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Sunday, February 27, 2005

The Evolving Concept of Social Capital, Markets, Market-Based Processes and

Socialist Construction
Paper delivered Sept 1-2, 2004 at the International Symposium on the Reform of Property Rights
and Enterprise Development in Transitional Countries at Tsinghua University, Beijing, China
The Evolving Concept of Social Capital, Markets, Market-Based Processes and Socialist

By James M. Craven (Blackfoot Name: Omahkohkiaayo i’poyi)

Professor, Economics; Chairman, Business Division, Clark College, Vancouver, WA.

“Every nation in the world has its own history and its own strengths and weaknesses. Since
earliest times excellent things and rotten things have mingled together and accumulated over
long periods. To sort them out and distinguish the essence from the dregs is a difficult task…Of
course this does not mean that we do not need to learn from foreign countries. We must learn
many things from foreign countries and master them…We learn foreign things because we want
to study and develop Chinese things…We must not be like the Empress Dowager Tz’u-hsi who
blindly rejected all foreign things. Blindly rejecting foreign things is like blindly worshipping
them. Both are incorrect and harmful…In learning from foreign countries we must oppose both
conservatism and dogmatism…To study foreign things does not mean importing everything,
lock, stock and barrel…We must give our attention to the critical acceptance of foreign things,
and especially to the introduction of things from the socialist world and from the progressive
people of the capitalist world…”

(Chairman Mao Zedong, “Talk to Music Workers”, pp. 85-88, in Chairman Mao Talks to the
People: Talks and Letters 1956-1971, Stuart Schram ed., Pantheon Books, N.Y. 1974)


The People’s Republic of China stands as one of the major political-economic powers and social
formations in the world today; it ranks about sixth place in terms of most economic aggregates
commonly used to rank-order different economies in size and influence in the global economy.
For a nation that had been kept backward, fragmented, feudal and colonized by foreign imperial
powers and internal contradictions until the People’s Revolution in 1949, and, for a nation that
has been subject to imperial encirclement, threats of nuclear annihilation, destabilization
campaigns and demonization and ostracization in the global economy for many years, with a
large population of 1.4 billion people with myriad wants and needs awaiting fulfillment, the
present level of development and standing of China is no small achievement And there is no
doubt, in the opinions of many observers, that “socialist values and consciousness”, created and
reinforced by the developing “social capital” of Chinese socialism, have constituted a significant
and material force in those achievements—often against overwhelming odds and against
technologically-sophisticated and vicious foreign forces bent on isolating, demonizing,
destabilizing and sabotaging socialist construction in China.

Yet despite the tremendous advances made by the Chinese people, much work remains to be
done and many wants and needs remain unfulfilled causing China to explore, at various periods
of Chinese history, diverse approaches, models, instruments, measures and paths of growth and
development. According to the 16th Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2002:

“We must be aware that China is in the primary stage of socialism and will remain so, for a long
time to come. The well-off life we are leading is still at a low level; it is not all-inclusive and is
very uneven. The principal contradiction in our society is still one between the ever-growing
material and cultural needs of the people and the backwardness of social production. Our
productive forces, science, technology and education are still relatively backward, so there is a
long way to go before we achieve industrialization and modernization.” 1

Since 1978, China has experienced the progressive widening of markets, market relationships
and categories along with some changes in political, economic, cultural, legal and social
institutions and superstructure necessary to facilitate widening and deepening market
involvement in socialist construction. Some of these policies and initiatives have included:
export-led growth; increasing reliance on long-term foreign direct investment (FDI both into and
originating from China); increasing privatization; lowering of trade barriers; decentralization of
planning; increased authority for (and responsibilities on) local governments; increasing
integration into global networks of manufacturing, finance, trade; critical technology transfers;
new forms of enterprise organization (e.g. Individual Family Contracts (IFCs) in agriculture,
Township and Village Enterprises (TVEs), privatization and self-financing of state-owned
enterprises(SOEs) and SBCs or share-based cooperatives); labor market reforms; currency
exchange-rate stabilization; etc.

But the debates, inside and outside of China, have continued to rage: Does this emerging market
socialism model represent simply a necessary—and necessarily hybrid—model that is based
upon, and is addressing, the myriad real-world legacies, constraints, conditions and forces with
which China has to deal, and that will, or can possibly, result in using markets and capitalism to
build socialism in China?. Or, as some would argue, does this hybrid model represent the reverse
of using socialism (real or nominal) to build and extend markets, market-based processes and
wholesale capitalism thus subjectively or objectively sabotaging long-run conditions and
prospects for ongoing socialist construction throughout China?

The Allure of Neo-Liberalism

The neo-liberal narrative, and the narrative of neoclassical economics upon which it is largely
based, are quite alluring and seductive. Starting with some unproved—and largely metaphysical
—“axioms and postulates that form a view of eternal and immutable “human nature”, basic
economic—and even non-economic—outcomes are said to be the inevitable and predictable
results of the unfolding or playing-out of human nature—on both the supply and demand sides of
a given market—under “given” conditions, institutional arrangements and constraints; and the
macro is said to be nothing more than the sum of the aggregated micro. What could be more
natural and “efficient”, the neoclassicals argue, than a system (Capitalism) that, rather than trying
to deny or suppress or change eternal and immutable “human nature”, instead, harnesses,
celebrates and utilizes human propensities and instincts that form human nature in order to
produce optimal social outcomes not even intended by the “Economic Man” (who is asserted to
be atomistic, calculating, rational, selfish, competitive, egoistic, materialistic) “agent” who is
owning, buying or selling only for himself/herself in accordance with his or her own “rational
self-interest? It of course never occurs to the proponents of neo-liberalism and neoclassical
economics (who have only recently got around to the concept of social capital) that maybe what
they are observing is not some eternal and immutable “human nature”, but, rather, the social
capital of capitalism doing one of the things it is supposed to do: creating and reinforcing the
very “human nature” (and associated human values, behaviors and proclivities) that is necessary
for the functioning, imperatives (e.g. mass consumption, markets, profits, market shares etc) and
expanded reproduction of capitalism itself. These proponents also deny that these supposed
eternal and immutable propensities and proclivities of “human nature”, operating on the micro
levels of the economy, when aggregated to the macro levels, can, rather than producing optimal
macro outcomes, instead, produce social chaos, instability, mass alienation, environmental
degradation, hollowing-out of industrial bases, involuntary unemployment, lack of mass access
to health care, loss of mass acceptance of the system, etc.

Here we have systems through which forces of supply and demand for various commodities
interact—markets. They are often portrayed as rather technical, mechanical, impersonal and
endogenously self-equilibrating (in response to “exogenous” shocks) sub-systems that are
relatively value-free, requiring only supporting institutions of private property and a relatively
business-friendly and non-interventionist state. Markets are said to represent the most superior
(in terms of narrow and contrived definitions of “efficiency” and the greatest good for the
greatest number) mechanisms (that stand opposed to the mechanisms of tradition and command)
for posing and solving the classical “What”, “How” and “For Whom” questions faced by all
societies at all levels.

The neo-liberal and neoclassical narratives operate like “String Theory” (“The Theory of
Everything”) in Physics. Where the narratives and visions of Quantum Mechanics at the micro or
particle level (focusing on micro chaos and only probabilities and no certainties) contradict the
narratives and visions of General Relativity on the macro levels (focusing on general order,
equilibrium, stability, symmetry and certainty) the claim is made that String Theory bridges and
reconciles the two contradictory visions and narratives. The same claim is made by the neo-
liberal and neoclassical theorists. When markets are allowed to do what markets do, when they
are left relatively free and unfettered by over-regulation, when they are supported by “given” and
“appropriate” politico-legal-cultural-social policies and institutions (superstructure or social
capital), then, out of the potential chaos of greed/selfishness/profit/utility-driven interactions at
the micro level, we get stability, equilibria, efficiency, growth, development, employment,
incomes, global competitiveness, comparative-advantage-based trade, invention/innovation, etc
on the macro level. The macro “order”, “stability” and “certainties” will supposedly follow from
the potential chaos and “probabilities” at the micro level in the long-run; that is, if short-term
adjustments and “sacrifices” can be accepted and handled by the masses and the state. The
greatest good for the greatest number, consumer and producer “sovereignty”, efficiency, demand
and supply reflecting revealed preferences of those with the most dollar votes, political as well as
economic democracy and “rising tides lifting all boats” or the so-called “trickle-down effects”
are but some of the promises of neo-liberalism and the neoclassical paradigm. As Edward
Luttwak, put it:

‘At present, almost all elite Americans, with corporate chiefs and fashionable economists in the
lead, are utterly convinced that they have discovered the winning formula for economic success
—good for every country, rich or poor, good for all individuals willing and able to heed the
message, and of course, good for elite Americans: PRIVATIZATION + DEREGULATION =
Markets, the neo-liberal and neoclassical proponents argue, are the ultimate in democratic
institutions; even more democratic than de jure institutions such as legislatures, voting, elections,
government etc. Consumers, looking to maximize total utility, with given incomes, expectations,
information about prices and preferences cast their dollar votes while producers, driven by the
imperatives to maximize and realize total profits, with given technologies, information about
prices, and given resources respond to those with the most dollar votes; they act like ongoing
public referenda according to this narrative. And then, markets do what market do:1)
commodification; 2) price determination; 3) act as information systems (about conditions, trends
and profit/utility opportunities); 4) resource allocation; 5) rationing; 6) clearing surpluses and

Supply and demand interact and prices are determined. Prices communicate information about
market conditions, trends and possibilities and allow calculation/estimation of comparative profit
or utility potentials by sellers and buyers in order for them, as “sovereign individuals”, to
determine what is likely to maximize total profits or utility and thus What shall be produced or
consumed. Prices of inputs and outputs, along with the imperatives to minimize total cost on the
supply side, or maximize total utility on the demand side, then allow determination of “optimal”
production and utility functions and thus “How” to produce or consume and the allocations of
given resources. Further, prices and relative prices of commodities answer the “For Whom”
question through rationing (those willing to pay the most are most likely to get the commodities
being supplied) while the relative “incomes” of inputs (land, labor and capital) and supposedly
based upon their relative marginal contributions to the value of total output, reflect and shape the
distributions incomes and wealth among the owners and sellers of those inputs.

It is all a nice and neat narrative. In the neoclassical theory and narrative: all exchanges are
“voluntary” and mutually beneficial to the participants otherwise they would not have occurred;
causality is unidirectional with “ultimate” independent variables (e.g. tastes and incomes on the
demand side and technology and input costs on the supply side) acting as “exogenous variables”
that trigger endogenous and self-equilibrating responses in and through markets; the economy is
thus propelled from equilibrium state (harmony and balance of contending interests) to
equilibrium state in response to exogenous shocks and variables.

The determinants of those “exogenous independent variables” are not the subject of inquiry for
the neoclassical/neo-liberals. They have little or nothing to say about the real-world of
monopolies, oligopolies, engineered supply and demand magnitudes and elasticities (e.g. Enron),
administered prices, imperialism, social systems engineering, ideologically-driven embargos,
asymmetric information, asymmetric ownership, asymmetric powers in international
organizations like the UN or WTO, asymmetric access to political influence and justice, etc.
These real-world phenomena are never even discussed in their textbooks let alone seen as
inexorable or likely outcomes of the systemic structures and survival imperatives of capitalism
itself. If these phenomena are ever even recognized, they are dismissed as simple anomalies and
exceptions not disturbing the overall narratives.

When the widening and deepening of markets, market relations and market institutions result in
such crises as recurring and mounting unemployment, environmental degradation, wealth and
income inequality, alienation among the youth, commodification of the “sacred”, inflation, loss
of mass access to health care, increasing capital and labor migration, losses of traditional
societies, budget and trade deficits, exchange-rate instability, etc, such outcomes are typically
characterized by the neo-liberals and neoclassicals as either “growing pains” in countries like
China3, or, in market-based economies, that have been “growing” for some time and in which
some of the same crises are nonetheless evident, such crises are said to be the result of excessive
government intervention and regulation, lack of appropriate and supporting politico-legal
institutions (the subject of this symposium), imperfect information, non-market (government)
corruption, trade protectionism, etc—not letting markets freely do what markets do.

Systemic Imperatives of Market-based Economies

Under market-based—capitalist—economies and processes, all entities, whether individuals,

firms, organizations or even whole economies in global competition, are locked into certain
fundamental and interrelated imperatives that shape what might be termed the “teleological
logic” of capitalism. These fundamental survival-competitive imperatives also apply—in varying
degrees—to socialist social formations when operating in global markets governed by capitalist
institutions as well as to entities operating in and through markets within socialist social
formations. These interrelated fundamental imperatives are:
1) Realization of Maximum Possible Total Profits;
2) Accumulation of Capital: Expanded Reproduction (Widening and Deepening) of the Capital
Base and the Capital-Labor Relationship;
3) Maximization of Productivity and Enhanced “Efficiency”;
4) Effective Competition.

These competitive entities (individuals, groups, firms and whole national economies) must
attempt to produce and actually realize maximum possible profits in order to have the retained
earnings and/or creditworthiness as a necessary—but not sufficient—condition for continual
expanded reproduction of their productive bases. These entities must continually attempt to
reproduce and expand (widening and deepening) their productive bases and relations as a
necessary—but not sufficient—condition of maximization of productivity and overall efficiency.
These entities must attempt to maximize productivity and enhance overall efficiency as a
necessary—but not sufficient—condition of effective competition (leading to expanded market
share and power, name recognition, etc). And these competitive entities must attempt to
effectively compete as a necessary—but not sufficient—condition of further production and
realization of maximum possible total profits. Further, these fundamental imperatives of survival
and effective competition create further derivative imperatives that shape the content, parameters
and effects of human behavior as well as of “human nature” itself. For example, tactics such as
outsourcing, union busting, not paying true costs of profits/benefits received and/or not receiving
true profits/benefits for costs paid, or environmental degradation, flow from the imperative to
minimize total costs (along with the greed and selfishness celebrated by the social capital of
capitalism) that itself flows from the imperative to effectively compete that flows from the
imperative to realize maximize possible total profits.

Different systems embody, create and reinforce different structures, contradictions, conditions
and imperatives of survival within those structures and under conditions that in turn shape the
content, frequency, effects and “permissibility” or taboos of human behavior. One of the
purposes of social capital is to create, teach, reinforce, sanction, celebrate, legitimate or de-
legitimate certain relationships, values, norms, customs, institutions, habits, myths, traditions,
ideologies and paradigms in accordance with certain systemic imperatives among which is the
imperative for expanded reproduction of the whole system itself. Sometimes, however, the types
of habits, norms, values, paradigms and behaviors most necessary on the micro level, may, when
aggregated, produce macro effects or contradictions opposite of those intended or predicted from
behaviors on the micro levels.

From the perspective of the “profits-for-power-and-power-for-profits” and competitive

imperatives of a typical businessperson or entity in a market-based/driven economy, the type of
person/customer that would be ideal would likely possess the traits and proclivities of Homo
Oeconomicus incarnate. This person would typically be: narcissistic; highly subject to fads and
peer pressure; unable to delay gratification—wants it all and wants it now; predatory and
calculating—for the next profit or utility opportunity; unable to assess real and long-term costs
and benefits—caught-up in the illusory, the superficial and in the moment; a pleasure-obsessed
conspicuous consumer— acquiring and expressing identity and “individuality” through
consumption and types of commodities consumed; highly competitive; materialistic; acquisitive;
rational—but only in the narrow and bounded sense; self-centered and self-absorbed; unwilling
to sacrifice in the short-term for long-term goals or a transcendent causes; willing to go into debt
to finance current conspicuous consumption; ultra-individualistic equating individualism with

This type of “Homo Oeconomicus”, celebrated by and the cornerstone of neoclassical economic
theory, is, however, for most people, not the type of person one would like to have as a son or
daughter-in law, friend, mother or father, husband or wife, brother or sister, member of a military
unit in combat, voter, public servant, neighbor during a natural disaster or someone involved in
or guiding socialist construction. Indeed, even within capitalist social formations, the requisite
social capital of markets and capitalism, without which markets could not do what markets
typically do—and that is necessary for the expanded reproduction of capitalism as a whole—
involves potentially contradictory missions or purposes. On the one hand, the purpose of social
capital in market-based societies is to teach, legitimate and reinforce those ideas, values, norms,
habits, myths, traditions, behaviors, proclivities, institutions and productive and other
relationships necessary for creating and expanding markets, profits, capital accumulation, etc—
e.g. values and proclivities such as ultra-individualism, conspicuous consumerism, etc. On the
other hand, the purpose of social capital also involves teaching, legitimating and reinforcing
certain forms and levels of social awareness and concern, cohesion, cooperation, reciprocity,
civic engagement, personal sacrifice for the nation, buying into the system, etc.

When markets are introduced and expanded within socialist social formations, the requisite
social capital of markets becomes potentially not only internally contradictory with respect to
expanded reproduction of markets and market-based processes, but also, such requisite social
capital can—and will likely—become a destructive and sabotaging force against socialist
construction and the expanded reproduction of socialist relations and institutions—even allowing
for some varying and diverse definitions of what socialism is about and the positive effects of
markets in terms of building productive forces rapidly.

The Evolving Concept of Social Capital

The term social capital was first coined in 1916 by L. Judson Hanifan4 to refer to social
networks and institutions/norms of reciprocity (goodwill, fellowship, sympathy and social
intercourse) associated with them. Hanifan, by his own admission, employed the term “capital”
(anything that has been produced and used to produce—for profitable exchange—something
else) to catch the eye--and patronage--of the business community. Hanifan suggested that these
social networks and institutions could, on micro as well as macro levels, enhance productivity,
competitiveness, employment and income creation, etc. in some of the same ways that physical
capital and human capital can, also, produce the same effects.

Subsequent to Hanifan’s apparent coinage of the term social capital, the term and concept was
reintroduced—and partly redefined—at least six times up to the present: 1) in the 1950s by
sociologist John Seeley5 to refer to ‘memberships in clubs and associations’ that act just like
negotiable securities in producing career advancement and tangible returns to individuals; 2) in
the 1960s, by urban economist Jane Jacobs6 to refer to the collective value and effects of
informal neighborhood ties and associations; 3) in the 1970s by economist Glenn Loury7 to refer
to wider social ties lost by African Americans as one of the legacies of slavery; 4) in the 1980s
by social theorist Pierre Bourdieu8 to refer to the actual or potential resources linked to durable
networks of institutionalized relationships of mutual recognition and assistance; 5) in the mid-
1980s by economist Ekkehart Schlicht9 to refer to the economic value and productivity-
enhancing effects of organizations, moral order, cooperation and cohesion; 6) in the late 1980s
by James Coleman10 to refer, as Hanifan had done, to the social arrangements, relationships and
institutions creating and shaping the environment or social context of education.

The above-mentioned definitions of social capital are all closely related and narrow in their
focus. They focus on immediate relationships—institutionalized or informal—and the networks,
and norms of reciprocity that serve as tangible assets and have economic impacts not only on the
micro level (personal career advancement, obtaining employment, political influence, personal
safety etc) but also on the macro level in terms of enhancing productivity, reducing information
and transactions costs, enhancing competitiveness, enhancing community safety and reducing
crime, encouraging cooperation, limiting destructive forms and levels of competition etc.

A wider definition of social capital, one employed in this paper, is closely akin to the concept of
Social Structures of Accumulation (SSA)11 which involves a complex of institutions (political,
social and economic) and domestic and international relations supporting and legitimating the
process of capital accumulation (which includes not only accumulation of wealth and
physical/human capital but also expanded reproduction of fundamental and defining socio-
economic-political relationships of the whole system itself. This is also close to the classical
Marxist concept of “Superstructure”.

Even allowing for the more narrow definition of social capital employed by Putnam et al., recent
studies reveal the steady erosion of social capital in the U.S. in the last thirty years. They have
more or less consistently documented solid trends reflecting steady declines in various indices
of: political and civic engagement (voting, contributions, electoral participation, signing
petitions, writing polemics, working on political campaigns, running for political office);
community involvement ( charitable work and donations, blood donations, religious
participation, memberships in professional associations, clubs and societies). These studies have
also documented steady increases in various indices of alienation and apathy among various age
cohorts of the U.S. population (dinners outside the home, incidents of road rage, polling on
social trust and trust in political figures, daily television viewing and percent of population using
television as central form of entertainment, percent of population disobeying traffic signs and
rules, polling on greed trumping community involvement among college freshmen, suicide rates
in various age cohorts, percentage of population reporting frequent malaise—headaches,
insomnia, indigestion—and percentage of population reporting overwork and multiple jobs as a
matter of necessity rather than choice).

These trends in the U.S., revealing steady erosions of social capital with the ripening of U.S.
capitalism, are highly correlated with other social outcomes: increases in child abuse; decreases
in quality and effectiveness of educational institutions; increasing television watching and
reduced effective literacy among children; increases in crime; decreases in health and
perceptions of being healthy among the general population; decreases in perceptions of social-
connectedness among the general population; increasing membership in dangerous cults like
offering messiahs, instant gratification and easy answers to complex problems; increasing
divorce rates; increasing tax evasion, anti-statism and distrust of politicians or political solutions
to current problems; decreasing percentages of the population willing to trust or help fellow
citizens who are strangers.

When the work of Putnam et al was extended to the international level, exploring similar data
and trends in eight major capitalist societies (Australia, France, Spain, Germany, Japan, Sweden,
Great Britain and the United States), in all cases, except Sweden, the trends in social-capital-
erosion in countries other than the United States strongly paralleled (in timing and patterns of
change) those of the United States.12 Also paralleling these trends, and consistent with the wider
definition and socializing-ideological functions of social capital, in all of these countries, the
central themes of culture (television, movies, literature, games, art, music, etc) are increasingly
centered on and around promoting and celebrating narcissism, ultra-individualism, competition,
ruthlessness, duplicity, pleasure maximization, instant gratification, materialism, luck, returns
without sacrifice, predatory calculation and manipulation and other concepts and values
definitely useful from the standpoint of mass consumption and profitability but also definitely
inimical to socialist construction however one may define socialism.


China has come a long way in promoting levels and forms of human progress for the broad
masses of people that were simply unknown in the China before 1949. This achievement is truly
remarkable when one considers the legacies that were inherited along with the extent to which
China has been subject to imperial aggression, isolation, ostracization, embargos, social systems
engineering campaigns, demonization and even outright threats of nuclear annihilation—causing
diversions of precious and scarce resources for defense instead of directly into development. The
current problems that China faces simply cannot wait and the imperative to develop the
productive forces as rapidly as possible to deal with the myriad issues, constraints, inequalities
and crises faced by China should be evident to all but the most insulated and callous of observers
and critics. Certainly socialism cannot be built and defended without the participation and
allegiance of the broad masses of Chinese people who must, first of all, simply survive in order
to participate in socialist construction.

On the other hand, socialism is not simply about building productive forces or dealing with the
“What, How and For Whom” questions differently than they are dealt with under capitalism.
Socialism is not an end-state but rather a long protracted process and it is also about teaching and
reinforcing human values and relationships that are very different from—and stand in
contradiction/opposition to—the types of values and relationships embodied in the social capital
of capitalism and most conducive to the expanded reproduction of capitalism: greed, selfishness,
ultra-individualism, competition, narcissism, instant-gratification, predation for profit/utility
opportunities, inequalities of wealth and incomes, commodification of everything including the
sacred, etc. As William Hinton summed it up:

“Socialism is after all not something given, something fixed. It is a process, a transition from one
state to another…As such it bears within it many contradictions, many inequalities that cannot be
done away with overnight or even in the course of several years or several decades…Yet as long
as these inequalities exist they generate privilege, individualism, careerism, and bourgeois
ideology. Without a conscious and protracted effort to combat these tendencies they can grow
into an important social force. They can and do create new bourgeois individuals who gather as a
new privileged elite and ultimately as a new exploiting class. Thus socialism can be peacefully
transformed back into capitalism.”13

The basic values, institutions and relationships most conducive to the expanded reproduction of
capitalism act as weeds in the garden of socialism threatening to choke off the new flowers in the
emerging garden. That is precisely why the introduction and expansion of market and market-
based institutions, values, relations and imperatives within the framework of a socialist social
formation, which may be tactically necessary as was the case with the NEP in the Soviet Union,
must be handled carefully and from a position of strength and willingness to sacrifice if
necessary. This is especially the case when it is clear that the major capitalist power, the U.S.,
seeks hegemony in the global community of nations and regards itself as locked into a global war
of conflicting systems and ideologies (Capitalism versus Socialism) in which it is prepared to use
cultural, political, economic and military means—covertly or overtly—to ensure the victory of
neo-liberal capitalism and its associated institutions, values and relationships on a global scale.
As James Petras put it:

“U.S cultural imperialism has two major goals, one economic and the other political: to capture
markets for its cultural commodities and to establish hegemony by shaping popular
consciousness. The export of entertainment is one of the most important sources of capital
accumulation and global profits displacing manufacturing exports. In the political sphere,
cultural imperialism plays a major role in dissociating people from their cultural roots and
traditions of solidarity, replacing them with media created needs which change with every
publicity campaign. The political effect in to alienate people from traditional class and
community bonds, atomizing and separating individuals from each other.” 14

No doubt that significant changes in institutions—political, legal, social, cultural and economic
—will take place as markets and market institutions/relations/values are introduced more and
more in China to help to handle domestic conditions and facilitate China’s increasing integration
into a global economy organized on capitalist foundations and categories. The real challenges
will be not to lose sight of the ultimate goals and necessity of socialism, to appreciate the roles
and effects of social capital (along with physical and human capital—under socialism as well as
under capitalism), to assess and appreciate the true costs (private plus social) and true benefits
(private plus social) of markets, market relationships, values and institutions under socialist
construction, and, not to wind up “bringing a tiger in through the back door to chase out the wolf
at the front door.”

“Report of the 16th Congress of the Communist Party of China”, 2002 quoted in “Some Basics
on China “(online edition) by D. Raja and He Yong, Political Affairs Net, at, p. 1

Edward Luttvak quoted in Frank, Thomas, One Market Under God: Extreme Capitalism, Market
Populism and the End of Economic Democracy, Anchor Books, N.Y. 2000, p. 17

“China’s Growing Pains” in The Economist, August 26, 2004

Hanifan, Lyda Judson, “The Rural School Community Center”, Annals of the American
Academy of Political Science, 67 (1916): pp. 130-138. Note: An excellent overview of the
development of the concept of social capital, for which I am indebted, can be found in: Putnam,
Robert D. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Simon and
Schuster, N.Y. 2000 and also in Putnam, Robert D (ed), Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of
Social Capital in Contemporary Society, Oxford University Press, N.Y. 2002

Seeley, John R, Sim, Alexander and Loosley, Elizabeth; Crestwood Heights: A Study of the
Culture of Suburban Life, Basic Books, N.Y. 1956

Jacobs, Jane, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Random House, N.Y. 1961

Loury, Glenn, “A Dynamic Theory of Racial Income Differences” in Women, Minorities and
Employment Discrimination, Wallace, P.A. and LeMund, A (eds),
Lexington Books, Lexington Mass. 1977

Bourdieu, Pierre, “Forms of Capital” in Handbook of Theory and Research for The Sociology of
Education Richardson, John (Ed), Greenwood Books, N.Y. 1983

Schlicht, Ekkehart, “Cognitive Dissonance in Economics” in Normengeleitetes Verhalten in den

Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker and Humblot, Berlin, 1984

Coleman, James, “Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital” in American Journal of
Sociology, 94 (1988)

see Diebolt, Claude, “Towards a New Social Structure of Accumulation” in

Historical and Social Research, Vol 27, No. 2/3 2002; also see Gordon, David M:
“Stages of Accumulation and Long Economic Cycles” in Hopkins, T and Wallerstein, I (eds)
Processes of the World System, Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, 1980; Bowles, S “Social
Institutions and Technical Change” in Di Matteo, M; Goodwin, R.M. and Vercelli, A. (eds) in
Technological and Social Factors in Long-Term Fluctuations, Springer Verlag, Berlin, 1989; and
Kotz, D.M; McDonnoug, T; Reich, M (eds) Social Structures of Accumulation , Cambridge
University Press, Cambridge, 1994

Putnam, Robert (ed) Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of Social Capital in

Contemporary Society, Oxford Univ. Press, N.Y. 2002

Hinton, William Turning Point in China, p. 20 quoted in Monthly Review , July

-August 2004, Vol. 56, No. 3 p. 128

14. Petras, James, “Cultural Imperialism in the Late Twentieth Century”, internet Ed
Posted by Jim Craven (Omahkohkiaayo i'poyi) at 3:36 PM

James Craven 教授 教学大纲

课程中文名称 新古典经济学批判
Critiques of Neo-classical Economics 授课语言 英文

讲课 15 开课学期 夏季
讨论 3 周学时数 6
课内总学时 2008 年 5 月
32 实验 上课起止周
数及其分配 第2周

课外学时数 6 考核方式 考试 考查
Lectures 1-3: Introduction and Overview of Neoclassical Economics
Discussion Class
Lectures 4-6: Metaphysics, Rhetoric and Internal Contradictions of NC
Discussion Class
Lectures 7-9: Marxist and Heterodox Critiques of NC Theory
Lectures 10-12: Neoclassical Theory as a Cornerstone of the Social Capital
of Capitalism, Globalization and Imperialism
Lectures 13-14: The Dominance and Hegemony of NC Economics in
Lecture 15: Final Comments, Summing Up, Directions for Future
Discussion Class
Lecture and Discussion Classes will involve:
1. Class Lectures (Socratic Style of Teaching)
2. Handouts of Relevant Background Materials
3. PowerPoint Presentations of Key Concepts
4. Team Teaching with Dr. Cai Jiming
5. Discussion Classes for detailed exploration of issues presented in
6. open debates of issues from diverse perspectives


注: 电子版文件命名规则:院系名称(联系教师姓名)

The Development of the Blackfoot Nation: Paper Delivered to the 3rd Annunal Conference on Aboriginal Studies 
and Issues, Beijing, China, May 18­21, 05 

Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Development of the Blackfoot Nation: Paper Delivered to the 3rd Annunal  
Conference on Aboriginal Studies and Issues, Beijing, China, May 18­21, 05 The 
Development of the Blackfoot Nation

By James M. Craven/Blackfoot Name: Omahkohkiaayo i’poyi and Lori Hanson


The existence, status and sovereignty of the Blackfoot Nation

Long before there were recognized nations called The United States of America and Canada, 
and for many years since the genesis, development and recognition of those nations, Blackfoot 
People lived as and formed a Whole People and Nation. By any and all criteria under 
international law that legitimate and mandate recognition of The United States of America and 
Canada as sovereign nations, that have their own unalienable rights to recognition, security and 
self­determination as nations, Blackfoot People have collectively constituted a “People” and 
Nation. Specifically, Blackfoot People historically and in the present­day possessed­­and still 
possess—“Recognized”—by Blackfoot and non­Blackfoot:

1) Commonly­shared Territory;

2) Commonly­shared History, Culture, Spirituality and Language;

3) Commonly­shared Legal and Political Institutions, Processes and Traditions;

4) Commonly­shared Economic Institutions, Processes and Traditions;

5) Commonly­shared Mechanisms and Institutions for Determination of Membership in and 
Leadership/Composition of the Nation;

6) Commonly­shared Ancestors and Ties of Blood­­Family, Clan and Tribe;
7) Capacity to Enter Into Relations with Other Nations;

8) Expressed Common Will of Blackfoot Individuals to Live Together in Collectives Forming 
Whole Societies Greater Than the Sums of the Parts;

9) Close Attachment to Ancestral Lands and their Resources;

10) Self­identification and Identification by Others as Members of a Distinct Nation or Cultural 

11) Expressed Desire to Remain Distinct as Blackfoot and not to be Assimilated;

