February 10, 2009

My Growing Dissatisfaction and Mistrust

I recently picked up a book on recommendation from Chris Corrigan called Theory U: Leading from the Future As It Emerges by C. Otto Scharmer. In my up and coming work on community dialogue, emerging leadership, and break down barriers of systems in creative change, I asked him for suggested reading. The opening forward from Peter Senge nailed everything I’m experiencing with my world and my “anxiety about the future, growing dissatisfaction with and distrust of virtually all social institutions”.

I am only part way through the introduction, but felt necessary to share something that sparked my thoughts, and to document my discourse throughout reading this book because I have a sense I will harvest and learn much from it. (Chris, I think it’s time I change my question I follow and harvest!)

My growing “anxiety about the future, growing dissatisfaction with and distrust of virtually all social institutions” is in nearly all things.

I’ve become mistrustful of the Band Council governance system, to it’s whole machine operations. I once said to a friend, “I’m tired of working with that government and the Squamish Nation, and think I won’t anymore right now”, and his response was, “If everyone did that, nothing would happen”. I responded to that and said, “If no one does that, the same thing will keep on happening”. It’s a viewpoint of mine that the “Squamish Nation” is an illegitimate government

I’m skeptical of the “traditional” leadership, what ever that is supposed to mean. What I believe is that the Amalgamation is more myth than fact. In the late 1800’s, the Indian Agents assigned who were the “chiefs” over the reserves, and these became the “hereditary chiefs”. Within the Canadian government, and the Indian Act, they became the controller of a government designated land base; the reserves. In 1923, someone signed an amalgamation for bring the 16 reserves under one body, the Squamish Nation. It has been done before in British Columbia where the government arbitrarily brought multiple reserves under one name to make it easy for control and oppression.

I question the legitimacy of the old ways having precedence in modern times. Violence occurred every so often among our young people. What comes afterward is more fear-based response to increase policing and monitoring, and create a Police-guided security force to do their dirty work. I’m thinking, “Where are the elders in this?”. Some will say to outsiders that our culture is still alive, but is my mind crazy to deduce that if our young people were doing something they shouldn’t be doing, the community leaders, and the elders, would sit that person down and talk to them. That this type of justice was about restoring balance to the community. Within there lies the double standard because some will go after certain individuals presuming a “cultural” privilege to “teach” some young people, and to “judge” them worthy of said “justice”. Yes, you’ll go after them because it’s easier, convenient, and less difficult.

Perhaps I’m out of line for calling on these hypocritical social institutions within our community. It may come from my need to contemplatively be critical of all of which does not make sense to me. Don’t worry, I do it to myself quite frequently. I also hold up supposed “traditions” and “teachings” the same way to see if they are true and valid, but most that they make sense. Maybe our community needs this kind of vigorous critical analyses because you “can’t change or heal what you do not acknowledge”.

I’m told that this may be the role of the young people. To keep the older ones honest, and true, for they may have lost that sense of belief in what is right and wrong some time ago. Perhaps my knowledge of our history and culture, and my experience with our current community leads me to try to see if everything around here is true and honest. I know some of you will say, “Your in your head too much, need to come from you heart”, which I could probably debate with you for hours on whether that is true (that I need to come from my heart), I think many of the people who support me would be worried if I wasn’t thinking about these things. haha.

If all social institutions are failing, crumbling, and becoming so infected on what it’s supposed to be, what do we do then?

To put things in perspective, most social institutions worldwide are failing and crumbling. They are unsustainable. The Squamish Nation Band Council governance is unsustainable. 100 years from now, will we still make decisions (as a community) the way we are now?

I have no answers here, just questions. Curious questions that I haven’t heard anyone else ask.


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