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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Russel Means' Maori Connection

Russell Means has a New Zealand Maori Connection.

In the early '90s he visited New Zealand and was much impressed by the Kohanga reo, or total immersion Maori language schools.

So impressed that Means established a similar school for Lakota children on the Pine Ridge Reservation, South Dakota.

The T.R.E.A.T.Y. Total Immersion School in an innovative solution to a centuries old challenge.
• How to educate our children with joy, respect and wonder.
• How to instill in children self-respect and ignite the spark of life long learning.

It is based on the successes achieved by the Total Immersion School experience of the Maori Peoples in New Zealand. This unique program created a revolutionary approach to teaching by focusing on culturally centered private schools for grades K through 3 for the indigenous population.

Total Immersion into the root cuture's language, art, dance, music, science and oral tradition grounded the children in their identity and rich heritage. The self-esteem engendered through these private schools empowered the Maori children to succeed at the top levels of academia and athletics after they entered public schools.

The successes were so remarkable the government of New Zealand adopted the concept throughout the country and established over 180 Kindergarten through third grade Immersion Schools.

Kohanga Reo are in my view, a form of Apartheid and a nursery for Maori seperatism and revolution.

No wonder Russell Means thinks they are so worth copying.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Kohanga Reo are in my view, a form of Apartheid and a nursery for Maori seperatism and revolution."

Yeah that's right, they don't allow pakeha or children of other nationalities to attend... I wonder what my children are doing going there then. I'm waiting for your great Playcenters are kindergartens for anarchists rant as they operate under consensis decision making or some other vauge link.


2:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Kohanga Reo are in my view, a form of Apartheid and a nursery for Maori seperatism and revolution."

uhm, so where are young kids supposed to go who want to speak or learn to speak their language? just watch maori tv? but i'm guessing you are against that too...? some f*cked up thoughts going round in your head mate...

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So I wonder if ol' trev considers english classes as a bastion of white supremacy surely he must do if you follow his line of logic

2:46 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

Lighten up anons.

You can educate your children where and how you want.

Just as I can criticise that choice.

Maori language is an interesting study. I studied it myself as a kid.

If my kids-who are part Cook Island Maori, wish to study it, I'll encourage them.

However total immersion learning of a stone age language, known by a few hundred thousand people is not the way to embrace the future.

9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"a stone age language"

Stating that the way for Maori to "embrace the future" is to abandon their language, or at the least to study it half-heartedly.

I thought you were a little racist, with your constant attacks towards indigenous organisations, I just didn't realise quite how deep-set these views were.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And telling people to lighten up, is the classic defence - the ability to define on what grounds culture and identity can be criticised - signifies a power relationship of domination.

2:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

george darroch,

Was it racist for the British to force the Maori to abandon cannibalism?

12:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, you don't like Irish, or Scottish, or Welsh languages either. That doesn't make you less of a racist.

Thinking that languages apart from English are less valuable - "silly" "backwards steps" that don't have any place in the 21st century, is racist. Language is a foundation of culture, and a repository of concepts and understandings that can't be replicated in other languages. There are words in Maori, Spanish, French, or Indonesian that have no translation in English, and signify concepts of value.

This refusal to allow values other than yours as worthwhile parallels your worship of capitalism and the "free" market as the system around which all humans should be organised. To do so requires you to pronounce all other ways of seeing and valuing the world as of lesser value. It requires attacking any institution that might uphold these other values. Indigenous cultures around the world, such as Scots, Gaelic Irish, and Maori were only colonised by force, with the might of armies, courts and police. They had their land stripped away from them, allowing this land to be used by capitalists and incorporated into the formal economy. Similarly, capitalism can only exist by force, with armies, courts, and police to defend it. This is why, when you ask a "libertarian" for their ideal vision, all institutions of the state have been stripped away apart from the the aforementioned. The destruction of culture is not a natural process, and neither is capitalism. It is this convenient fiction, that the distribution of property is not the result of violence and threats of violence, that sustains capitalism.

Reid of America, singling out one repulsive practice from a culture, and then pronouncing that culture worthless, is racist. There are many practices from 18th and 19th Century English and European cultures that would similarly disgust me, such as the practice of going to war and killing millions, and exterminating and subjugating "races" they considered "inferior". No-one here is asking Maori to abandon cannibalism. What is being asked here is that they abandon immersion language schools. Cultures evolve, that is certain. But destroying them takes agency, and deliberate decisions. Here is the decision to ask Maori and Lakota to participate in the state, respect its laws and borders, to pay taxes, and not have their language taught on a basis equal to that of the dominant culture.

2:01 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

You're being deliberately dishonest here George

Racism has to do with race.

Culturalism has to do with culture.