As in the case of any Nation, the status and legitimacy of the Blackfoot Nation and the 
unalienable rights of the Blackfoot Nation and its members to security, peace, prosperity and 
self­determination do not depend upon any degree or kind of recognition or non­recognition by 
any other Nation or entity. The objective reality and status (under international law and as a 
defacto reality) of Blackfoot People as a Nation, and the derivative rights of the Blackfoot Nation 
to security, peace, prosperity and self­determination demand—rather than depend upon—
recognition by all those Nations seeking or asserting similar recognition ( often with less 
authority) for themselves.
Further, it is established and customary practice, and explicitly codified in international law that 
no members of one nation can be summarily declared to be members or citizens of another 
nation without their consent. Blackfoot Peoples and members of the Blackfoot Nation were 
summarily declared to be “citizens” of the United States of America in 1924 without their consent 
and were summarily declared to be “citizens” of Canada in 1963 without their consent.
Further, it is established and customary practice, and explicitly codified in International law, that 
no nation or representative government of any nation makes “treaties” with its own citizens; 
treaties are instruments and agreements (covenants) between and among sovereign nations 
and, each treating nation tacitly, if not explicitly, in the act of treating or proposing to treat, 
recognizes the nationhood, sovereignty, co­equal status and system of government producing 
the authority—to form and keep the terms of a treaty—of the other treating party .
Further, it is established and customary practice, and explicitly codified in international law, that 
nations have the right to seek, expose and indict those who commit crimes in the name 
of/against members of a nation and/or against international law, and to prosecute, on their soil, 
or in recognized international venues, those alleged to have committed such crimes.
Prior to the precedents set at the Nuremberg and other International Tribunals, it was thought 
that “established and customary” practice of international law, and the whole of international law 
itself, applied only between nations. It was the “customary and established practice” in 
international law that what governments or parties of nations did or didn’t do to their “own 
citizens” or their “own national minorities” that caused harm to these “citizens” or “national 
minorities” was not a matter for or concern of international law. Documents of and research on, 
the periods during which the U.S. and Canadian Governments summarily declared Blackfoot 
Peoples to be “citizens” of the United States and Canada without their consent, reveal that one 
of the clear and stated motives and intent of summary declaration of citizenship was to 
summarily declare removed—and to remove—certain “national minorities” of the United States 
and Canada (including Blackfoot People) from any protection, coverage or application of 
international law or conventions or treaties to which the U.S. and Canada were signatories, and 
were bound by summarily changing their status to that of “citizens”; thus, making their status 
and treatment an “internal matter” and supposedly not subject to international law; this is in 
violation of Article 15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Any extent to which any of the core elements of the Blackfoot Nation have been diminished or 
extinguished as a result of conquest, occupation, and ethnocidal/genocidal policies and 
practices; does not, and should not, in any way call into question the existence, legitimacy, or 
fundamental rights to sovereignty and self­determination of the Blackfoot Nation and its 
members. Were it not so, those who sought to eliminate Indigenous Peoples in general and 
Blackfoot in particular, would be rewarded for/and assisted in the commission of the very 
genocidal crimes against Blackfoot People and International Law. 
Indigenous Nations in general, and Peoples of the Blackfoot Nation in particular, have 
recognized, established and codified rights to national recognition, national sovereignty, national 
preservation and protection of lands and resources, national self­determination and the national 
right to take any and all measures necessary to preserve and protect the Nation against 
genocide, wars of aggression, crimes against humanity, war crimes or any other kinds of crimes 
or threats against the existence and survival of the Nation as a whole or its members. Legal 
support for and/or codification of these fundamental rights are to be found in:
∙ The Nuremberg Charter;

∙ The 1948 UN Convention on Genocide;

∙ Convention on the Rights and Duties of States adopted by the Seventh International 
Conference of American States Dec. 26, 1933 (to which Canada was not a signatory);
∙ Charter of the United Nations, Article I (2) and Article 55;

∙ United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Articles I and 27;

∙ the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), Article I;

∙ UN General Assembly Declaration of Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly 
Relations and Co­operation Among States in Accordance With the Charter of the United 

∙ UN General Assembly’s Declaration on the Occasion of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United 

∙ Supreme Court of Canada Decisions (e.g. “the right of colonial peoples to exercise their right to 
self­determination by breaking away from the ‘imperial power’ is ‘now undisputed’.”);

∙ UN General Assembly Resolution on Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources (GA 
Res. 1803, XVII, 17 U.N. GAOR Supp. No. 17 at 15 U.N. Doc. A/5217, 1962);

∙ Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Articles 15 and 17;

∙ UN General Assembly Resolutions 1514, XV (Declaration on the Granting of Independence of 
Colonial Countries and Peoples of 14.12.1960) and 1541;
∙ UN GA Res. 2625 (XXV) of 24.10.1970, Annex, “Declaration on Principles of International Law 
Concerning Friendly Relations and Co­operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter 
of the United Nations;

∙ Basket I, Final Act, Article VIII of the Helsinki Conference on Cooperation and Security in 

∙ Article 38 no. 1 b of ICJ Statute ( two elements needed to create valid customary law in 
international law: general customary practice and opinio juris);

∙ Article 38 para. 1 d) of the ICJ Statute (judicial decisions can be used as “subsidiary means for 
the determination of rules of law”);

∙ the ICJ Advisory Opinion on Namibia in 1971 (“Legal Consequences for States of the 
Continued Presence of South Africa in Namibia);

∙ ICJ Advisory Opinion on the Western Sahara (Order of 22 May 1975 ICJ Rep. 1975);

∙ ICJ Judgment on U.S. Military and Paramilitary Activities Against Nicaragua, ICJ Rep. 1986;

∙ ICJ Judgment on East Timor (Portugal v Australia), ICJ Rep. 1995;

∙ Permanent ICJ Ruling in the Case of Greco­Bulgarian Communities, P.C.I.J. [1930], Series B, 
No. 17,21;

∙ International Commission of Jurists, East Pakistan Staff Study, 1972 ( “ a people begins to exist 
only [and] when it becomes conscious of its own identity and asserts its will to exist”, p. 47);

∙ International Labor Organization Convention 107;

∙ the draft “Inter­American Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples” by the Organization 
of American States;
∙ declaration of President Richard Nixon, 1973(“self­determination as the key concept that would 
govern relations between Indian tribes [sic] and the government of the U.S.”);

∙ declaration of President Ronald Reagan in 1983 (“…the government­to­government 
relationship between the U.S. and Indian tribes had endured…consistently recognized a unique 
political relationship between Indian Tribes and the U.S. which this Administration pledges to 

∙ declaration of President William Clinton in 1994 (“This is our first principle: respecting your 
values, your religions, your identity, and your sovereignty…[We want to]…become full partners 
with the tribal nations.”);

∙ memorandum of the U.S. Department of Justice (opinio juris) ([Clinton’s position] “builds on the 
firmly established federal policy of self­determination for Indian tribes.”);

∙ Helsinki Final Act; “Fulfilling Our Promises: The United States and the Helsinki Final Act” by the 
Commission on Security and Cooperation in the U.S., 1979;

∙ “Compact of Self­governance Between the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe and the United States 
of America”;

∙ Article I, Section 10 and Article VI Section 2 of the Constitution of the United States;

From the fundamental right of the Blackfoot Nation to survival and self­determination, other facts 
and conclusions flow inexorably. For example, Canada’s Indian Act, and the Indian 
Reorganization Act of the U.S., strip recognized Indigenous sovereign nations, such as the 
Blackfoot Nation, with its recognized right to self­determination, of the power to govern the 
internal affairs of the Nation and transfer that power to entities of a foreign power (DIA , Minister 
of Indian Affairs and their “Band Council” creations in Canada and the BIA, Department of the 
Interior and their “Tribal Council” creations of the U.S. Government) thus summarily eliminating 
the right of self­determination as a prelude to and instrument of elimination of the Nation itself. 
The paternalistic policies of the Canadian and U.S. Governments purporting to “protect” 
Indigenous Peoples through a “trustee relationship”, have demonstrably created, and inexorably 
create, not “protecting powers”, but rather, powers, exploitative relationships and indeed 
genocidal policies from which Indigenous Peoples need protection through the exercise of the 
right of self­determination and through international law.
For the above­mentioned and other clear reasons, agencies such as the BIA and DIA, and their 
creations the “Tribal Councils”, whose policies and actions are all subject to final approval and 
ratification by the BIA and DIA, can never be recognized as the legitimate leadership and 
political authority of the Blackfoot Nation. The mechanisms through which the Blackfoot Tribal 
Councils are selected are non­Blackfoot in nature and in terms of the “final authority” conducting 
and sanctioning them. Indeed historically and in the present, corrupt Tribal Councils (not an 
indictment of every person serving or who has served on a Tribal Council) have been selected, 
used and run by the Canadian and U.S. governments as key instruments of genocide. It would 
be absurd and inherently illogical to suppose that only those same Band Councils could have 
the authority standing to bring charges against those who have committed crimes against the 
Blackfoot Nation—crimes in which they were often intimately involved as co­conspirators and 
key instruments of genocide.
The Historical Blackfoot Nation
The Blackfoot comprised primarily of the Kainai (Many Chiefs), Siksika (Blackfoot) and 
Apatohsipiikani (Northern Piikani) and Amskaapipiikani (Southern Piikani or Blackfeet in 
Montana) Bands (along with the smaller Bands of the Sarcee, Stoneys and elements of the 
Gros Ventre or Atsina who were members of The Blackfoot Confederacy formed in 1871) have 
occupied territory in what is now known as Canada since time immemorial.[1][2] 
After Europeans began migrating to the so­called New World, indigenous populations 
throughout the continent were often forced to migrate to new homelands. “It is . . . probable that 
the Blackfoot occupied the region from the Bow River to the North Saskatchewan for countless 
generations before they moved south.”[3] Well before the Blackfoot were approached by agents 
of the Crown regarding treaty negotiations, the Blackfoot occupied an established region, which 
they—and other non­Blackfoot nations—considered their traditional territory. The Blackfoot 
territory during the historic period after 1750 was vast: it ranged from the North Saskatchewan 
River to the Missouri River and from the Rocky Mountains to the present Alberta­Saskatchewan 
boundary. Near the latter part of the nomadic era, the northern range shrank to the Battle River, 
as the Blackfoot withdrew in the face of Cree pressures and as the decreasing buffalo herds 
congregated farther south.”[4]
Ongoing contacts with Europeans, coupled with the nature of those contacts, altered the world 
of the Blackfoot forever. In 1870, it is estimated that Aboriginal peoples living on the Plains of 
western Canada outnumbered whites by more than two to one. Within a few short years of 
signing Treaty 7, however, disease and western expansion left the Blackfoot and other First 
Nations of the Canadian West “heavily outnumbered” by whites.[5] By 1880, all the buffalo had 
been wiped out, so the Blackfoot were forced to move to the reserves.[6] “The Indian 
Administration, the North West Mounted Police (N.W.M.P.), and the extinction of the bison, along 
with four separate smallpox epidemics, wiped out the rapidly evolving Plains Indian culture.”[7] 
This story is common to all indigenous peoples of the Americas, as illegal encroachments on 
land by whites, government sanctioned expansionism, destruction of natural resources, the 
spread of exotic diseases, and outright genocide were common themes resulting from the 
essentially involuntary contact with Europeans. Within the context of these ordeals the Blackfoot 
and other First Nations’ leaders reluctantly agreed to negotiate what became known as Treaty 7 
with Her Majesty’s Canadian representatives.
Voluntary Consent
“In spite of the high­toned rhetoric about tribes and First Nations freely signing treaties, the land 
acquisition policy was only occasionally accomplished by fair, arms­length transactions. Most of 
the time the government acquired lands by a combination of coercion, fraud, threat of force, or 
actual military force. . . . It is absurd to argue that Aboriginal tribes knowingly and voluntarily 
gave up their claims to these lands.”[8]
Evidence of bad faith negotiating on the part of the Canadian officials is present. Questionable 
tactics were used to “persuade” the First Nations to agree to the treaty. The Mounties 
intimidated many of the Blackfoot people by assuming a military function during the Treaty 7 
negotiations, “as in their dress and discourse they played the part of a military colour guard for 
the government officials present.”[9] For instance, the Mounties had aimed cannons right at the 
camps where the people stayed.[10] Other accounts support the claim that the N.W.M.P. used 
intimidation tactics to coerce the already suspicious people to enter the treaty: “‘They were 
parading and marching around and shooting their cannons.’”[11]
The Treaty 7 leaders felt there was no alternative to signing the agreement.[12] They were 
threatened by the N.W.M.P.’s show of force. It was indicated to the First Nations that unless they 
signed the treaty, war would erupt.[13] “The power relationship between the Aboriginal 
government and the Canadian government was not equal, and leaders such as Crowfoot and 
Red Crow were aware that military force was being used to slaughter indigenous people in the 
United States.”[14] Threat of force was not the only stratagem employed to coerce the Treaty 7 
leaders into signing the treaty. Duplicity played a major role as well.
The people of the Blackfoot Nation record their history through the oral tradition; a system for 
writing Blackfoot language was not developed until 1963. For many Native cultures in which the 
oral tradition is used to record history, communicate spiritual doctrine or simply entertain, the 
spoken word is considered something tangible just as much as the written word can be 
considered tangible by a European.[15] Canada’s Supreme Court has recognized the validity of 
oral histories as admissible testimony in court.[16] Considering that “Canadian policy on 
Aboriginal people has been based on terrible distortions of history,”[17] the incorporation of oral 
testimony into that history could not do any more than adjust its accuracy. Thus, some of the 
following accounts, which have been passed down orally, of what actually transpired at 
Blackfoot Crossing in September 1877, should be accorded no less credibility than if these 
accounts had been transcribed onto paper. Indeed the authorized carriers of oral history among 
the Blackfoot must undergo extensive preparation and testing for accuracy and details before 
being designated as carriers of oral histories.
“It is questionable whether a ‘mutually understood agreement’ was ever arrived at between a 
people representing a written culture on the one hand, and a people representing an essentially 
oral culture on the other.”[18]
“[T]he oral tradition of our nations has preserved many accounts of the circumstances 
surrounding the making of Treaty 7 and the subsequent fulfillment of the treaty.”[19] These 
accounts evidence the significant problems encountered by the Blackfoot when faced with the 
mandate to enter into Treaty 7. In 1877 – otsisti pakssaisstoyiih pi, or the year when the winter 
was open and cold – Treaty 7 was negotiated between Her Majesty through Canadian officials 
and the Blackfoot and other nations. The Blackfoot Nations had no word for “treaty,” and they 
therefore considered the process istsist aohkotspi or iitsinnaihtsiiyo’pi (the time when we made a 
sacred alliance).[20] Treaty 7 elders “do not remember ever being told that the Treaty 7 First 
Nations had agreed to land surrender.”[21] They thought they were entering a peace treaty. “The 
elders all agree that there is a fundamental problem with the written treaty because it does not 
represent the ‘spirit and intent’ of the agreement . . . .”[22] For instance, the text of the treaty 
does not include specific terms the signatory First Nations expressly required before they would 
agree to the final contract.[23]
In 1874, the North West Mounted Police (N.W.M.P.), commanded by James Macleod, arrived 
and were welcomed in Blackfoot territory. The Blackfoot granted their request to stay one winter 
in the territory, but “it’s been a long winter.”[24] In the fall of 1875, the First Nations identified 
among themselves the critical issues; they passed on the substance of these issues to Jean 
L’Heureux, who then included them in a petition, which was then passed on to Alexander Morris, 
Canada’s chief negotiator.[25] The issues identified concerned the encroachment onto their 
lands by Cree and Métis hunters, and the increasing scarcity of buffalo, problems that would not 
have arisen but for the Blackfoot promise to end warfare with the other nations.[26] The 
N.W.M.P. met with the Bloods, Blackfoot, Peigan and Sarcee because those peoples suspected 
the N.W.M.P. was expediting white settlement on the First Nations’ lands. Commissioner 
Macleod promised that these issues would be fully discussed before any land would be 
taken,[27] and that he had no intention of taking the First Nations’ lands, but he apparently 
changed his mind.[28] Finally, the year 1877 “saw the alliance of peace between [the Treaty 7 
Nations] and the Queen’s representatives at Blackfoot Crossing. The promises again were to be 
quickly broken.”[29]
The expectations of the chiefs at the negotiations seemed simple and unselfish enough: they 
wanted to ensure that the Canadian authorities would repress encroachments onto Native land, 
restrain American traders, and protect the buffalo. These problems had resulted in the larger 
problem of widespread hunger in the aboriginal communities.[30] The First Nations believed that 
an agreement with the Canadians would occasion a peace alliance to control these problems, to 
“safeguard their territory and to protect their way of life.”[31] The Treaty 7 First Nations had four 
specific goals. “[T]hey hoped to establish peaceful relations with the colonial government, to 
establish a relationship of equality between nations, and to create an atmosphere of 
respect.”[32] They certainly wanted to ensure “the physical survival of their people, especially in 
face of the devastation suffered in the wake of disease and disappearing buffalo herds.”[33] A 
related wish was that the cultural and spiritual well being of their people was secured by 
maintaining their systems of government, languages and traditional ceremonies. Finally, while 
not anticipating full assimilation into Canadian society, they hoped to integrate some new 
aspects of that society into their own by sharing their land with the newcomers.
The commissioners, on the other hand, expected the negotiated agreement to achieve the 
extinguishment of all Indian title to the area, and the relocation of the aboriginals onto reserves, 
thus opening the way for settlement[34] and the construction of the railroad.[35] The 
“overarching goal of realizing the ‘purpose of the Dominion’ as expeditiously as possible” 
(eschewing “any vision of a future for Aboriginal people”),[36] included five particular objectives: 
acquiring legal title to the land; encouraging non­native settlement; removing Aboriginal title 
cheaply; terminating American intrusion; and responding to Aboriginals’ purported requests for 
treaties.[37] Therefore, it is no surprise that “although each side had voiced its concerns, neither 
had heard the other.”[38]
“[M]isunderstandings, due partly to inadequate interpretation and/or a deliberate attempt to 
mislead” characterized the treaty­making process, as “there was a tremendous distance 
between the two perspectives.”[39] Many of the interpreters involved in the treaty negotiations 
were not fluent in the various languages used in the process.[40] More than eighty errors in the 
translation and spelling of Blackfoot names have been identified in the document.[41] These 
mistakes are not surprising, given the shortcomings of the interpreters: one interpreter, Jerry 
Potts, was drunk at the negotiations and did not clearly explain the substance and process to 
the participating chiefs; Jean­Baptiste L’Heureux’s credibility is suspect, as he habitually, falsely 
claimed to be a priest; and a third interpreter, Father Constantine Scollen, while somewhat 
familiar with the Cree language, did not understand the Blackfoot languages sufficiently to 
competently and clearly convey some of the simplest concepts.[42] Father Scollen mistakenly 
informed the Canadian authorities that the Blackfoot desired to make a treaty, when in reality, 
the leaders merely desired to discuss the problems they faced with respect to encroachments 
onto their land. They never asked to make a treaty.[43] Furthermore, Scollen himself suggested 
that at least the Bloods were never clearly informed about the precise meaning of the treaty.[44]
Another major problem at Blackfoot Crossing was the fact that no single person present could 
speak all of the languages of the people in attendance. . . . Questions arise such as: Could all 
the First Nations people assembled, who represented four distinct languages, have understood 
the same thing when words like ‘surrender’ or ‘cede’ were used? This would be especially 
doubtful for words that did not exist in the various Aboriginal languages; the very concept of 
landownership, for example, was completely foreign to a number of the nations present.[45]
Thus, the translation process suffered further because there were no words in the native 
languages for concepts such as “title” or “surrender,” or “reserve” three words with definite and 
powerful implications in the English language.[46] “It seems that the question of language is 
much more at issue for Treaty 7 than for any of the other numbered treaties.”[47] For example, 
“[t]he Stoney elders were particularly emphatic about the consequences of their people’s not 
understanding what a square mile was, especially after it was explained to them how little land 
was being surveyed for them.”[48] The Native people expected “that what the officials were 
saying about the land they would get would correspond to what they had described as territory 
they wanted.”[49] Because they did not understand the measurement concepts, they could not 
have knowingly agreed to specific treaty terms corresponding to those foreign concepts. Indeed, 
concepts such as “fee simple” and “rights of occupancy” derive from European law, and one 
wonders how a number of incompetent interpreters could clearly explain these foreign concepts 
to the leaders of such divergent cultures over the short time frame in which the agreement was 
Interpretive deficiencies in the negotiation process and present understanding involve additional 
cultural elements. “Perhaps most importantly, the two sides had different cultural traditions for 
remembering their history. In the Euro­Canadian cultures, history was written down, whereas in 
the First Nations cultures, history was transmitted orally in stories passed on by the elders.”[50] 
These cultural differences may account for interpretive inaccuracies. Furthermore, the 
“fundamental assumptions underlying European and Aboriginal languages are so radically 
different that simple translation is impossible.” Again, the mere fact that Blackfoot accounts of 
the treaty negotiations are preserved primarily in oral form does not render them any less 
legitimate, credible or reliable than if they had been reduced to writing. The methodology is 
simply different, not necessarily better or worse. “It is questionable whether a ‘mutually 
understood agreement’ was ever arrived at between a people representing a written culture on 
the one hand, and a people representing an essentially oral culture on the other.”[51] 
The deficiencies in the translators’ abilities, together with the discordant language 
conceptualizations and the disparate expectations of the parties to the agreement were not the 
only reasons the First Nations understood the process differently than did the Canadians. These 
First Nations were not unfamiliar with the process of entering agreements, as they had been 
parties to such agreements with other First Nations prior to their contact with Europeans.[52] 
“The leaders who accepted Treaty 7 believed that it was first and foremost a peace treaty.” [53] 
Additionally, because warring among the First Nations and between the First Nations and the 
Canadians was not uncommon, the Treaty 7 First Nations were led to believe that by signing the 
treaty, they were merely agreeing not to fight any longer, and that “peace would be preserved 
between the First Nations and the Canadian authorities.”[54]
Nevertheless, the wishes of the First Nations’ leaders were ignored by the condescending and 
paternalistic government agents, who decided for themselves what the best interests of the First 
Nations really were.[55] The Canadians’ lack of respect for the expectations of the Aboriginal 
leaders resulted in a significant disadvantage for the First Nations, “who came to negotiate 
Treaty 7 in good faith.”[56]
“The point to be understood here is that the translation process failed at Blackfoot Crossing. . . 
.[T]he official records of the narrative indicate that the chiefs were only given one­sixth of the 
presentation of the commissioners.”[57] Although Canada’s Indian Act[58] had been passed the 
year before Treaty 7 was completed, the commissioners did not inform the Treaty 7 nations of its 
purposes and provisions. Thus, the First Nations were given the impression that the treaty, 
rather than a general codification of Canada’s Aboriginal policy, would govern their future 
relations with Canadian individuals and government. The Aboriginal leaders who negotiated 
Treaty 7 explicitly expressed their specific aspirations regarding the treaty, and they therefore 
expected those aspirations to be fulfilled by the very officials who promised to recognize and 
fulfill them. Commissioner Laird “was evasive in not explaining to Treaty 7 First Nations that the 
government intended to restrict and control Aboriginal people through the provisions of the 
Indian Act.”[59] Nevertheless, the Indian Act provisions, which were contrary to the wishes the 
Treaty 7 Nations had articulated, eclipsed even the terms of the treaty itself.[60]
In addition to being unfamiliar with European terms and concepts, which were poorly explained 
in translation as well, the relational arrangements were not clearly laid out to the leaders who 
signed Treaty 7. “Evidence that the Treaty 7 nations thought that they would share – not 
surrender – the land can be seen in their testimony about how the land was to be used.”[61] The 
nations indicated that they would only share the top two feet of soil with the newcomers.[62] The 
terms dictated by the First Nations were never written down, however, and considering that 
those who agreed to the terms in the treaty’s text could not read English, they had no way to 
confirm that their expectations had been omitted from the document. “The leaders of the treaty 
believed Jerry Potts’s interpretation of the Crown’s promises and everything else he told them, 
even though he spoke very poor Blackfoot . . . .”[63] The Treaty 7 leaders had no other choice, 
however. They had to believe what the interpreters told them about the treaty’s terms because 
there was no other way to obtain this information.
Furthermore, the commissioners employed certain tactics to impress upon the Treaty 7 leaders 
the absolute necessity of entering the agreement. While many of the First Nations’ leaders 
harbored some suspicions about the process and some of the officials involved in that process, 
they were assured that their requests would be honored. They were also the victims of artful 
Notwithstanding the controversies surrounding the making of the treaty and its text, the 
Canadian government has not dealt seriously with these issues. “[A]reas of the treaty that are 
clearly problematic have been glossed over and the discourse of those who hold power has 
allowed authors to ignore difficult issues.”[64] This policy appears contrary to the fiduciary 
obligation owed to First Nations. “The Crown was left with legally enforceable fiduciary duties: 
‘[f]ailure of the Crown to perform the obligations would cause the jurisdictional interests over the 
land to revert to the First Nations.’”[65]
Canons of Treaty Construction
Even if one could argue successfully that Treaty 7 is not invalid, Canadian law itself imposes on 
the Canadian government an obligation to construe such treaties as the First Nations 
understood them.[66] It is no longer acceptable to rely on the plain meaning of the terms used in 
the treaty document for controlling interpretation.[67] Therefore, the terms of Treaty 7 do not 
control current interpretations. What the Blackfoot and other Treaty 7 leaders understood as the 
treaty’s terms controls how the document is to be interpreted. Because the Blackfoot construed 
Treaty 7 as a peace agreement, whereby they were to receive certain compensations in 
exchange for sharing their land with the newcomers, that is all to which they agreed, and that is 
all to which the Canadian government is lawfully entitled to receive. The Canadian government, 
however, has appropriated vast tracts of Blackfoot land, and has usurped the inherent sovereign 
right of Blackfoot to govern themselves. The Blackfoot never knowingly, voluntarily or lawfully 
relinquished these lands or their self­governing prerogatives. The Canadian courts and 
administration violate Canada’s own rules of treaty construction when Treaty 7 is interpreted in a 
contrary manner. Relations between the Blackfoot Nation and the Canadian government are 
based on the terms of Treaty 7 as interpreted are in apparent violation of Canada’s canons of 
treaty construction, and governed by imposition of the Indian Act.
The Indian Act
“[G]overnmental action taken ‘for the good of the Indians,’ effectively abolished Indian religion, 
culture and lifestyle.”[68]
The Chief Justice of Canada’s Supreme Court has acknowledged the real threat to Aboriginal 
interests by governmental intrusion into their affairs:
Our history has shown, unfortunately all too well, that Canada’s aboriginal peoples are justified 
in worrying about government objectives that may be superficially neutral but which constitute 
de facto threats to the existence of the aboriginal rights and interests.[69]
The terms of the Indian Act infringe on the Blackfoot Nation’s right to determine its internal 
affairs and thus its right to self­determination. The paternalistic provisions strip the power to 
govern from the Nation and place that power in the hands of the Crown or the Minister of Indian 
Affairs.[70] Without some of its provisions, however, all Native peoples under its jurisdiction 
would suffer. It typifies the proverbial double­edged sword. The Indian Act is a symbolic 
manifestation of the conflicting objectives of Aboriginal policy. The act and the policy it codifies 
recognize the distinctiveness and inherent rights of Aboriginal peoples vis à vis the colonizing 
government on the one hand, but oppress them by imposing foreign law on the other. The policy 
that purports to “protect” Aboriginal peoples while at the same time creating a source and nature 
of power from which they need protection which imposes unjustifiable restrictions on the 
peoples’ rights to self­determination recognized by both Canadian and international law.
While some of the Indian Act provisions may not apply to all First Nations,[71] the existence of 
the act itself interferes with the exercise of self­determination. Section 18(1) of the Indian Act 
provides as follows:
“Subject to this Act, reserves are held by Her Majesty for the use and benefit of the respective 
bands for which they were set apart, and subject to this Act and to the terms of any treaty or 
surrender, the Governor in Council may determine whether any purpose for which land in a 
reserve are used or are to be used is for the use and benefit of the band.”[72]
This provision may provide protection with one hand, but with the other it takes away the 
inherent right of the Blackfoot to make their own determinations regarding how their own land 
and internal relations will be governed.
A Nation cannot exercise self­determination when an ostensibly higher power enjoys the 
discretion to repudiate that Nation’s law. The act also provides for the mechanisms through 
which First Nations will select their band councils.[73] When a First Nation chooses to employ its 
traditional governance structures, the Minister still may step in and impose his or her will on the 
Nation. If, for instance, any by­law passed by the band council, whether elected under Indian Act 
provisions or by “custom,” is inconsistent with the Minister’s views, he may disallow the by­law 
under s. 82(2). This system is wholly inadequate for the Blackfoot to manage its internal affairs, 
and it is disruptive to the Reserve community. Among many Blackfoot, this arrangement is seen 
as exactly analogous to that of the Vichy Government of occupied France during World War II 
and the occupying forces of Germany that set up and controlled it.
The Blackfoot Nation Today: At a Crossroads of Survival
The definitive law governing—and definition of—genocide can be found in Article II of the 1949 
UN Convention on Genocide to which Canada became a signatory in 1953. According to Article 
II, any (not all) of the following acts constitute genocide: a) Killing Members of a Group; b) 
Causing Serious Mental and Bodily Harm to Members of a Group; c) Deliberately Inflicting Upon 
a Group Conditions of Life Calculated to Bring About its Physical Destruction in Whole or in Part; 
d) Imposing Measures Intended to Prevent Births Within the Group (Sterilization); e) Forcibly 
Transferring Children of the Group to Another Group. There is extensive documentary and other 
evidence that Blackfoot have been subject to all five types of genocidal acts throughout 
Canadian and U.S. histories and stand today on the verge of extinction as a “Whole People” or 
It was through the Indian Residential School system that Blackfoot children were “forcibly 
transferred from one group to another” through a system designed to “Kill the Indian, [in order to] 
Save the Man”. Blackfoot children, from about 1880 up until 1989, were routinely taken by force, 
under the color of the Indian Act, to isolated Indian Residential Schools where: their traditional 
long hair was cut; where they were beaten for speaking native languages and practicing 
traditional spirituality; where they were abused in various ways and “trained” to become 
domestics and unskilled farm hands (it was thought Indians would only be capable of the most 
menial tasks) and their ties to traditional lands, communities and culture were progressively 
broken. It was through the 1928 Alberta Sterilization Act, seen by the German Nazis as a model 
for their 1933 “Race Hygiene Law” and 1935 Nuremberg Race Laws, that Blackfoot children 
were routinely sterilized under the premise that to be Indian is to be “feebleminded” and likely to 
pass on “bad genes.” Blackfoot children were routinely used for medial experimentation (e.g. 
Hepatitis­B vaccine and studies allowing dental diseases to progress without intervention—like 
the Syphilis studies done on African­Americans at Tuskegee, Alabama in the U.S.—to study the 
pathodynamics of the disease).
The present­day conditions on the Blackfoot Reserves at Gleichen, Cardston and Brocket, 
Alberta, as well as those at Browning, Montana certainly qualify as conditions likely—and 
foresee ably (for an average reasonable and prudent person) to be likely—to cause serious 
mental and bodily harm as well as cause physical destruction of the group in whole or in part. 
Unemployment rates on the Reserves are estimated to range between 65% to around 90% with 
the majority of jobs in government—Band, Provincial or Federal—and often handed out through 
patronage, cronyism or nepotism.
On the Reserves, infrastructure (roads, sewage, telecommunications, fresh water, education, 
health care etc) is typically poor; the few businesses found on the reserves are typically non­
Blackfoot owned; Blackfoot Reserves—along with other non­Blackfoot Reserves—have been 
targeted as sites for dumping waste from non­Indigenous communities; the average Reserve 
Blackfoot lives on about $229.00 (Canadian) a month to cover all expenses (lodging, food, 
utilities, etc); suicide and homicide rates on the Reserves stand at about 5 to 15 times the 
overall Canadian suicide and homicide rates—even higher for teenagers; allegations of systemic 
corruption by certain Band authorities and their relations are pervasive, credible and 
longstanding; rates of teenage pregnancy stand at five to seven times the overall Canadian rate; 
saving rates are low or non­existent and financial intermediaries are typically non­Blackfoot and 
found off the Reserves taking the little saving off the Reserves to be invested elsewhere. These 
are but some of the myriad problems and nation­extinguishing conditions found on the Blackfoot 
Of the estimated fifty or so thousand Blackfoot remaining, many living off the Reserves, over 
95% are considered “mixed race.” This is important in that Indigenous Peoples, in the U.S. and 
Canada are considered “status” Indians, entitled to certain “services” and entitlements from the 
trustee relationship with the government, on the basis of being at least “quarter­blood” 
(Blackfoot). Ignoring the problems associated with race as a biological construct for the moment, 
and the whole notion of one’s “blood” being divisible into portions or quantums, it is clear that 
blood­quantum requirements may be used and have been used as instruments of assimilation 
and extinguishment. According to one document from the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs: “Set the 
blood­quantum at one­quarter, hold to it as a rigid definition of Indians, let intermarriage 
proceed, and eventually Indians will be defined out of existence; when this happens, the federal 
government will be finally freed from its persistent Indian problem.” 
At present, there are actual examples of non­enrolled or non­status Blackfoot who are 
considered “full­blood” Native but who cannot be enrolled as they lack “quarter­blood” from any 
one particular group. This not only decimates the Band roles of those designated as “Status 
Indians” but it also disrupts and divides whole families into “status” versus non­status. Further, 
there is the problem of Blackfoot identity and Band status being defined by a foreign and 
occupying power with vested interests in how and on what basis “status” is defined.
Legal Issues
In 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples issued a report containing the following 
statement: “‘Canadians need to understand that Aboriginal peoples are nations . . . To this day, 
Aboriginal people’s sense of confidence and well­being as individuals remains tied to the 
strength of their nations. Only as members of restored nations can they reach their potential in 
the twenty­first century.’”[74] Given that this report was commissioned by the Canadian 
government, it seems curious that the government refuses to heed its observations. Instead, the 
“government has insisted on dominating governance and land rights of First Nations, severely 
limiting First Nations’ rights and abilities to self­government.”[75] The honor of the Canadian 
government and the Crown itself could be at stake if recognition of these principles does not 
Although the Canadian government would argue that a right to self­determination does not 
directly translate into an unlimited right to sovereignty for the Blackfoot Nation, legal authority 
supports the exercise of sovereignty by the Blackfoot.
Where the sentiment of nationality exists in any force, there is a prima facie case for uniting all 
the members of the nationality under the same government, and a government to themselves 
apart. This is merely saying that the question of government ought to be decided by the 
governed. One hardly knows what any division of the human race should be free to do, if not to 
determine with which of the various collective bodies of human beings they choose to associate 
The Blackfoot Nation is not required to ask permission from the Canadian government to 
declare its independence, because their right to self­determination as a people, under the 
provisions of the United Nations Charter, allows them to exercise that right notwithstanding the 
views of the colonizing nation. Because the Blackfoot territory is illegally occupied by the Royal 
Canadian Mounted Police, however, it is incumbent upon the Canadian government to recognize 
the right to proclaim independence and remove the illegal occupiers presently.
Characteristics of a State
The inherent powers of Indian self­government include, among others, the power to determine 
the Nation’s form of government, the power to define conditions for membership, and the power 
to regulate domestic relations between members, but the Indian Act denies these claims.[77] 
“[T]he Crown officers utilized the traditional government only for land surrenders and treaties, 
and otherwise deprived that traditional government of any powers of management or 
Although Canada is not a State Party to the Convention on the Rights and Duties of States 
adopted by the Seventh International Conference of American States,[79] the guidelines 
provided therein illustrate that the Blackfoot Nation exhibits the four characteristics of a “state as 
a person under international law . . . : (a) a permanent population; (b) a defined territory; (c) 
government; and (d) capacity to enter into relations with other states.”[80] As mentioned above, 
the Blackfoot peoples have existed since time immemorial. They have not allowed themselves to 
be assimilated into the larger Canadian society, even though the assimilationist agenda of the 
Canadian government has been imposed upon them from the beginning of relations between 
the two peoples.
The Reserves themselves are testimony to the existence of a defined territory. Additional lands 
illegally acquired by the Canadian government are included in this territory. Blackfoot 
government is illustrated by the organization of “chiefs” who entered into treaty negotiations with 
the treaty commissioners. Historical forms of self­governance continue, through recognition of 
and participating in traditional societies, such as the Brave Dog Society. 
Furthermore, although the Indian Act places restrictions on the exercise by First Nations of many 
self­governing powers, a declaration of independence would not issue without some form of 
organized governance. Finally, the capacity to enter into relations is illustrated by the many 
treaties the Blackfoot formed before Treaty 7.
Reference Re Secession of Quebec
In Reference Re Secession of Quebec[81] the Supreme Court of Canada interpreted 
international law in a manner entirely consistent with the Blackfoot Nation’s declaration of 
independence and right to sovereignty. One of the central questions answered by the Supreme 
Court involved whether the National Assembly, legislature or government of Quebec had the 
right, under international law, to secede unilaterally from Canada. Although the Court answered 
in the negative, the facts presented in Reference re Secession of Quebec are distinguishable 
from the facts involved in the Blackfoot Nation’s decision to declare its independence from 
Canada, and the legal analyses support that declaration.
Although the Court found that “[i]t is clear that international law does not specifically grant 
component parts of sovereign states the legal right to secede unilaterally from their ‘parent’ 
state,”[82] the Court stated that the legal right would be conferred on peoples in certain 
circumstances not present in that case. The Court analyzed alternative propositions offered in 
support of Quebec’s right to secede: absence of a specific prohibition on unilateral secession 
implied permission; and the duty of states to recognize secession as part of the exercise of the 
right of peoples to self­determination.[83] In reference to the first proposition, the Court 
observed that international law neither expressly grants nor denies a right to unilateral 
secession, but that “international law places great importance on the territorial integrity of nation 
states and, by and large, leaves the creation of a new state to be determined by the domestic 
law of the existing state of which the seceding entity presently forms a part.”[84] Because the 
Blackfoot at no time consented to become part of the Canadian state, and because the 
Blackfoot inhabited the territory that was eventually, illegally subsumed within that state, their 
sovereign rights are both pre­ and extra­constitutional. Furthermore, the Court added that the 
second proposition involving the right of peoples to self­determination would not necessarily 
implicate the Constitution and other domestic laws of Canada.
“While international law generally regulates the conduct of nation states, it does, in some 
specific circumstances, also recognize the ‘rights’ of entities other than nation states ­­ such as 
the right of a people to self­determination.”[85] The Court cited several international documents 
that specifically recognize the right of peoples to self­determination. “The existence of the right 
of a people to self­determination is now so widely recognized in international conventions that 
the principle has acquired a status beyond ‘convention’ and is considered a general principle of 
international law.”[86] The documents codifying the recognition of this right primarily include the 
Charter of the United Nations,[87] the United Nations International Covenant on Civil and 
Political Rights (ICCPR),[88] and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural 
Rights (ICESCR).[89]
Article 1 of the Charter of the United Nations, Can. T.S. 1945 No. 7, states in part that one of the 
purposes of the United Nations (U.N.) is:
Article 1
. . . . .
2. To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights 
and self­determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen 
universal peace[.]
Article 55 of the U.N. Charter further states that the U.N. shall promote goals such as higher 
standards of living, full employment and human rights "[w]ith a view to the creation of conditions 
of stability and well­ being which are necessary for peaceful and friendly relations among 
nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self­determination of peoples".[90]
Article 1 of both the ICCPR and the ICESCR provide that “‘[a]ll peoples have the right of self­
determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue 
their economic, social and cultural development.’”[91] The Court also cited the United Nations 
General Assembly’s Declaration on Principles of International Law Concerning Friendly 
Relations and Co­operation Among States in Accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, 
which states:
By virtue of the principle of equal rights and self­determination of peoples enshrined in the 
Charter of the United Nations, all peoples have the right freely to determine, without external 
interference, their political status and to pursue their economic, social and cultural development, 
and every State has the duty to respect this right in accordance with the provisions of the 
Thus, under these international law provisions, the Blackfoot peoples possess the right to 
determine their political status without interference from the Canadian government. They have 
determined their political status as an independent, sovereign nation, and every nation, 
including Canada, has an obligation to honor this exercise of the Blackfoot Nation’s 
internationally recognized right. The Canadian Supreme Court cited additional international legal 
authority that would support the sovereign right of the Blackfoot peoples to declare their 
independence from their colonizers. Under the General Assembly’s Declaration on the Occasion 
of the Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations, “the U.N.’s member states will . . . reaffirm the 
right of self­determination of all peoples, taking into account the particular situation of peoples 
under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, and recognize the right 
of peoples to take legitimate action . . . to realize their inalienable right of self­determination.”[93] 
Under the circumstances created by the Canadian government through its illegal occupation of 
Blackfoot territory and imposition of the Indian Act, the only action available to the Blackfoot 
Nation for realization of their right to self­determination is that which has been executed, a 
declaration of independence.
Although this provision ensures that the territorial integrity of independently sovereign states will 
not be disturbed by application of its terms, that reservation only applies when the state 
complies “with the principle of equal rights and self­determination of peoples and thus 
possessed of a Government representing the whole people belonging to the territory without 
distinction of any kind. . . .”[94] In the case of the Blackfoot, Canada has not complied with the 
principles of equal rights and self­determination, and the Canadian government does not 
represent the Blackfoot people in any meaningful way. The illegal occupation of Blackfoot 
territory, improperly justified by the invalid terms of Treaty 7, and imposition of the Indian Act 
evidence noncompliance with the principles of equality and self­determination. Employment 
opportunities are scarce for Blackfoot individuals, on and off the Reserve, even in a business 
conducted on Blackfoot land, administered by employees of the Alberta government.[95] 
Furthermore, how many Blackfoot individuals are members of Parliament? What is the 
proportion of Blackfoot individuals to non­Aboriginal (i.e., white) individuals employed by the 
Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development?
These circumstances do not provide the sole or even primary basis for the Blackfoot Nation’s 
assertion of sovereignty vis à vis the Canadian government, however. The territorial integrity of a 
state becomes virtually irrelevant under certain circumstances. As quoted above, special 
consideration is given in cases of colonization, alien domination and foreign occupation. The 
Supreme Court of Canada explicitly recognized a people’s international legal right to secede 
under these exceptional circumstances, when it is not possible for the people’s right to self­
determination to be exercised “within the framework of existing sovereign states and consistently 
with the maintenance of the territorial integrity of those states.”[96] Thus, under international law 
as interpreted by the Supreme Court of Canada itself, the Blackfoot possess a right to secede 
from the Canadian state, which they have exercised through the declaration of their 
A threshold question in determining whether a group may exercise its right to self­determination 
in this way and under these circumstances is whether the group purporting to exercise the right 
constitutes “a people.” The Court, while noting that the “precise meaning of the term ‘people’ 
remains somewhat uncertain,”[97] indicated that this threshold question could be answered by 
determining whether the population shares certain characteristics, such as a common language 
and culture. While the Treaty 7 Nations did use varied dialects, the Blackfoot language is part of 
the Algonkian language group.[98] Their cultural histories are undeniably common, as discussed 
above in reference to the making of Treaty 7. Furthermore, they have maintained aspects of their 
cultural traditions, such as their special relationship with the land and natural resources,[99] and 
internal governance structures, such as the functioning of the Brave Dog society, despite 
attempts by the Canadian government to destroy their culture and assimilate their people into 
the dominant colonizing society. They continue to live in relatively self­contained social 
arrangements on the reserves. It is doubtful that any person or tribunal would deny that the 
Blackfoot constitute a people in the international legal sense of the term. 
The next step in the Court’s analysis described the scope of the right to self­determination. 
Internal and external versions of self­determination were delineated. The usual route to realizing 
self­determination is through internal functions, which involve political, economic, social and 
cultural pursuits within the existing state’s governmental infrastructure.[100] The Indian Act 
represents a most flagrant interference with internal self­determination. When, as here, internal 
self­determination is inadequate because the meaningful exercise of the right is blocked, a right 
to external self­determination materializes. This right to external self­determination would include 
unilateral secession.[101] The position of Quebec in this regard is distinguishable from that of 
the Blackfoot because, as the Court observed, the Quebec people have not suffered attacks on 
their physical existence, and they have enjoyed and continue to enjoy considerable 
representation in the Canadian government.[102] “The population of Quebec is equitably 
represented in legislative, executive and judicial institutions.”[103] The population of the 
Blackfoot is not.
Again, recognition of this right is not intended to facilitate the destruction of a state’s territorial 
integrity, political independence or domestic unity, but these entitlements are conditional.[104] In 
the case of the Blackfoot, Canada has never enjoyed a valid claim to the Blackfoot’s territory, 
because the Blackfoot never surrendered the land; exercise of sovereignty by the Blackfoot 
Nation is irrelevant to Canada’s political independence; and Blackfoot secession would not 
affect the unity of the Canadian state. Lack of Blackfoot participation in Canadian governance, 
and the relative detachment of the Blackfoot from the whole of Canadian society suggest that 
the unified Dominion is uninterested in whether the Blackfoot are unified with the rest of 
Canadians or not. 
Furthermore, the “maintenance of the territorial integrity of existing states, including Canada” is 
incompatible with “the right of [the Blackfoot] to achieve a full measure of self­
determination.”[105] Again, the illegal occupation of Blackfoot land occasioned by the invalid 
Treaty 7, imposition of the Indian Act and the lack of meaningful representation of the Blackfoot 
in Canadian governance cause this incompatibility.
Additionally, the Supreme Court’s analysis of colonial and oppressed peoples presents an 
authoritative legal framework in which the Blackfoot declaration of independence should be 
[T]here are certain defined contexts within which the right to the self­determination of peoples 
does allow that right to be exercised "externally", which, in the context of this Reference, would 
potentially mean secession:
“...the right to external self­determination, which entails the possibility of choosing (or restoring) 
independence, has only been bestowed upon two classes of peoples (those under colonial rule 
or foreign occupation), based upon the assumption that both classes make up entities that are 
inherently distinct from the colonialist Power and the occupant Power and that their "territorial 
integrity', all but destroyed by the colonialist or occupying Power, should be fully restored 
Thus, according to the Supreme Court of Canada, the “right of colonial peoples to exercise their 
right to self­determination by breaking away from the ‘imperial’ power is now undisputed.”[107] In 
situations of former colonies, the right to external self­determination includes the right of a 
people to declare its independence from the colonial power.[108] Canada is but one former 
colony in North America, and the Blackfoot were and continue to be “inherently distinct” from the 
European­derived colonial powers. Their territory was “all but destroyed” by that colonial power 
and it thus should be “fully restored.”
Additional Sources of International Legal Authority
Violations of international human rights law have been and continue to be committed against the 
Blackfoot Nation by the Government of Canada. It is within the context of these violations that 
the Blackfoot Nation has declared its independence. By the terms of the International Covenant 
on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,[109] the International Covenant on Civil and Political 
Rights,[110] and the Resolution on Permanent Sovereignty over Natural Resources,[111] the 
actions of the Governments of Canada and Alberta have violated the rights of the Blackfoot 
Nation as recognized under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,[112] to which Canada is 
a party.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights provides, inter alia:
Article 15. (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied the right to change his 
nationality. . . .
Article 17. (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. 
(2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property. . . .
Article 23. (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and 
favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment. . .
Article 25. (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well­
being of himself and of his family. . . .
The current state of affairs existing between the Blackfoot and the Canadian government is 
contrary to these principles. First, the Blackfoot are effectively denied their nationality by their 
forced integration into the Canadian governmental structure. They have not indicated a desire or 
consent to becoming part of the Canadian polity. Second, the Blackfoot have been deprived of 
their property by operation of Treaty 7, which is invalid and unenforceable. Thus, their territory is 
being occupied illegally. Third, protection against unemployment is virtually nonexistent for the 
Blackfoot: “[w]elfare and a lack of employment on the reserves also continue as major 
difficulties.”[113] Similarly, the standard of living for most Blackfoot people is so low; one 
Blackfoot member indicated he could not afford to purchase a shovel to straighten up his yard. 
The same Blackfoot member indicated he is physically able to work, but because employment 
opportunities on his Reserve are not available to him, he is forced to live off welfare checks of 
$229.00 per month. His wife currently receives a disability pension, but she would lose her 
entitlement if he ever did secure employment and receive adequate compensation. He has tried 
to make a living on his own, but certification is needed for the jobs for which he is qualified. 
Certification requires the expenditure of money he does not have.[114]
These problems implicate additional sources of international legal authority. The International 
Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights[115] declares that states party to the 
Covenant, including Canada, recognize the right to work. Concomitant to this recognition is the 
state’s duty to take steps to safeguard this right, including “technical and vocational 
guidance.”[116] The Covenant further provides that all people have a right to an adequate 
standard of living.[117] The inability to afford a simple tool like a shovel does not indicate an 
adequate standard of living.
This right to an adequate standard of living includes rights to adequate housing and “the 
continuous improvement of living conditions.” The man who could not afford a shovel 
encountered similar problems when he needed to repair his tin roof. Two pieces of tin were 
blown off the roof, but he did not have the tools necessary to make the repairs himself. He 
contacted the Housing Department in Brocket to ask for assistance. A man visited his house, 
took a picture of the damaged roof and left. Six months passed, but the Housing Department 
had done nothing to repair the roof, supply tools or even contact the homeowner. After the 
homeowner contacted the Housing Department again, the employee returned and took more 
photographs of the roof. Three months later, four men arrived with a scaffold to repair damage 
that had never required more than one man and a ladder, which still cost more than the 
homeowner could afford. Because these four men spent most of their time sitting and smoking 
cigarettes, eight days passed before two pieces of tin were replaced on the roof.
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)[118] binds the States Parties, 
including the Governments of Canada and Alberta, to certain duties.
Article 9. (1) Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected 
to arbitrary arrest or detention. . . .
(2) Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest 
and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.
Article 17. (1) No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, 
family, h

