people buy into it they will achieve what we have.” (Wade Davis Schooling the World; The White Man’s Last Burden, Carol Black 2010)

Andrea Indea Prayer

This kind of destruction has already taken place against the indigenous people of the United States, less than a hundred years ago, through the IRA, the Indian Reorganization act of 1934. This was after hundreds of years of fighting and taking of Indian owned land.

Discussion regarding the problems of globalization is important in our country, given that we are primary exporters of the educational and economic models that are not inherent in traditional societies in India. “…these peoples, these visions aren’t failed attempts at being us, they hold unique answers to the fundamental questions, what does it mean to be alive? And for many of those peoples when they answer those questions, they answer them in ways that have allowed them to live sustainably on the planet by definition for generations.” (Wade Davis, Schooling the World: The White Man’s Last Burden, Carol Black 2010)

This spring I will return to India in order to publish a photo-essay on the impacts of globalization on traditional knowledge systems and economies in India.

I chose to work for Noodin these last several months because I wanted to help Native people in my own country as well as make use of the skills I gained while working for a world-renowned organization like Navdanya. I knew the challenges would be different and I wanted to test myself. In addition I was excited to help a local organization like Northeast American Cultural Resource, there is something very rewarding about making a difference in your own back yard.

I have spent the last several months working on the website, copy editing, developing programs, outreach to universities and colleges in this area as well as establishing new goals for the future.

Noodin and I have worked very hard to bring his storytelling and intimate knowledge of the ways of Native Americans in this country, in particular the Ojibwa people to those who want to learn more about the importance and beauty of Native tradition.

It is my hope as an environmental activist, that people will see the importance of living in harmony with our ecosystems. Currently we are living disconnected from our local ecosystems and economies that in turn leads to a disconnect from mother earth. I hope as Noodin begins to offer more programming and we continue to work together to enlighten our community about the real possibility of transitioning back to living more simply, in addition to and honoring those who inhabited this land before us, that we will find peace. The future is in all of our hands.

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