Let me be honest, I have struggled for years to not be hyper critical of my actions, I am often tortured with second hand embarrassment for silly things I did when I was like four. I have the memory of a damn elephant so I am perpetually bothered and over my own nonsense. For instance, I have always dealt with depression I just didn’t know it, and around 21 I developed panic attack, one of which happened while I was on a bike… Now with a little more kindness on my part, for my self I can remember with a little less ire that during the height of my depression spirals I can be found doing some pretty ridiculous shit. The crescendo of one which were based upon some post break up blues. It was odd honestly cause I broke up with him, watched him cry on me for about three hours, then packed my shit and made him drive me home. Only later did I get sad, after acknowledging that my reasons for the break up where pretty serious and the depression that followed was due to a realization that I had again sunk myself into another human, who frankly saw my value and then took advantage of it. It was about January and during winter break, which I only ever briefly visit home for holidays. Mostly ceremonial and to comfort my family and I see no value in arbitrary celebration days, that follow a religion that I don’t practice.
Now back to the fun depression part. You see I had no where to be no work to do, a zero desire to chase any kind of tail. Men had disappointed me again, and I like in a small town so looking for other queer women is disappointing to say the least. Which is unusual as I am a deplorable flirt. I had tried even a few dates only to be severely underwhelmed, and frankly I have never actually managed to develop any sort of decorum, especially when hurt or depressed. So I would tell them “We aren’t going to have sex, you can come crash if you’d like, but it ain’t happening,” and then literally walk the fuck out. Surprisingly enough I did have quite a few more awkward sleepovers than you would imagine, many college kids don’t own cars, hedge their bets on getting laid and end up stranded several miles from home. Already having spent their uber money on my margaritas, and living in the snow belt, I decided to not be too cruel…but anyways.
It was Saturday, I decided to for go a tinder date, most people I know where out of town and if I am going to die young it’s gonna be mine choice, not being murdered. I was filling the the bathtub and opening bottle of red wine. The primary difference between this sad lush’s bath and any I had taken previously, is that I had decided to indulge in my very worst and slovenly fantasy. There was of coarse an ended list of things I had for saw of my pending doom, but I decided to get out of my head and indulge.
I wanted to watch tv in the tub.
My at the time roommate (who is actually a real life saint) was gone in Chicago to spend the New Year with her sister. I don’t actually care about privacy, but she does so I had amended my usual behaviors of being naked or mostly naked all the time, and always leaving the bathroom door open. I grew up in a 5-9 person household, with one bathroom, we didn’t do privacy… So anyways, I turned our tv around (it had chrome-cast) pointed it to the bathroom, grabbed the remote, and so there I did stay for a good 4 hours. Which I know because I love historical dramas, and they are super long, and I watched at least two. Reading this back to myself this honestly sounds like a scene straight out of what my most perfect suicide, and eventual discovery of my body should look like. The headline would be “Young girl found dead, drown in her own wine and bubbles, next to a plate of pizza rolls, smiling while watching Downton Abbey,” seriously it wouldn’t even have to say my name and I know about six motherfuckers who would laugh, then sigh, cause they knew exactly who did that shit.
It had been cathartic to indulge in such overwhelming self pity. Even as a child whenever I was in pain or upset, I had learned to keep it shoved so far down that at least 80% of my life has felt like a video game. As an adult my first tattoo was based on Roman Stoicism and I currently practice Zen Buddhism, so I am not a feeler ya’ll I am a detacher, and a rationalizer. In that moment I had allowed myself to be overwhelmingly human. Not the pretty parts of humanity, mind you but all of the self serving self loathing degrading part, sprinkled with enough impracticality to honestly make clear headed me cringe. Later, i could admit to myself, that this indulgence was exactly what I needed. The very next day I left the house for the first time in four days, and actually felt happy. Which was new, I ride on a fair about of emotion ambiguity and frankly just ignoring most things that make me feel things. But you gotta let yourself feel sad I suppose, if you want to ever truly enjoy being happy. I don’t know shit though.
America’s foundation has been based upon the idea that our citizens and our country have more personal sovereignty than under the oppression of Old World states. In that we have rebuilt our country under ideologies and influences of philosophers who sought to use their intellect in order to create a more ideal country. One of the greatest influences to such change and development were men like: John Locke, David Hume, and John Stuart Mill. Locke believed heavily in property and contractual laws, limiting the government to enforce these sovereign rights. After the formation of treaties and the ending of the Indian wars, First Nations people agreed to the social contract placed before them. Defining their property rights Euro-centrically, making them eligible to the protection of such rights as defined by these contracts. Mill and Hume later built upon this foundation and theorized deeper and more specific guidelines. All of which, to some extent have influenced the development of this nation and its laws.