r instance, an elderly Blackfoot man was arrested and requested the services of an attorney. He 
had not retained one, nor did he regularly employ the services of an attorney. Because he did 
not “have” a lawyer, the police told him he had waived his right to an attorney. The man, whose 
formal, western education was limited, did not understand the concept of waiver. Nevertheless, 
the concept was not explained to him. He was told to sign a paper regarding this waiver, so he 
signed it. Although he did not understand what had transpired, partly because the process was 
inaccurately explained to him, if explained at all, he never received the assistance of an 
attorney.[119] Recently, a young man was stabbed to death on the Reserve. The police arrested 
a suspect in connection with the murder, this time a young citizen of the Blackfoot Nation, but 
neither informed him of the charges against him nor explained his rights.[120]
As discussed above, the practices of the Blackfoot Band Council have been corrupted by 
imposition of the Indian Act, which paternalistically regulates council elections and structure at 
the same time it implicitly sanctions, by the Minister’s inaction, behavior that is inconsistent with 
the self­defined interests of the Blackfoot Nation. These circumstances violate the following 
provision of the ICCPR:
Article 25. Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions 
mentioned in article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions:
(a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
(b) To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal 
suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the 
(c) To have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his country.
International Law and the Canadian Land Claims Process
The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights[121] and the International Covenant on 
Economic, Social and Cultural Rights[122] both recognize, inter alia, the following principles.
“Article 1. (1) All peoples have the right of self­determination. By virtue of that right they freely 
determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural 
development. . . .
(3) The States Parties to the present Covenant, including those having responsibility for the 
administration of Non­Self­Governing and Trust Territories, shall promote the realization of the 
right of self­determination, and shall respect that right, in conformity with the provisions of the 
Charter of the United Nations.
Implementation of these rights is addressed in each Covenant’s article 2. Thus, the Government 
of Canada is obligated under the terms of these Covenants, to which it is a State Party, to 
establish national systems and procedures that protect these rights and provide effective 
remedies. No system exists, however, that adequately implements these rights. These rights 
involve far more than the simple land claims available to some First Nations occupying territory 
within the external boundaries of the Canadian state. The comprehensive land claims process 
implemented by the federal government, for instance, does not cover land claims by First 
Nations who entered treaties with the government.[123] Even if the invalidity of Treaty 7 is 
presumed, this process in no way attempts to restore the right to self­government possessed by 
the Blackfoot. Similarly, the specific land claims policy, while purporting to resolve issues relating 
to the illegal occupation of reserve lands,[124] would not address the right of the colonized 
people to external self­determination described by the Supreme Court of Canada in the 
Reference Re Secession of Quebec case.
Finally, by the terms of the Resolution on Permanent Sovereignty over natural resources,[125] 
the General Assembly declared that “[t]he right of peoples . . . to permanent sovereignty over 
their natural wealth and resources must be exercised in the interest of their national 
development and of the well­being of the people of the State concerned.”[126] The Resolution 
further provides that “[t]he free and beneficial exercise of the sovereignty of peoples and nations 
over their natural resources must be furthered by the mutual respect of States based on their 
sovereign equality.” It is “contrary to the spirit and principles of the Charter of the Untied 
Nations” when violations of these rights of peoples occur.[127] These provisions apply with 
particular relevance to the Blackfoot people. As explained in their declaration of independence, 
the Blackfoot people relate to the land and natural resources in a manner distinct from European 
notions of property.
At the root of many disputes about land is a fundamental difference about the meaning of land. 
Many First Nations . . . referred to the land as Mother Earth. They did not view land as 
something which could be owned or sold. Most Europeans, on the other hand, viewed land as 
property which could be bought and traded like any other commodity.[128]
Viewed in concert with the misconceptions apparent at the making of Treaty 7 and this 
resolution, these divergent conceptualizations of land indicate that no land claims policy, 
comprehensive, specific or otherwise, will effectuate the exercise of the Blackfoot people’s 
fundamental right to self­determination. In other words, a successfully negotiated land claim, if it 
were even possible, would only recognize European­derived notions of land tenure. It would 
express a one­sided solution to a multifaceted problem. The Blackfoot people, or any people, 
can not be viewed as exercising the right to self­determination if their fundamental philosophies 
are ignored in this manner.
Canada’s Reputation as a Human Rights Vanguard
“In international circles, Canada is regarded as a world leader in the promotion of human rights. 
Canadian leaders and ambassadors have consistently pressed for protection of high standards 
on the human rights issues of marginalized and vulnerable populations.”[129]
Notwithstanding Canada’s reputation in the international human rights community as a leader in 
protecting human rights, its reputation for protecting the human rights of First Nations within its 
borders leaves much to be desired.[130] For instance, in its 1999 review of Canada’s 
compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations 
Human Rights Committee “repeatedly criticized Canada on its handling of First Peoples’ 
issues.”[131] The mechanisms needed to respond to and correct these criticisms are 
nonexistent in Canada, however. Considering the support given First Nations in the United 
Nations, it would behoove the Canadian government to consider these issues more seriously.
Furthermore, if the Canadian government follows its current path by disregarding the Blackfoot’ 
decision to assert their sovereign rights, the reputation of Canada in the international human 
rights community will be threatened further. If a human rights vanguard is viewed by other 
nations as slipping from its commitment to human rights principles, those other nations may 
follow suit. “Some nations even take refuge in Canada’s shortcomings, saying the continued 
poor treatment of First Peoples across Canada invalidates Canadian moral authority to speak 
about human rights abuses internationally.”[132] If Canada loses its persuasive supremacy 
internationally, it is alarming to consider what abuses other, less humane nations will consider 
within the bounds of morals and the law. If Canada truly has an interest in the promotion of 
human rights on an international scale, it would do well to promote human rights in its own 
On the national front, Canada would benefit from recognizing the Blackfoot Nation’s declaration 
of independence. The stability stemming from resolving such a claim would make it clear to 
other First Nations living within Canada’s borders, although they are Nations without the same 
claims to sovereignty as the Blackfoot, that Canada is committed to recognizing their grievances 
in a meaningful way. Different peoples employ different methods for resolving various political, 
social and legal claims. The fact that the Blackfoot Nation has declared its independence should 
not concern Canada with respect to other First Nations following the lead. The Blackfoot have 
specific claims that other Aboriginal peoples would find irrelevant or inappropriate to their needs. 
Therefore, recognition of Blackfoot sovereignty would not threaten to introduce a “slippery slope” 
to Canada’s Aboriginal affairs, because if other First Nations had desired to follow the same 
path, they would be expected to have done so already. Recognition of Blackfoot sovereignty 
would only strengthen Canada’s relations with other First Nations and restore Canada’s 
reputation in the international human rights community as an advocate of human rights.
The Blackfoot Nation has declared its independence from Canada because the Blackfoot people 
possess a fundamental right, recognized at international law, to self­determination. The 
Supreme Court of Canada has recognized that this right includes a right of unilateral secession 
from a colonizing power. It has been impossible for the Blackfoot Nation to exercise any 
meaningful form of internal self­determination because their lands have been illegally 
appropriated and occupied by the Canadian government, and Canadian law has been imposed 
on them without their consent. The illegal occupation of Blackfoot lands results from the invalid 
Treaty 7, entered into between Her Majesty the Queen by Her commissioners and the Blackfoot 
and other Nations in 1877. The treaty commissioners employed duplicitous tactics to coerce the 
First Nations’ leaders to agree to the terms of a written document they did not fully appreciate. 
Their lack of complete understanding of these terms resulted from inaccurate interpretations, 
promises that were never intended to be fulfilled, and fundamental differences in the 
conceptualization of land use and ownership, and the purpose of a treaty.
In signing Treaty 7, there is no evidence to support a contention that the Blackfoot and other 
First Nations’ leaders ever consented to surrender their lands or submit to colonial rule. 
Nevertheless, the Indian Act has been imposed on these peoples, and operates to strip the 
Blackfoot of any meaningful control over their lands, their governance and their daily lives. They 
have the right to control these aspects of their existence, and Canada has an obligation, under 
international and domestic law and the most basic principles constituting moral integrity, to 
recognize this right by accepting the Proclamation Restoring the Independence of the Sovereign 
Nation State of Blackfoot.
1. Blackfoot Nation, Declaration of Independence (November 29, 1999) (on file with Blackfoot 
2. R.S.C., ch. I­5, ss.1­122 (1985) (Can.).
3. C. Roderick Wilson, The Plains – A Regional Overview, in Native Peoples: The Canadian 
Experience 353, 355 (R. Bruce Morrison & C. Roderick Wilson, eds., 1986); see also Olive 
Patricia Dickason, Canada’s First Nations: A History of Founding Peoples From Earliest Times 
44­45, 194­95 (1992).
4. Hugh A. Dempsey, The Blackfoot Indians, in Native Peoples: The Canadian Experience 404, 
427 (R. Bruce Morrison & C. Roderick Wilson, eds., 1986).
5. Dempsey, supra note 4, at 404.
6. Dickason, supra note 3, at 297.
7. Dempsey, supra note 4, at 430.
8. A.D. Fisher, Great Plains Ethnography, in Native Peoples: The Canadian Experience 358, 359 
(R. Bruce Morrison & C. Roderick Wilson, eds., 1986).
9. Ralph W. Johnson, Fragile Gains: Two Centuries of Canadian and United States Policy 
Toward Indians, 66 Wash. L. Rev. 643, 649 (1991).
10. Hildebrandt, supra note 12, at 134­35.
11. Id. at 136.
12. Id. at 137.
[13]. Dickason, supra note 3, at 282.
14. Hildebrandt, supra note 12, at 73.
15. Id. at 198.
16. Although Europeans and other western peoples may regard this system of documentation as 
a manifestation of unreliable hearsay, when considered within the larger context of Aboriginal 
cultures, this characterization misinterprets the essence of its use. Because oral documentation 
is communicated to other individuals from the same cultural tradition, the speaker and the 
listener will understand what is being communicated from the same point of reference. 
Additionally, the spoken word is as powerful and meaningful to the listener as it is to the 
James Axtell, After Columbus: Essays in the Ethnohistory of Colonial North America 92­93 
17. Delgamuukw v. British Columbia, [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010, 1075­76.
18. Shin Imai, Aboriginal Law Handbook 13 (2d ed., 1999), quoting R v. Sparrow, [1990] 3 
C.N.L.R. 160 (S.C.C.) at P81.
19. Walter Hildebrandt et al., Treaty 7 Elders and Tribal Council, The True Spirit and Original 
Intent of Treaty 7 195 (1996).
20. Id. at viii.
21. Id. at 4.
22. Id. at viii.
23. Id.
24. Id. at 230.
[24]. Id. at 9.
[25]. Id. at 240.
[26]. Id. at 240­41.
[27]. Id. at 240.
[28]. Id. at 9.
[29]. Id. at 10.
[30]. Id. at 25, 75.
[31]. Id. at 25.
[32]. Id. at 210.
[33]. Id. at 210.
[34]. Id. at 25, 304.
[35]. Dickason, supra note 3, at 282.
[36]. Hildebrandt, supra note 12, at 211.
[37]. Id. at 211­212.
[38]. Id. at 25.
[39]. Id. at 15.
[40]. Id. at 20­23.
[41]. Id. at 230­31.
[42]. Id. at 20­22.
[43]. Id. at 22.
[44]. Id. at 58.
[45]. Id. at 124; see also Dickason, supra note 3, at 194.
[46]. Hildebrandt, supra note 12, at 24.
[47]. Id. at 124­25.
[48]. Id. at 143.
[49]. Id. at 143.
[50]. Id. at 124.
[51]. Id. at 195.
[52]. Id. at 108.
[53]. Id. at 67, 111.
[54]. Id. at 111.
[55]. Id. at 197.
[56]. Id. at 197.
[57]. Id. at 23 (emphasis added). Blackfoot elders describe the process with the phrase, “Anahka 
aipoihka iipitsinnim aniistoohpi,” which roughly translates to “The person speaking has choked 
considerably that which is spoken.” Id. at 23.
[58]. R.S.C., ch. I­5, ss.1­122 (1985) (Can.).
[59]. Hildebrandt, supra note 12, at 218.
[60]. Id. at 219.
[61]. Id. at 144.
[62]. “Two feet were given up – one for ploughing and two for post holes.” Additional accounts of 
the negotiations support the assertion that the government officials agreed to this detail. Id. at 
[63]. Id. at 69.
[64]. Hildebrandt, supra note 12, at 199.
[65]. Id. at 206, citing Sakej Youngblood­Henderson, Land in British Legal Thought, unpublished
manuscript prepared for the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Affairs at 203 (1994).
[66]. Johnson, supra note 60, at 670­71 (citing R. v. Simon, [1985] 2 S.C.R. 387, 402).
[67]. Johnson, supra note 60, at 670.
[68]. Id. at 649.
[69]. Shin Imai, Aboriginal Law Handbook 13 (2d ed., 1999), quoting R v. Sparrow, [1990] 3 
C.N.L.R. 160 (S.C.C.) at P81.
[70]. See, e.g., R.S.C., ch. I­5, ss. 18(1), 74, 79, 81­ 83, 88, 90(2) (1985) (Can.).
[71]. Imai, supra note 89, at 166.
[72]. R.S.C. ch I­5 (1985).
[73]. Id. s. 74.
[74]. Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, People to People, Nation to Nation x­xi (1996), 
quoted in Imai, supra note 89, at 28.
[75]. Johnson, supra note 60, at 669.
[76]. Diane F. Orentlicher, Separatism and the Democratic Entitlement, 92 Am. Soc’y Int’l L. 
Proc. 131, 132 (1998), quoting John Stuart Mill, Considerations on Representative Government 
(1861), quoted in Utilitarianism, on Liberty, Considerations on Representative Government 392 
(1993) (emphasis added).
[77]. Richard H. Bartlett, The Indian Act of Canada 13 (1980).
[78]. Id. at 14.
[79]. The Convention on the Rights and Duties of States adopted by the Seventh International 
Conference of American States, Dec. 26, 1933, 165 L.N.T.S. 19.
[80]. Id. at art. 1.
[81]. [1998] 2 S.C.R. 217, 161 D.L.R. (4th) 385.
[82]. 161 D.L.R. at 433­34.
[83]. Id.
[84]. Id. at 434 (citations omitted).
[85]. Id.
[86]. Id. at 434­35 (citations omitted).
[87]. U.N. Charter art. 1, para 2, art. 55.
[88]. 993 U.N.T.S. 171 (1966), art. 1, para (1), (3).
[89]. 993 U.N.T.S. 3 (1966), art. 1, para (1), (3).
[90]. 161 D.L.R. at 435.
[91]. Id., quoting 993 U.N.T.S. 171, art. 1, 993 U.N.T.S. 3, art. 1.
[92]. G.A. Res. 2625 (XXV), U.N. GAOR, 25th Sess., Supp. No. 28, at121, U.N. Doc. A/8028 (24 
October 1970).
[93]. 161 D.L.R. at 436, quoting U.N. General Assembly’s Declaration on the Occasion of the 
Fiftieth Anniversary of the United Nations, G.A. Res. 50/6, 9 November 1995, art. 1 (emphasis 
[94]. 161 D.L.R. at 436.
[95]. Telephone interview with Sikapii­Whitehorse, member of the Sovereign Nation of Blackfoot 
(February 1, 2000).
[96]. 161 D.L.R. at 436.
[97]. Id. at 437.
[98]. Dickason, supra note 3, at 124.
[99]. Imai, supra note 89, at 65.
[100]. 161 D.L.R. at 437­38.
[101]. Id. at 437­38, 440­441.
[102]. Id. at 441.
[103]. Id. at 441­42..
[104]. Id. at 438­39.
[105]. Id. at 439.
[106]. Id. at 440, citing A. Cassese, Self­determination of peoples: A legal reappraisal (1995), at 
pp. 171­72.
[107]. 161 D.L.R. at 440 (emphasis added).
[108]. Id. at 442.
[109]. 993 U.N.T.S. 3 (1966).
[110]. 993 U.N.T.S. 171 (1966).
[111]. G.A. Res. 1803 (XVII), 17 U.N. GAOR Supp. No. 17 at 15, U.N. Doc. A/5217 (1962).
[112]. U.N. GAOR, 3rd Sess., Pt. I, Resolutions, at 71, U.N. Doc. A/810 (1948).
[113]. Dempsey, supra note 4, at 432.
[114]. Telephone interview with Sikapii­Whitehorse, member of the Sovereign Nation of Blackfoot 
(February 1, 2000).
[115]. 993 U.N.T.S. 3 (1966).
[116]. Id. art. 6(2).
[117]. Id. art. 11(1).
[118]. 993 U.N.T.S. 171 (1966).
[119]. Telephone interview with Sikapii­Whitehorse, member of the Sovereign Nation of Blackfoot 
(April 3, 2000).
[120]. Id.
[121]. 993 U.N.T.S. 171 (1966).
[122]. 993 U.N.T.S. 3 (1966).
[123]. Imai, supra note 89, at 71­72.
[124]. Id. at 74.
[125]. G.A. Res. 1803 (XVII), 17 U.N. GAOR Supp. No. 17 at 15, U.N. Doc. A/5217 (1962).
[126]. Id., ¶ 1.
[127]. Id., ¶ 7.
[128]. Imai, supra note 89, at 65.
[129]. Ann Pohl, Citizens for Public Justice, Building International Awareness on Aboriginal 
Issues 7 (March 2000) .
[130]. Id. at 7.
[131]. Id. at 17.
[132]. The following account portends an unsettling future:
The 1998 APEC meeting provides an example. Prime Minister Jean Chretien spoke at a public 
social event about international human rights concerns vis­à­vis Malaysia, which at that time 
included child labour exploitation and the violations of rights of opposition politicians. Reporter 
John Stackhouse captured Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad shrugging off this 
criticism with the following remarks: “‘I’m concerned with human rights world­wide, including 
Canada . . . I’m concerned with the red Indians, I don’t see them at APEC.’” Id. at 7, citing The 
Globe and Mail, November 16, 1998. 

