What is striking about the reactions to the apparatuses of exception that have been put in place in our country (and not only in this one) is the inability to observe them beyond the immediate context in which they seem to operate. Rare are those who attempt to interpret them as symptoms and signs of a broader experiment — as any serious political analysis would require — in which what is at stake is a new paradigm for the governance of men and things. Already in a book published seven years ago, now worth rereading carefully (Tempêtes microbiennes, Gallimard 2013), Patrick Zylberman described the process by which health security, hitherto on the margins of political calculations, was becoming an essential part of state and international political strategies. At issue is nothing less than the creation of a sort of “health terror” as an instrument for governing what are called “worst case scenarios.” It is according to this logic of the worst that already in 2005 the World Health Organization announced “2 to 150 million deaths from bird flu approaching,” suggesting a political strategy that states were not yet ready to accept at the time. Zylberman shows that the apparatus being suggested was articulated in three points: 1) the construction, on the basis of a possible risk, of a fictitious scenario in which data are presented in such a way as to promote behaviors that allow for governing an extreme situation; 2) the adoption of the logic of the worst as a regime of political rationality; 3) the total organization of the body of citizens in a way that strengthens maximum adherence to institutions of government, producing a sort of superlative good citizenship in which imposed obligations are presented as evidence of altruism and the citizen no longer has a right to health (health safety) but becomes juridically obliged to health (biosecurity).
What Zylberman described in 2013 has now been duly confirmed. It is evident that, apart from the emergency situation, linked to a certain virus that may in the future be replaced by another, at issue is the design of a paradigm of governance whose efficacy will exceed that of all forms of government known thus far in the political history of the West. If already, in the progressive decline of ideologies and political beliefs, security reasons allowed citizens to accept limitations on their liberty that they previously were unwilling to accept, biosecurity has shown itself capable of presenting the absolute cessation of all political activity and all social relations as the maximum form of civic participation. Thus it was possible to see the paradox of organizations of the left, traditionally in the habit of claiming rights and denouncing violations of the constitution, accepting limitations on liberty made by ministerial decree devoid of any legal basis and which even fascism couldn’t dream of imposing.
It is evident — and government authorities themselves do not cease to remind us of it — that so-called “social distancing” will become the model of politics that awaits us, and that (as representatives of a so-called “task force” announced, whose members are in an obvious conflict of interest with the role that they are expected to exercise) advantage will be taken of this distancing to substitute digital technological apparatuses everywhere in place of human physicality, which as such becomes suspect of contagion (political contagion, let it be understood). University lessons, as MIUR has already recommended, will be stably online from next year; you will no longer recognize yourself by looking at your face, which might be covered with a mask, but through digital devices that recognize bio-data which is compulsorily collected; and any “crowd,” whether formed for political reasons or simply for friendship, will continue to be prohibited.
At issue is an entire conception of the destinies of human society from a perspective that, in many ways, seems to have adopted the apocalyptic idea of the end of the world from religions which are now in their sunset. Having replaced politics with the economy, now in order to secure governance even this must be integrated with the new paradigm of biosecurity, to which all other exigencies will have to be sacrificed. It is legitimate to ask whether such a society can still be defined as human or whether the loss of sensible relations, of the face, of friendship, of love can be truly compensated for by an abstract and presumably completely fictitious health security.
United States: Is classical music a “privilege” for whites and Asians?
TRIBUNE – In decline in the United States, classical music is criticized by many as “too white”, even though it is favoured by young Americans of Asian descent, analyses Paul May, a professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal (Uqam)*.
By PAUL MAY
Le Figaro, 21 June 2020
Classical music today is accused of being unsuited to the growing ethnic diversity of the American population.
Certain phenomena, not very publicized and unspectacular, are nevertheless indicative of profound transformations at work in our societies. This is the case of the decline of classical music in the United States. Confronted for several years with a constant decline in its audience, classical music is now accused of being unsuited to the growing ethnic diversity of the country’s population, to such an extent that its long-term survival is being questioned. Sociologically, the stakes are symbolic: one of the major cultural practices of the country’s elite since its foundation is explicitly called upon to change or disappear.
