Ethics

A Meditation on Respect

After 150 years on the Plateau, the struggle between the Syilx commons and the private property of Settler culture has become institutionalized. On the foundation that cities are representations of historical and social space, and especially of social relationships between levels of power over time and a kind of artwork painted on the earth by inter human struggle, take a look at how far we’ve come.

P1340377 Barbed Wire 4 Metres Up a Wall

That’s the military technology which was considered as barbaric in its time as chemical weapons are today. Early cattle ranchers adopted it wholesale, and it has, well, stuck. Here’s how the financial industry is getting along.

P1340406 Office Desk at the Old Bank of Montreal

The staff moved out but couldn’t be bothered to clean up after themselves. Seemingly, the way power goes in the battleground between public and private space it was no longer their problem.

Same here:

P1340392 At One Point in History, People Wanted to See Out

Then other people wanted to get in. Now there’s the jerry-rigged thing called the Internet.

The one thing that has some cultural currency is the idea of public safety. Take a look:

P1340395 The Abandoned Bank of Montreal, Vernon

Notice the barricades, and the power post done completely to code, as well as the wooden power pole in the foreground, tested regularly for rot (the little white circles plug the test drill holes.)

Through these devices, the public is protected from private error, but, and this is a big but, it still has to look at it. Some people have figured out to reply in the spirit of the visual assault, and to return the intrusions of private absorption into public space back into a form of public utility. See?

P1340375 Mind You, It’s No Better than the Original Disrespect

In the cultures of the plateau, respect was something mutually given and received. In settler culture, it was something determined by wealth and power. To settler culture, the Syilx culture, suddenly with neither wealth nor power, became the public space that a settler culture erected its provisional monuments within. This temporary situation has become permanent.

P1340371 If anyone asks something like “What on earth does the colonial process of suppressing Indians have to do to me? I’ve done nothing!” They’re right. But they live within the impoverished world that was created by racism and invasion. The only way forward is to admit that we are all Syilx now.P1340379Except, of course, for the invaders, who try to lure us in …

P1300914 … and then chase us away.

P1260279That is the opposite of respect.

 

 

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