Socialism versus Capitalism: Who Will Win?


James M. Craven
Member of Blackfoot Indian Nation(印第安黑脚国)
时间:5 月 26 日(周四)晚 8:20
地点:六教 6B-301

Revolutionary Consciousness as a Material and Motive Force

By James Craven/Omahkohkiaayo i'poyi

An old aphorism says: “A conservative is a liberal who has been mugged; and a liberal is a
conservative who has been downsized or outsourced.” Indeed it is amazing how when one’s
material circumstances or interests change, changes in consciousness may soon follow. But
the relationships between material being and interests and subjective consciousness are not
one way or as one way as many vulgar materialists would have it. Indeed all of human
history gives ample evidence of individuals and groups driven by transcendent causes and
beliefs accomplishing heroic, often near impossible, things with very meager material
resources to work with.

At an "International Symposium on the Reform of Property Rights and Enterprise

Development in Transitional Countries", held at Tsinghua University in Beijing, September 1-
2, 2004, at which I was one of the invited speakers, an interesting and very revealing
exchange took place during the question and answer period following one session of

Some of the neoclassical-economics-based speakers, with the usual hubris of end-of-history

triumphalism, asserted as “proved”, or “self-evident”, or “axiomatic”, backed by nothing
more the mere strength or apparent certitude of their assertions, the predicate that
capitalism beats socialism in all the possible ways that matter (e.g. assuring “personal
liberty” of the individual, “efficiency”, “satisfying” “consumer preferences”, etc) I posed
some questions.

I posed the following question: If anyone here were sick, perhaps gravely ill, which kind of
physician would you prefer to have? Would you prefer to have a capitalist-minded/driven
doctor or one like Bai Qiu En (Dr. Norman Bethune)? The implication of the question--and
compound metaphor--was clear:
Would you prefer to have a capitalist-minded/driven doctor; one who:

· sees the patient, and his/her disease, as a mere commodity and instrument of profit and
capital accumulation, market share and power?;

· sees the patient in very narrow terms, doing only what it takes to avoid malpractice
litigation, and just enough to get the patient (customer) to "feel" satisfied enough to return
when another problem (perhaps even related and not caught in the original examination as
is common and whose focus is sales-->customers-->sales)?;

· does what it takes to minimize costs (avoid or socialize) relative to expected revenues or
maximize revenues relative to expected costs; doing only what it takes to get the
"customer" (not whole and precious human being) in and out in order to maximize the
potential number of patients (customers or profit instruments) in and out--and revenues and
profits--per day?

· went into medicine, and chose the locations and specializations solely on the basis of the
likely profit, status and power potentials with no regard to where the greatest mass needs

· Subject only to the “Golden Rules of Capitalism”: a) “Those who have the Gold make the
rules; b) “Do unto thine competitors as thine competitors find imperative to do unto thou,
but do it first and do it worst.”?

Or, would you prefer a doctor like Bai Qiu En or Dr. Norman Bethune? A physician who, not
only highly skilled as a physician in narrow technical terms, but:

· one with the type of revolutionary consciousness and values that leads him or her to view
the patient as a total and precious human being and not simply as a patient or customer--
certainly never as a mere commodity;

· One who does not view the particular pathology as a mere commodity;

· one who views each and every "patient" as a whole and precious human being to be
treated as one would want one's own loved ones--or oneself--to be treated;

· One who sees the mind and body not as a duality but as conceptual or analytical parts of
an integrated and inseparable unity;

· one who sees "efficiency" not in terms of the narrow (capitalist) minimizing input (time and
narrow costs) relative to "output" (relieving symptoms or "cure" in the narrow sense) but
who sees and defines "efficiency" in broad, holistic and long-run terms, with probable true
social not only private costs, and probable true social not only private benefits considered
before acting;

· One who does what he or she does not from motives of greed, selfishness, status needs or
capitalist profit/competitive imperatives, but out of a sense of dedication to the
transcendent cause and a genuine desire to "serve the people heart and soul."
Which type of doctor (or system) would you prefer to have and live under?

One of the speakers, an esteemed and rising professor from another university, not
Tsinghua, obviously very "bright" and "educated" in narrow and formalistic terms, answered.
With, what appeared to me to be a rather self-congratulatory and kind of "gotcha" smile, he

"Well, if I was sick, and it would take me thirty years to find a doctor like Bai Qiu En, I would
prefer a capitalist doctor."

Because of time and other constraints (there was never any censorship in any form at that
conference except that which inevitably occurred as a result of time constraints, the number
of people who were scheduled to speak and the need to be sensitive to others who also
wanted to speak) I could not answer but my blood boiled. He was doing what the many of
neoclassical/neo-liberal/ ideologues typically do. They love controlling the microphone and
debate (they typically only hire and promote their own kind and allow only their own
ideologically-driven curricula in academia, politics, media and in other spheres). They love
summarily asserting (as axiomatic, self-evident and "proved" beyond any doubt for anyone
who knows anything) the core predicates of their arguments. Their argument, which is
basically a set of assumptions of/for contrived syllogisms, is that in the competition (race)
between capitalism and socialism, in terms all of the ways that matter for human beings, for
example in the scope of provision of physicians and in the quality/efficiency of those
physicians, capitalism wins over socialism every time. This is but one of the many
tautologies and predicates--asserted and even engineered--as axiomatic and "proved" of
that which still remains to be "proved" even in narrow neoclassical and capitalist terms.

Of course, tautologically, capitalism becomes accepted as the most "efficient" and

"progressive" system, especially when the very definitions of "efficiency" and "progress" are
as contrived as the syllogisms they serve, and, when they are then summarily asserted and
accepted as the only possible "operational" and rhetorical definitions. Yet, as Marx, and so
many others like Chairman Mao so aptly demonstrated, that capitalism, when viewed
“holistically” and dialectically, with the highly probable true costs and "benefits" (social as
well as private, long-run as well as short-run) realistically assessed and understood,
becomes not only increasingly inefficient, but even increasingly anti-efficient and regressive.
This is apparent even using the six main capitalist Neoclassical concepts of "efficiency"
(technological, economic, productive, consumer, exchange and allocative) and "utilitarian"
notions of "progress" (the greatest economic welfare for the greatest number).

Let’s take some concrete examples that even the Neoclassicals admit in a limited sense.
Even the conventional textbooks in economics concede, finally, that, for example, the notion
of technological efficiency (maximum output, minimum input) or economic efficiency
(maximum Total Revenues and lowest possible Total Costs) coupled with greed and the
imperatives of competition between capitals, leads to inefficiencies in terms of "exchange
efficiency" (P=MSC=MSB or prices reflecting all true costs and benefits--social as well as
private). A common example is when profit-maximizing firms pollute the environment, or
free-riding increases, in unregulated markets, less and less are true costs (marginal private
costs plus marginal costs of negative externalities) assessed and paid by those who receive
the true benefits. Similarly, less and less are true benefits (marginal private benefits plus
marginal benefits of positive externalities) received by those who pay the true costs.
Typically, when negative externalities are not recognized and/or assessed and/or paid,
inefficiencies (in capitalist Neoclassical terms) of overproduction and under pricing result,
And when positive externalities are not recognized and/or assessed and/or paid, the
inefficiencies of underproduction and under pricing result.
This is but one example out of many of the imperatives and "logic" of capitalism resulting in
self-negation of "efficiency" (anti-efficiency) and "progress" (instability/regression) even in
narrow and contrived capitalist Neoclassical terms. Instead of being a system that once
produced maybe six positives for each negative, as capitalism ripens, becoming imperialism,
spreading globally, it increasingly produces maybe six negatives for every one positive. The
meta-contradiction governing all modes of production, between continual development of
productive forces for human survival on the one hand, versus increasingly regressive and
sabotaging relations of production (e.g. class/strata/interests) on the other hand, steadily
intensifies and hollows out the very foundations of the system itself. And not only does
capitalism become less and less “efficient”, even in capitalist Neoclassical terms, as it
ripens, but capitalist constructs and methods of assessment of “efficiency” themselves, in
their contrived limits and ideological purposes, produce other inefficiencies not even
considered or measured until they come home to roost and threaten the survival of the
planet and humankind itself--like Global Warming and Nuclear War.

So in other words, the different capitalist forms and constructs of “efficiency” are potentially
—and actually—contradictory and self-negating: e.g. technological and economic efficiencies
cause, via the normal imperatives and “logic” of capitalism, inefficiencies and anti-
efficiencies in terms of other forms of “efficiency--say exchange efficiency. Many probable
true costs (private plus social) go unmentioned, and/or not properly assessed and/or
“socialized” to be paid by those who receive none of the purported benefits. Many probable
true benefits (private plus social) go unmentioned and/or not properly assessed and/or not
paid for by “free riders” who get benefits without paying true costs.

In a system like Capitalism, that not only celebrates but even requires, for its expanded
reproduction, greed, selfishness, ultra-individualism, narcissism, clinical psychopathy,
sociopathy, competition, short-run thinking, ultra-reductionism etc: “Everybody wants to go
to heaven but nobody wants to die”. Everyone appears to want, and Capitalism certainly
promises through seductive social capital, the gain without the pain, the benefits without the
costs, the immortality without mortality. So true costs (private plus social) typically get
hidden, un-assessed, not mentioned, or socialized, while true benefits (private plus social)
often get privatized, understated and concentrated.

Take Capitalist-based commoditized law. In the profit-based legal system of Capitalism, it is

about winning and losing and having the money for commoditized “effective
representation”. The discovery of truth or administration of justice do not enter the
equations and calculations of efficiency and profitability. Typically, competition and profit
imperatives, along with the rewards for “winning”, cause lawyers to hide and understate the
inculpatories (negatives) and hyping and magnifying the exculpatories (positives) in their
own cases, while trying to do the reverse to the opposition lawyers: magnifying their
negatives while minimizing their positives. The inevitable and increasing result or typical
“efficiencies” of capitalist-based and commoditized law is that increasingly many rich and
clearly guilty can buy acquittals, while many poor and clearly innocent wind up in prison and
on Death Row.

Let’s take one more example to drive home the point. Another form of “efficiency” in
neoclassical theory is called “Consumer Efficiency”. It means that the consumer has
“efficiently” allocated his/her income among competing commodities such that he/she
cannot reallocate that income and improve, in net terms, his/her total utility gained from the
spending of that income. It is assumed that the consumer is driven to maximize or at least
“satisfice” total utility; and to do that, the consumer seeks to maximize Marginal Utility
gained from consuming a particular commodity X relative to what was paid (Price of X) to
obtain that marginal utility (Maximizing Mux/Px or “Utility Bang for the Buck”) that adds in
net terms, to total utility. When the Mux/Px = Muy/Py = Muz/Pz for example, the consumer
can no longer consume less of x, y or z and more of another, and improve his/her total utility

But the imperatives of capitalism (commoditization, effective competition, realization of

maximum possible real, after-tax, risk-adjusted surplus value, accumulation of capital,
maximization of productivity, expanded market share/power etc) lead to increasingly
commoditized and asymmetrically-available information and fraud against consumers that
compromise "consumer efficiency" (MUx/Px= MUy/Py = MUz/Pz...Consumers, among the
masses who are not “connected”, increasingly have less and less access to the requisite
information necessary to assess true comparative marginal utilities relative to comparative
prices paid to realize those utilities, so that incomes cannot be reallocated and improve net
total utilities gained. As for the concept "allocative efficiency"(no "person" can be made
better off without making some "person" worse off), that is the pure metaphysics of Pareto
masquerading as "science".

Back to the conference. One reason my blood boiled when I heard this flippant and rhetorical
answer from this esteemed professor, is that I come from a people, Blackfoot, who like
Indigenous Peoples everywhere, and indeed poor people everywhere in the U.S. and
elsewhere, are surrounded by technically skilled--and no so skilled—physicians that exist, in
the sense of physically existing at a certain time and space, but, for the poor, do not really
exist in any meaningful way. Since these doctors are driven by capitalist imperatives and
associated requisite mentalities, these doctors only exist for those with sufficient incomes to
pay for their services and/or who do not live on isolated Reserves/Reservations or rural
areas, with no transportation, and are unable to travel to see these doctors. If I am ill, and
the most highly-skilled physician in the world is practicing down the street, what good is it to
me that capitalism, capitalist "values" and capitalist imperatives, produced a physician who
will not see me and treat me because I am poor? Better that physician does not exist as his
or her existence, in the physical sense, will only piss me off and perhaps even exacerbate
my illness due to the mind-body unity. In the U.S., an estimated 44 million people have no
health insurance, another 37 million have only marginal health insurance, and since the
"right to life" itself (like the right to justice etc) is itself a commodity, for sale only to those
that can afford it under capitalism, what does capitalism REALLY deliver and for whom?.
What good is the supposed rapid development of material forces or production that
capitalism allegedly produces greater than socialism, when those forces produce
commodities (and derivative spread effects) only for a relative few? [1]

Dr. Bethune, a product of the capitalist systems of Canada and England in terms of his
medical training, and by his own admission, in terms of his early ideas of reformism,
developed his technical skills not, primarily BECAUSE of capitalist-based education and
medical practice, but IN SPITE of them. Even in his own case, when he was ill with
Tuberculosis, the conventional medical practice, highly risk-aversive to "guarantee success"
in narrow capitalist terms, refused him the emerging and experimental technique of
pneumothorax (collapsing the lung to rest the infected lung) such that he had to self-
administer the technique--on himself while awake. Dr. Bethune's own inventions, of
techniques and instruments still being used in thoracic surgery today, all came from his own
humanitarianism and revolutionary consciousness without any regard as to the potential
"profitability" or income/status-enhancing results of his inventions. It was the imperatives
and "logic" of capitalist-based medicine in the days of Dr. Bethune, as is the case today in
many areas, that caused the choking-off and even regression of the development of the
material forces and techniques of production in medicine. Dr Bethune's innovations--in
instruments and techniques--that actually reduced costs, risks to patients and increased
"efficiency", even in capitalist terms, were consistently resisted by the capitalist-
minded/driven medical establishment of his time; the same applies today.
Another reason my blood boiled when I heard the answer to my question from this esteemed
professor is that capitalism only develops certain productive forces more rapidly than

The basic questions for all modes of production and social formations are: What, How, For
Whom, Where, When, Why (to produce and distribute). The “What” question is critical
because it leads to and shapes the answers to the other questions. But in capitalist terms,
efficiency means producing more and more of output X with less and less inputs, but never
gets into the actual nature of output X and implications (private and social) of that output.
So if grotesque pornography is the output, and it is “legal”, then “efficiency” means
producing more and more pornography using less and less inputs, focusing ONLY on present
likely revenues versus costs, ignoring any other possible or probable private and social costs
associated with pornography. A capitalist enterprise producing pornography at lower total
costs than a socialist enterprise producing mass-affordable medicines is said to be more
“efficient” in Neoclassical terms.

Because capitalism is about profits for power and power for profits (like the slogan of the
Medici family: "Money to Acquire Power; Power to Protect Money”), and is about "effective"
demand (purchasing power or "dollar votes" to back up tastes and preferences many of
which are also created and conditioned for profit, and not natural from basic subsistence
needs), capitalism does a great job in developing forces of production in areas like:
superficial and soul-destroying forms of "entertainment"; dope; pornography; rigging
elections; allowing rich criminals to escape justice; narcissistic sports events; mansions and
toys for the rich; placing clones in government; "quality education" for the few who can
afford it; "quality" medicine for the few that can afford it; weapons of death and destruction;
instruments of mind and soul control and manipulation (advertising); specialty foods; "high-
fashion" clothing for the few; unevenly developed infrastructure; etc. But in such areas as
affordable housing for the many, basic health care available to all, universal access to
education, basic medicines available to all, balanced development of infrastructure,
minimizing social costs of private endeavors and maximizing social benefits of private
endeavors, etc socialism beats capitalism anytime. That is, when real socialism is allowed to
develop without aggression and subversion--outside and inside--from imperialist
machinations and the old weeds of capitalism threatening the full, free and fair development
of socialism and free competition of ideas and systems--capitalism versus socialism.

The communist, on the other hand, looks not only at levels and productive functions of costs
or inputs, or utility functions of consumers consuming, including the nature and implications
of WHAT is being produced or consumed, but, also, looks at the real costs (private plus
social, on the individual as well as on society, political, social, cultural, ideological, spiritual,
long-run as well as short run) of WHAT it is that is being produced, and HOW it is really being
produced and FOR WHOM it is really being produced.

Extending the metaphor from medicine, if, as is quite common, and sadly is increasingly
common, a person goes through an operation that is botched, requiring a second or third
operation to fix what went wrong in the first operation (like leaving surgical instruments in
the patient, unqualified staff, operation rushed to get more patients through a given
operating room per day--capitalist "efficiency"), then the real costs of a given procedure (for
purposes of assessing level of "efficiency") should include the costs of the second and third
procedures necessitated by the first botched one. In the U.S., with touted as having the most
“advanced” and “efficient” medicine in the world, 200,000 patients die each year from
hospital-based infections. Under capitalism, each procedure would be assessed
independently in terms of assessing the "costs" relative to the "benefits"; and in any
comparisons of capitalist versus socialist efficiency. But, if, in accordance with the old adage,
"a stitch in time saves nine", we are able to conceptualize and assess all true costs and true
benefits (short-run versus long-run, private plus social), the case can be made that
socialism, with communist revolutionary values and practices, will beat capitalism, even in
terms of "efficiency", and even in terms of capitalist constructs and calculations of
"efficiency." Certainly Bai Qiu En, under the most unfavorable conditions possible, driven by
communist spirit and consciousness, was able to do medically, what capitalist minded-driven
physicians under the most favorable conditions would have never been able to do.

And the imperialists understand this well. This one of the main reasons for imperialist
encirclement and social systems engineering campaigns: to engineer the predicate or
conditions and constraints in present or emerging socialist social formations that will never
allow free competition and debate between systems and ideologies; conditions and
constraints that will make socialism look like the supposed “barbarism” and “inefficiency”
portrayed by bourgeois ideology.

This leads to another reason my blood boiled when I heard this answer from this esteemed
professor: Why does someone have to teach this "educated" and "bright" Chinese professor
basic Chinese--and world--history as well as about some present-day realities and irrefutable
facts? In the Communist Manifesto, Marx and Engels, in reference to China, and of course
other places as well, noted that colonialism (and imperialism) is a force that 'batters down
all Chinese walls', and is one that 'compels all nations, on pain of extinction, to adopt the
bourgeois mode of production; it compels them to introduce what it calls civilization into
their midst, i.e. to become bourgeois themselves. In one word, it creates a world after its
own image.[2]

When has there ever been free, fair and open competition between socialist versus capitalist
systems or ideas? From the very beginning of the People's Republic of China (actually long
before), as was the case of Cuba, the early USSR, DPRK, Albania, Vietnam, etc and so many
other examples of socialism, socialist societies, often inheriting horrible conditions and
legacies of imperialism and colonialism, have been subject to: imperialist embargos; outright
threats of nuclear annihilation; social systems engineering and destabilization campaigns;
covert operations; exacerbations of historical ethnic and religious rivalries; denials of critical
technologies and resources; military aggression; cultural subversion; arrogant missionaries;
forced importations of drugs and soul-destroying foreign "culture"; denial of access to
international organizations and the global community of nations,; coup d’états and
overthrows of sovereign and freely-elected governments; assassination campaigns. All of
this was designed to destabilize, overthrow and never to allow developing— and thus
showing in concrete practice, over capitalism—the superiority of socialism and communist
values and ideas.

If international recognition by the imperialist powers and the international organizations they
control is some kind of test of the reality, existence and legitimacy of any nation or nation
state, then the People's Republic of China (portions of which still remain manipulated by
foreign powers--e.g. Taiwan) did not "exist" for almost thirty years after its existence in
reality (and under international law). The same apples to Cuba, the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea and other nation states summarily and arrogantly not "recognized" by
some imperialist powers. This has caused large-scale diversions of precious resources from
socialist growth and development into necessary defense against imperialist machinations.
Indeed this was the object of imperial social systems engineering and aggression all along:
engineering, to make "axiomatic" and self-evident, the basic tautologies, predicates and
syllogisms of imperialism:

IF, A=B; and

IF, B=C;



IF, Country A (say China or Cuba for example) = System B (Socialism or Communism);

IF, System B (Socialism or Communism) = C (Inefficiency, Repression…)



The answer according to neoliberals and other kinds of imperialists and their stooges? For
China or Cuba or other socialist systems to become "Developing", "Efficient", "non-
Repressive", "non-Terrorist" etc, the only answer is to become like the U.S. or some other
imperialist power asserted to be the opposites in the above-mentioned syllogism of
imperialist repression and legitimation. And the imperialists have no limits. Just imagine, for
but one example: Even before World War II was over, the Class-A War Criminals of the
infamous Japanese fascist Unit 731 were all shielded from prosecution by the U.S. and its
allies (in return for using the fruits of their barbaric "research") and one of them even
became a Prime Minister of Japan; and the same was done with shielding German Nazi war
criminals before the end of World War II, while the nominal allies of the U.S., who had saved
many U.S. lives (Communists in China and Soviets in Europe) were being attacked by the
U.S. and its allies using wanted war criminals from the formal enemies of the U.S. and its
allies. There are simply no limits to the treachery and crimes the imperialists are prepared to
undertake and cover-up in what they call “World War III of Contending Systems and
Ideologies—Socialism versus Capitalism—For Global Hearts and Minds”.

These are but some of the reasons my blood boiled when I heard that answer from the
esteemed professor, not from Tsinghua University, to my question when I attended the
symposium at Tsinghua University. When I return, this debate, no doubt, will continue, in
another venue and forum. And this response will be passed on to that professor with an
invitation to debate in a forum and venue when we both have ample access and time for the

Jim Craven (Omahkohkiaayo i'poyi)

[1] At present, the U.S. the only industrialized nation without universal health care, spends
$8,000 per capita per year, over 40% higher than the nation second highest in per capita
health expenditures or 16% of GDP while in terms of indexes of overall health outcomes, the
U.S. ranks globally 37th just below Costa Rico and above Slovenia. In the U.S. some 200,000
die each year from iatrogenic (medical mistakes) causes.

[2] Marx and Engels, "Manifesto of the Communist Party" (1848) in "Selected Works",
Moscow, Foreign Languages Publishing House, 1950, pp. 36-37; quoted in "Mao's China and
After 3rd Edition, by Maurice Meisner, The Free Press, NY. 1999, p 5
Indigenous Approaches to Economic Development: Lecture Given at Yunnan University, Kunming, China, July 25, 

Indigenous Approaches to Economic Development and Sustainability

Lecture/Paper Delivered to the Faculty of Anthropology and 

Ethnology, Yunnan University, Kunming, China, July 25, 2009

By James M. Craven/Omahkohkiaayo I’poyi

Professor of Economics and Geography, Clark College, Vancouver, WA. USA

Member, Blackfoot Nation

I began my studies of Political Economy over 40 years ago. In my first classes in Economics, in 
1965, economic growth (increases in real GDP per person) was considered as either equivalent 
to economic development (qualitative improvements of the overall quality of life for the average 
person) or at least the major necessary conditon of economic development. There was no 
notion that economic growth in the short­run, or of a certain nature involving certain types of 
“goods” and services, or of benefit only to a small group and not everyone, or that involved 
massive and unaccounted for negative externalities[1] , could potentially harm, not enhance, 
overall economic development (the overall quality of life faced by the average person). 

As for the causes of economic growth, the models I was taught all noted that it takes inputs to 
produce output, and, that the major inputs were land, labor and capital. Of the major inputs, it 
was assumed that capital was the most decisive as it was said to be fundamental to augmenting 
and making operative the potentials, capabilities and productivity of the other inputs land and 
labor. And “capital” was defined as a physical capital or a “stock” [a fixed quantity in time and 
space] of “things” that had been produced specifically in order to produce something else for 
profitable exchange[2] . And finally, since physical capital was defined as the central ingredient 
of economic growth, which was seen as almost equivalent to economic development, obviously 
then, the owners and/or controllers of capital, capitalists and managers, were seen as central 
players or originators of economic growth and development. 

When I asked some basic questions in class, I was often given a blank stare by the professors: 
What capital (machines, tools etc) can think or plan its own use or fix itself when it breaks 
down? If capital and land make operative and productive the capabilities and potential of labor, 
why is the reverse also not true—that labor makes operative and productive the capabilities and 
potential of capital and land? If a given machine is involved in production and productivity, why 
should the owners or controllers of that machine (who are often themselves deeply in debt and 
do not really own that machine free and clear) entitled to grossly disproportionate returns 
(profits) from the sales of what that machine produces relative to what labor (without which 
nothing could be produced by any machine and nothing produced by the machines could be 
bought on a mass level) has been paid? Are all commodities produced by economic growth 
really good for those who demand them and do they really improve rather than sabotage the 
quality of life for the average person? These were but some of the questions I posed and to 
which I still await answers from some of the esteemed professors.
Then came the 1970s and I was finishing graduate school and began teaching economics. 
Someone figured it out that no machine, without skilled labor that is able to effectively utilize all 
the capabilities of it, and, that is able to fix that machine when it breaks down, and, that has the 
right work ethic and attitudes, will produce much of anything. So this suggests that experience, 
skill, training and motivation by labor is a critical ingredient in economic growth. There was also 
now the suggestion that economic growth and development were not synonymous. But what 
about the central role of capital and the capitalist in economic growth and economic 
development? The answer was defintional and with some sleight of hand. Since “capital” is 
defined as any “thing” that is produced and used to produce something else, well, the skills, 
experience, education and even work attitudes are all “produced” by an educational system as 
well as family environment, and, they are used to produce something else, so we can just call all 
those produced and aquired skills, experience and attitudes of labor, all “human capital”; and so 
the textbooks now began to discuss “human capital” (not labor or skilled labor that had to make 
the conscious decision and effort to acquire or not acquire, and apply or not apply, those skills) 
as another critical “factor” in economic growth which was said to be a critical factor (a necessary 
if not sufficient condition) in overall economic development. The 1970s and 80s passed, as did 
my years of teaching Economics and other subjects, and then in the late 1980s the textbooks 
added something new again. Even if you have potentially productive machines and tools 
(physical capital), and even if you have highly skilled, experienced and motivated workers who 
know how to get the best out of those machines (human capital), what if those workers have no 
hope in the future and no reason to be motivated?; what if the workers feel they are being 
exploited by the system and those who run it?; what if the workers or the capitalists no longer 
accept the dominant values, beleifs, traditions and myths of the system that cause them to 
invest, save, get an education, take risks etc? That led to the concept of “social capital”[still 
barely mentioned in the texts] that refers to institutions that foster trust, hope, cohesion, 
cooperation, belief in the system, reciprocity, etc and cause people to sacrifice in the present for 
a possible future, take risks, save, invest and do all those activities critical to economic growth 
and development. 

The term social capital was first coined in 1916 by L. Judson Hanifan[3] to refer to social 
networks and institutions/norms of reciprocity (goodwill, fellowship, sympathy and social 
intercourse) associated with them. Hanifan, by his own admission, employed the term “capital” 
(anything that has been produced and used to produce—for profitable exchange—something 
else) to catch the eye­­and patronage­­of the business community. Hanifan suggested that these 
social networks and institutions could, on micro as well as macro levels, enhance productivity, 
competitiveness, employment and income creation, etc. in some of the same ways that physical 
capital and human capital can, also, produce the same effects.
Subsequent to Hanifan’s apparent introduction of the term social capital, the term and concept 
was reintroduced—and partly redefined—at least six times up to the present: 

1) in the 1950s by sociologist John Seeley[4] to refer to ‘memberships in clubs and associations’ 
that act just like negotiable securities in producing career advancement and tangible returns to 

2) In the 1960s, by urban economist Jane Jacobs[5] to refer to the collective value and effects of 
informal neighborhood ties and associations;
3) in the 1970s by economist Glenn Loury[6] to refer to wider social ties lost by African 
Americans as one of the legacies of slavery;

4) In the 1980s by social theorist Pierre Bourdieu[7] to refer to the actual or potential resources 
linked to durable networks of institutionalized relationships of mutual recognition and assistance;

5) In the mid­1980s by economist Ekkehart Schlicht[8] to refer to the economic value and 
productivity­enhancing effects of organizations, moral order, cooperation and cohesion;

6) in the late 1980s by James Coleman to refer, as Hanifan[9] had done, to the social 
arrangements, relationships and institutions creating and shaping the environment or social 
contexts of education.

The above­mentioned definitions of social capital are all closely related and narrow in their 
focus. They focus on immediate relationships—institutionalized or informal—and the networks, 
and norms of reciprocity that serve as tangible assets and have economic impacts not only on 
the micro level (personal career advancement, obtaining employment, political influence, 
personal safety etc) but also on the macro level in terms of enhancing productivity, reducing 
information and transactions costs, enhancing competitiveness, enhancing community safety 
and reducing crime, encouraging cooperation, limiting destructive forms/levels of competition. 
These definitions of social capital are designed to rescue neoclassical economics from the 
internal contradictions of methodological individualism in that they show how supposedly 
atomistic and individualistic utility and profit maximizing individuals might be acting cooperatively 
and obeying social norms and laws, appearing to be socially aware and consciousness 
individuals, while all the while, only appearing to be social, in order to maximize and attain 
individual utility and profitability imperatives and goals. It was in this area that John Walsh got 
the Nobel Prize in Economics for his work in Game Theory showing how apparent social 
cooperation and social consciousness “versus” individual atomistic utility and profit maximization 
behaviors and activities might not be contradictory. 

Again the focus is on a new form of “capital” as a central ingredient in economic growth and 
development. In Indigenous societies, social harmony, mutual respect, cooperation, respect for 
law as well as law worthy of respect, absence of alienation, social cohesion, are all considered 
essential for collective survival, economic growth and economic development. Reciprocity is 
considered a virtue on its own and not, as an instrument for or of, personal gain or maximization 
of individualism and individualistic preferences. 