A study by the National Endowment for the Arts reports that the proportion of adults who attended a classical music concert in the previous year had risen from 13 per cent in 1982 to 8.6 per cent in 2017. Between 1982 and 2002, the share of attendees under 30 dropped from 27% to 9%. This is accompanied by a general decline in the number of amateurs in the population: in 1992, 4.2% of adult Americans reported playing a musical instrument, compared to 2% in 2008. In terms of album sales, although the last two years have seen a slight improvement, they do not mask a sharp decline over the long term. While the country still has some of the world’s most renowned orchestras, such as the Chicago Symphony or the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the question of a decline can hardly be avoided.
There are many reasons for this, according to the specialist press: an economic model based mainly on private funding, a decline in school education, and competition from other forms of music that are more popular with the younger generation.
Classical music is inherently racist
– New Music USA
Faced with this observation, classical music is encouraged to renew itself. However, according to professionals in the sector, one of the major challenges is to change the image of a field perceived as “too white”. According to a report published in 2016 by the League of American Orchestras, blacks represent only 1.8% of orchestra members, and Latin Americans only 2.5%. Moreover, the vast majority of the works performed in the concerts were by composers of European origin, which is considered insufficiently “inclusive” in the United States. For example, the San Francisco Chronicle recently expressed regret that the city’s Symphony Orchestra will present almost exclusively compositions created by white men in the 2017-2018 season.
Too white, too old, the classical music sector is accused of being out of step with the country’s changing demographics. Indeed, projections by the US Census Bureau predict that the share of ethnic minorities in the population will increase to become the majority around the middle of the century, and would already represent 45% of the 18-23 age group. As a result, a number of American newspapers have recently denounced the fact that the classical music scene is considered too ethnically homogenous. The New York Times accuses it of being the “least diverse institution in the country” and of masking “a racist problem”, while the Seattle Magazine proclaims that it is necessary to “attack its whiteness”. The specialized press is not to be outdone: the National Public Radioconstate’s website says that the scene is “extremely white and increasingly marginalized,” echoing New Music USA, which for its part believes that “classical music is inherently racist.
These accusations are based on the following logic: if an institution has too small a proportion of people of non-European descent, it is suspected of masking a discriminatory recruitment process, or even a form of “structural racism”. Recently, this beam of criticism has hit a wide variety of fields, such as cinema (with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite), ice hockey (#HockeySoWhite), or the Silicon Valley business community (#SiliconValleySoWhite). In the name of economic performance or the principle of non-discrimination, each institution is thus scrutinized and judged on the basis of its degree of openness to “diversity”.
While classical music was banned during the Cultural Revolution, it is estimated today that about 50 million young Chinese are learning the piano.
In the field of classical music, this leads to prioritizing the recruitment of musicians from diverse ethnic backgrounds, modifying the canon of composers deemed essential to include artists of colour, or transforming the current concert format to offer collaborations with singers appreciated by young audiences, as proposed in the League of American Orchestras’ report entitled “How Diversity Can Help Save Classical Music”.
It is to be hoped that this project of ethnic recalibration will succeed in breathing new life into classical music across the Atlantic. Sceptics, however, will prefer to bank on the extraordinary enthusiasm of the younger generation of Asian Americans for this art form. The latter constitute a growing fringe of amateurs and professionals, contradicting the above-mentioned critics who see classical music as an area that is not easily accessible to ethnic minorities. Indeed, the children of immigrants from China, South Korea, Singapore or Taiwan are over-represented in conservatories, and pushed by their parents, who see this apprenticeship as a school of rigour and excellence. It remains to be seen, however, whether their demographic weight in the population will be sufficient to reverse the current declining trend.
