: Professor Talamantez I would like to remind you that you agreed I could substitute
one of the three short essays of the midterm with my extra credit assignments. In place of
one essay, I am submitting 1) an official voter stub, 2) one page about the personal results
of Focus the Nation 3) one page on my reasons and thoughts about the peace rally Feb
and 4) one page about the movie shown Friday Feb 1
THE WATCHFUL WORLD
Humans live. We must live somewhere, whether that place is warm or windy,
bright or buggy, permanent or pastoral. The natural world surrounds us all. Some cultures
have developed a more harmonious accord with the environment than others have. The
Koyukon people, described in Richard Nelson’s chapter “The Watchful World,” rely on
the natural world so intensely that they must have a close relationship to the land for
survival. They have love for their surroundings that manifests itself as deep respect.
Westerners are so far from the Koyukon mindset that I feel safe to say we have the
opposite viewpoint. Elie Wiesel was quoted that “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s
indifference.” The average American does not hate their environment, but instead are
indifferent or passive. After being brainwashed, effectively, from birth by television
commercials and airbrushed magazines, we are trained to be aware of completely
different values and culturally resounding effects. Generally, Americans are not
conscious of the effect our natural surroundings have on us, and perhaps more
importantly, the effect we have on our environment.
The Koyukon regard their environment with deep respect. In the Distant Time,
animals were human- that is, they shared the human form, society and language (p16).
When the new order was established, humans could not simply ignore or move away
from our fellow beings. The Koyukon know that if they offend the animal, and therefore
the animal’s spirit, then they will feel the vengeance of the offense on a direct, personal
level. Additionally, it is important to note that the Koyukon would be able to recognize
that the clumsiness of their son was a punishment because he ate a red-necked grebe
(p25). Many Americans would not make this connection, setting aside the fact that the
majority of Americans cannot identify any birds, let alone one specified for elders only.
The Koyukon are intensely aware of their fellow beings, which is not limited to animals.