Interview I gave after WILD 9 about indigenous world views
Larry Merculieff, the traveler who travels the world
Valentina Martínez Valdés
La Jornada Ecologico
Translated from spanish to english.
In an area characterized by persistent fog, gusty winds and rains are the Aleutian Islands, home to Larry Merculieff who has spent more than four decades to listen to the people over their community and indigenous peoples around the world. The Aleutians, the community to which they belong, as well as their particular environment, have given a unique perspective on life, nature, the evils that afflict us, but also on the solutions and actions we can undertake. He attributes it to a very particular combination. “To survive and thrive requires a high degree of sophistication both spiritual and technological to be able to stay in areas that are as far north as these,” he said. These islands, located between southwest Alaska and the Kamchatka peninsula in Russia, have made Larry also witness natural events that have shaped him in what he is today. “Where I live is also known as the place where the winds are born, we can have winds of up to 80 miles per hour. During the winter, yes, it can be difficult, I have seen waves of 20 meters high. “
All these conditions have led Merculieff to become a voice and an activist dedicated to demanding that the traditional knowledge and wisdom of indigenous peoples be applied to meet the challenges of today’s world. And is that the Aleutas have much to say. For them, the cause of the environmental crisis can be attributed to a male imbalance. The balance between the feminine and the masculine is a shared spiritual perspective in the world. Larry begins by explaining: “To be a good hunter, I need to be present, completely present in mind and body at that time, I can not be rambling elsewhere. I have to soften the way I talk so that animals do not notice me and I should not be aggressive. And at this moment the feminine qualities are present. “ This is only an example where the dualities of the masculine and feminine coexist to create a stability that allows to share harmoniously with the environment.
However, this ability has disappeared. “In this congress (Wild9) I talked about how the last big change to the masculine side occurred 4 or 6 thousand years ago. Spiritual leaders knew that everything feminine was going to be destroyed, and that meant cultures linked to mother earth, goddess cultures, mother earth itself, women and everything. If you take a look at the story, all that is destroyed. “ For Larry, this alienated us from all kinds of relationships, from relationships with ourselves, from relationships with others, from relationships with Mother Nature and from our feminine side. “Traditional communities are not surprised that we do not understand what we are doing to mother earth because we are not in relation to ourselves. We have separated from this because we have cast aside the feminine aspect. That’s also my reason why I believe wars, greed and all control systems around the world are created, or the fact that most of the leaders in the world are men. “ However, this will change. The Aleuts make Larry a transmitter of a message, “women will take their original place as healers of our times and we will witness this. Women are going to lead the way, because to reconnect with mother earth, who better than women. However, they have a challenge, because women have been beaten for so long, generation after generation, and for thousands of years, they have forgotten how sacred they are and their power, so women need to rediscover all these elements.
In her travels around the world, Merculieff has also emphasized the importance of the wisdom transmitted by the elders of different cultures of the world. Larry was taught by his elders to communicate with the ocean, to move in it, to listen to it, to understand it and above all to thank him. “The traditional world that I come from, the idea is that we have to give, give, give, give all time to nature.This no longer exists in most countries. That’s why I keep insisting that you listen to the wisdom of those people who have intact the way they coexist with nature. “ Over time, indigenous peoples have developed intimate relationships with their environment and have generated and transmitted knowledge about it. However, it is a tradition that has been gradually lost. “Most young generations of the world have lost this ability, and this has become a major concern for the elders of different traditions because we are at a point where this knowledge, this understanding, this wisdom, will become A critical element for the survival of the human race, “says Larry.” In these times, people do not know how to coexist, how to give back to the earth. In Western societies and industrialized nations, everything is to take, to take, to take. “
This disconnection is also the result of our different perspectives. For example, the term wilderness for Larry is not the same as for scientists or for inhabitants of other parts of the world. To begin with, the term does not exist in the vocabulary of Aleuts, and is that they have always had the concept as something everyday in their traditions and in their way of leading the life. What would the new explorers, who came to land like Larry’s? “The opinion of the Russians when they came to Alaska, is that everything was abundant, everything in the environment was healthy, everything was strong, there was no deforestation that would affect the quality of the forest,” Merculieff said. But now with all the environmental problems this has changed. “Today the idea of wilderness for Western societies is to remove all humans from these areas and leave them alone, and when we do that, we begin to disconnect even more from what is the understanding and connection with the earth,” something That Larry does not tire in emphasizing.
The tireless activist has faith, as well as women and young people. “We are educating generations of young people who have no direction and who are not aware of other ways of thinking. This has to change. They use technology to mitigate pollution and destruction, but if we have the same consciousness and the same mind that created the problem, how can we expect these young people to know what to do. “ Larry continues, “I’m trying to connect to what I call emerging leaders, who are in their 20s and 30s, and put them in touch with each other. I am also convincing people who were here in the congress who are good people, but they are of a generation that must be put aside and let this new generation take action. With the wisdom of the elders, they can help create a new worldview. “
Who is Larry Marculieff?
Larry Merculieff has spent nearly four decades serving his people, the Pribil of Islanders, as well as other indigenous peoples who have many functions. Its scope has been wide and varied. Some of the positions he has held include: St. Paul Island Municipal Administrator, Alaska Department of Commerce and Economic Development Commissioner, President and CEO of Tanadgusix Corporation, Chairman of The Board of The Aleut Corporation, Co-President of Japan -Alaska Fishery Cooperative, and deputy director of the Alaska Native Science Commission.
Who are the Aleuts?
The seal hunters of Pribilofs are descendants of the Aleutian race who settled in the Aleuta archipelago, a chain of islands of more than one thousand 300 km that extends from the southwest of Alaska. It is believed that they migrated from Asia through the Bering Strait about 12,000 to 15,000 years ago.