So the Eurocentric and capitalist­based models of economic growth gradually incorporated and 
refined five Basic ingredients to economic growth[10] but said little about the concept of 

1) Capital Accumulation;

2) Available Resources;

3) Growth Compatible Institutions (Markets, Property Rights, Monetary Systems, Government 
Policies and “Proper” Roles of Government);

4) Technology;

5) Entrepreneurship
These Eurocentric and capitalist models of economic growth and development basically set up a 
tautology or circular argument. By defining the goals of economic growth and development as 
equivalent with those values and goals most common to capitalism (materialism, conspicuous 
consumption of expanding volumes of goods and services, etc.), by measuring economic growth 
and development in narrow monetized terms (real GDP per capita with no comment on the 
types of goods and services making up that GDP or on the social costs of producing and 
distributing them) and by making, as key ingredients to growth and development, those inputs 
that are central to capitalism as a system (monetary system, private property rights, markets, 
profit incentives), we wind up with a virtual tautological equivalence[11] between capitalism and 
economic growth and development. 
So a society that produces, on the average or per capita (without any allowances for the fact 
that the de­jure or on paper statistical average per capita may well not represent the typical de­
facto situation for the average person due to outliers and de facto asymmetric distributions of 
incomes, wealth and goods and services) more goods and services, even if those goods and 
services have corrupting influences as in the case of drugs, pornography, alcohol, tobacco etc, 
and even if producing those goods and services involves waste of non­renewable resources and 
massive negative externalities, such a society is said to be experiencing and promoting both 
economic growth and development according to the Eurocentric and capitalist­based models of 
growth and development. And this system is seen as a kind of perpetual motion machine with 
little or no friction: new spending creates new incomes which create new spending creating new 
incomes (multiplier effects); new incomes and consumption spending create new jobs, tax 
revenues, savings leading to new investment spending (multiplier and accelerator effects) 
leading to even more incomes and multiplier effects etc.; the so­called “Virtuous Upward Spiral”.
This is but one example of one of the new growth theories: 
(From: Parkin, Michael, Macroeconomics 7th 
Edition, Pearson, Addison­Wesley, Instructor’s Resource Disk, Chapter 7, Reprinted Under Fair 
Use Doctrine for Educational and Scholarly Exchange purposes only.) 

Now here are some other models that illustrate the typical Indigenous views of survival, 
development (seen to be about more than economics) and sustainability that differ markedly 
from those typical of Western, Eurocentric and in particular capitalist economies. The economy 
is seen as an inseparable part of the total society. Present­day activities are always with the 
Seventh future generation and sustainability in mind. Spirituality is seen as a key ingredient in 
both social stability and development. The types of goods and services and their impacts and 
implications on the survival of the culture, along with the true costs of producing and distributing 
them are considered critical factors in the basic decisions of What, How and For Whom to 
produce and distribute the means of subsistence.


Core Values

Western(Capitalist) vs. Indigenous[12]

Competition vs. Harmony
Materialism vs. Prudence
Acquisition vs. Reciprocity
Accumulation vs. Distribution
Ownership vs. Kinship
Growth vs. Sustainability
Immediacy vs. Caring for Future Generations

These core values of course do not represent the values of all members of each group held and 
practiced respectively, but are meant to represent and convey fair generalizations of some of the 
different traditions and core values celebrated in the literature and traditions of the respective 
systems and cultures—Eurocentric and capitalist vs. Indigenous and communalist—that are 
typically presented and advocated by their advocates and adherents. It is very clear from the 
internal documents of the U.S. and Canadian Governments, as well as from the internal 
documents, diaries and memoirs of the missionaries and “Indian Agents”, that the core and 
defining values, institutions, practices, priorities, relationships and other dimensions of the 
culture of Indigenous nations, were not simply regarded and dismissed as “inferior” or backward; 
rather, they were first and foremost regarded as direct challenges (without any evangelical 
intentions by Indigenous Peoples to do so) to the core values, practices, relations, theologies 
and institutions—cultures—of capitalism and those of the settlers. Just as some capitalist 
nations have regarded the mere existence of socialism and socialist values as an existential 
threat, without any alleged overt or covert acts of aggression by socialist social formations like 
China, so Indigenous cultures and systems, with definite communalist and non­capitalist 
practices and values, were regarded as existential threats and banned. Even many Indigenous 
prayers, with communalist values, were seen as a threat to cultures—and interests—built on 
capitalism. Here are but two of many examples from the archives of the Department of Indian 
Affairs in Canada and the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the U.S. that show the real nature and 
intentions of their policies. For example, in many traditional societies, there is the sacred 
practice of “Potlatch” or “Give Aways” (Blackfoot) in which prized personal possessions are 
given away; they are not, by the way forms of “gambling” or “lotteries”. These ceremonies are 
designed to teach: the transient nature of all material possessions; not to become a slave to 
personal possessions; community spirit; compassion and that happiness of others is more 
important than individualistic and selfish desires and possessions. These traditional values are 
decidedly not consistent with market­based economies that are commonly based upon—often 
celebrated in elements of their social capital—greed, selfishness, ultra­individualism, 
competition, materialism, acquisitiveness, competition, narcissism and the logic of profits­for­
power­and­power­for­profits. That the conflicting core values, relationships and institutions of 
traditional Indigenous societies were in direct conflict with—and seen not co­exist with—those of 
market­based societies was seen early on in U.S. and Canadian histories. For example:

Office of Indian Affairs­Washington
Supplement to Circular No. 1665 February 14, 1923
Indian Dancing
To Superintendents: 

At a conference in October, 1922, of the missionaries of the several religious denominations 
represented in the Sioux country, the following recommendations were adopted and have been 
courteously submitted to this office:

1. That the Indian form of gambling[sic] and lottery[sic] known as the "ituranpi" (translated "Give 
Away") be prohibited.

2. That the Indian dances be limited to one in each month in the daylight hours of one day in the 
midweek, and at one center in each district; the months of March and April, June, July, and 
August be excepted.

3. That none take part in the dances or be present who are under 50 years of age.

4. That a careful propaganda be undertaken to educate public opinion against the dance and to 
provide a healthy substitute.

5. That there be close cooperation between the Government employees and the missionaries in 
those matters which affect the moral welfare of Indians.

…After a conscientious study of the dance situation in his jurisdiction, the efforts of every 
superintendent must persistently encourage and emphasize the Indian's attention to these 
political, useful, thrifty, and orderly activities that are indispensable to his well­being and that 
underlie the preservation of his race in the midst of complex and highly competitive conditions. 

The instinct of individual enterprise and devotion to the posterity and elevation of family life 
should in some way be made paramount in every Indian household to the exclusion of idleness, 
waste of time at frequent gatherings of whatever nature, and the neglect of physical resources 
upon which depend food, clothings[sic] , shelter, and the very beginnings of progress. [13]

"It is readily acknowledged that Indian children lose their natural resistance to illness by 
habitating[sic] so closely in these schools, and that they die at a much higher rate than in their 
villages. But this alone does not justify a change in the policy of this Department, which is 
geared towards the FINAL SOLUTION OF OUR INDIAN PROBLEM." [14]
And it is more than irony that the term “Final Solution of ‘our’ the Indian Problem” in the DIA 
memo of D.C. Scott is the exactly language used by the Nazis as in “Final Solution to the Jewish 
Problem”. The Alberta Sterilization Act of 1928[15], and the Eugenics Laws of 27 states of the 
U.S. were specifically cited by the German Nazis as the direct “inspirations” for their own 1933 
Race Hygiene Law and 1935 Nuremberg Race Laws.”[16] According to John Toland, biographer 
of Adolf Hitler: 

Hitler's concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so 
he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer 
prisoners in South Africa And for the Indians in the Wild West; and often praised to his inner 
circle the efficiency of America's extermination­by starvation and uneven combat­of the 'Red 
Savages' who could not be tamed by captivity.[17]

And from an internal document of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs:

"Set the blood­quantum at one­quarter, hold to it as a rigid definition of Indians, let intermarriage 
proceed, and eventually Indians will be defined out of existence. When that happens, the federal 
government will finally be freed from its persistent Indian problem."[18]

Thus it has been made clear by the U.S. and Canadian governments that Indigenous 
institutions, values and practices, Indigenous cultures and systems, are considered not only as 
“existential threats” to their own orders, institutions and values, but are considered 
fundamentally inconsistent with what they define as economic growth and development and the 
fundamental conditions and ingredients necessary for economic growth and overall 

Now let’s explore the model of Indigenous development and sustainability given below. The first 
thing that must be noticed is the four points of the model that correspond with the four primary 
directions of the compass: North, or Control of Assets; East, or Spirituality; South, or Kinship; 
and West, or Personal Efficacy. These imperatives are considered fundamental to overall 
development and sustainability in Indigenous terms.

Why are these four[19] core values and imperatives considered fundamental to development 
and sustainability in Indigenous terms? There is an old saying that sums it up: “It is better to 
know where to go and not know how, than to know how to go and not know where.” Technology, 
“Capital” even “land” and “Labor”, are part of the how to go and not where to go. Without 
Sovereignty and Control of Assets and critical resources, without Vision informed by 
Spirituality[20] , without Kinship and healthy families and Clans and Bands, without Personal 
Efficacy (health and viability) of individuals, no nation, especially one surrounded by hostile 
forces that consider its mere existence a “threat” of some sort, will grow, develop or even survive 
and be sustained. This is no different for China than it is for any Indigenous society and vice­
versa. Since its inception in 1949, the People’s Republic of China, with its own sovereign and 
socialist institutions and roads to growth, development and sustainability with Chinese 
characteristics, has been: encircled; threatened with nuclear annihilation; attacked internally by 
secessionist and separatist forces acting as proxies for foreign powers; hit with repeated 
embargos and denials of critical technologies and goods and services; slandered, demonized 
and isolated among the community of nations . [21]

Social systems engineering, to which all Indigenous nations, along with socialist nations like 
China have been subject, involves putting targeted nations under such siege from external and 
internal pressures that have been manufactured and/or exacerbated, that the targeted nation 
winds up in a straight jacket, forced to divert precious scarce resources into defense and away 
from development and sustainability, that the targeted nation appears to “conform”, and thus the 
“proof” has been engineered, of the caricatures that have been made of that targeted nation: 
“backward”; “repressive”; “inefficient”; “undemocratic”; “stagnant”[22] etc. But in a fair fight, or 
peaceful competition between systems, socialism beats capitalism any day, even in terms of 
capitalism’s own definitions and measurements of “efficiency”, just as traditional Indigenous 
societies beat modern­day assimilated BIA­DIA controlled and capitalist influenced Indigenous 
societies, in terms of all the requisite ingredients to development and sustainability shown in the 
traditional Indigenous model of development and sustainability, any day. That is why they were 
put under siege with their core institutions and values slandered, demonized and marginalized 
historically and in the present: in a fair and peaceful competition between systems, socialism 
beats capitalism, as Traditional ways are far superior, even in terms of levels of science and 
technology, than what has become of Indigenous societies in North America and elsewhere 
under capitalism and “modernity.” [23]
This is why I have urged young Chinese students who ask me about getting to go to school in 
the West to consider that they have some very fine teachers and schools in China and I have 
urged them, as a foreigner, not to worship things foreign. I have given the metaphor that if I were 
given a basic test of Economics in Mandarin, which I do not read, write or speak, it would 
appear that I know nothing of economics even though I have taught it over thirty years. This is 
only because I have been given a test and criteria of “success” that were designed and intended 
for me to fail and thus my “failure” and “proof” of my lack of knowledge of economics were 
“engineered” by those with the power to do so. The same holds for Indigenous societies put 
under siege by colonial and imperial powers to engineer the “proof” of their supposed 
“backwardness”, “stagnation” lack of “civilization”, etc; and thus my advice to Indigenous 
students, who seek capitalist “civilization” and “progress” away from Traditional Ways, is the 
same as my advice to Chinese students seeking supposed “advanced education” in the West: 
perhaps take a good look at, and then appreciate, what you have right in front of you. 

Notice in the Indigenous model of development and sustainability the focus is not on conquering 
or subduing nature but in working in harmony with nature. In Indigenous terms there is no such 
thing as Humankind versus Nature or the Environment as whenever humankind works against, 
or tries to conquer, the forces of that of which humankind is an integral part—“Nature”—then 
“Nature” is destined to win the battle as is evidenced by present­day global climate change and 
a whole host of threats to the planet that come from capitalist greed, myopia and disrespect for 
that—environment—of which humankind is an integral part of a delicate web of life froms and 
matter. Notice also that “Hope”, “Future Orientation”, “Cultural Integrity”, “Social Respect” and 
“Civic Participation”, all the elements of the overall construct of “social capital” to which modern­
day Economics is only beginning to mention as critical to growth and devleopment, has been a 
part of Traditional Indigenous thinking for thousands of years. Notice in the Indigenous model, 
the focus on Health and Safety, on Vibrant Initiatives, and on individuals taking “Personal 
Responsibility” for the “Consequences” of their actions, in addition to “Incomes” (how they are 
earned and used), “Productivity” and “Trade” as critical to development and sustainability. The 
Indigenous model includes, holistically, factors that are clearly critical to development and 
sustainability and yet are nowhere to be found and/or are only newly­emerging, in the Western 
and capitalist­based models of growth, development and sustainability.

Here is another Indigenous model of development and sustainability that manifests the some of 
same concepts and constructs:
(Source: Sustainomics and Sustainable Development—adapted from Munasinghe 1992, 1994 
Reprinted under Fair Use for Educational and Academic Exchange Purposes Only)
The warning against abuse of Nature and all that humankind is an integral part of has come 
from Indigenous Peoples over many years. Chief Sealth, of the Dwamish and Suquamish 
nations gave the following warning to U.S. President Franklin Pierce in 1855: 

" The Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. How can you buy 
or sell the sky­­the warmth of the land. The idea is strange to us. Yet we do not own the 
freshness of the air or the sparkle of the water. How can you buy them from us. Every part of 
this earth is sacred to my people. 

We know that the White Man does not understand our ways. One portion of the land is the same 
to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever 
he needs. The earth is not his brother but his enemy, and when he has conquered it he moves 
on. He leaves his father's graves and his children's birthright is forgotten.

There is no quiet place in the White Man's cities. No place to hear the leaves of spring or the 
rustle of insect wings. But perhaps because I am savage and do not understand­­the clatter only 
seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man[sic] cannot hear the lonely cry of the 
whippoorwill or the arguments of a frog around the pond at night.

The Whites too, shall pass­­perhaps sooner than other tribes. Continue to contaminate your bed 
and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. When the buffalo are all slaughtered, the 
wild horses tamed the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent of many men, and the 
view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires. Where is the thicket. Gone. Where is the eagle. 
Gone. And what is it to say goodbye to the swift and the hunt. The end of living and the 
beginning of survival. " [24]

Chief Sealth 1855

I once gave a lecture at Tsinghua University entitled Socialism versus Capitalism: Which Will 
Win? I answered the central question of the lecture that I do not know which will win; but I do 
know which must win for the planet and humankind to survive: Socialism (and some Traditional 
Indigenous values that closely parallel socialist values). Capitalism, simply, has destroyed and 
will destroy this planet. 


[1] Externalities are costs or benefits that accrue to society as a result of private or public 
transactions and activities by individuals or entities within that society. Environmental 
destruction, social alienation, citizen cynicism and distrust are all examples of negative 
externalities with social costs, that result and “spillover” on society from private or public 
activities. Externalities can also be positive such as the health benefits on many people from 
use of a public park or perhaps a private gymnasium. In “mainstream” neoclassical economic 
theory, without the very government intervention that they neoclassical economists often decry, 
there is a tendency for unregulated markets, coupled with greed and competitive imperatives, to 
cause less than all the true (private plus social) costs to be assessed and paid by those causing 
them and less than the true benefits (private plus social) to be assessed and paid by those 
receiving them. Thus unregulated markets tend to over­production and under­pricing when 
negative externalities are present, and under­production and under­pricing when positive 
externalities are present. 

[2] Capital is usually defined as any “thing” that has been produced specifically in order to 
produce something else. But capital is also a social relation in the sense that under capitalism 
and private property, those who own and/or control capital are, by virtue of their ownership and 
control, able to hire and fire and make basic decisions about the use or non­use, employment or 
non­employment of that capital while those who labor, who have nothing to sell but their labor 
power or capacity to work, are, by virtue of their lack of ownership and/or control of capital, the 
ones who are the hired and fired and the ones whose ability to sell their labor power is 
dependent upon the decisions of those who own and/or control the capital. Capital stands in 
relation to and is defined by Labor and vice­versa.

[3] Hanifan, Lyda Judson, “The Rural School Community Center”, Annals of the American 
Academy of Political Science, 67 (1916): pp. 130­138. Note: An excellent overview of the 
development of the concept of social capital, for which I am indebted, can be found in: Putnam, 
Robert D. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community, Simon and 
Schuster, N.Y. 2000 and also in Putnam, Robert D (ed), Democracies in Flux: The Evolution of 
Social Capital in Contemporary Society, Oxford University Press, N.Y. 2002

[4] Seeley, John R, Sim, Alexander and Loosley, Elizabeth; Crestwood Heights: A Study of the 
Culture of Suburban Life, Basic Books, N.Y. 1956

[5] Jacobs, Jane, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Random House, N.Y. 1961

[6] Loury, Glenn, “A Dynamic Theory of Racial Income Differences” in Women, Minorities and 
Employment Discrimination, Wallace, P.A. and LeMund, A (eds), Lexington Books, Lexington 
Mass. 1977
[7] Bourdieu, Pierre, “Forms of Capital” in Handbook of Theory and Research for The Sociology 
of Education Richardson, John (Ed), Greenwood Books, N.Y. 1983
[8] Schlicht, Ekkehart, “Cognitive Dissonance in Economics” in Normengeleitetes Verhalten in 
den Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker and Humblot, Berlin, 1984
[9] Coleman, James, “Social Capital in the Creation of Human Capital” in American Journal of 
Sociology, 94 (1988)

[1o] See Colander, David, Economics 7th Edition, Power point slide 24­15, McGraw­Hill, N.Y. 
2006; quote of Edward Denison who saw U.S. economic growth 1928­2005 as a function of 4 
basic sources: Physical Capital 19%; Human Capital 13%; Labor 33% and Technology 35%

[11] A Tautology is a circular argument or definition. Examples include “Science is what 
scientists do and scientists are those who do science.” Or, science is that which builds upon a 
foundation of what was generally regarded by a community of scientists as science.” Here by 
defining as economic growth and development what is in essence central to capitalism and its 
survival (conspicuous consumption of ever expanding material goods and services per capita) 
and by defining as essential to achieving economic growth and development that which is 
defining in capitalism (production of commodities by means of commodities, markets, property 
rights, wage labor) we wind up with a tautology that capitalism = economic growth and 
development and/or only capitalism can best and most efficiently promote and achieve 
economic growth and development.

[12] Adapted from Seib, Rebecca, “Culturally Appropriate Community Economic Development: 
Aboriginal Land Development Conference”, June 22­25, 2004, University of Saskatchewan, 
Saskatoon, Saskatchewan under Fair Use Doctrine.

[13] Long Standing Bear Chief, “Ni Kso Ko Wa: Blackfoot Traditions and Spirituality” pp. 8­9, 
Spirit Talk Press, Browning, Montana, 1992
[14] Department of Indian Affairs, Superintendent D.C. Scott to B.C. Indian Agent­General Major 
D. McKay, DIA Archives, RG­10 series, April 12, 1910 (emphasis added)

[15] The 1948 UN Convention on Genocide, to which Canada became a signatory in 1953 and 
to which the U.S. still remains not a full signatory because of the Hatch, Helms and Lugar 
“Sovereignty Amendment of 1988, in Article II defines a five­part test, any one of which, not all 
required to constitutes genocide: a) Killing members of the group; b) Causing serious bodily or 
mental harm to members of the group; c) Deliberately inflicting upon a group conditions of life 
calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; d) Imposing measures 
designed to prevent births within the group; e) Forcibly transferring children of one group to 
another group.
[16] Black, Edwin, “War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a 
Master Race” Thunder’s Mouth Press N.Y. 2003; Alberta Sterilization Victims Also Used as 
Guinea Pigs Revelation Comes as 40 victims win $4M settlement; Marina Jimenez National 
Post 10/28/98 

[17] Toland, John, “Adolf Hitler”, Vol II, p. 802, Doubleday and Co. N.Y. 1976
[18] Limerick, Patricia Nelson, “The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of American West” 
WW. Norton and Co. N.Y. 1987 p. 338 

[19] In most Indigenous cultures, the number four is not merely a quantity or cardinal magnitude, 
without quality or force as in many Eurocentric cultures (four of what?); it has its own power, 
symbolism and force giving it quality in addition to quantity. The number four stands for: the four 
principle directions of the compass (North, South, East and West); the four principle colors of 
the human family (Black White Red and Yellow); the four forms of balance that all humans must 
seek to survive and prosper (Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual); the four basic elements 
of Nature (Wind, Fire, Earth and Water). In this model, there are four basic dimensions of 
development and sustainability that illustrate the dialectical unity of the macro and the micro 
levels of existence: control of assets and kinship (macro) and personal efficacy and spirituality 

[20] In most Indigenous cultures, “Spirituality” (more an individual matter) is differentiated from 
religion which is about organized dogma and rituals shared by a community of the religious. 
“Spirituality” means being guided by the “spirit” of something transcendent and beyond oneself. 
When indigenous people refer to “spirit” they are referring to the potential energy (as specified in 
the four laws of thermodynamics) embodied in all things and thus one reason why Indigenous 
peoples do not differentiate “animate” and “inanimate” aspects of the cosmos.
[21] The so­called Republic of China or Taiwan is currently only recognized by 23 nation states 
including the Vatican, as the supposed “legitimate government” of all of China whereas up until 
the 1970s, the reality and legitimacy of the People’s Republic of China as the sole and legitimate 
government of all of China was denied except by a handful of nations yet the objective reality of 
and international law supporting, the PRC as the sole and legitimate representative of the whole 
nation of China was never in question by any honest and thinking person or government. 

[22] For example: "I don’ t see why we need to stand by and watch a country go communist due 
to the irresponsibility of its own people. The issues are much too important for the Chilean 
voters to be left to decide for themselves." (Henry Kissinger); "Not a nut or bolt shall reach Chile 
under Allende. Once Allende comes to power we shall do all within our power to condemn Chile 
and all Chileans to utmost deprivation and poverty." (Edward M. Korry, U.S. Ambassador to 
Chile, upon hearing of Allende"s election) "Make the economy scream [in Chile to] prevent 
Allende from coming to power or to unseat him"(Richard Nixon, orders to CIA director Richard 
Helms on September 15, 1970) "It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a 
coup. It would be much preferable to have this transpire prior to 24 October but efforts in this 
regard will continue vigorously beyond this date. We are to continue to generate maximum 
pressure toward this end, utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions 
be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG and American hand be well 
hidden..." (A communiqué to the CIA base in Chile, issued on October 16, 1970.) Also quoted in 
:Neoclassical Economics and Neo­liberalism as Neo­Imperialism” by James 
Craven/Omahkohkiaayo I’poyi, Lecture to Academy of Marxism of the Chinese Academy of 
Social Sciences, August 11, 2009, Beijing, China.
[23] See: Weatherford, Jack, “Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America”, Fawcett 
Columbine, N.Y. 1991;”Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the World 
1988; “Savages and Civilization: Who Will Survive?” 1994. Peat, F. David “Blackfoot Physics”, 
Weiser Books, Boston, 2002 pp 191, 193­96, 216

[24] This was based on a translation of a speech by Chief Sealth from Suquamish into Chinook 
jargon and then into English. Its authenticity has been questioned and that of Chief Sealth only 
on the basis that he sounded “too articulate” to be the real author and that “thus” it “must have 
been” written by a screenwriter.

Posted by Omahkohkiaayo i'poyi at 6:38 AM Links to this post 

Indigenous Epistemology and Science: Some Parallels and Contrasts with Neoclassical Theory(NT), Chaos 
Theory(CT) and Dialectical­Materialism(DHM) 

Indigenous Epistemology and Science: Some Parallels and Contrasts with Neoclassical  
Theory (NT), Chaos Theory (CT) and Dialectical­Historical Materialism (DHM)

Presented at the 16th Congress of the IUAES, Kunming, China July 26­31

By James Craven/Omahkohkiaayo I’poyi

"If the construction of the future and its completion for all time is not our task, all the  
more certain is what we must accomplish in the present; I mean, the ruthless criticism of  
everything that exists—the criticism being ruthless in the sense that it neither fears its  
own results nor fears conflict with the powers that be."

(Karl Marx, from Letter to Arnold Ruge, 1843)


In his extensive treatise on “Native science” Gregory Cajete notes that in “all” Indigenous 
languages, there is no word for “science”:
“In Native languages there is no word for ‘science’ nor for 'philiosophy', ‘psychology’ or any other 
foundational way of coming to know and understand the nature of life and our relationships 
therein. Not having, or more accurately, not needing, words for science, art, or psychology, did 
not diminish their importance in Native life. For Native people, ‘seeking life’ was the all 
encompassing task. While there were tribal specialists with particular knowledge of technologies 
and ritual, each member of the tribe in his or her own capacity was a scientist, an artist, a 
storyteller and a participant in the great web of life.”[1]

That begs important questions for some, like Thomas S. Kuhn[2] , one of the most frequently 
consulted and cited authorities who wrote on the nature and history of science[3] : If certain 
cultures, say Indigenous cultures (not discussed by Kuhn) do not even have a word for science, 
how could it be possible, no matter what their purported achievements, that what they were 
doing that yielded those achievements, could be considered “science”? Can we arrive at a 
comprehensive and objective definition of “science” that transcends culture, who is doing the 
defining, his or her interests or motives in doing science, and the paradigm he or she employs in 
arriving at the definition? Or, are we stuck, like a blind person trying to define and give an image 
of the totality of an elephant in the abstract, by simply feeling and listing its separate parts or 

Albert Einstein noted that the business of science is reality. One definition of science has to do 
with the purported goals of science versus non­science. Science is that which seeks not simply 
facts or “knowledge” in some abstract sense, but seeks to discover of the essences under the 
surfaces of phenomena of an objective reality, and, the ultimate laws governing those 
phenomena and aspects of that reality. But that notion of what is science leaves us in a 
dilemma: Since old notions of the essences of and even laws governing, various phenomena, 
discovered in the past by what was then considered “science”, are often challenged, modified or 
even refuted by new notions about the essences of and laws governing those phenomena, then 
can we ever have “science” since one of the essential purposes of science is to continually 
challenge and test its own notions and conclusions to find new and more universally valid ones? 
Kuhn has an answer for that dilemma that is somewhat tautological. He notes that science is 
that which builds on a foundation of what was generally considered to be science that preceded 
it, and is not dependent upon how fixed and universal are its purported conclusions about 
phenomena, but on the methods, approaches, tools, standards, validity tests, and paradigms 
employed to arrive at those notions and conclusions. Indeed for Kuhn, the term “science” 
appears to be more of a noun [4] than a verb or adjective although at times he did recognize 
science as a process. Kuhn appears to see science more as a “constellation of facts, theories 
and methods collected in current texts”[5] ; and his views sometime border on pure tautology.[6]

Yet Kuhn also went through a bit of a change between the first and third editions of his essay. In 
his original 1962 first edition, he makes the following remarkable statement:

“But only the civilizations that descended from Hellenic Greece possessed more than the most 
rudimentary science”[7]

I say that this statement of Kuhn is remarkable because his essay has nothing about views, 
approaches to or definitions of, science, not from the “Classical” or Eurocentric sources and 
perspectives. The closest he gets to exploring that non­Eurocentric approaches and discoveries 
might have also been “science” and possibly advanced over some contemporary Eurocentric 
contributions is in the following:

“In recent years however, a few historians of science have been finding it more and more difficult 
to fullfil[sic] the functions that the concept of development­by­accumulation assigns to them. As 
chroniclers of an incremental process, they discover that additional research makes it harder, 
not easier, to answer questions like: When was oxygen discovered? Who first conceived of 
energy conservation? Increasingly, a few of them suspect that these are simply the wrong sorts 
of questions to ask. Perhaps science does not develop by accumulation of individual discoveries 
and inventions. Simultaneously, these same historians confront growing difficulties in 
distinguishing the ‘scientific’ component of past observation and belief from what their 
predecessors readily labeled ‘error’ and ‘superstition’. The more carefully they study, say, 
Aristotelian dynamics, phlogistic chemistry, or caloric thermodynamics, the more certain they 
feel that those once current views of nature were, as a whole, neither less scientific nor more the 
product of human idiosyncrasy than those current today. If these out­of­date beliefs are to be 
called myths, then myths can be produced by the same sorts of methods and held for the same 
sorts of reasons that now lead to scientific knowledge. If, on the other hand, they are to be 
called science, then science has included bodies of belief quite incompatible with the ones we 
hold today. Given these alternatives, the historian must choose the latter. Out­of­date theories 
are not in principle unscientific because they have been discarded. That choice however, makes 
it difficult to see scientific development as a process of accretion. The same historical research 
that displays the difficulties in isolating the individual inventions and discoveries gives ground for 
profound doubts about the cumulative process through which these individual contributions to 
science were thought to have been compounded.”[8]

So we still have a ways to go to arrive at a generalized definition of science that allows us to 
proceed to determine if Indigenous cultures have indeed been doing and contributing to science 
and the parallels and contrasts with other paradigms purporting to be scientific. Samir Amin 

“Scientific theory is, after all, not theory that merely takes account of facts, but theory that 
proceeds from facts in order to integrate them into a coherent system”

That “coherent system” would have to include, as a key component, core principles and 
postulates of its own epistemology [10]; on what basis can we say we “know” something to be a 
fact before taking account of or proceeding from what we believe to be facts. That “coherent 
system” would have to include concrete approaches, criteria, methodologies, instruments, 
standards and tests for establishing the likely validity and reliability of facts, generalizations, 
theories, axioms and laws as well as criteria for selecting what to analyze in the first place. And 
that “coherent system” would have to have its own essential or foundational postulates and 
axioms about the essential nature of reality that must be accepted prior to any discussions 
about or approaches to understanding the essences of that reality. These foundational and 
guiding postulates may or may not be explicit but must be consistently applied. These “coherent 
systems” make up what Kuhn calls “paradigms” [11] and what others call schools of thought or 
“a science”. Since these paradigms include epistemologies, they should also contain postulates 
about the roles and limitations of human beings (biases, psychological filters, interests, 
constraints, physiology and contexts) involved in doing science and knowing as well.

Classical and Neoclassical Paradigms of “Science”

Neoclassical approaches in Economics that have been increasingly applied in other social 
sciences such as Anthropology, Ethnology, Sociology, History and Political Science draw heavily 
from the basic postulates about reality and knowing that originate from the classical­Greek­
based and Newtonian notions of science and reality. For example, in Newton’s Three Laws of 
Motion and in the four Laws of Thermodynamics, we can see the focus on closed systems, 
clock­like mechanics, on reductionism (the notion that the task of science is to reduce all 
phenomena to their “essential” elements and building blocks) but also other foci and postulates 
central to Classical and Neoclassical notions of “Science”[12]:

1) Focus on equilibrium states­­static or dynamic­­disturbed only by Exogenous (external) forces 
followed by endogenous processes creating new equilibriums;

2) Focus on ultimate Independent (Causal) and Dependent (Effect) variables in causality;

3) Focus on systems as morphostatic or endogenously self­correcting and self­equilibrating 

4) Focus on unidirectional causality (X ­­> Y ­­> Z) and process;

5) Focus on negative (equilibrating) feedback effects.