In this regard, the situation in the United States contrasts with that of several Asian countries, such as China, for example. While classical music was banned during the Cultural Revolution, it is estimated today that about 50 million young Chinese are learning the piano, inspired by internationally renowned stars such as Li Yundi, Yuja Wang, or Lang Lang. The country is both the leading consumer and the leading manufacturer of pianos, producing 80% of the world’s supply. The average age of concertgoers is considerably younger than in North America, suggesting a more sustainable audience over the long term, both in auditoriums and on the internet. All these factors led Lorin Maazel, former music director of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, to say: “We need defenders of our classical music tradition, if classical music is to survive … it may very well be that the most important defenders are in China”.
Optimists will be pleased to find a music-loving public in Asia, eager to take over a neglected artistic heritage. Pessimists will see it as yet another symptom of a West that has forgotten its roots and is indifferent to the transmission of its own cultural treasures. A silent phenomenon, rarely in the headlines… but no less significant for the evolution of our civilization.
* Paul May is notably the author of a remarkable work, “Philosophies of Multiculturalism” (Presses de Sciences Po, 2016).
A metallic meteorite-like object reportedly fell from the sky in the Indian state of Rajasthan on June 19, 2020, leaving a 30 cm (1 foot) crater in the ground and causing explosive sound heard several kilometers away.
According to local media reports, the object fell from the sky in an open field at around 07:00 local time on Friday morning, June 19, 2020, in the town of Sanchore, Rajasthan’s Jalore district, India.
The impact was followed by an explosive sound heard at least 2 km (1.2 miles) away.
The recovered object weighs around 2.8 kg (6.2 pounds) and is predominantly iron (85.86%) and nickel (10.23%). Other elements include platinum (0.5%), germanium (0.02%), antimony (0.01%), and niobium (0.01%), a local jeweler said after examining the object in the presence of police and administration.
The object was placed in a jar and sent for further investigation.
A local named Ajmal Devasi said he heard a massive sound in the morning. “It was as if an airplane had crashed. However, no one could spot what had fallen. It was only after some time that the object was noticed in a one-foot-deep pit in the ground. It had fallen about 100 meters (330 feet) from my house. We immediately informed local authorities.”
“I was standing on the balcony of my house when I saw something falling from the sky,” another local said. “The first thought that came to my mind was it being a bomb. Within no time, as it fell on the ground, an explosion-like sound occurred. The fall resulted in panic in the area. Most of the people in my colony woke up to this sound and children were scared.”
On February 10, another meteorite crashed in Rajasthan’s Alwar village, leaving a 6 m (20 feet) deep crater in a local factory compound. The phenomenon occurred at around 23:48 UTC at the Itarana industrial area, where a CCTV camera caught the bright meteor before hitting the ground.
The Alwar fireball was also reported by CNEOS at an altitude of 41.7 km (25.9 miles) and coordinates 28.2N/76.7E. It had a speed of 31.7 km/s and total impact energy of 0.095 kilotons.
The map below shows the location of the fireball signature SW of New Delhi and impact location in Alwar. Total ground distance is 75 km (46 miles).
Fireball signature detected by CNEOS SW of New Delhi and impact location in Itarana industrial area, Alwar. Ground distance: 75 km (46 miles). Credit: Google Earth, TW
Approximate meteorite impact location in Itarana industrial area, Alwar. Credit: Google Earth, TW
There may be something fishy going on in Africa. A few days ago, you might recall that I blogged about the President of Tanzania, John Magufili, sending faked data to the World Health Organization because of his suspicions it was – to coin a pun – “doctoring” statistics to promote its various agendas on the Fauci-Lieber-virus. You might recall that he sent them samples from a goat, a papaya, and a quail for testing, and sure enough, they all came back positive, including the papaya.
