AMERICAN OUTRAGE: A story of the Shoshone People, and two Shoshone Indian sisters, Mary and Carrie Dann

Of course the story is familiar, but I never knew about this particular (ongoing) story. I saw the film American Outrage (from Human Rights Watch) on Saturday night, and it was informative and moving and sad—and predictable in the way that just hits you (and me) like a broken arrow for multiple reasons: Gold, my friends—a strip-mining heartbreaker. That same gold so touted as one of the only hopeful bets against the ever devaluing paper monetary system, which has passed into the utterly unreal—and in a small way, I listened. No wonder. What can be said of an economic system that had $595 trillion dollars in inexplicable derivatives floating around in it in 2007, while the world’s GDP in 2007 was a comparatively paltry $54.9 trillion (Don’t worry, I don’t know what all that means either—but it seems weird). Still, you’ll just love Mary and Carrie Dann, the Shoshone sisters…

Here’s the trailer:

Read about the Western Shoshone Defence project here.

And here’s the beginning of the film—the first two and a half minutes.


One dream of mine is that as indigenous people everywhere (and all people) continue their fight for rights, their lives, justice, and as they speak of the greatness of their roots that believe so much in the inherent sacred nature of Mother Earth, that in the process they can somehow stop (and, yes, I’m generalizing here, admittedly) supporting that same system by eating and living off that system’s worst food.

I’m talking about the crappiest damn food in the world: modern, factory-farmed, sugar and fat ladled meat, pop, sickeningly processed fast food/junk food (and, hey, I have my own issues with this food. I’m not kidding. My sister came by a while ago with two packages of, get this, “organic” Nature’s Path Pop Tarts. Two hundred calories a pop. Sugar up the yin-yang—organic raw cane sugar. Strawberry and Brown Sugar flavours. I couldn’t stop eating those things, garl darnit).

But the fast food/junk food world is highly addictive, generally heavily subsidized, nutritionally vacuous, and literally killing tens, hundreds, of millions of people—heart disease, obesity, Type II diabetes and on and on. It’s profoundly against the idea of Earth as a sacred being. This so needs to be remembered, in my opinion. To fight for love, for sustainability, being healthy is a big plus. As the battle for sweet Mother Earth goes on, this processed food is a mercenary soldier against her well-being.

Here’s to wonderful, sacred real food! Lots of love to you and your inner system, and all those around you. And your kids.


2 Responses to “AMERICAN OUTRAGE: A story of the Shoshone People, and two Shoshone Indian sisters, Mary and Carrie Dann”

  1. Sue says:

    Hi Pete,

    It seems to me that the quality of food we have access to is often tied to what we can afford to buy, which links back to source of income. If that income is from a job, that in turn links back to access to an affordable education that will give you the training that will lead to a job that pays well. I don’t think it’s at all coincidental that the same groups of people who are generally marginalized and discriminated against also seem to be the same groups of individuals who generally have lower levels of education, less earning power and less wealth, and who seem to be experiencing much higher rates of the kinds of diseases that can be traced back to a diet of mostly processed food or lower quality food because that’s all they can afford. (There are some exceptions to this in other parts of the world, but the pattern in Canada and the U.S. seems to show a correlation between lower incomes and food choices with much poorer nutritional profiles.) I would go so far as to say that it’s not separate from the crazy decisions that have brought us deflated paper money, trillions of dollars sunk into derivatives (A fancy way of saying “imaginary money”?) and this interesting version of anti-gravity in which we now have a “trickle up” effect.

    Getting back to the issue of accessible, affordable healthy food, I would really like to see organic food (whether certified or not) become the norm, and watch the industrially farmed crops either go the way of the dinosaurs or reflect the true cost of using all those fossil fuels to manufacture, er I mean grow, them. That would translate, I guess, into more community gardens (and environmentally friendly greenhouses) and a return to eating more seasonally.

    Of course, even organic foods lose their nutritional value once they are processed into junk food. I doubt that the body really distinguishes between the effects of regular versus organic cane sugar in terms of how it is metabolized, but I guess we get to feel virtuous because at least we’re not adding the toxic load of chemically based fertilizers and pesticides, hydrogenated oils, and a bunch of additives whose names I can’t even pronounce to food products that have already been stripped of their nutrient value by virtue of being heavily processed. Perhaps it’s just slightly healthier junk food. (Now there’s an oxymoron for you!) Humans’ ability to rationalize and justify to suit their desires is truly amazing–and occasionally very scary–at times.

    I’ll confess I also have my challenges resisting the sweet treats even though I know exactly what impact they can have on the body. Heck, I can convince myself that gajar ka halwa (an Indian sweet/pudding made from carrots, lots of whole milk and cream, and a fair amount of sugar along with a handful of nuts and raisins and a sprinkling of spices) is actually not that bad for me because it does contain lots of carrots, after all. Maybe the answer is to be mindful about the sweet treats and their effect on the body without being puritanical about it–and to look for ways to create the occasional sweet treat that is made from real, sacred food and lots of loving energy. In the mean time, as you’ve pointed out on previous occasions, we need to be conscious that whatever foods we choose to buy and eat, we are casting a vote with our dollar. Let’s make the decision to ensure our vote is going in the direction of a more socially and economically just and environmentally sustainable world.

    Lotsa love and sweetness to you and your beloved,

  2. Thanks, Sue. I think you’re right. I’ve read or heard the same thing, the tie between income and bad food. A shame, to be sure. A friend of mine who is a teacher, in an economically depressed part of Kamloops, said the diets she says are atrocious: one kid would come to school spooning from a can of Betty Crocker icing. A breakfast of champions, indeed. That just takes the cake. Sorry, I’m spreading this a little thin. Sweet!

    Pete xoxo

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