6) Focus on closed systems;

7) Focus on a­priori sources and indirect proofs of knowledge;

8) The whole (macro) is merely the sum of its parts (micro) and the micro is a concentrated 
expression or microcosm of the whole;

9) Phenomena may be experimentally isolated and analyzed independent of the contexts and 
interactions with other variables with which they interact in reality;

10) Philosophical positivism: the only test of the validity hypotheses (including the validity of 
assumptions in hypotheses and deduction) is prediction (hypothetico deductivism);

11) As there is an objective reality independent of subjective biases and their causes, so there 
can be scientific methods and tools that are objective and value­free of any interests or biases 
on the part of scientists using them;
12) All hypotheses must be potentially falsifiable and all variables potentially measurable;

13) Aspects of reality may be analytically separated and studied in specialized disciplines;

(Source Henderson, Hazel,; reprinted under 
Fair Use Doctrine)

Classical approaches to science have yielded impressive discoveries that have made 
both positive and negative impacts on the planet and on humankind. As prediction and 
application are concrete tests of the “science” that went into yielding the particular 
predictions and applications, then discoveries of new drugs to extend human life, 
sending people 246,000 miles to land on a particular spot on the moon and return, and 
many other such achievements are testimonies to the power and methodological 
approaches embodied in what is known as “normal” of Classical and Neoclassical 
“science”. But then again, we could also chronicle some of the achievements, many 
unknown until recently, of Indigenous Science. The concept of Zero was first developed 
and used by the Mayans, many centuries before its recognition and application in the 
Near East and Europe. [13] The uses of natural medicines like Quinine for Malaria and 
Tubocurarine used today in abdominal surgery are but two of many examples.[14] There 
are achievements like Machu Picchu that represent advanced and integrated 
applications of principles of architecture, engineering, physics and cosmology that could 
not be duplicated by “modern” or “normal” science today.[15] In his trilogy, Jack 
Weatherford documents Indigenous pioneering achievements, “discovered” only 
centuries later by “normal science” in the areas of constitutions and governance, military 
tactics, agriculture and agronomy, cosmology, long distance navigation, architecture, 
engineering, medicine including even neurosurgery, unified monetary systems for long 
distance trade, preservatives for foods, mathematics and symbolic logic, flora and fauna 
management and breeding, effective education and pedagogy, law and constitutions, 
meteorology, immunology, and the list goes on.[16]

Theoretical physicist F. David Peat, who lived among the Blackfoot and studied 
Blackfoot ceremonies like the Sun Dance as well as symbols, allegories and even 
language structure, found evidence of very advanced constructs of Quantum 
Mechanics, some “discovered” only in the early 20th century by “normal science”. These 
include: Superpositionality; Subtle Energy and Matter; Electrons; Wave­Particle duality; 
Entanglement; Bose­Einstein Condensates; Mass­Energy Equivalence; Heisenberg’s 
Uncertainty Principle; Fractals; The Four Laws of Thermodynamics; Grassmann 
Algebra. [17] From his studies of both Indigenous and what Kuhn called “normal” 
science, Peat concludes:

“During the first contact, Europeans were confident that they were the bearers of truth, 
truth about religion and government, truth about science and law. But today that 
confidence has been shaken. For some people, the truths of institutional religions are no 
longer self­evident, or even credible. And science, which has been through two great 
revolutions—quantum theory and relativity—is much less confident about the nature of 
objective truth.” [18]

More and more Classical science’s own concrete tests of validity of theory, prediction 
and application, are calling into question, the fundamental and defining postulates or 
asserted axioms, along with the often myopic reductionism, of Classical science itself. 
The most obvious example is global climate change about which there is not only 
disagreement by normal science and its scientists, as to its dimensions, dynamics, 
impacts and causes, but one may easily argue, that global climate change, which 
threatens the planet itself, is itself partly, or even largely, the product of the ultra­
reductionism, ultra­specialization, myopia and non­holistic nature of what passes as 
“normal science”—especially when coupled and driven by the short­run, profit, 
competitive­survival imperatives of capitalism. Some argue that the paradigm of 
Classical science, that includes the notion that the whole is simply the sum of its parts, 
coupled with ultra­reductionism and ultra­specialization among various academic 
disciplines, leads easily to the “Fallacy of Composition” (“What is true in the particular 
must be true in general”) and the “Tragedy of the Commons” (individuals acting 
competitively and individualistically in what they think is rational self­interest in the short­
run, destroying scarce and vital common resources necessary for collective as well as 
individual survival in the long­run) are being manifested and played out on national, 
regional and global scales with potentially disastrous consequences.[19]

In the social sciences, in attempts to gain legitimacy as “sciences”, there have been 
attempts to deal with some of the more glaring contradictions in neoclassical economics 
while preserving the essential postulates of the paradigm, and to extend Neoclassical 
constructs into other disciplines such as Sociology, History and even in Ethnology and 
Anthropology. Just like impersonal and “value­free” particles in perpetual motion in time­
space, or the basic elements of all matter, of Physics and Chemistry, human beings are 
assumed to be “economic agents” or “Homo Oeconomicus” (Economic Man”)[20] driven 
by bundles of propensities that are part of some immutable iron­laws and eternal 
“Human Nature”, to engage in predictable behaviors with ultimate causes or 
independent variables for all behavior (e.g. maximization of utility). The behaviors of 
these human particles (agents) in time­space, are asserted to arise irrespective of such 
“fuzzy” and “immeasurable” (or not cardinally quantifiable) variables or factors such as 
historical context, type of socioeconomic system, personal histories, social class, race, 
ethnicity, religion, age, ideology, culture or any other real­world differences that are 
manifested among human beings. And since the social sciences are increasingly loaded 
with higher level mathematics to make them appear more scientific and rigorous[21], 
and since mathematics is assumed to be “value­free”, these disciplines increasingly 
argue that they only do “Positive” analysis (from Philosophical Positivism at the core of 
their epistemology: What is pure value­free cause and effect or how the world actually 
works) instead of “Normative” analysis (How the world “should” work).

What is interesting about many scientists of the Classical and Neoclassical persuasions 
is the lack of interest they appear to have on evolving research on the biological, 
chemical, psychological and physiological mechanisms and factors that cause human 
perception and other senses to be as shaped by what they think (paradigms) as what 
they think is shaped by what they see, hear, smell, touch and taste. In other words not 
only “seeing is believing”, but “believing is seeing.”Indeed the different paradigms that 
shape even what we choose to study, along with the sources and methods we use and 
consider legitimate, not only “explain the world differently, but also induce us to see a 
different world to explain.”[22]

These are issues dealing with limitations of the senses and roles of ideology in shaping 
perceptions and interests, not traditionally covered in epistemology, but certainly part of 
the problem of “knowing”, that are now being covered by some evolutionary biologists, 
cognitive psychologists and neurobiologists, that have long been incorporated into 
“Native Science” as well as more sophisticated versions of Dialectical­Historical 
Materialism. They have not been brought into the overall epistemologies of the 
Classical­Neoclassical or even Chaos­Complexity paradigms.

Indigenous Science

When speaking about what some call “Native Science” and what others call “Indigenous 
Science we faced several limitations. First of all, different Indigenous nations are exactly 
that: different nations with different histories, land bases, cultures, languages, 
socioeconomic structures etc that have some things in common but also some forms 
and levels of diversity as well. Secondly, the accounts we have are for the most part 
from those who study Indigenous societies but are not from or a part of the objects 
(cultures and paradigms) of their research.[23]

Is there some kind of evolving body or “coherent system”, of core principles and 
methods, tests of validity and reliability, procedures, axioms etc that would allow us to 
speak of Indigenous or Native “science” or a distinctive Native paradigm? We can list 
some of the core principles, axioms etc that form a coherent system that, as science is 
supposed to do, can be used not only to establish correlations and recurring patterns in 
aspects of reality, but also provide narratives and explanations as to why various 
predictable patterns and cycles occur with regularity in the cosmos on the one hand, 
versus highly conditional probabilities but not certainties on the quantum levels of 
reality.[24] In Native science, the supposed contradiction between mere probabilities at 
the quantum or sub­atomic level of reality, as studied by Quantum Mechanics, versus 
regular, predictable and certain patterns and cycles of celestial bodies at the level of 
General Relativity Theory, is no contradiction. In all of what appears to be “chaos” of 
multiple­dimensions and probabilities but no certainties at the quantum level, there is 
often embodied the potential for order; and in all of what appears to be predictable, 
certain and recurring “order” at the macro level, there are contradictions and delicate 
webs of interdependency with the potential for chaos and implosion. In this respect and 
in others we shall discuss, Native science has more in common with Chaos Theory and 
Dialectical­Historical Materialism, which is not to say that Native science rejects all of 
Classical science.[25]

Some Principles and Approaches of Native Science

• The only constant is change (CT and DHM);

• Mathematics important but not foundational; mathematics not value free (CT and 

• No ultimate independent (causal) or dependent (effect) variables (CT, DHM);

• All phenomena in process; thus phenomenon A can both be and yet not be (CT, DHM);

• All variables are endogenous (internal) depending upon scope/angle of analysis (CT, 

• Reality is non­linear, causality is multidirectional and multi­faceted, development is not 
unidirectional from lower to higher orders; (CT and DHM);

• What Native People mean by “Spirit” is concentrated energy­matter, that is neither 
created nor destroyed but transformed from form to form and level to level in accordance 
with what amounts to the four Laws of Thermodynamics,[26];

• There is an objective reality outside of our consciousness but the relationships 
between ontology (existence) and epistemology (knowing) or between being and 
consciousness, are dialectical two­way as part of any reality involves the perceptions 
and interactions of those immersed in that reality. (CT, DHM);

• The notion that everything is interrelated, that there are no ultimate causes and effects 
of any phenomena, that all of the Cosmos involves extensive and delicate webs of 
interrelationships, actually aids rather than inhibits effective working models and 
narratives about how and why a particular phenomenon occurs, or why something 
works a certain way, or what will likely happen from given actions in Nature; (CT, DHM);

• The purpose of science is not to attempt to conquer, subdue or mitigate the forces and 
interrelationships of nature, but to understand them and work in accordance with them 
to achieve survival and subsistence; (CT, DHM);

• Phenomena may appear self­equilibrating and Morphostatically stable, but they are in 
reality, continually in motion, subject to negative and positive feedback effects, driven by 
internal contradictions and interrelationships, to produce morphogenetic systems and 
outcomes that often represent qualitative leaps or volatile changes from relatively small 
quantitative changes over time.[27](CT,DHM);

• The context within which a given phenomenon being studied is never constant and can 
never realistically be treated as “a constant” or a “given” but it is an essential part of 
understanding what a given phenomenon within and part of—forming—that context is 
doing and why. (CT,DHM);

• The task of science is not simply to establish correlations between apparent or surface 
phenomena, or even to posit cause and effect, but to explain, with various kinds of 
narratives, why, with what periodicity, patterns and effects these interrelationships occur 
and in what directions are they changing; (DHM some CT);

• There is a dialectical unity between apparent Chaos and Order in that they are not only 
definitionally related, each defines the other, but are functionally related as in all 
apparent order is the potential for breakdown into chaos and in all apparent chaos there 
is underlying order to be discovered. (CT and DHM);

• Constructs and distinctions between time and space, animate and non­animate, 
individual and society, dreams and visions, perception and reality, causality and 
synchronicity, and time and eternity are our own constructs, imposed on reality because 
of, and manifesting, our own epistemological and other limitations more than the 
intrinsic nature of the reality.[28];

• The task of science is to discover both the implicate as well as explicate orders of 
reality [29];
• The task of science is not to dismiss from analysis anomalies that occur outside of or 
in contradiction to validating or nullifying predictions of hypotheses, but to explain them 
also without fear or favor to their implications on established interests (DHM)[30];

• Spirituality is not religion; it is being guided by the “spirit” (potential energy) of 
something beyond oneself and to understand the relationships of the phenomena of 
reality; part of scientific epistemology [31];

• All equations and models are symbolic representations or symbolic narratives (stories) 
about aspects of reality as much as story narratives; story narratives may be expressed 
in forms of equations—and vice versa­­and may well capture more of the totality and 
essence of an aspect of reality than mathematical equations. (CT and DHM);

• True science must not merely be “interdisciplinary” but trans­disciplinary as reality is 
an indivisible totality and not simply social, economic, physical chemical or 

• “Nature “ is not simply a collection of objects, but rather a dynamic, ever­flowing river 
of creation inseparable from our own perceptions…the creative center from which we 
and everything else have come and to which we always return.”[33] (CT, DHM)

• “As we experience the world, so are we also experienced by the world.”[34](CT, DHM)

• In understanding phenomena, science can never effectively remain, or claim to 
remain, detached from that of which it is an integral part; total integrated immersion of 
the five senses plus cognition are required at all times; “controlled” experimentation, 
abstraction, simplification, instrumentation and the search for uniformity and “laws” are 
limited and said to be of limited value;

• Stories, trans­cultural symbols, allegories, metaphors serve as the same functions as 
theories, models and equations in normal science; languages are verb rather than noun­
based emphasizing science as process rather than as a body or stock of tools and 
approaches; (CT, DHM)

• All of existence, including science, has purpose and the calling of science as with all 
activity, is to serve the community and its survival and sustainability. (DHM)

• The question of who is to benefit and who is to lose—for whom—is a central question 
for all science (CT, DHM)

These are but some of the core or foundational or defining ontological and 
epistemological principles of Indigenous science and how they parallel and/or contrast 
with Classical Science or what Kuhn calls “normal science” as well as with Chaos 
Theory and Dialectical­Historical Materialism as distinct paradigms. Of course in this 
exposition, some abstractions and simplifications have to be made for purposes of 
brevity and summarizing in a space­constrained exposition.

It would be a mistake to simply and summarily dismiss, as mere superstition, folkways, 
myths, and metaphysics what is increasingly being recognized as a whole and coherent 
system that qualifies as Native science and that has indeed produced some 
achievements that “modern” and “normal science” have no existing means or 
technologies to duplicate. In the symbols, rituals and ceremonies, structures like the 
Medicine Wheel, and numbers like the Sacred “Number Four”[35] one can find, and 
many Indigenous people understand, complex algorithms about the order of the 
Cosmos that guide everyday events and practices. Applying the tests of prediction and 
application favored by “normal science”, then Native science can make every claim to 
be science and perhaps more so than Classical science. How many pharmaceuticals in 
use today were first developed and used by Indigenous cultures and were then only 
considered to have been “discovered”, like the “discoveries” of Columbus, when 
obtained by Eurocentric forces and cultures? How do we explain the precision of the 
Mayan Calendars if some kind of “science” was not going on? How do we explain the 
democratic institutions, agricultural practices, animal husbandry, cosmology, 
engineering of the likes of Macchu Pichu, and indeed warnings of the past that turned 
out to be very prophetic for the present and future that went unanswered and at our own 
peril [36]:

Letter from Chief Sealth to President Franklin Pierce­­1855

" The Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land. How can 
you buy or sell the sky­­the warmth of the land. The idea is strange to us. Yet we do not 
own the freshness of the air or the sparkle of the water. How can you buy them from us. 
Every part of this earth is sacred to my people.

We know that the White Man does not understand our ways. One portion of the land is 
the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from 
the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother but his enemy, and when he 
has conquered it he moves on. He leaves his father's graves and his children's birthright 
is forgotten.

There is no quiet place in the White Man's cities. No place to hear the leaves of spring 
or the rustle of insect wings. But perhaps because I am savage and do not understand­­
the clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man[sic] cannot 
hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of a frog around the pond at 

The Whites too, shall pass­­perhaps sooner than other tribes. Continue to contaminate 
your bed and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. When the buffalo are all 
slaughtered, the wild horses tamed the secret corners of the forest heavy with the scent 
of many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires. Where is the thicket. 
Gone. Where is the eagle. Gone. And what is it to say goodbye to the swift and the 
hunt. The end of living and the beginning of survival. "

Chief Sealth 1855

Just as with losses of all sorts of flora and fauna species due to global climate change 
and other factors is causing losses of potential medicines for present and emerging 
diseases [37], so losses of whole Indigenous cultures represent losses for all of 
humanity of knowledge, values, practices and approaches to science that have 
produced and are producing many achievements that attest to their worth. It is not only 
flora and fauna diversity that will save this planet, preservation of cultural diversity is a 
survival imperative for the planet and humanity.

Where will the Classical Science take us? The answer is partly revealed in the products 
of the so­called “‘The’ [as if there were only one] “Scientific Method” (for good and bad) 
when coupled with the nature, logic and dynamics of various types of social systems 
that drive and utilize it.
(Architects and Engineers for Truth Slideshow)


[1] Cajete, Gregory; “Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence”, Clear Light 
Publishers, Santa Fe, N.M. p.2

[2] Kuhn, Thomas S. “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: Third Edition”, University 
of Chicago Press, 1996

[3] Kuhn, Thomas Ibid. Kuhn wrote specifically on what he called “normal science” or a 
concept of science originating in Hellenic Greece and expressed in the foundations and 
traditions developed by Newton. Kuhn did not explore or even explicitly mention any 
non­Eurocentric notions or examples of science or scientific­like methods and 

[4] “English, and for that matter French, German, Italian and the other European 
languages are noun­oriented. They are employed to divide the world into physical 
objects (nouns) and thinking into separate concepts (again nouns). Many Native 
American languages do not work this way. They are verb­based. Thus, when in English 
we speak of “medicine” we automatically seek a referent, a substance, an object, 
something tangible, and something that can be conceptualized. But suppose we begin 
with something verbal, with activity, process, a movement of harmony and balance. 
Medicine could then be felt in the beating of the heart, sensed as a movement around 
the sacred circle, the wind blowing through the leaves of the tress, the growing of green 
plants, and the astronomical alignments of the medicine wheel.” Peat, F. David, 
“Blackfoot Physics” Weiser Books, Boston, MA. 2005, p. 128

[5] Kuhn, Thomas S. op. cit. . p. 1

[6] A Tautology is a circular argument or definition. Examples include “Science is what 
scientists do and scientists are those who do science.” Or, science is that which builds 
upon a foundation of what was generally regarded by a community of scientists as 

[7] Kuhn, Thomas, op. cit, 1962 Edition, pp. 167­68

[8] Kuhn, Thomas S. op cit, Third Edition, pp. 2­3

[9] Amin, Samir, “Accumulation on a World Scale: A Critique of the Theory of 
Underdevelopment” Vol I, Monthly Review Press, N.Y. 1974 p. 2

[10] Epistemology means a Theory of Knowledge (also a coherent system) from the 
Greek “episteme” meaning knowledge or science and “logos” meaning theory of. A 
branch of philosophy dealing with the scope, limitations and tests of knowledge. What is 
knowledge? How is knowledge acquired? ; What do people know? How do we know 
what we know? Why do we know what we know? “Propositional knowledge” or 
knowledge that is distinguished from knowledge how. Knowledge involves belief but 
knowledge about a belief does not endorse the truth or accuracy of the belief. According 
to Aristotle:"To say of something which is that it is not, or to say of something which is 
not that it is, is false. However, to say of something which is that it is, or of something 
which is not that it is not, is true." Socrates, via Plato defined “knowledge” as “true belief 
that has been given an account of.” Edmund Gettier proposed thought experiments 
(Gettier cases) to show that a given belief may be justified and true and yet not count as 
knowledge. Another doctrine is called “infallibilism” that says to qualify as knowledge, a 
belief must be not only true and justified, but that the justification for it must necessitate 
its truth. Another doctrine is that of “indefeasibility” employed in indirect proofs that says 
there must be no overriding or defeating truths against the reasons for the belief. 
“Reliabilism” is a doctrine that says a belief is justified only if it is established via a 
process that yields a sufficiently high ratio of true to false beliefs. Knowledge may be 
gained A­priori or outside of experience or A­posteriori via experience. Knowledge may 
be “analytic” or gained by knowledge of what terms mean in a proposition, or, may be 
“synthetic” or gained through propositions that have a distinct subject and predicate.

[11] “The dramatic changes of thinking that happened in physics at the beginning of this 
century have been widely discussed by physicists and philosophers for more than fifty 
years. They led Thomas Kuhn to the notion of a scientific "paradigm," defined as "a 
constellation of achievements—concepts, values, techniques, etc.— shared by a 
scientific community and used by that community to define legitimate problems and 
solutions." Changes of paradigms, according to Kuhn, occur in discontinuous, 
revolutionary breaks called "paradigm shifts." Capra, Fritjof. The Web of Life. New York: 
Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, 1996. P. 5

[12] Newton’s Three Laws of Motion: Law I: “Every object in a state of uniform motion 
tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.”; Law II: 
“F = ma” or Force equals mass times acceleration (acceleration and force are vectors 
and thus direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration 
vector); Law III: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction” And the Four 
Laws of Thermodynamics: Zeroth Law: “If two thermodynamic systems are each in 
thermal equilibrium with a third, then they are in thermal equilibrium with each other”; 
First Law: “Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It can only change forms.”; 
Second Law: “Energy systems have a tendency to increase their entropy rather than 
decrease it."; Third Law: “As temperature approaches absolute zero, the entropy of a 
system approaches a constant minimum.”

[13] Peat, F. David “Blackfoot Physics”, Weiser Books, Boston, 2002 pp 191, 193­96, 216

[14] Restivo, Sal P. “Science Technology and Society: An Encyclopedia”, Oxford U 
Press, N.Y. 2005 pp 213­16

[15] Wright, Kenneth and Alfredo Valencia, Machu Picchu: A Civil Engineering Marvel. 
ASCE Press, Reston. 2000

[16 Weatherford, Jack, “Native Roots: How the Indians Enriched America”, Fawcett 
Columbine, N.Y. 1991;”Indian Givers: How the Indians of the Americas Transformed the 
World 1988; “Savages and Civilization: Who Will Survive?” 1994.

[17] Peat, F. David, op cit. pp 45­46, 130­34, 157, 170­71, 175, 261, 265­68

[18] Peat, F. David Ibid p. 45

[19] Garrett Hardin, "The Tragedy of the Commons", Science, Vol. 162, No. 3859 
(December 13, 1968), pp. 1243­1248.

[20] “The concept of ‘economic man’ of the classical economists has long since been 
discarded as inadequate to reality—except by a few of the most ardent ‘welfare 
theorists’. Meanwhile, the ‘scientific man’ is not even defined. He exists only implicitly in 
the form of a virtual taboo on raising the psychological and sociological problems of how 
research activity is conditioned.” Myrdal, Gunnar, “Sociology and Psychology in Social 
Science” in “Against the Stream: Critical Essays on Economics” Pantheon Books, N.Y. 
1973 p. 54

[21] The economist Robert Heilbroner once quipped that “mathematics has brought to 
economics rigor—and alas, also mortis.”

[22] Wolff, Richard and Resnick, Stephen A, Economics: Marxian Versus Neoclassical, 
Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1987 p. 18. Other works on this subject include: Ariely, 
Dan, “Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions”, Expanded 
Edition, Harper Collins, 2009; Shermer, Michael “The Science of Good and Evil: Why 
People Cheat, Gossip, Care, Share and Follow the Golden Rule” Holt, N.Y. 2004 and 
“The Mind of the Market: How Biology and Psychology Shape Our Economic Lives”, 
Holt, N.Y. 2008; Deutsch, David, “The Fabric of Reality” Penguin, N.Y. 1997; Deloria, 
Vine, “Spirit and Reason”, Fulcrum Publishing, Golden, CO 1999; Myrdal, Gunnar, 
“Against the Stream” op cit; Westen, Drew, “The Political Brain: The Role of Emotion in 
Deciding the Fate of the Nation”, Public Affairs, N.Y. 2008; Gardner, Daniel “The 
Science of Fear: How the Culture of Fear Manipulates Your Brain”, Plume Books, N.Y. 
[23] Cajete, Gregory, op cit. p. 4 “As is true of all lenses, what we can see depends upon 
the clarity of the images made possible through the use of a particular lens. In the past 
five hundred years of contact with Western culture, Native traditions have been viewed 
and expressed largely through the lens of Western thought, language and perception. 
The Western lens reflects all other cultural traditions through the filters of the modern 
view of the world. Yet in order to understand Native cultures one must be able to see 
through their lenses and hear their stories in their voice through their experience. In 
other words to know the taste of a pear one must bite into it.

[24] Peat, F. David, op cit p 157: “The ability to place an opening so that it will be aligned 
with the rising sun at the solstice or equinox, or with some other event, clearly implies 
the ability to predict and calculate the location of these events in the sky. Indeed, the 
design of a building represents a perfect integration of mathematics, astronomy, 
surveying and architecture.”

[25] Cajete, Gregory, op cit. p.2: “Native science is a metaphor for a wide range of tribal 
processes of perceiving, thinking, acting and ‘coming to know’ that have evolved 
through human experience with the natural world. Native science is born of a lived and 
storied participation with the natural landscape. To gain a sense of Native science one 
must ‘participate’ with the natural world, to understand the foundations of Native science 
one must become open to the roles of sensation, perception, imagination, emotion, 
symbols, and spirit as well as that of concept, logic and rational empiricism.”

[26] Little Bear, Leroy Into to Cajete, Gregory op. cit p. p. x; Deloria, Vine, “Spirit and 
Reason”, Fulcrum Books, Golden, Co 1999; Peat, F. David, op. cit

[27] Symbolized by the famous “Trickster” in many Native stories of various nations. In 
Peat, David F. op cit: “The sacred figures of the People—Raven, Coyote, Napi, 
Nanabush and the rest—are all tricksters, beings who turn the world on its head. Even 
our own Western science has its trickster: entropy or disorder. ..In scientist’s terms the 
overall entropy of a system and its environment must increase or, to put it another way, if 
we insist upon generating order, this can only be done at the expense of creating 
disorder somewhere else.” P. 83

[28] Peat, David F. Ibid p. 4
[29] According to physicist David Bohm, the “implicate” or enfolded order is a deeper 
order in which the whole of a phenonmenon is enfolded or embodied in each part. (like 
the commodity was a concentrated expression or microcosm or the macrocosm of 
capitalism was for Karl Marx) while the explicate order is the surface immediately 
perceived by our senses. Bohm, David, “Wholeness and the Implicate Order”, 
Routledge and Kegan Paul, Boston, 1981

[30] Kuhn, Thomas S. op cit. p. 6 “…normal science repeatedly goes astray…when it 
does—when, that is, the [scientific] profession can no longer evade anomalies that 
subvert the tradition of existing scientific practice…

[31] Deloria, Vine, “Spirit and Reason” op cit. p. xiii

[32] Amin, Samir, op cit p. 5

[33] Cajete, Gregory, op cit pp 15­16

[34] Cajete, Gregory, Ibid. p.20

[35] In Blackfoot culture, as in most Indigenous cultures, the number four is not merely a 
quantity or cardinal magnitude, without quality or force as in many Eurocentric cultures 
(four of what?); it has its own power, symbolism and force giving it quality in addition to 
quantity. The number four stands for: the four principle directions of the compass (North, 
South, East and West); the four principle colors of the human family (Black White Red 
and Yellow); the four forms of balance that all humans must seek to survive and prosper 
(Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual); the four basic elements of Nature (Wind, 
Fire, Earth and Water). In this model, there are four basic dimensions of development 
and sustainability that illustrate the dialectical unity of the macro and the micro levels of 
existence: control of assets and kinship (macro) and personal efficacy and spirituality 

[36] This was based on a translation of a speech by Chief Sealth from Suquamish into 
Chinook jargon and then into English. It’s authenticity has been questioned only on the 
basis that Chief Sealth sounded too articulate to be the real author and that it must have 
been written by a screenwriter.
[37] Scientists estimate there are 10 to 30 million plant and animal species on the 
planet, most of them unidentified. Each year as many as 50,000 species disappear; 
Olson, Dan “Species Extinction Rate Speeding Up”, Minnesota Public Radio, Feb. 1, 

Posted by Omahkohkiaayo i'poyi at 3:07 PM Links to this post 

Recent Papers in China: The Survival and Sustainability of the Blackfoot Nation and Culture; Presented at the 16th 
Congress of the IUAES, Kunming, 

The Survival and Sustainability of the Blackfoot Nation and Culture

By James Craven/Blackfoot Name: Omahkohkiaayo i’poyi

Professor of Economics and Geography, Clark College, Vancouver Washington

Presented at the 16th Congress of the IUAES, Kunming, China July 26­31

The Past [is] Alive in the Present [and] Shaping the Future

“Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” (George 

When we speak of the survival and sustainability of Blackfoot “Culture”, we are speaking of 
more than the survival and sustainability of the Blackfoot Nation and people who are the primary 
creators, definers, carriers, learners, transmitters and expanded reproducers of that nation and 
culture. We are also speaking about the survival and sustainability of the potential energy and 
influences—even on other cultures—embodied in and transmitted by that culture. And since all 
culture is dynamic and never static, we are also speaking of the survival and sustainability of all 
that it takes for Blackfoot culture to grow, adapt to new challenges and new conditions, and, to 
continually challenge itself and its own traditions and sacred practices and assumptions, some 
of which are functional and worth keeping, and some dysfunctional and not worth keeping. That 
means that the survival and sustainability of what is left of the Blackfoot nation and culture, as 
with other Indigenous nations, nationalities and cultures also on the brink of total extinction, 
means dealing not only with conditions, practices, forces and interests nominally “endogenous” 
or internal to the Blackfoot nation and culture that may threaten it, but also it means dealing with 
those forces and interests, historical and present­day, that are nominally “exogenous” or external 
to the Blackfoot nation and culture, that have threatened, and still threaten to this day, its 
survival and sustainability.[1]

As with any individual, so it is with any nation, that history is never really past and dead; it lives 
within, constrains and shapes, the present and thus also the future. This does not mean that 
individuals or whole nations cannot transcend the constraints of history, but they ignore them, or 
engage in historical revisionism, at their own peril. To understand and deal with the past, and the 
extent to which it is embodied in and thus constraining, the present and future, it is imperative 
that an honest examination and accounting, with no equivocation, and without fear or favor to 
anyone, of that past—and present shaped by that past—be done. Otherwise it is like someone 
going to see a physician or lawyer for help but not being honest and forthright about what 
practices in the past led them in the present to be in crisis and thus to need and seek help. That 
is partly, but only partly what George Orwell meant (he was also talking about historical 
revisionism as a tool of control in the present) when he noted:

Historically, and it has been thoroughly documented in the present, Blackfoot and other 
Indigenous nations and their cultures in the Americas have been regarded by non­Indigenous 
settlers and the governments they have developed as existential threats. What that means is 
that the mere existence, even without any alleged aggressive acts or intentions on the part of 
those Indigenous nations and cultures, simply their mere existence, was regarded as a threat to 
the systems, values, interests, ambitions, power and control of those non­Indigenous nations 
and their governments. Why? It is recorded in their own internal documents and discussions; it 
is all very dialectical.

As the “Tao Te Ching” of Lao Tzu puts it:

We know beauty because there is ugly.
We know good because there is evil.
Being and not being,
having and not having,
create each other.

Difficult and easy,
long and short,
high and low,
define each other,
just as before and after follow each other… [2]

It is very clear from the internal documents of the U.S. and Canadian Governments, as well as 
from the internal documents, diaries and memoirs of the missionaries and “Indian Agents”, that 
the core and defining values, institutions, practices, priorities, relationships and other 
dimensions of the culture of the Blackfoot, with many aspects in common with the cultures of 
other Indigenous nations, were not simply regarded and dismissed as “inferior” or backward; 
rather, they were first and foremost regarded as direct challenges (without any evangelical 
intentions by Indigenous peoples to do so) to the core values, practices, relations, theologies 
and institutions—cultures—of capitalism and those of the settlers. Just as some capitalist 
nations have regarded the mere existence of socialism and socialist values as an existential 
threat, without any alleged overt or covert acts of aggression by socialist social formations like 
China, so Indigenous cultures and systems, with definite communalist and non­capitalist 
practices and values, were regarded as existential threats and banned. Even many Indigenous 
prayers, with communalist values, were seen as a threat to cultures—and interests—built on 
capitalism. Here are but two of many examples from the archives of the Department of Indian 
Affairs in Canada and the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the U.S. that show the real nature and 
intentions of their policies.

For example, in many traditional societies, there is the sacred practice of “Potlatch” or “Give 
Aways” (Blackfoot) in which prized personal possessions are given away; they are not, by the 
way forms of “gambling” or “lotteries”. These ceremonies are designed to teach: the transient 
nature of all material possessions; not to become a slave to personal possessions; community 
spirit; compassion and that happiness of others is more important than individualistic and selfish 
desires and possessions. These traditional values are decidedly not consistent with market­
based economies that are commonly based upon—often celebrated in elements of their social 
capital—greed, selfishness, ultra­individualism, competition, materialism, acquisitiveness, 
competition, narcissism and the logic of profits­for­power­and­power­for­profits. That the 
conflicting core values, relationships and institutions of traditional Indigenous societies were in 
direct conflict with—and seen not co­exist with—those of market­based societies was seen early 
on in U.S. and Canadian histories. For example:

Office of Indian Affairs­Washington
Supplement to Circular No. 1665 February 14, 1923
Indian Dancing

To Superintendents:

At a conference in October, 1922, of the missionaries of the several religious denominations 
represented in the Sioux country, the following recommendations were adopted and have been 
courteously submitted to this office:

1. That the Indian form of gambling[sic] and lottery[sic] known as the "ituranpi" (translated "Give 
Away") be prohibited.