Well, there’s been a rather strange incident that may, or may not, be related; I’ll leave it to the reader to decide. That said, I don’t mind saying that my suspicion meter is in the red zone, as apparently are the suspicion meters of a lot of people in Burundi. V.T. spotted this one, and it’s short, direct, and to the point:
The questions begin in the first paragraph: fifty-five year old President Pierre Nkurunziza died suddenly of a heart attack, after recently being examined and pronounced as fit as a fiddle:
President of Burundi Pierre Nkurunziza, 55, has died “following a cardiac arrest”. The sudden death comes as a surprise as he had been evaluated recently as being in good overall health.
But then the plot immediately thickens:
Less than a month ago, the Burundian government ordered the expulsion of experts from the World Organization of Health (WHO) responsible for ‘advising’ on the false pandemic COVID-19.
Needless to say, this has “local pundits” suggesting “that his death could have been the consequence of poisoning.” Perhaps the poisoning was administered in the form of a WHO-approved “vaccine”; we’ll get back to that in a moment.
The article concludes with two short paragraphs, one of which raises an interesting question: Are leaders who oppose the WHO and its vaccines being deliberately “offed”?
The President and his Ministry of Foreign Affairs had declared that the WHO representatives would henceforth be ‘persona non grata’, that is not welcome on Burundian territory. For information, to date, and despite its courageous opposition to the WHO, Burundi officially declared only one COVID death. This is compared against around 30,000 dead in France, who are largely enslaved by the ‘recommendations’ of the WHO.
The unexpected death of Nkurunziza is reminiscent of the mysterious plane crash of Polish President Lech Kaczyński in 2009, in which he was killed shortly after he refused the vaccine made by the WHO against the H1N1 flu.
It’s one of those “heads we win, tails you lose” sorts of things; either take our “vaccines”, which may kill you, or we’ll kill you. And speaking of “vaccines” and poison and killing, there’s this recent interview by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., which raises a few other unpleasant, disturbing, and diabolical implications:
Now, I don’t know about you, but it seems pretty plain and clear to me that if the ghouls in Big Pharma are willing to slaughter babies in order to stuff their “vaccines” with fetal tissue, they won’t hesitate to off the odd African president or two, or three, or n leaders not going along with the agenda. And one wonders, have any long term studies on such “vaccines” containing such “ingredients” been done to see what the effects might be? Might such effects include the “cannibalism” disease kuru, a neuro-degenerative disease with effects similar to mad-cow (Creutzfeldt-Jacobs) disease? I doubt it. And come to think of it, can one really call these diabolical concoctions “vaccines” at all? I doubt it; whatever they are, they’re not vaccines in any normal sense I can think of. What they are is a kind of “cannibalism by IV drip” or “cannibalism by injection,” but they’re not “vaccines.”
And while we’re talking about kuru and mad cow and such, imagine whole populations being forcibly injected with this crud, and one has a real zombie apocalypse and a lot of dead people. Could this be why Baal Gates is interested in “over-population” and “vaccines” all at the same time? It does make one wonder.
As for the “local pundits” in Burundi, go ahead with your suspicions. I, for one, share them.
Are you ready for this week’s absurdity? Here’s our Friday roll-up of the most ridiculous stories from around the world that are threats to your liberty, risks to your prosperity… and on occasion, inspiring poetic justice.
Eight-year-old boy arrested for asking if he could buy candy with fake money
At a parade in Switzerland, fake money was thrown around for children to collect.
The obviously fake cash is called “spirit money.” Featuring Chinese symbols, it is meant as an offering to the dead so they can prosper in the afterlife.
An eight-year-old Swiss boy later asked a shop clerk if he could use the play money to buy candy. To be clear, the kid did not try to trick the shopkeeper, or pass off the money as real.
A normal person would laugh, and politely explain that only central banks are allowed to use fake money.
Instead, this shopkeeper opted to call the police.
Again, a reasonable officer could have stopped it all there.
Instead, the boy and his ten-year-old brother were taken to the police station. Police took their mugshots, but did not charge them with a crime.
Police did, however, search the family’s home, where police found some other play money.
These cops essentially confiscated Monopoly money, as if they were busting a counterfeiting operation.
Hertz admits its stock is worthless, as it planned to sell half a billion dollars of new shares
The rental car company Hertz is going through bankruptcy.
