Touch the Earth, A self-portrait of Indian existence by TC McLuhan
This book is meant to describe the experience of the North American Indian as their way of life was altered by the intrusion of white man upon this continent. The writings are composed of selections taken from letters and orations by Indians primarily from the eighteenth century until the mid-twentieth century. This historical perspective of their experience with nature is not necessarily a well-known account as far as popular literature goes but if it were to become more of a lesson, in general population education it may serve to broaden the understanding of the Indian’s way of life now and is it was then. There has been very little documentation that has brought such insight into mainstream culture.
This book was chosen because it was written though an indigenous cultural and spiritual perspective. It is written in anecdotal form. While there has been growing support within the last fifty plus year to understand other peoples introduced to this land, such as African Americans, Asian Americans, and much documentation to support European American, comparatively little has been mainstreamed regarding Native Americans. While many of the above-mentioned groups of people have under went oppression, cultural devastation, even destruction and slavery, many areas where historically accurate representation of culture and spirituality still exist, this cannot be as strongly stated with regard to the Indian. Even today, there is a division between those who want to find out about their past, their cultural ancestry and those who just want to find the white man’s American Dream (Joe Bear, Catawba Tribe, 2001).
One statement in the beginning of the book was especially poignant to any one who studies Indian culture, It is easy for us to feel a vicarious rage, a misery on behalf of these people, but Indians, dead and alive would only receive such feelings with pity or contempt; it is too easy to feel sympathy for a people who culture was wrecked..
Pride would breed contempt for sympathy, a strong people do not want sympathy. Pity, because the ancestors knew of destruction, they watched, unable to stop as so much of what was so bountiful was destroyed. This scraping of the land is still continuing while the land is still raw from past abuses. Rather than living as one with nature all manner of developed countries devastate that which has brought us riches, yet some leave a much larger footprint then others.