2. That the Indian dances be limited to one in each month in the daylight hours of one day in the 
midweek, and at one center in each district; the months of March and April, June, July, and 
August be excepted.

3. That none take part in the dances or be present who are under 50 years of age.

4. That a careful propaganda be undertaken to educate public opinion against the dance and to 
provide a healthy substitute.

5. That there be close cooperation between the Government employees and the missionaries in 
those matters which affect the moral welfare of Indians.

…After a conscientious study of the dance situation in his jurisdiction, the efforts of every 
superintendent must persistently encourage and emphasize the Indian's attention to these 
political, useful, thrifty, and orderly activities that are indispensable to his well­being and that 
underlie the preservation of his race in the midst of complex and highly competitive conditions. 
The instinct of individual enterprise and devotion to the posterity and elevation of family life 
should in some way be made paramount in every Indian household to the exclusion of idleness, 
waste of time at frequent gatherings of whatever nature, and the neglect of physical resources 
upon which depend food, clothings[sic] , shelter, and the very beginnings of progress." [3]

"It is readily acknowledged that Indian children lose their natural resistance to illness by 
habitating[sic] so closely in these schools, and that they die at a much higher rate than in their 
villages. But this alone does not justify a change in the policy of this Department, which is 

And it is more than irony that the term “Final Solution of ‘our’ the Indian Problem” in the DIA 
memo of D.C. Scott is the exactly language used by the Nazis as in “Final Solution to the Jewish 
Problem”. The Alberta Sterilization Act of 1928 [5], and the Eugenics Laws of 27 states of the 
U.S. were specifically cited by the German Nazis as the direct “inspirations” for their own 1933 
Race Hygiene Law and 1935 Nuremberg Race Laws.” [6] According to John Toland, biographer 
of Adolf Hitler:

Hitler's concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so 
he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer 
prisoners in South Africa And for the Indians in the Wild West; and often praised to his inner 
circle the efficiency of America's extermination­by starvation and uneven combat­of the 'Red 
Savages' who could not be tamed by captivity. [7]

And from an internal document of the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs:

"Set the blood­quantum at one­quarter, hold to it as a rigid definition of Indians, let intermarriage 
proceed, and eventually Indians will be defined out of existence. When that happens, the federal 
government will finally be freed from its persistent Indian problem." [8]

Why are these ugly aspects of U.S. and Canadian history [9] introduced into this paper on the 
survival and sustainability of Blackfoot culture? Partly because they are legacies that remain 
within both Canadian and Blackfoot societies that have not yet been fully admitted, analyzed or 
repaired. And partly because some of the same forces and interests, both internal and external 
to the Blackfoot nation, that have destroyed traditional Blackfoot culture, brought it to the edge of 
extinction, and prevented its renewal and sustainability, are still alive, well, non­transparent and 
non­accountable to this very day. And it is perhaps true irony, that the most radical and 
advanced thinkers among Indigenous activists today, both in the U.S. and in Canada, are known 
as “Traditionalists”. And they argue, as modern­day sciences are increasingly confirming, that 
the Indigenous traditions, practices, science, and epistemology to which they wish to return, are 
not simply some mythical communalist and “primitive” past of some 200 years ago, but were and 
are, far in advance of where many crises­ridden non­Indigenous societies, paradigms, practices 
and systems are today. Among Blackfoot traditionalists, they argue that many dominant non­
Indigenous cultures and their core defining notions, are threats not only to the very existence 
and survival of Blackfoot and other Indigenous peoples, but also to the very non­Indigenous 
societies and peoples pushing these notions themselves.

Blackfoot Culture and Indigenous Science: Vision

Although there are many definitions of culture, all include language as absolutely central to the 
origination, learning, expression, adaptation, transmission and preservation of culture. In the 
language of Blackfoot or properly speaking “Niitsitapi” two words are employed: 1) “niitsitapia ‘ 
pii nin” and 2) “yaapiistotsimat” The first means to live in accordance with “Niitsitapi” Ways and 
the second means to be forced to live in accordance with White or non­Niitsitapi ways. These 
two words reflect profound differences between Eurocentric versus Indigenous languages, 
paradigms, epistemologies and even notions of what is “science”. The theoretical physicist F. 
David Peat who lived for a while among Blackfoot noted:

“English, and for that matter French, German, Italian and the other European languages are 
noun­oriented. They are employed to divide the world into physical objects (nouns) and thinking 
into separate concepts (again nouns). Many Native American languages do not work this way. 
They are verb­based. Thus, when in English we speak of “medicine” we automatically seek a 
referent, a substance, an object, something tangible, and something that can be conceptualized. 
But suppose we begin with something verbal, with activity, process, a movement of harmony 
and balance. Medicine could then be felt in the beating of the heart, sensed as a movement 
around the sacred circle, the wind blowing through the leaves of the tress, the growing of green 
plants, and the astronomical alignments of the medicine wheel.” [10]

From his study of Blackfoot Culture, with particular reference to the Sun Dance[11], Professor 
Peat came to some remarkable conclusions confirmed by other observers. He found for 
example, in the rituals, allegories, symbolism and values embodied in Blackfoot culture, not only 
evidence of very advanced “science” and scientific methods, but indeed “science” far in advance 
of where the Newtonian­based “science” and epistemology of Eurocentric cultures, increasingly 
under siege, are today. He found for example, concrete notions of key principles and concepts 
that today make up the versions of Quantum Mechanics “discovered” only in the early 20th 
century: Superpositionality; Wave/particle duality; Entanglement; Bose­Einstein condensates 
and mass­energy equivalence, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle and the four basic laws of 

Eurocentric “science”, reflected in the Eurocentric [13] languages and cultures, has been based 
upon (and under siege from Complexity or Chaos Theory and Dialectical­Historical Materialism 
for) its reliance on notions of: stasis; partial and general equilibria; linear and unidirectional 
causality; ultimate independent and dependent variables; ultra­reductionism; Morphostatic 
systems; a­contextualism and a­historicism; ultra­individualism; Newtonian clock­like or 
machine­like order[s]; the whole or macro being seen as nothing more than the sum of its parts 
or micro units; notions of culture and science themselves as a nouns or stocks of accumulated 
things rather than as processes; and hidden rhetorical and ideological intentions. All of these 
constructs and approaches of Newtonian­based “science” were, and are increasingly being put 
into question not only by Quantum Mechanics, Complexity or Chaos Theory, classical Taoism 
and more sophisticated versions of Dialectical­Historical Materialism, but, according to Peat and 
others, were anticipated long ago and embodied in Indigenous science and epistemology.

Why do I mention subjects like “Blackfoot Physics” and principles, practices and epistemological 
approaches of Indigenous science in this paper? Because one question that may be posed here 
is a simple compound question: “Who cares, or should care­­and why­­about the imperative for 
survival and sustainability of Blackfoot and other Indigenous cultures?” This goes a way to help 
to answer that question. Survival of the Blackfoot and other Indigenous nations and cultures is 
an imperative for non­Indigenous peoples and cultures beyond the notion of “diversity is 
interesting and fun to watch”, or, in terms of the overworked metaphor of “The Canary in the 
Mine” (“Today it is us, tomorrow it is you”). It is increasingly evident in all the sciences, that often 
what is thought to be “new” is not true, and often what is true is not new. By any definition of 
culture, the Nazis sought to develop and did develop what they called “Nazi Culture”; but that is 
one form or type of culture, among others, that most decent people would not want to see 
survive and be sustained as it would mean, by definition, the destruction of other peoples and 

When we speak of Blackfoot Culture, as we speak of the Blackfoot Nation, we are not speaking 
of a fixed quantity or accumulated “stock” (as a noun typical of Eurocentric definitions of 
“culture”) of values, beliefs, symbols, language, arts, people, symbols, institutions, 
socioeconomic and politico­legal relationships, taboos, sacred constructs, traditions, artifacts, 
learned behaviors, rituals, myths etc. Culture, in Blackfoot and generally indigenous terms 
refers, rather, to dynamic processes. In Blackfoot terms, culture does not refer only to that which 
is created, learned, transmitted by and related to the concerns of humankind. In Blackfoot and 
Indigenous terms, culture also includes that of which humankind is an integral part whether 
created, recognized, seen, appropriated or even deemed “useful” by humankind.

In most Indigenous languages, as in Blackfoot, there is no word for “science”[14], yet it is very 
clear that many Indigenous societies, Blackfoot included, were doing, no matter what culturally 
loaded definition of “science” is employed, real and very sophisticated science and scientific 
method. And when we speak of Indigenous science, as with culture, again we are not speaking 
of a noun of some accumulated body or “stock” of tools, techniques, methods for discovering the 
essences of and laws governing phenomena that make up an objective reality independent of 
our perceptions of that reality. We are not speaking of processes for merely discerning the 
salient or essential aspects of an objective reality outside of ourselves, but of processes that 
take into account our own roles in that reality, including, how our own perceptions, 
measurements and transformations of that reality become incorporated into and thus affect it. 
This is in line with some of the most recent discoveries in Quantum Mechanics, Chaos Theory 
and Dialectical­Historical Materialism and is not some kind of mysticism or metaphysics. 
Indigenous science does not seek to discover the essences and laws governing phenomena in 
order to simply get around, reverse or conquer them, but to work in accordance with them.
Copyright 1991 by First Nations Development Institute (Reprinted Under Fair Use 

In Blackfoot culture, as in most Indigenous cultures, the number four is not merely a 
quantity or cardinal magnitude, without quality or force as in many Eurocentric cultures 
(four of what?); it has its own power, symbolism and force giving it quality in addition to 
quantity. The number four stands for: the four principle directions of the compass (North, 
South, East and West); the four principle colors of the human family (Black White Red 
and Yellow); the four forms of balance that all humans must seek to survive and prosper 
(Physical, Emotional, Mental and Spiritual); the four basic elements of Nature (Wind, 
Fire, Earth and Water). In this model, there are four basic dimensions of development 
and sustainability that illustrate the dialectical unity of the macro and the micro levels of 
existence: control of assets and kinship (macro) and personal efficacy and spirituality 

Blackfoot and Indigenous cultures (as do Chaos Theory and Dialectical­Historical 
Materialism) see systems and/as: totalities; wholes greater or lesser than the sums of 
their parts; continually in motion; as morphogenetic not morphostatic systems; driven by 
both external or exogenous, and internal or endogenous, shocks and processes on the 
verge of perpetual disequilibria. The more Eurocentric, Newtonian­based and clock­like 
or thermostat­like models, see only aggregates that are the sums of their parts, driven 
by external or exogenous shocks, and restored to, and moving between, punctuated 
equilibrium states by endogenous self­equilibrating processes. Needless to say, the 
present realities of the global economy as well as those realities of many national 
economies confirm the Blackfoot and Indigenous paradigms while refuting the classical 
or neoclassical paradigms. The existence of positive feedback loops (feedback effects 
that move a system in the same direction it was already moving instead of negative 
feedback loops that tend to reverse the direction of movement of a system) produce 
second­derivative (acceleration) and even third­derivative (differential acceleration or 
“jerks”) effects on phenomena and systems and lead to the process of “negation of the 
negation” or quantitative changes producing qualitative leaps.

F. David Peat and others like Jack Weatherford in his trilogies [15] note that aspects of 
clashes of and between Indigenous and non­Indigenous nations and civilizations were 
related to clashes between fundamentally opposing paradigms and whole 
epistemologies. Not simply in terms of the morphostatic paradigm and systems of 
Newtonian clockwork and self­equilibrating systems of Eurocentric science versus the 
morphogenetic, self­negating, dialectical and chaotic systems of Indigenous science, 
Chaos Theory and Dialectical­Historical materialism, but in terms of fundamental values 
and views of the fundamental nature and roles of science itself.
(Source Henderson, Hazel,; reprinted under 
Fair Use Doctrine)

Hope, Trust and “Social Capital”

The notions of hope and trust are central in the Blackfoot/Indigenous model of survival 
and sustainability above. It is only recently that “mainstream” or “Neoclassical” theory in 
Economics has even paid any attention at all to the notion of “social capital” [16] 
(institutions that foster hope, trust, social cohesion and cooperation that cause/allow 
people to save, invest, sacrifice in the present for the future and for future generations 
and generally buy into the system and engage in “Political and Civic Participation”). 
Even now, the attention paid to social capital (with the focus on “capital” as also in 
human “capital”, with the construct of “capital” seen as the decisive dimension or force 
in productivity and “progress” being central) is on the level of reciprocity among 
individuals, not because of any assumed fundamental social nature or obligations of 
individuals to the collective, but in terms of the central Neoclassical construct of 
“methodological individualism”. Sociologists like Putnam’s notion of “social capital” as 
institutions of reciprocity, is that “you do for me and I do for you and we both gain 
individually as maximizing and atomistic individuals as we “appear” to be cooperating, 
and thus violating central assumptions of the Neoclassical paradigm, but actually, we 
remain atomistic and maximizing competitors —an attempt to rescue the Neoclassical 
paradigm from contradictions inherent in the central construct of “methodological 
individualism” [17]

In Blackfoot culture, there is no notion of even the possibility of individuals within a 
collective being individually well off while within a sick and deteriorating collective. In 
traditional Blackfoot societies, the Chiefs ate last not first, no one ate unless all could 
eat, no one had shelter unless all had shelter and so on. Personal efficacy was 
intimately tied in with social efficacy. Lying was punished with death because a liar was 
seen as a threat to the whole collective not only as a potential collaborator with 
enemies, but as someone who would undermine social cohesion, cooperation and trust, 
and thus essential national security within and of the collective. Adultery was punished 
with loss of the nose for the woman and loss of the left braid of hair for the man. 
Banishment was seen as a punishment far worse than death because it meant loss of 
association for life with the community and one’s relations.[18]
Attempts have been made to rebuild some of the essential dimensions of the overall 
traditional culture and values of the Blackfoot Nation, outside of the Indian Act and DIA 
Tribal Councils, in the Blackfoot Constitution which is being circulated, vetted, and 
altered with various submissions as it is being ratified at grass­roots levels.[19] This is 
not only being done outside of the Indian Act and DIA Tribal Councils but in direct 
challenge to them. Allegations and actual findings of serious corruption on the part of 
the Indian Act Tribal Councils, in every part of Blackfoot Country and in Indian Country 
in general, have undermined any confidence in them. Further, there are issues in 
international law as to how any nation can summarily declare another nation, that meets 
all the tests under international law to be considered a nation, as “sui generis” (of a 
special type) or as a “dependent nation”, and even declare who may or may not be 
considered members of that nation, as was and is being done by the governments of 
both the U.S. and Canada with respect to First Nations. Once any group of people 
meets the basic tests under international law qualifying them as a nation, then also 
under international law, that group has a fundamental right not to be exterminated or 
assimilated into another nation without the democratically­expressed consent of the 
peoples being assimilated, and, that group constituting a nation, has also fundamental 
rights associated with its survival: independence, self­determination, sovereignty, its 
own form of government and socioeconomic and politico­legal system. In fact, under the 
Vienna Convention on Treaties, which both the U.S. and Canadian Governments 
recognize as “the definitive international law on treaties”, since treaties are covenants 
between nations not individuals, then when treaties are signed, even if later broken over 
and over, as in the case of Treaty 7, which many Blackfoot contend, and have 
documentation to prove, was never signed or ratified by Blackfoot Chiefs in the first 
place, then each side is not only tacitly, but explicitly, recognizing: the other treating 
partner as a sovereign nation; as a co­equal; and its system of government, as having 
the sovereignty, authority and standing among its people to sign the treaty and hold a 
population to its terms into the future.

“Control” of “Assets”

Central to the survival and sustainability of the Blackfoot Nation and culture is 
preservation of and control over what is left of the traditional Blackfoot land base. By 
“control” of the land, Blackfoot and most Indigenous people do not mean ownership, 
commoditization and “control” in the capitalist or Eurocentric sense, rather in the sense 
of stewardship to protect its viability and sustainability for future generations. The U.S. 
and Canadian governments have been caught in contradictions in their own capitalist 
property rights and values that have undermined both. Under capitalist law, land may be 
legally acquired and held in five basic ways: 1) sale (but no one can legally sell or keep 
stolen property even if bought innocently); 2) bequest (but no one can legally inherit 
stolen property even if innocently); 3) gift (but no one can give or accept stolen property 
even if innocently) 4) Just War (but the war must meet all the tests under international 
law of a Just War—must be in self­defense); 5) Discovery (but no one can “discover” 
lands with Indigenous peoples already on them). Thus, both the U.S. and Canadian 
governments know very well, that in their own terms, not Blackfoot or Indigenous terms 
alone, but in their own terms, and under the very same property rights they assert to 
defend their own private property, much of the historical acquisitions and losses of 
traditional Indigenous lands represented pure theft in addition to pure genocide. It is not 
enough to say that Indigenous nations had not concept of “private ownership” and 
commoditization of land and thus the lands were not stolen, the fact is that in terms of 
the existing international law at the time, law developed since the times of the Spanish 
Conquistadores in the 15th and 16th centuries, law that they invoked to legitimate their 
own properties, Indigenous lands were stolen and thus could not be sold, gifted, 
bequeathed or justified under laws of discovery or just war. That is why the present U.S. 
and Canadian governments are trying to define some Indian nations out of existence 
with blood­quantum criteria for Tribal recognition and membership and/or getting Indian 
Act Tribal Councils installed and maintained by those governments to sign bills of sale to 
legitimize past thefts and genocidal acquisitions of Indigenous lands. The map below 
illustrates the historical land base of the Blackfoot relative to what is recognized as 
Blackfoot lands today (some 2.6 million acres in both the U.S. and Canada 
contiguously) In fact, the Lame Bull Treaty or Treaty of Fort Benton of October 1855, one 
of the more problematic of the treaties signed by both the U.S. and Canadian 
governments, explicitly recognized the existence of a sovereign Blackfoot Nation made 
up of some various Bands or Tribes stretching over an area covering parts of Montana 
and the U.S. and Alberta in Canada contiguously. [20]

The infamous Indian Residential School systems of Canada and the Indian Boarding 
Schools of the U.S. for which no real accounting or full apologies and restitutions have 
ever been made, were as much about breaking the connections of the Indigenous 
Nations with their land bases and traditional ways, by creating pools of unskilled and 
semi­skilled wage workers dependent upon sale of their labor power for survival, as with 
also breaking their connections with, and in turn undermining, their cultures, languages, 
spirituality and other dimensions of the Indigenous nations.[21]

The map above shows the historical land base of the original Blackfoot Nation versus 
those lands recognized as Blackfoot Reserves today (some 2.6 million acres). If the 
claim is made that there is no more Blackfoot Nation, then when and under what 
conditions and authority did it cease to exist? If treaties still exist, and they do, and if 
each treating partner in signing a treaty both tacitly and explicitly recognizes the co­
equal status, nationhood, sovereignty and system of government of the other, then 
when, and under what authority, did the traditional system of government of the 
Blackfoot cease to exist in lieu of the present Indian Act and DIA system of nominally 
elected but in reality appointed, DIA Tribal Councils? Are the governments of the U.S. 
and Canada admitting to genocide? What if the government of say Poland arrogated to 
presume to dictate criteria of who may or may not be considered a “real” American or 
Canadian? Or, perhaps another and more apt analogy, and the one actually used in 
Indian Country, might be the present­day Indian Act Tribal Councils, often riddled with 
corruption [22], being seen as having the standing and legitimacy under international 
law as say the Vichy Government installed by Nazi occupying France [23] or perhaps 
the standing and legitimacy of the government of the last Emperor Pu Yi installed by the 
Japanese Imperialists in China in an entity they created and what they named 

Further, the issue of loss of Blackfoot lands is not merely a matter of losses of critical 
resources for the survival and sustainability of the Blackfoot Nation. The connection to 
the land, in every possible way, is central to Blackfoot culture. As F. David Peat puts it:

“Connection to the landscape is one of the most powerful things within an Indigenous 
society which explains the pain and anger The People experience when they see the 
land around them exploited and destroyed. The Native people I have spoken to refer to 
the land as their mother, and the Blackfoot say that to walk on the land is to walk on your 
own flesh. The memory of this landscape transcends anything we have in the West, for 
its trees, rocks, animals, and plants are all imbued with energies, powers and spirits. 
The whole of the land is alive and each person is related to it. The land sustains and, in 
turn, the ceremonies and sacrifices of The People aid in its renewal…I have heard many 
Native people say they have ‘a map in their head’. This map, I believe, is the relationship 
of the land to The People. Moreover, it transcends any mere geographical 
representation, for in it are enfolded the songs, ceremonies and histories of a 

The incentives to privatize, commoditize and expropriate what are left of Blackfoot lands 
have never been greater. Among the last sources of pristine fresh water are on what are 
now Blackfoot lands which are also rich in oil, ammonite, wind energy, grazing lands, 
uranium, timber, geothermal energy and other critical resources. This leads to the U.S. 
and Canadian Governments, along with private developers, finding the paths of least 
resistance and cheapest ways of acquiring access to and control over those resources, 
often with a few Tribal insiders selling out the resource bases and with disastrous 
consequences on the people of the various Reserves. This also undermines confidence 
in dealing with or forming partnerships with the U.S. and Canadian Governments on the 
part of Blackfoot and other Indigenous Nations because much of the corruption is seen 
as at least being tolerated by and beneficial to those governments and private interests 
that they clearly represent and protect[26] Indigenous activists can go on any Reserve 
or Reservation, even those of Nations and Tribes of which they are not members, and in 
ten minutes or less, they can find out, via the “Moccasin Telegraph Service” who is 
dealing drugs, who are doing illegal gambling, who are involved in prostitution, who are 
the aristocrats putting their relations and friends on the payrolls, and any and all other 
forms of corruption, They argue that RCMP and the FBI, charged with investigating and 
prosecuting such crimes on the Reserves and Reservations, could easily do the same 
and yet time after time, even when tipped off by Elders sick of corruption, do not. Why? 
Because corrupt Indians often sell­out cheap plus they are easier to control and 
manipulate as once anyone does any form of corruption, they are vulnerable to 
exposure and therefore also control.

Education and Human Capital

When I first began to study Economics in the 1960s, the major textbooks equated 
economic growth with development and saw “physical capital” as central in the overall 
equations of factors critical to growth and development (the term sustainability was not 
even used) That view of growth and development, with physical capital as the key, of 
course conveniently also assigns a critical role to the capitalist who owns and/or 
controls that physical capital. Then came the 1970s, and someone got the bright idea 
that no matter how sophisticated the physical capital employed in economic growth and 
development, someone had to fix the machines, know when and where and how to use 
them and not use them, so along came the concept of “human capital” or knowledge, 
skill, experience, and presumably work ethic to be able to use the physical capital 
effectively; the textbooks got trendy and began to incorporate human capital as a key 
factor in economic growth no longer seen as synonymous with economic development, 
a much broader process. And only recently has the notion that workers and the 
population at large also in need of hope, trust, social cohesion, belief in the system to 
cause them to plan and f=work for the future that the notion of social capital beginning to 
show up in the textbooks. 
Anyone who has been on the Reservations and Reserves of the Blackfoot, or on those 
of any Indigenous nations, has seen the tragedy of what passes for “education” and 
educational facilities.” The lack of infrastructure, qualified and motivated teachers, up­to­
date curricula, advanced methods in pedagogy, internet access and library resources, 
mentors and many other resources critical to effective education and human capital 
formation are well known and have existed for a long time. But the problems for 
Indigenous education go far beyond what can be fixed with updating physical facilities 
and bringing in new technologies. They have to do with fundamental definitions of and 
approaches to what is real education, Indigenous or otherwise. There are scholars like 
Dr. Roland Chrisjohn of the Oneida Nation who have given serious thought to 
Indigenous education and how the Indian Residential School systems of Canada and 
the U.S. not only decimated Indigenous communities, but also never represented real 
and effective education or models for education even for non­Indigenous children.[27]

Blackfoot language is being taught on all of the Reserves of the Blackfoot; but language 
is never sterile or value­free and it will always beg the questions of by whom, for whom, 
and for what purposes, are the language and also are traditional aspects of Blackfoot 
culture being taught. Many of the programs into which Blackfoot and other Indigenous 
children are channeled, by their own choices or by advisors, have to do with alcohol and 
substance abuse counseling or programs in “Native Studies” (often taught and using 
scholarship of by non­Indigenous academics that are virtually useless except for getting 
some kind of management job in the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the U.S. or the 
Department of Indian Affairs in Canada).

The survival and sustainability of the Blackfoot and other Indigenous nations will require 
what other non­Indigenous nations will require in terms of educated—not just schooled 
which is not necessarily the same thing—workforce and leadership: real quality 
education that addresses the likely challenges and imperatives of survival and 
sustainability in the twenty­first century but, with due respect to the fact that that what is 
new may well not be true, and what is true may not be new.


Blackfoot, like other Indigenous nations on the verge of extinction, are the proverbial and 
overworked “Canary in the Mine.” And as Albert Einstein once defined insanity as doing 
the same things over and over, in the same ways, with the same people and yet 
expecting different results. So it is, that Indigenous Peoples cannot continue, adopt or 
even allow, the very same forces, values, paradigms, institutions, paternalism, and 
whole socio­economic politico­legal systems (modes of production) that brought them to 
the verge of extinction, and that even threaten the non­Indigenous peoples who promote 
them as “civilization”, as well threatening the whole planet itself, to take them all the way 
to extinction as has happened to so many nations that no longer exist. For those who 
are not Indigenous and thus believe that the fate of Indigenous nations is of no concern 
however regrettable, perhaps give some thought to the fact that any society that 
tolerates and promotes the extinction of any national minority or nation within its borders 
is one that is capable of tolerating and promoting the extinction or any other group; and 
is not either sustainable or the kind of society or system worth preserving especially in 
today’s world with the means of mass destruction that exist today.[28]

Blackfoot, like other Indigenous nations, are intimately bound up with Canada and 
indeed the world like it or not. The question, however, remains on what basis and with 
what consequences—for Canada as well as Indigenous nations—the present relations 
and institutions, that have brought Indigenous nations to the brink of extinction, could, 
should or would continue. Samir Amin notes:

“Now the world capitalist system, cannot be reduced, even in abstraction, to the 
capitalist mode of production, and still less can it be analyzed as a mere juxtaposition of 
countries or sectors governed by the capitalist mode of production with others governed 
by precapitalist modes of production (the dualism thesis). Apart from a few 
‘ethnographical reserves’, such as that of the Orinoco Indians, all contemporary 
societies are integrated into a world system. Not a single concrete socioeconomic 
formation of our time can be understood except as part of this world system… …
Relations between the formations of the ‘developed’ or advanced world (the center) and 
those of the ‘underdeveloped’ world (the periphery) are affected by transfers of value, 
and these constitute the problem of accumulation on a world scale. Whenever the 
capitalist mode of production enters into relations with precapitalist modes of production, 
and subjects these to itself, transfers of value take place from the precapitalist to 
capitalist formations as a result of the mechanisms of ‘primitive accumulation’. These 
mechanisms do not belong only to the prehistory of capitalism; they are contemporary 
as well. It is these forms of primitive accumulation, modified but persistent, to the 
advantage of the center, that form the domain of the theory of accumulation on a world 
scale.” [29]

In Blackfoot language “Ni Kso Ko Wa” means “We are all related” or “All my Relations”. 
So as we are all related as human beings, and indeed all human cultures share some 
common denominators, so are our fates, as individuals and whole cultures, interrelated. 
We are the proverbial “Canary in the Mine”.


[1]Here the terms “exogenous” or external and “endogenous or “internal” are used 
nominally or in non­Indigenous terms as Blackfoot and other Indigenous groups see 
culture not only in terms of all that is created by humankind but also all that humankind 
is an integral part of and thus have different notions of what is external or internal to a 
given culture.

[2] Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, translation by Dale, Ralph Verse 2 “Relativity”, p. 5 Barnes 
and Noble Books, N.Y. 2002

[3] Long Standing Bear Chief, “Ni Kso Ko Wa: Blackfoot Traditions and Spirituality” pp. 
8­9, Spirit Talk Press, Browning, Montana, 1992

[4] Department of Indian Affairs, Superintendent D.C. Scott to B.C. Indian Agent­
General Major D. McKay, DIA Archives, RG­10 series, April 12, 1910 (emphasis added)

[5] The 1948 UN Convention on Genocide, to which Canada became a signatory in 
1953 and to which the U.S. still remains not a full signatory because of the Hatch, Helms 
and Lugar “Sovereignty Amendment of 1988, in Article II defines a five­part test, any 
one of which, not all required to constitutes genocide: a) Killing members of the group; 
b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; c) Deliberately 
inflicting upon a group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction 
in whole or in part; d) Imposing measures designed to prevent births within the group; e) 
Forcibly transferring children of one group to another group.

[6] Black, Edwin, “War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create 
a Master Race” Thunder’s Mouth Press N.Y. 2003; Alberta Sterilization Victims Also 
Used as Guinea Pigs Revelation Comes as 40 victims win $4M settlement; Marina 
Jimenez National Post 10/28/98

[7] Toland, John, “Adolf Hitler”, Vol II, p. 802, Doubleday and Co. N.Y. 1976

[8] Limerick, Patricia Nelson, “The Legacy of Conquest: The Unbroken Past of American 
West” WW. Norton and Co. N.Y. 1987 p. 338

[9] Poole, James “Hitler and His Secret Partners”, Pocket Books, NY 1997; “Having 
been a devoted reader of Karl May's books on the American West as a youth, Hitler 
frequently referred to the Russians as 'Redskins'. He saw a parallel between his effort to 
conquer and colonize land in Russia with the conquest of the American West by the 
white man and the subjugation of the Indians or 'Redskins'. 'I don't see why', he said, 'a 
German who eats a piece of bread should torment himself with the idea that the soil that 
produces this bread has been won by the sword. When we eat from Canada, we don't 
think about the despoiled Indians." (James Pool, Ibid, pp. 254­255)

[10] Peat, F. David, “Blackfoot Physics” Weiser Books, Boston, MA. 2005, p. 128 see:


[12] Gribbin, John “In Search of Schroedinger’s Cat: Quantum Physics and Reality”, 
Bantam Books, N.Y. 1984

[13] By “Eurocentric” I mean in the sense used by Thomas Kuhn in his amazingly 
ignorant and arrogant statement: “But only the civilizations that descended from Hellenic 
Greece possessed more than the most rudimentary science” in Kuhn, Thomas, “The 
Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, U of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1962, pp. 167­68

[14] Cajete, Gregory, “Native Science: Natural Laws of Interdependence”, Clear Light 
Publishers, Santa Fe, 2000, p 2

[15] Peat, F. David op. cit. pp 38­44. See also Weatherford Jack, “Indian Givers: How 
The Indians of the Americas Transformed The World” Fawcett Columbine, N.Y. 1988; 
“Native Roots: How The Indians Enriched America” Fawcett Columbine, N.Y.1991; 
“Savages and Civilization” Fawcett Columbine, N.Y. 1994 These authors among others 
demonstrate very advanced achievements in engineering, mathematics, cosmology and 
astronomy, medicine, architecture, law and constitutions, democracy and government, 
agriculture, resource management and sustainability and in many areas now being 
recognized that could only have been achieved with very advanced notions and 
techniques of science and scientific method.
[16] Craven, James/Omahkohkiaayo I’poyi “The Evolving Concept of Social Capital, 
Markets, Market­Based Processes and Socialist Construction” paper delivered 
September 1­2, 2004 at The International Symposium for the Reform of Property Rights 
and Enterprise Development in Transitional Countries at Tsinghua University. See also 
Putnam, Robert D, “Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community”, 
Simon and Schuster, N.Y. 2000

[17] The notion that the whole or macro is nothing more than the sum of its parts. 
Individuals are said to be atomistic units assumed to be: rational, self­interested, 
competitive, informed, constrained and maximizers of utility—and that which yields—it 
and minimizers of pain and risk. There is no notion of a collective that acts as a 
collective or that is greater—or possibly lesser—than the sum of its parts. The model 
consists of a body of postulates about supposed “human nature”, irrespective of class, 
gender, age, ethnicity, race, religion, from which deductions are made, hypotheses are 
formed and predictions made about human behavior under assumed conditions and 
constraints (hypothetico­deductivism).