But Hertz announced Monday in an SEC filing that the company would sell an additional $500 million worth of new shares. And the bankruptcy judge in the case approved!
Hertz then openly admitted that the stock would almost certainly soon be worthless. That’s because as Hertz goes through bankruptcy, senior debt holders will be paid back before the common stockholders.
But that hasn’t stopped people from buying the worthless stock, apparently hoping to “buy the dip”.
But after the plan received a little too much attention– and questions from the SEC – Hertz decided to drop the plan.
US National debt increased by nearly $1 trillion in the last month
In the past 30 days, the United States national debt has increased by nearly $1 trillion– screaming past $26.2 trillion total, or 128% of GDP.
That means the US government is borrowing over $23 million per MINUTE.
But that’s just the last 30 days. The US government has gone nearly $3 trillion further into debt since March 1.
That is over $9,000 for every man, woman, and child living in the United States. And all you received was a $1,200 check…
Now the “Save our Country Coalition” has penned a letter to Congress stating that the federal budget is dangerously close to $10 trillion this fiscal year.
On an inflation adjusted basis, that means the government will spend more fighting Covid than it spent fighting every single 20th century war– plus the 21st century Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan– COMBINED.
The cost of World War I, World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, The Gulf War, The Iraq War, and the War in Afghanistan combined, does not add up to this fiscal year’s budget.
The company responsible for creating a network of police snitching apps in the U.S. and Canada is trying to convince the public to use a new app.
Want to report your neighbor for not social distancing, report them for being a George Floyd protester, or perhaps you have seen something suspicious? Chances are pretty good that OCV, LLC has created that app.
OCV has created a mind-boggling 500 law enforcement apps.
“With over nine years of experience serving public safety agencies, OCV, LLC. has developed over 500 custom mobile apps and proudly serves over 40 states and Canada.”
As The Daily Globeexplains, OCV’s latest app allows users to “lookup jail inmates and wanted lists, as well as submit anonymous tips about crime.”
In Rock County, Minnesota, the Sheriff’s department has already received a tip from a concerned citizen. Because who doesn’t want to send police an anonymous tip about their neighbors?
“TheSheriffApp.com will help your office brand itself as innovative leaders in law enforcement within your community and provide easy access to important information to your citizens.”
Want to help re-brand law enforcement’s image? OCV has at least 500 apps that will help convince the public that law enforcement is here to help.
OCV is so good at masking what TheSheriff App’s real purpose is, it is easy to miss.
“App users have the ability to receive instant push notifications from your sheriff’s office, submit a tip, view the most wanted page, see a map of sex offenders in their area and more – all from an app!”
TheSherrifApp is specifically designed to allow users to send anonymous tips to law enforcement. The first thing they mention in their “Common Features” section is submitting a tip.
“Submit tips right from your smartphone. Use your smartphone capabilities to include pictures, GPS location and more in your tip.”
TheSherrifApp has taken public snitching to a whole new level by combining real-time social media accounts.
“Combine all social media accounts into one continuous stream within the app. Updated in real time.”
Would anyone like to guess what the “Main Feature” of TheSheriffApp is? If you guessed public snitching, congratulations.
“Submit a tip with a tap by using our tip submission feature! Users can easily submit tips directly from their smartphone. Take advantage of a mobile app and use your smartphone to be as detailed as possible with your submission: upload pictures, videos… even include the GPS location of an incident! Users also have the option to submit a tip anonymously.”
During the coronavirus outbreak, the news has been littered with stories of neighbors snitching on each other. Private companies like, NextDoor have even gone so far as to shower law enforcement with gifts so they can spread public snitching to every neighborhood in America.