Not many people are aware of this, but under the laws of the United States tribal nations of this country are considered sovereign nations of their own. That is, to an extent, as there are a great number of exceptions acted upon quite readily by the government. What is sovereignty and what does it mean, and how has it applied in this country’s interactions with the First Nations? Sovereignty for the First Nations allows each tribe to create and enact their own laws of government within reservation borders, members who are registered to the tribes are subject to the laws of their individual tribes. These laws are put in place and upheld by tribal councils with elected officials, and laws that cater to the culture values of the different tribes.
First Nations laws, rights, and land holding were defined through treaties signed during the last hurrah of the Great Indian wars (considered officially ended after Crazy Horse was killed, but that is a cultural standard).While sovereignty is, in theory, granted to First Nations people, federal law still takes precedence. This means that our government has created laws that restrict tribes, examples of which are: laws that influence which people can and cannot be registered to their tribes (called Blood Quantum laws), how large a population has to be to be considered a recognized tribe under our law (an example of an unrecognized nation is the Lumbee people), and what lands, granted by previous treaties, still remain under the charge of these sovereign nations (ex: the DAPL protests currently happening in North Dakota). Our government’s overbearing control of the nations that have been in theory nulled as rights were granted to this concept of sovereignty of First Nations people, make this concept almost void in actual practice. Normally the government enacts its control over the First Nations to strip them of benefits, and when there are severe issues within indigenous communities the government turns its back, stating the First Nations’ sovereignty as the reason for not intervening in situations such as rampant poverty, severe lack of housing, and sexual assault of indigenous women (1 out of 3 native women before the age of 25) committed by non-registered white men 80% of the time.
Where people like Locke and Hume come into play are that they both believe that a number of restrictions should be upheld in order to keep whatever government is in place in balance with its people. Hume believed: 1. The social contract is revocable once a sovereign removes a sense of safety and organization. 2. Social contracts can be reviewed and revised. 3. Using force or violence to create these social changes is acceptable if the other routes have been exhausted (pg 33, para. 3). This relates to the above example of the DAPL in particular; under the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1865 the land surrounding the Standing Rock reservation reverts to the jurisdiction of the Sioux Nation. An example that is currently relevant, DAPL was approved without the consent of the people who actually have property rights over the drilling area, so it follows under both Hume and Locke’s ideologies that the choice to protest is well within the rights of those in residence at Sacred Stone Camp.
Protesting the pipeline is not only legally permissible to Locke but also morally. It follows under the ideas of reparation and restraint. Considering our massively genocidal history with First Nations people, and our continuation of breaking contracts (treaties), a protest is a more measured response than should be expected. When First Nations people moved out of what could be considered (under Locke’s view) their “state of nature,” and agreed to receive the benefits and protection of the state that imposed this contract upon them. First Nations agreed to live majority consent, so long as the treaties were upheld.
Our Nations rightfully governed themselves before colonial influence stripped them of their right to their own sovereignty. However, the type of “sovereignty” currently granted by the United States government is arguably not actually sovereignty, but some perversion of the concept. If we are to really uphold the Locke’s rights in relation to First Nations people the first step would be to obey treaty laws, and not affect or intervene in the property entailed to them. The second would be equal reparations for the wrongs done to them under the jurisdiction of the United States government. In current application many groups who are currently affected by the restrictions on their sovereignty are and would be well within their rights to refuse the current social contract and demand a new one, or a removal of the current system.
Locke personally considered Native Americans to be wild and not entitled to their land rights as they had no concept of property. However once we had agreed to the social contract First Nations did not receive the legislative protection Locke promoted in order to protect property and sovereignty. The main criticism that could be made of Locke is his lack of consideration for protecting the property rights for minorities. He believed that if you could not commit yourself to the will of the majority, you should, and are allowed to, leave the state or community you feel does not benefit you. However, the major issue here how we apply this case to indigenous people. When one has left Europe for the Americas and found the laws here do not suit them, they can simply return to their land of origin. This is the First Nations’ land of origin and so they are severely restricted in their ability to leave. Furthermore, Locke did not believe in being physically restricted; one’s ability to move themselves in a literal sense is a right. The very creation of reservations is a break with this idea, if a whole group of people lose their rights and protection outside of a reservation then the social contract has become nothing more than a repeat of feudalism. This is because Locke did not consider the rights of minorities that this gap has become a problem. Someone who followed him, John Stuart Mill, did consider these factors.
Mill, in reflection of current events, would have seen the need to question the current usage of our legislative branch, which should be in place to protect all people, including minorities, from being completely run over. Minorities should not be subjected to enslavement by the majority. This form of Utilitarianism, if actively placed and practiced by our government, would mean that injustices such as DAPL would not be forced upon First Nations people (pg 133). As soon as a minority is fighting to maintain their property, as well as fighting for their physical well being, they should not only be supported, but ignoring these goings on is immoral.
Furthermore our government (and frankly our populace) could be accused of and proven to cause evil by not intervening in the construction of DAPL and the violence being enacted upon the protectors currently stationed at Sacred Stone.