The two are seperate concepts.

Racism is irrational because it means to regard someone in a certain way (positively or negatively) because of their race.

To libertarians like myself, people should be judged as individuals, not as part of a collective entity, like race.

To judge cultures is entirely rational.

While all cultures contain good and evil, they may still be ranked according to rational criterion-these may include scientific and artistic achievement, wealth, educational opportunity, religious and politic liberty etc.

Rationally, those cultires which value individuality above the collective are superior to those which do not.

Liberal western cultures are superior to collectivist dictatorial cultures.

All races have endured some form of collective culture for most of their history.

Criticising a culture need not imply any attack on the race of its practitioner.

By blurring the racial/cultural/political distinction, George is trying to brand is opponents as racists, when that label more appropriately applies to himself.

Sharpen up your logic George and stop projecting your own glaringly obvious faiults on others.

2:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not being dishonest Trevor. Race is a socially constructed concept, but a powerful one, powerful because it is believed so widely. Race as biology is fiction. You'd have to go pretty far to find a biologist who affirmed the concept of race. However, race as social fact is real. It is a very powerful constructed notion that can profoundly effect those who are labelled by it. Race and culture are intertwined. Yes, it is possible to practice a culture without possessing the colour and phenotype typically associated with it. And yes, it is possible to be of a race without the culture associated. But "race" and culture are not as sharply delineated as you would like to pretend. I would like you to tell my Maori friends that their Maori racial identity, their Maori cultural identity, and their Maori language are not linked, and that they can lose some or all of one of these without the others being affected. (and before you respond with 'radicals', I'm thinking motor-mechanics and public servants here)

It is possible to act as an individual within a culture, certainly, and acknowledging the cultural groundedness of people need not deny them the opportunity to step outside that culture. However, the practice of culture may not be possible without certain preconditions, such as language, and to deny someone their language, and the possibility to master it, is to deny them the freedom to practice their culture.

It is only through the ubiquity of a dominant culture that the practice of that culture in government and private institutions such as schools appears simply 'normal', and deviations from this model.

You're right to stress individual liberty, and the way in which cultural practices can be oppressive, and that people may wish to disassociate with their culture, or adopt elements of another. I wouldn't be an anarchist if I didn't support individual liberty. Supporting immersion schools, and government support for groups which support cultural identity (which may be central to the identity of the holder, and without which they may not be able to live out their chosen life) in no way counteracts this. You and your children are not being forced to go their, and neither are theirs. The problem of the individual vis a vis collective culture is a difficult one, but not irresolvable. I suggest you consult Kymlicka for a perspective on how the rights of the individual and cultural rights can be supported without contradiction.

Ranking other cultures as lesser than yours is a racist activity, an ethnocentric activity that suggests that you have the perfect vantage point independent from your own culture from which to evaluate others and pronounce judgement on them. Attacking specific cultural practices, such as cannibalism and female genital mutilation, when all the context surrounding them is considered, is something I have no problem with, and actively support. Many friends I greatly respect do just that. But attacking a entire culture separate from yours, simply because they have different values from yours, such as placing higher value on community, is racist. You want to impose your worldview, which privileges the individual, on others, attacking the institutions which would allow people practicing their culture to thrive. To label other peoples cultures as worth less than yours is classically racist.

4:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should add one note of clarification, to something that I'm not sure I've made clear above - individuals must be able to opt out of collectivist/community-centred cultures and lifestyles. Kymlicka supports this kind of solution, and in practice NZ is just such a kind of society. You can go to a Kohanga Reo, or a ordinary school.

Without the opt out, the society is no better than one which prevents people from practicing their culture.

5:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoops, above (4.57) should read

...and others as deviations from this model...

5:06 PM  
Blogger Trevor Loudon said...

While race and culture are linked in most people, this is entirely a matter of choice.

I will restate my case as you don't seem to understand it.

I think total immersion kohanga reo-or its Irish, Welsh, Basque, Samic, Lakota etc etc counterparts are retrogressive because they encourage seperatism and retreat from modernity.

You call my criticism racist, yet race has nothing to do with it.

I believe in dymamic outward looking, future oriented capitalism.

If others want to look backwards and immerse their children in dying languages, that is their right, no matter how silly I think it might be.

I will criticise them as I see fit.

This is a cultural/political divide George.

If you think it's racial George, then that's your problem, don't bring me into it.

5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is it a form of apartheid Trevor?

9:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Russel Mean's and his band of marxist nomads should go and die out quitely with at least a little dignity. Instead of blaming the Europeans for their utter failure as a culture. The fact is, if the Native American's had actually appreciated their culture when it mattered, instead of scalping each other, their country may of not been conquered.

11:00 PM  

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