“As part of the chosen group, Charles Husted, the chief of police in Sedona, Arizona would be flown to San Francisco on President’s Day, along with seven other community engagement staffers from police departments and city offices across the country. Over two days, they’d meet at Nextdoor’s headquarters to discuss the social network’s public agency strategy. Together, the plan was, they’d stay at the Hilton Union Square, eat and drink at Cultivar, share a tour of Chinatown, and receive matching Uniqlo jackets. All costs — a projected $16,900 for the group, according to a schedule sent to participants — were covered by Nextdoor.”
Hasn’t law enforcement learned anything about the recent slew of “Karen’s” calling police on black people? The last thing American’s need or want is a “Karen” police app disguised as “TheSherrifApp.” (To find out more about NextDoor’s “Karen” problem, click here.)
If there is to be any hope of police reform, then we must demand an end to the culture of police surveillance, and the corporations who profit from it.
As we are inundated with headlines about violent riots and looting being passed off as mostly peaceful protests, or how the dreaded virus continues to spread in communities around the world, there is another story taking place which directly affects hundreds of millions of people globally that is being blacked out by the mainstream corporate media.
Unlike the aforementioned crises which are being cited as the justification for the World Economic Forum’s Great Reset, this public health crisis actually has a rather simple solution: to end water fluoridation by no longer adding the toxic substance to the nation’s water supply.
You would think this would be a straightforward process, considering the mountains of studies which conclude fluoride is a harmful neurotoxin attributed to lower IQs and ADHD. Unfortunately, government regulatory agencies have been not only defending this practice for generations, they champion the forced medication as a great achievement in medical history.
Right now, in perhaps one of the most important trials of our time, the Fluoride Action Network is taking the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head on in an unprecedented court case that could lead to the end of water fluoridation in the US and possibly worldwide as other nations would likely follow suit.
In this interview, Spiro is joined by Dr. Paul Connett of the Fluoride Action Network to discuss the current court case against the EPA and water fluoridation as the first week of the trial has come to an end and the second, possibly final week is about to begin.
James Corbett’s fourth installment of his series on Bill Gates examines Gates’ youth, family history, business strategies, and surprising personal connections (Jeffrey Epstein, for example) that, altogether, reveal a disturbing picture of Gates’ rise to fame, fortune, and power. Of particular interest is the fact that his banker father was head of Planned Parenthood and that the family was connected to a group of wealthy intellectuals who called themselves Eugenicists. That means they advocated so-called public-health programs that secretly sterilize those who are considered by the elite to be unworthy of procreation. This was the same program that, later, was applied by Hitler to create a super race in Nazi Germany. After the fall of the Nazi regime, American Eugenicists needed to distance themselves from Hitlers’ sterilization program, so they changed their vocabulary. Eugenics henceforth was called population control. This finally connects the dots between present vaccine design and the Gates’ life-long support of ‘population control’. -GEG
Before Bitcoin became the newest trend for silicon valley bros, it was a tool for hackers and revolutionaries who wanted to undermine the banking system. In fact, this was the original vision of the cryptocurrency’s mysterious creator Satoshi Nakamoto, and the group of anarchist hackers called “cypherpunks” that developed the technology.
It appears that this original vision was not missed by the US government, which has been developing plans to contend with a potential cryptocurrency rebellion. Documents obtained by The Intercept through a freedom of information act request show that the US Department of Defense has created war game scenarios in which a rebellion of Gen Z revolutionaries used cryptocurrency to undermine and evade the establishment.
In one of the war games, the Pentagon prepared for hordes of Gen Z hackers who used cyberattacks to steal money and convert it to Bitcoin. The revolutionary group in the war game was given the name “Zbellion.” This exercise happened two years ago, in 2018, but it was set in the future year of 2025. In the scenario, Gen Z was involved in protests all over the world and waged a “global cyber campaign to expose injustice and corruption and to support causes it deem[s] beneficial.”
It was noted that Gen Z sees themselves “as agents for social change” and believe that the “system is rigged against them.”
In light of the protests that have developed around the world over the past months, activists are starting to revisit the original spirit of the technology, and are seeing its potential as a tool for revolutionary movements. The details of the Pentagon war games were not made public until Florida Congressman Matt Gaetz suggested freezing the financial accounts of demonstrators who are spotted at the ongoing protests against police violence.
