July 17, 2008

Dancing to a different energy beat

Two related articles describe our energy problems and a solution:

High gas prices hinder powwowsJohnny Sam had to make a choice between driving 408 miles to sing and dance at a powwow in Montana or staying home and saving gas.

“It's pretty hard these days,” said Sam who lives in White Swan, Wash. “The drum takes care of our gas money. If we get any money dancing, that's more fun. This summer we almost stayed home, but my mother-in-law lives over here.

“Gas hurts,” said Sam. “But we'll keep going.”

Sam is among the tens of thousands of powwow people across Indian Country who pack their drums and dance regalia for weekends of dancing and singing, typically logging thousands of highway miles each summer.

But even with gas prices exceeding $4 a gallon, most singers, dancers, vendors and spectators are still managing to attend dance celebrations. Filling up the tank is more difficult, though, so many are staying closer to home or finding someone to ride with them to split the cost.

Powwows connect many Native people with a wide social circle of friends and family. Others rely on income earned through drum or dance contests. Others sell arts, crafts, clothes or food.
Gore Wants U.S. to Abandon Fossil Fuels by 2018Former Vice President Al Gore said on Thursday that Americans must abandon fossil fuels within a decade and rely on the sun, the winds and other environmentally friendly sources of power, or risk losing their national security as well as their creature comforts.

“The survival of the United States of America as we know it is at risk,” Mr. Gore said in a speech to an energy conference here. “The future of human civilization is at stake.”

Mr. Gore called for the kind of concerted national effort that enabled Americans to walk on the moon 39 years ago this month, just eight years after President John F. Kennedy famously embraced that goal. He said the goal of producing all of the nation’s electricity from “renewable energy and truly clean, carbon-free sources” within 10 years is not some farfetched vision, although he said it would require fundamental changes in political thinking and personal expectations.

“This goal is achievable, affordable and transformative,” Mr. Gore said in remarks prepared for the conference. “It represents a challenge to all Americans, in every walk of life—to our political leaders, entrepreneurs, innovators, engineers, and to every citizen.”
Comment:  It's time for gas-guzzling Americans, including Indians, to change their ways. To dance to a different beat, so to speak.

No more driving great distances as if it's a God-given right. Not without paying for the privilege, anyway. If people don't like it, they can always resume riding horses.

If this means curtailing the powwow circuit, so be it. Governments, corporations, and tribes need to develop alternative energy sources. Once they do, Indians can resume their powwow activities.

For more on the subject, see Ecological Indian Talk.

1 comment:

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
The 'Pow-wow Circuits' will continue; they'll just become more centralized and less well-attended. Such socializing and contact are critical to how much of Native culture is maintained. For Natives, there is no alternative...
All Best
Russ Bates