All three of the philosophers cited in this paper did not intentionally create their ideas to protect First Nations people. As a matter of fact, Locke did not believe in rights for indigenous people at all. This, however, in modern context would prove to be confusing to especially Locke. Once Locke, Hume, and Mill found out that by signing treaties Native Americans had given their explicit consent to be a part of the current social contract, they would find that now their philosophies would have to be applied to First Nations people. Thus endowing them with the same rights as European colonizers, rights that have repeated been violated. In conclusion this means that First Nations specifically are no longer obligated to uphold their side of the social contract. Their sovereignty and safety has not been upheld, and so our government is, within reason, removable, and in need of being completely restructured. Whether this is applied only through the lens of Locke’s property rights, or Mill’s ideas of Utilitarianism, our current government has violated the philosophical rights of the people, breaching the standards and contract originally created to prevent harm to the populace of the states.
(no lies I wrote this for a class, got a b+ and never turned in a second draft, so there is huge room for improvement)
Stewart, Robert. Readings in Social and Political Philosophy. Oxford University Press, New York. 1st edition. 1986.
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After a two year break after graduating high school I decided after a spiral of depressive and suicidal thoughts that now (summer 2013) was a good time to change my life, and go back to college.I was always an over achiever and I had taken so many college classes in high school that I had about 2 years worth of credit already so frankly I was burnt out by the time I graduated. Or at least that was part of it, the other part was I had never mourned the murder of my godfather, grand father, and great grandmother, all of which had died within less than six months apart of each other starting April 2009. I had ignored my train wreck of a life, deep sadness and abusive living situation by being so busy I couldn’t think.
But that is a bit more background than needed I suppose. Basically I went back to collage in 2014. Switching my major from Anthropology to English which I am still not sure about as I enjoy their studies equally. Book however, books were often a beacon of comfort and stabilizer in my life where most human beings had failed. Writing was a comfort and talent that I often hid from others, mostly because my parents had gone through my journals when I was 15 and then screamed at me about being delusional and crazy…again I digress. I did however win awards for writing and always, with the exception of once got A’s in English. So, I decided to follow where my talents lied, or so I had empirical evidence of where they were. I am a creature of almost stifling over analysis and thinking, it is just my nature. After applying for transfers and getting accepted for two of the three I went for, I chose the university further from my home, and that cost significantly less.
Let’s be honest I was disenchanted by the second semester and maybe it’s because I am a hardass but I was frustrated. I had never cared about the canonical works of so many dead whitemen and I figured that maybe I wouldn’t have to re-read such mediocre works as I did in high school but I did. And I fucking hated it.It became obvious for me while I was in a lit class where because it was a survey class of a specific time period their were some things we just had to cover, and I accepted that. What really grated me was that while my instructor was really great and facilitated wonderful conversations the people I was learning with, no offense, but full offense are boring and here’s why. We read Kate Chopin’s novella “The Awakening,” which is not a bad piece of work, but we spent almost 3 class periods of almost two hours rehashing this novel; it was followed by Zikala Sa’s “Impressions of an Indian Childhood,” which was so long we only did part of it, and was very descriptive, as the author’s whole drive was to help people understand and humanize the experiences of residential era Native Americans, of which she was one.
That class ended early.
I was enraged to say the least, you see to me, this piece had so much more truth and rawness; it was an actual reality frankly I stick by that. I could not relate to Kate Chopin’s characters because at best in this story line I would have been some house Negro fondly recalled, and worst I would have been some faceless living mammy, watching a sad over privileged white lady drown herself. However i found it in myself to do critical analysis and discuss this person who I could not for the life of me find kinship to as her people would have murdered or bought mine. But I fucking did it, because I am not afraid of a challenge. These white people in my class could not even stretch themselves to get up the gumption to talk about “WOW I NEVER KNEW THIS HAPPENED.” So comfortable in their privilege and idea that their experiences are truly universal that they were unwilling and unable to try and reflect upon an experience outside of anything like their own. I had to do this in almost every Literature class, and every Philosophy class with the exception of one. Constantly I was stretched to my limits of comfortably, and still there is no one on this earth who could say i didn’t participate. I hyper participate, I can back to higher education to do this so I sure as shit wasn’t going to just laze through it
So for the next year and a half before I graduated this was my lot, to watch mediocre and hyper analyzings of the same repeated story lines and principles. I crammed and stuffed these into my brain choking down canon that ignore of glorified the destruction of my peoples. Furthermore because of this I had no room or time to pleasure read.
By the time I graduated with a less than great GPA, my mental health barely intact, and all the free time in the world, I had forgotten what I liked to read. Just as my return to academia had surely saved me from taking my own life it have severed something in me that has yet to return. The real joy sapped from just sitting and doing so simple regular ass reading. I still haven’t gotten it back and I desperately it.
Stagnation is the quickest way to the grave, without actually killing yourself.
That being said, the depth of your personal experiences are not measured by the amount of money you throw at them.