Nathaniel Whittemore, a bitcoin and cryptocurrency consultant, and strategist, previously told Forbes that, “One of the most important tools in the authoritarian toolkit is the ability to freeze the funding of legitimate political dissent. By separating the infrastructure of money from the infrastructure of state power, bitcoin makes it that much harder for this type of politically motivated confiscation.”
“In the wake of unprecedented central bank action around the Covid-19 crisis, it seemed like the most relevant narrative of bitcoin in 2020 was as a hedge against inflation. It appears, however, that its capacity for censorship resistance might be just as relevant,” he added.
In Indian Country, there is a collective experience known as blood memory. Words seem to fail explaining this phenomenon because, first and foremost, blood memory is a feeling or a knowing, but my interpretation is that blood memory is an embodied remembrance passed down from generation to generation. Some people refer to blood memory as akin to genetic or ancestral trauma or epigenetic inheritance. The bottom line when understanding blood memory is, simply, that we pass down in our familial lineages experiences and memories. Sometimes they are good and joyful and sometimes they are traumatic and rooted in grief.
As the coronavirus spreads, North America’s Indigenous Peoples hold a unique experience of stress and fear because of this blood memory. In the 18th century, as European settlers sought to colonize Indigenous lands, they weaponized germs, giving blankets infected with smallpox to tribal communities to slow down Native resistance and to decimate Native populations. In addition to smallpox, measles and influenza were also brought to North America during these early periods of colonization. It is estimated that together these diseases killed 90% of Native Americans.
Colonial violence led to other public health injustices and crises within Indigenous communities. In the 19th century, the federal government forced Native peoples onto reservations, disenfranchising Native populations and creating to this day vast injustices in access to public health services. During the 1970s, the Family Planning Services and Population Research Act led to the sterilization of Native women. According to Time magazine, between 1970 and 1977 at least 25% of Native American women of childbearing age were sterilized.
This history matters in this moment because our communities remember. As individuals, our bodies remember. And because of this, Native people may be experiencing anxiety and distrust in our government’s commitment to public health.
This is why “indigenizing” community care is so critical as we work to protect Indigenous communities and people from COVID-19.
In mid-March, as the coronavirus pandemic was beginning to put stress on cities across the country and as the federal government slowly acknowledged the crisis, putting millions at risk, I wrote an article aimed at grounding our community in the cultural and spiritual practices that fortify our spirits. It included a call for an Indigenous response to the pandemic.
Now, when we are having to practice “social distancing,” is a perfect time to learn traditional medicines—tinctures and syrups, traditional foods, plant medicines, and fermentation. Traditional medicines that support immune and respiratory systems and are also antiviral include: osha, fire cider, garlic, elderberry, lemon balm, and oregano. While these traditional food ways aren’t guaranteed to cure or prevent COVID-19, we know that they can support resilience and contribute to healthier life ways.
Community is central in the Indigenous response. Identify who in our community is most vulnerable and strategize the best ways to protect them.
Working collectively at community care is more important now than ever. When we are able to quiet all the worries, the media, and public frenzy, we can see a bigger picture: This moment is an opportunity to come together in community, in care, and in preparation. Grave threats like climate change and pandemics are real—we know this as crisis scenarios become more frequent and more extreme.
Community is central in the Indigenous response. Identify who in our community is most vulnerable and strategize the best ways to protect them. Think about food security, and not in an individualistic sense, but in a collective sense, ensuring that there is abundance to share.
All communities can reflect on some universal questions: Are we overly dependent on food and materials coming from nonlocal sources? Do we have energy security in case the electrical grid is damaged by extreme weather or we cannot access fossil fuels? What are the most fundamental collective values we will draw upon in high stress moments? How do we make decisions? And how do we not turn on each other?
As the pandemic progressed through April, these questions became more urgent. We have seen American society fall into toxic individualism; masses began to panic shop and hoard supplies, creating shortages of food and health care supplies across the country. We have also witnessed exacerbation of the inequities in this country—access to health care, water rights, housing, income, and job security.
This is especially true in Indian Country.
In the Navajo Nation, one of the largest tribes in the U.S. and where the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has been growing exponentially, there aren’t enough doctors, hospital beds, and respirators. To be sure, this kind of problem isn’t new; the coronavirus has just amplified the consequences of underfunding health services in Indian Country. While these communities struggle to respond with emergency health care, they are also facing food and water shortages. In the Navajo Nation, it is estimated that 1 in 3 families haul water to their homes every day. It can take multiple hours to drive to a water-filling station. Strict but necessary stay-at-home orders disadvantage Navajo families’ ability to survive, let alone protect themselves from COVID-19 by washing their hands.
Yet Indigenous communities are showing how community care and self-determination can provide security and solutions during times like this.
Former Navajo attorney general Ethel Branch quickly organized a COVID-19 relief fund that, as of April, had raised $600,000 to provide support to Navajo and Hopi families across New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. The Navajo are designing technology and social media systems to connect community members far and wide, enabling urban family members to fill out forms so that supplies can reach their families living in rural areas. Many Navajo do not have access to wifi or cellular networks.
The result of this community organizing is food and water delivered safely across the 16 million acres of the Navajo Nation. This effort to support families across vast distance is no small feat and requires a deep understanding of how to navigate supporting a community this large. It makes sense for the help to come from within—accounting for language, knowing how best to reach people and collect data, and of course understanding the environment and landscape itself.
Indigenous values are woven throughout implementation. Elders are being prioritized, culture and language are being integrated and honored, and above all the organizers and volunteers are practicing compassion and care for the whole, rather than individualism.
The Lummi, in the coastal Pacific Northwest, are showing us how self-determination benefits tribal communities. Decades ago the Lummi declared themselves a self-governing nation. This has enabled more financial flexibility and health autonomy, as the tribe works outside the bureaucracy of the Indian Health Service. Lummi medical teams led the way in responding to COVID-19 by creating preventative measures in their community long before the federal government did. They turned a fitness center into a field hospital to be ready as cases emerged.
The Lummi response stands as a model for other tribal communities—all communities, in fact—for how self-determination can create meaningful infrastructure and better allocate resources.
Because of its self-governing status, the tribe is not reliant on federal programs for accessing emergency funds. In April, many tribes worried about how they would receive funding from a stimulus bill that provided $10 billion to tribal governments. Would federal and state bureaucracy create barriers to slow the distribution of “emergency” funds while tribal members face their normal food, water, and health care shortages?
While these examples illustrate the potential of nations and communities, I want to shine light on what individuals are capable of when we reclaim our Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge.
In northern Nevada, in Numu territories, Autumn Harry is putting her passion and traditional knowledge of fishing to use during this time. “Living in a rural community, it is difficult to access healthy, nutrient-dense foods. Due to the pandemic, our nearest grocery stores are still getting ransacked and items are being hoarded, forcing our rural communities to pick from the scraps. Although I can’t make monetary contributions to elders during this time, I can use my fishing skills to help put ancestral foods on the table,” says Harry.
Throughout March and April, Harry fished for trout in the mornings. She would take her catch home and create sterilized and safe packages for elders, demonstrating that we as Indigenous people have knowledge useful not just in this COVID-19 crisis but for generations to come.
There is no sugar coating this moment. It is hard, it is unfair, and it is extremely sad. That said, it is a moment of profound clarity for tribal communities, for the United States, and for the world: The systems that are supposed to offer us health, safety, and shelter do not work; they put profit over the well-being of countless citizens. As challenging, as scary, and as dark as this time is, it is a political and spiritual opening for people everywhere.
We will survive COVID-19. And when this pandemic has stabilized, I encourage you not to forget the feelings and the lessons of this moment. How did your community take care of one another? How did your government take care of you?