[18] One of the most sacred of the Blackfoot Prayers (Nii­tsi­ta­piaa­tsi­mo­yii­kaan) 
sums up the traditional Blackfoot values considered most important (spelled out 
phonetically not in accordance with Franz­Russell conventions.)

Ayo A’pis­to­too­ki (Creator)
Iss­Po­Mo­Kin­Naan (Help us)
Nah­Kay­Iss­Tsi­Sin­Naan (To listen)
Nah­Kai­Kim­Mo­Tsi­Sin­Naan (To be kind to one another)
Nah­Kay­ii­Ka’­Ki­Maa­Sin­Naan (To try hard)
Nah­Koh­Ko­Ka­Mo’­Toh­Sin­Naan (To be honest)
Nah­Ka­Wa­To­Yii­Tak­Sin­Naan (To be Spiritual)
Ooh­To­Kin­Naan, A’Pis­To­Too­Ki (Hear us, Creator)
Kim­Mis Ko­Ko­Siksi (Have pity on your children)
Ii­Ksi­Kim­Ma­Tap­Si­Ya (They are in need)
Kaa­Mo­Taa­Ni (Grant us safety)
Nii­Sta­Wa­Tsi­Maani (Help us to raise our families)
Naa­Piio’Siini (So that they may live long lives)
[19] See “Draft Constitution of the Blackfoot Nation” and “Paper on the Blackfoot Nation” 
“Blackfoot Indictment.., at the Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies, University of 
Minnesota, Documents on Native American Genocide and Helton, 
Taiawagi “Nation Building in Indian Country: The Blackfoot Constitutional Review” Paper 
Delivered at the Fifth Annual Tribal Law and Governance Conference, University of 
Kansas School of Law, October 2002 at­building­in­indian­country.html

[20] For the actual text of the Treaty see

[21] Chrisjohn, Roland et al “An Historic Non Apology, Completely and Utterly Not 
Accepted” Department of Native Studies, Fredericton, NB “An apology has at least three characteristics 
(some people will say there are more, some will list more specific traits… this doesn’t 
matter for present purposes). The absence of any of these three characteristics 
immediately disqualifies a statement as an apology: a sincere expression of remorse for 
the behavior, the promise never to repeat the behavior, and the undertaking to undo, as 
far as possible, the damage done by the behavior.”

[22] See;

[23] The term “Vichy Indians” has been used by scholars like Ward Churchill and others 
to denote BIA and DIA Tribal Councils (not an indictment of every one serving on them) 
as essentially like the puppet Vichy Government installed in France by occupying 
German Nazis.­churchill­
denigrates­indians­he.html and­
and­vichy­indians.html and­

[24] See Aisin­Gioro Pu Yi “From Emperor to Citizen: The Autobiography of Pu Yi The 
Last Emperor of China” Oxford University Press, N.Y. 1987

[25] Peat, F. David, op cit pp 85­86

[27] Chrisjohn, Roland “You Have to be Carefully Taught: Special Needs and First 
Nations Education”; “Genocide and Indian Residential Schooling: The Past is Present”; 
Retaining Indigenous Students in Post Secondary Programs: What Means For Whose 
Ends?” see see also

[28] A note here that the comments of this paper are directed only to the situation of 
Blackfoot and other Indigenous Nations in the Americas. No equivalence is intended or 
suggested between the situations, realities of or governmental policies vis­à­vis, national 
minorities, in other places like China; and the same with respect to First Nations in the 
Americas. The history of China relative to the histories of the nations of the Americas 
with Indigenous populations is very different. Various Indigenous groups, once meeting 
the tests of international law for being considered separate nations became integrated 
national minorities within a larger and contiguous nation of China long ago and since 
Liberation in 1949, the statuses and survival of the Indigenous minorities by the 
Government of China have been protected and assured far more than in the cases of 
the U.S. and Canada, and far more than if each national group had had its own 
traditional government along with its own land base, culture, language, common 
economic life, polity, history and criteria for membership of the group (the essential 
elements of a nation in international law) In the case of the Americas, not only were 
there treaties recognizing First Nations as Nations, although asserted to be “sui generis” 
or of a special type, or, as in the case of the U.S. and the Supreme court decisions of 
Marshall as “dependent nations”, the policies of the governments of the Americas were 
genocidal in intent and effect; Indigenous nations were never assimilated into the 
broader fabrics and governments of the nations of the Americas and were left isolated in 
many cases, not all, on their traditional lands thus retaining their status and realities as 
Indigenous nations. This became especially true when past Treaties were recognized 
and invoked ad hoc when in the interests of the colonizing governments of the 
Americas, and in doing so, they both tacitly and explicitly recognized the continued 
existence of Indigenous nations as nations. Since the rights of all nations under 
international law are equal, dependent upon law and facts on the ground and not on the 
size or perceived power of a nation, or, indeed if that group has been recognized as a 
nation, especially by colonizing forces intent on its extermination, then it follows that the 
Blackfoot Nation and other Indigenous nations that still meet the tests of international 
law to constitute nations remain so, with the rights under international law of all nations 
regardless of who does or does not recognize them as such. The so­called Republic of 
China or Taiwan is currently only recognized by 23 nation states including the Vatican, 
as the supposed “legitimate government” of all of China whereas up until the 1970s, the 
reality and legitimacy of the People’s Republic of China as the sole and legitimate 
government of all of China was denied except by a handful of nations yet the objective 
reality of and international law supporting, the PRC as the sole and legitimate 
representative of the whole nation of China was never in question by any honest and 
thinking person or government. There were 51 founding members of the UN and now 
192 members with many nations recognized as nations and becoming nation states well 
after the formation of the UN.

[29] Amin, Samir, “Accumulation on a World Scale: A Critique of the Theory of 
Underdevelopment, Vols I and II, Monthly Review Press, N.Y. 1974, pp2­3

Conference Program

Managing Ethno­Cultural Diversity:
Comparisons of Approaches to Multicultural Diversity

Canada­China Symposium



Preliminary Program
July 28­29, 2009
Yunnan University, Kunming China

2009 年 7 月 28­29 日

Managing Ethno­Cultural Diversity:
Comparisons of Approaches to Multicultural Diversity

Canada­China Symposium


Jean L. Kunz, Policy Research Initiative Canada

DU Fachun, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China

中国社会科学院 杜发春
加拿大政策研究所 骆菁

Canadian Embassy in Beijing

Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada

Canada­China Symposium on Managing Ethno­Cultural Diversity

Draft Agenda

July 28­29(Monday­Wednesday), 2009
2009 年 7 月 28­29 日(周二、周三)

Day 1 (July 27,Monday) ARRIVAL and REGISTRATION
第一天(2009 年 7 月 27 日,周一) 报到注册

Day 2 (July 28, Tuesday, Morning Sessions) OPENING CEREMONY and KEYNOTE 
第二天(2009 年 7 月 28 日,周二上午) 开幕式和主旨演讲

 8:30­9:00 Registration and Welcome 注册/报到

 9:00 ­λ 9:40
Opening ceremony 开幕式
Moderators: Jean L. Kunz, Policy Research Initiative Canada
DU Fachun, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China
主持:骆菁(加拿大政策研究所), 杜发春(中国社会科学院)

Remarks 致辞:

 HAO Shiyuan,¬ Director of Academic Division of Law, Social and Political Studies at 
CASS Academician of CASS, Director of IEA/CASS

 Jeff Nankivell,Minister,¬ Canadian Embassy in Beijing

 WU Jinguang, Vice¬ Director­General, Bureau of International, State Commission of 
Ethnic Affairs PRC. Deputy Secretary­General, Organizing Committee of IUAES2009.

 ZHANG Youyun, Vice¬ Director­General, Bureau of International Cooperation, CASS
 9:40 – 10:00 Photo session and coffee/teaλ break 照相、茶休

 10:00 – 12:00λ

Keynote speeches 主旨演讲

Moderator: Dr. WANG Bing (Liaoning Normal University, China)

Keynote speakers and topics 主旨演讲人和题目

 Dr. James Frideres(University of Calgary, Canada): “Ethnic¬ Identity in the 21st 
傅里德斯 (加拿大卡尔加里大学,教授) :“21 世纪的民族认同”

 Dr.¬ Peter S. Li(University of Saskatchewan, Canada): “Immigrant Integration in 

 Dr. Carlo J. Krieger¬ (Luxembourg Scholar): “Cultural Intervention at Work: Two 
Examples from Native North America”

 Dr. Paul S.¬ Maxim(Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada): “Aboriginal Education in 
Canada and China: A Comparative Study”
马克西姆(加拿大劳里埃大学,副校长): “加拿大和中国民族教育的比较研究”

¬ Dr. Jean L. Kunz (Policy Research Initiative, Canada): Facilitating the Integration of 
Immigrant Students In Canada: Implications For Migrant Students In China
骆 菁(加拿大政策研究所,项目主任):“便利移民学生在加拿大的融入:对中国农民工

 12:00­13:00λ Lunch 午餐

July 28(Afternoon Sessions), PRESENTATIONS 7 月 28 日(周二)下午 ,会议代表发

 1:30­3:00 pmλ

Session 1 Governance of Diversity: Current Practices
Moderator: Dr. Paul Maxim(Wilfrid Laurier University, Canada)
Discussant: Dr. Carlo J. Krieger (Luxembourg Scholar)
分组 1 多样性治理:当前实践
主 持:马克西姆(加拿大劳里埃大学,副校长)
评 议:柯意赫(卢森堡学者)


 Dr. Marie Louise LEVEBVREλ (Universite du Quebec a Montreal, Canada) : Diversity of 
Issues, Responses and Policies Affecting Migrant Integration and Social Cohesion in 

 Dr.λ WANG Bing(Liaoning Normal University, China): “A Comparative Study of 
Canada’s Policy of Indian Education and China’s Policy of Mongolian Education”

 Dr.λ WANG Chaohui(Minzu University of China):Indigenous Study: Aboriginal 
Language and Culture in Canada

 Dr. Isabellaλ Calleja (University of Malta): Governance of Multicultural Diversity

 3:00­3:10 pm Coffee/teaλ break 茶休

 3:00­4:30 pmλ

Session 2 Governance of Diversity: Future Considerations

Moderator: Prof. LI Pengfei(Beijing Institute of Technology, China)
Discussant: Dr. Li Zong (University of Saskatchewan, Canada)
分组 2 多样性治理:未来思考
主 持:李鹏飞(北京理工大学,教授)
评 议:宗 力(加拿大萨斯凯彻温大学社会学系,教授)


 Dr. Denise Hellyλ (Universite du Quebec, Canada): The Particular Treatment of 
Muslims in Canada

 Dr. CHANG Shiyinλ (Tianjin Normal University, China): Reflection on Canadian 

 Dr. Olgaλ Orlić(Institute for Anthropological Research, Croatia): Regional 
Multiculturalism in Istria and European Integration Processes

 Dr.Terezaλ Cristina Nascimenta Franca and Giordano Sousa de Almeida (Catholic 
University of Brasilia, Brazil): Comparison of Approaches on Intercultural Relations and 
Cultural Diversity: Protectionism or Liberalization?

λ 4:40­5:00 pm Coffee/tea break 茶休

 5:00­6:30 pmλ

Session 3: Social and Economic Integration of Migrants

Moderator: Dr. Denise Helly (Universite du Quebec, Canada)
Discussant: Dr. Jean L.Kunz (Policy Research Initiative, Canada)
分组 3:移民的社会和经济整合
主 持:海雷(魁北克大学社会科学研究所,教授)
评 议:骆菁(加拿大政策研究所,项目主任)

 Dr. Li Zong (Universityλ of Saskatchewan, Canada): Mainland Chinese Immigrants in 
Canada and Barriers to Integration in Multicultural Society

 DUλ Qianping(Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China): Chinese Church and 
Political Choice in Chinese Community in Canada

 ZHANGλ Qinglai(Beijing Educational Examinations Authority, China): “Let the Boat 
flowing with the Mainstream” ­­­­ The Policy Base of Right and Equity: Education of 
Multicultural Diversity for Immigrant’s Children

 DUλ Fachun(Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China): Ecological Resettlement 
and Cultural Heritage: A Comparative Study in China and Canada

 6:30 pmλ Adjournment 休会

 7:00­9:00 pm, Welcomeλ Dinner 晚 7­9 点,欢迎晚餐

Day 3 (July 29, Wednesday) , PRESENTATIONS 第三天(7 月 29 日,周三),会议代

 8:00­9:30 amλ
Session 4: Education and Identity Formation
Moderator: Dr. Jean L. Kunz (Policy Research Initiative, Canada)
Discussant: ZHANG Qinglai(Beijing Educational Examinations Authority, China):
分组 4:教育与认同形成
主 持:骆 菁(加拿大政策研究所,项目主任)
评 议:张庆来(北京教育考试研究院副研究员,中华教育创新协会会长)


 Christopherλ Anderson (Simon Fraser University, Canada): Education Through 
Assimilation: Applying Lessons from Canada’s Indian Residential School System to the 
Examination of China’s Minority Educational Policy

 Dr. Stephanieλ Xiao Liang(Hunan Business College, China): Academic Adaptation: 
Mainland Chinese Students In Graduate Programs at a Canadian University

 Dr. Huhuaλ Cao(University of Ottawa,Canada), Anwaer Maimaitiming(Xinjiang 
Normal University, China), MA Shengquan(Hainan Normal University, China):“Spatial 
Inequality in Children’s Schooling in China: Issue of Minority Regions”
曹沪华(加拿大渥太华大学,副教授), 安瓦尔•买买提明(新疆师范大学,副教授),马

 LIλ Qiang(Yunnan University for Nationalities): On The Policies of the Ethnic Minority's 
Foreign Language Education in Yunnan Against the Multi­ethnic Culture Background

 9:30­9:40 pmλ Coffee/tea break 茶休

 9:40­11:00 amλ

Session 5: Ethnic Identity: Issues of Shifting Ethnic Identification

Moderator: Dr. Carlo J. Krieger (Luxembourg Scholar)
Discussant: Dr. James Frideres(University of Calgary, Canada)
分组 5:变化的族群认同问题
主 持:柯意赫(卢森堡学者)
评 议:傅里德斯 (加拿大卡尔加里大学,教授)


 Erin Williams (University ofλ British Columbia, Canada): Patterns and Variation in the 
Local Application of the Indigenous Peoples Concept

 James M.λ Craven(Clark College, USA): The Survival and Sustainability of the 
Blackfoot Nation and Culture in Canada and USA

 LI Pengfei(Beijing Instituteλ of Technology, China):Towards a Better Understanding of 
the Needs of the North American Indians

 WEI Li and LIU Zhongwenλ (Liaoning Police Academy, China): Preservation and 
Development of the Canadian Distinctive Aboriginal Cultures

 11:00­11:10 amλ Coffee/tea break 茶休

 11:10­12:40 amλ

Session 6: Responding to Globalization: Intercultural Communication

Moderator: Dr. Graham Johnson(University of British Columbia, Canada)
Discussant: Dr. Huhua Cao(University of Ottawa,Canada)
分组 5:全球化回应:文化交流与教育思考
主 持:詹 森(不列颠哥伦比亚大学,教授)
评 议:曹沪华(加拿大渥太华大学,副教授)

λ Dr.ZHANG Yanqiu (Communication University of China, China): Media Literacy 
Education In China And Canada In The Context Of Cultural Diversity: Difference And 

 LIANλ Haiying(Nanjing University of Finance & Economics, China): Canadian Pluralism 
Education Under the Background of Globalization

 LI Liping and ZHANGλ Gaoyuan( Nanjing University of Finance & Economics,China): 
Reflection on Christmas Celebration in China

 CAOλ Qian(Minzu University of China): The Adaptive Condition of College Students to 
Xinjiang in China

 12:40­13:00λ pm

Closing Summary 会议总结

Jean L.Kunz, Policy Research Initiative Canada

DU Fachun, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, China
骆 菁(加拿大政策研究所)

 13:00 Lunchλ 午餐

Day 4( July 30, Thursday) DEPARTURE 第 4 天(7 月 30 日,周四),代表离会

Thank you very much for your participation & cooperation! 衷心感谢您的支持和帮助
Neoclassical Economics and Neoliberalism as Neo-Imperialism

James M. Craven/ Omahkohkiaayo I’poyi

Presentation to
Instituteof MarxismResearchof the
ChineseAcademy of Social SciencesAugust 11, 2009

A Poem Capturing the Essence of Neoclassical

Economics, Neo-liberalism and Imperialism

Thosewho takethemeat fromthetable,

Thosefor whomthetaxesaredestined,
demand sacrifice.
Thosewho eat their fill, speak to thehungry,
of wonderful timesto come.
Thosewho lead thecountry into theabyss,
call rulingtoo difficult,
for ordinary folk.

(Bertolt Brecht)
What is Imperialism?
“If it werenecessarytogivethebriefest possibledefinitionof
imperialismweshould haveto say that imperialismisthe
monopoly stage of capitalism. Such adefinition would
includewhat ismost important…”
“But verybrief definitions, althoughconvenient, for theysum
up the main points, are nevertheless inadequate, since we
havetodeducefromthemsomeespeciallyimportant features
of thephenomenonthat hastobedefined.”
(V.I. Lenin, ImperialismTheHighest Stageof Capitalism”)

Defining Features of Imperialism

 “And so, without forgettingtheconditional and relativevalueof all definitions
ingeneral, whichcannever embraceall theconcatenationsof aphenomenonin
itsfull development, wemust giveadefinition of imperialismthat will include
thefollowingfiveof itsbasicfeatures:

 (1) theconcentrationof production and capital has developedto such ahigh stagethat it has created
monopolieswhichplay adecisiverolein economiclife;
 (2) themergingof bank capital withindustrial capital, and thecreation, on thebasis of this“finance
capital”, of afinancial oligarchy;
 (3) theexport of capital asdistinguishedfromtheexport of commoditiesacquiresexceptional
 (4) theformation of international monopolist capitalist associationswhichshare theworld among
themselves, and
 (5) theterritorial division of thewholeworldamongthebiggest capitalist powersiscompleted.

(V.I. Lenin, “ImperialismTheHighest Stageof Capitalism”)

Imperialism is a System and Not
Simply a Set of Policies

“In the matter of defining imperialism, however, we have to

enter intocontroversy… Thefundamental ideasexpressedin
our definition of imperialism were very resolutely attacked
by Kautsky… when he said that imperialism must not be
regarded as a“phase”or stageof economy, but asapolicy, a
definitepolicy‘preferred’ byfinancecapital; “

(V.I. Lenin, Imperialism:TheHighest Stageof Capitalism)

"Money to Get Power.

Power to Protect Money"
Slogan of theMedici Family
The Core Imperatives:“Logic” of
Capitalism and Imperialism
(market power)

Increased Maximum
Competitiveness SurplusValue

Maximization of Accumulationof
Productivity Capital*

Imperial Superstructure
“Thenon-economic superstructurewhich growsup on the
basis of finance capital, its politics and its ideology,
stimulates the striving for colonial conquest. “Finance
capital does not want liberty, it wants domination,” as

(V.I.LeninImperialismTheHighestStageof Capitalism)
Imperial Overreach and the Global
Decline of America

"Our power, then, has the grave liability of rendering our theories
about theworldimmunefromfailure.But bybecomingdeaf toeasily
discernedwarningsigns, wemay ignorelong-termcoststhat result
fromour actions and dismiss reverses that should lead to a re-
examinationof ourgoalsandmeans.“

Imperial Expansion Spiral


Returnsof Profits, Imperial Power

Interest, Rents Projection(Hard
andGlobal Power andSoft)

Outlets, Raw
Materials, Markets
Imperial Overreach and Decline

Market Shares,
Returns, Power

FavoringRivals Globally

Pillars of Neo-liberalism
 Fiscal Policy discipline;
 Redirectionof public spendingfromsubsidies("especially indiscriminatesubsidies") toward broad-
based provision of key pro-growth, pro-poor serviceslike primary education, primary healthcare
and infrastructureinvestment;
 Tax reform– broadeningthetax baseand adoptingmoderatemarginal tax rates;
 Interest ratesthat aremarket determined and positive(but moderate) in real terms;
 Competitiveexchangerates;
 Tradeliberalization– liberalization of imports, withparticular emphasison elimination of
quantitativerestrictions(licensing, etc.); any tradeprotectionto beprovidedby law and relatively
 Liberalization of inward foreign direct investment;
 Privatization of stateenterprises;
 Deregulation– abolitionof regulationsthat impedemarket entry or restrict competition, except
for thosejustified on safety, environmental and consumer protectiongrounds, and prudent
oversight of financial institutions; and,
 Legal securityfor property rights.
 Restraint on Unionsand Unionization
 Tight Money Policies(anti-Inflationary evenat expenseof higher unemployment)
Pillars of Neoclassical Economics
 Thefirst meta-axiomof neoclassical economics:
methodological individualism

 Thesecond meta-axiomof neoclassical economics:

methodological instrumentalism

 Thethird meta-axiomof neoclassical economics:

methodological equilibration

 Source: Arnsperger, Christian andVaroufakis,Yanis, “What is

Neoclassical Economics?”, Post-autistic EconomicsReview Issue
38, July 2009

Methodological Individualism
Individual (buyer, seller, owner) isthefocusof all analysis;
Whole(Macro) = Sumof itsparts; Micro  Macro;
Strict Separation of StructurefromAgency: Micro  Macro
but no concept of Macro  Micro;
Formof “methodological reductionism”or thenotion that all
largeentitiesmay beexplained by referenceto smaller ones;
No placefor social class, race, ethnicity, gender, history, state
of society or typeof systemin decision making;
Collectiveaction is simpleaggregation of actions of
“rational”utility-maximizing individuals.
Methodological Instrumentalism
 All human behavior ispreferencedriven withall preferencesreduced to
ultimategoalsof utility maximization and minimization of pain, costs,
uncertaintyand risk;
 Homo Oeconomicus Model (Evolving)
a) Perfectly Rational to Bounded Rational
b) Maximizer now Satisficer of Total Utility and Profits; calculateson
themargin to maximizeinToto
c) Preferences: given Exogenous; now adaptiveEndogenous
d) Egoistic or Self-interestedand competitiveIndividual
e) Preferencesindependent of influenceof othersor contextsnow, via
GameTheory, allowsadaptation to past outcomesand context.
f) Fromperfectly informed on all information necessaryfor rational
choiceto asymmetric information
g) frompurecompetition to imperfect competition

Methodological Equilibration
 Axiomatic imposition of equilibriumasfocusof analysis
 Questionsabout how, how likely equilibriumcould occur in the
real world never dealt with. Equilibriummerely and summarily
asserted asneoclassical theory cannot demonstratehow some
equilibriumcould/ would naturally occur out of competitive
interactionsof theinstrumentally rational choicesof “economic
 Economy can beanalytically detached and analyzedindependent of
theother dimensionsof society (pureEconomicsinstead of
Political Economy)
 Economy asaMorphostatic and not Morphogenetic system.
 Equilibriumfocushasrhetorical intention. (Who goesto the
psychiatrist lookingfor moredisequilibriumin their lives?)
(Source Henderson, Hazel,; reprinted under Fair Use Doctrine)

Rhetoric of Neoclassical Economics

 “However, since 1870, triumphant marginalism has set itself the
task of working out an economic science that is ‘pure’, or, more
precisely, independent of all other social sciences. This ‘pure’
economicsciencemust necessarilybeahistorical, sincethelawsit
seekstodiscover havetobetruewhatever theeconomicandsocial
system may be. Abandoning the universal outlook of Marxism,
breaking down the bridges that the latter had laid between the
variousbranchesof social scienceit itsattempt to explain history,
neoclassical economics wasled to become, first and foremost, an
algebra of logical deductions from a certain number of axioms
based on a sketchy psychology of ‘eternal man’.” (Samir Amin,
AccumulationonaWorldScale, p. 5)
How is Neoclassical Economics Used
in Service to Imperialism?
 Analysisfreeof history, class, race, ethnicity, gender, andpower (thereal
 Focus on human’s relations with things (Scarcity v Wants) and not on
human relations among themselves in the course of producing and
distributingmeansof subsistence
 Focus on mythical equilibrium in a system doomed to chronic
disequilibrium, crisesandeventual implosion
 All exchangesassumedbyNeoclassicalsand Neoliberalsto bevoluntary
and mutually beneficial otherwise would not have occurred; whereas
imperialismisall about unequal andinvoluntaryexchangesandoutright
plunder—all assumedawaya-priori
 Ideology of universal harmonies based on mere tautologies with real
worldformsof exploitationdefinedor assumedaway.
 Hypothetico-deductivist; anti-empirical
 Badcareer movefor economistswhoreject it; Dominant Paradigm

Early 20th Century Imperialism:

“Gunboat Diplomacy”
 "I spent 33 yearsand four monthsin activemilitary serviceand duringthat period I spent most of
my timeas ahigh classmuscleman for BigBusiness, forWall Street and thebankers. In short, I was
aracketeer, agangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especiallyTampico safe for
American oil interestsin 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cubaadecent placefor theNational City
Bank boysto collect revenuesin. I helped in therapingof half adozen Central American republics
for thebenefit ofWall Street. I helped purify Nicaraguafor theInternational BankingHouseof
BrownBrothersin 1902-1912. I brought light to theDominican Republic for theAmerican sugar
interestsin 1916. I helped make Hondurasright for theAmerican fruit companiesin 1903. In China
in 1927 I helped seeto it that Standard Oil went onitsway unmolested. Lookingback on it, I might
havegivenAl Caponeafew hints.Thebest hecould do wasto operatehisracket in threedistricts. I
operatedon threecontinents."[28]“
 (Major General Smedley Darlington Butler, USMC, three-timesnominated, twiceawarded, the
Medal of Honor. Single-handedly infiltrated and exposedaplot by bigcapitaliststo overthrow
President Roosevelt in 1934 and set up afascist dictatorshipinAmerica)
Latter 20th Century Imperialism:
Social Systems Engineering
 "I don’ t seewhy weneed to stand by and watchacountry go communist dueto the
irresponsibility of its own people. Theissuesaremuch too important for theChilean
votersto beleft to decide for themselves." (Henry Kissinger);

 "Not anut or bolt shall reach Chileunder Allende. OnceAllende comesto power we
shall do all within our power to condemn Chileand all Chileans to utmost deprivation
and poverty." (Edward M. Korry, U.S. Ambassador to Chile, upon hearingof Allende"s

 "Maketheeconomy scream[in Chileto] prevent Allende fromcomingto power or to

unseat him" (Richard Nixon, ordersto CIA director Richard Helmson September 15,

 "It isfirmand continuing policy that Allende beoverthrown by acoup. It would bemuch
preferableto havethistranspire prior to 24 October but effortsin thisregard will
continuevigorously beyond thisdate. Weare to continue to generatemaximumpressure
toward thisend, utilizing every appropriate resource. It isimperative that these actions
beimplemented clandestinely and securely so that theUSG andAmerican hand bewell
hidden..." (A communiqué to theCIA basein Chile, issued on October 16, 1970.)

Brzezinski Continued
 B:What ismost important to thehistory of theworld?TheTaliban or thecollapse of the
Soviet empire?Some stirred-up Moslemsor theliberation of Central Europe and theend
of thecold war?
Q: Somestirred-up Moslems?But it hasbeen said and repeated: Islamic fundamentalism
representsaworld menace today.

B: Nonsense! It is said that theWest had aglobal policy in regard to Islam. That isstupid.
Thereisn't aglobal Islam. Look at Islamin arational manner and without demagoguery
or emotion. It istheleading religion of theworld with 1.5 billion followers. But what is
therein common amongSaudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan
militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism?Nothingmorethan what
unitestheChristian countries.
[Thisinterview waspublished in Frenchin LeNouvel Observateur (France), Jan 15-21,
1998, but it isbelieved not included in theedition sent to theUnited States. Translation
fromoriginal French by Bill Blum, author of "KillingHope: USMilitary and CIA
Interventions SinceWorldWar II" and "RogueState: A Guide to theWorld'sOnly
An Allegory About Neoliberalism:
How and For Whom it Really Works
 Imagine arace between two runners. Imagine that Runner A is
heldback whileRunner Bisadvanced80%of thewayaroundthe
track toward the finish. Now imagine that Runner A is suddenly
released to run the race, with no reference to having been held
backor why, and, onlywhenRunner Bisonly20%awayfromthe
finish of therace, isRunner A then turned looseto “compete”in
the race. Suppose Runner A is even told by Neoclassical
theoreticiansthat if hedoesnot wintherace, that heisnowtotally
“free”to run, thiswill be taken as “evidence”of Runner A’s own
inferiority, laziness and lack of fitness to run the race.” And
supposefurther that therulesof theraceonly apply to Runner A
whilethe“referees”of theraceareintheemployof and/ or related
to Runner B.
Now Extend The Previous Allegory
 Suppose the winner of the previous race (any question who that will
be?) startsout inRaceII at aposition90%aheadof thestart lineor 10%
fromthefinishlinewhiletheloser of thepreviousrace, Runner A, starts
at the start line or say even 10% ahead of the previous start line, and
each is told again, that heor shehasan “equal opportunity”to run the
race.Anyquestionwhowill winrace2?

 Now imagine that this race has life and death consequences on many
innocentsandeventhefateof theplanet hangsonit.

 Inequalities, are self-reinforcing and self-reproducing especially in

market-based systems, where access to political power, information,
specialized technologies, patents, copyrights, guanxi etc are all
commodities for sale to some and denied to others who either lack
purchasingpower and/ or aresubject toembargos.

Pillars of Neo-liberalism & Imperialism

 Taxreform– broadeningthetaxbaseandadoptingmoderate
marginal taxrates;

a) Increasingusesof regressivetaxes(salesand value-added) and

decreased useof progressivetaxationin general and marginal tax rates
of upper bracketsin particular

b) Tax regimesaremoderately progressivedejure(on paper) but

regressiveoverall defacto (in fact)

c) Increaseduseof tax shelters, loopholes, tax codecomplexity and

accelerateddepreciation etc for upper incomebracketsand
corporations. (increasesdemand for foreign consultingand finance
capital servicesand hidesregressivenatureof tax code)
Pillars of Neo-liberalism & Imperialism
 NEDandthe“Infrastructureof‘Democracy’“

 TheNational Endowmentfor Democracy:RevisitingtheCIA Connection

 TheNational Endowment for Democracy (NED) wasestablished in 1984 with bipartisan support
duringPresident Reagan’sadministrationto“foster theinfrastructureof democracy– thesystemof
afreepress, unions, political parties, universities”around theworld.[8] ConsideringReagan’swell
documentedmisunderstandingof what constitutesdemocraticgovernance,[9] it isfittingthat Allen
Weinstein, theNEDs first actingpresident, observed that in fact “A lot of what we[theNED] do
today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA”.[10] So for example, it is not surprising that
duringthe1990electionsinNicaraguait ishasbeenestimatedthat “for everydollar of NED or AID
fundingtherewereseveral dollarsof CIA funding”.[11]

 By building upon the pioneering work of liberal philanthropists (like the Ford and Rockefeller
Foundations’) – whohavealonghistoryof co-optingprogressivesocial movements– it appearsthat
theNED wasenvisaged by USforeign policy elitesto beamoresuitableway to providestrategic
funding to nongovernmental organizations than via covert CIA funding.[12] Indeed, the NED’s
‘new’ emphasis on overt funding of geostrategically useful groups, as opposed to the covert
funding, appearsto haveleant anauraof respect totheNED’swork, andhasenabledthem, for the
most part, toavoidmuchcritical commentaryinthemainstreammedia.
 ("Democratic Imperialism": Tibet, China, and theNational Endowment for Democracy by Michael Barker)

De-jure Dispersion of Ownership 

Concentration of Control De-facto
 It is characteristic of capitalismin general that theownership of capital isseparated fromthe application of capital
to production…

 “Thehead of the concern controlstheprincipal company (literally: the“mother company”); the latter reigns over
thesubsidiary companies(“daughter companies”) which in their turn control still other subsidiaries(“grandchild
companies”), etc. In this way, it ispossiblewith acomparatively small capital to dominateimmensespheresof
production. Indeed, if holding50 per cent of the capital isalways sufficient to control acompany, thehead of the
concernneedsonly onemillion to control eight million in thesecondsubsidiaries. And if this‘interlocking’ is
extended, it ispossible with onemillion to control sixteen million, thirty-two million, etc.”[3]

 Asamatter of fact, experienceshowsthat it issufficient to own 40per cent of the sharesof acompany in order to
direct itsaffairs,[4] since in practice acertain number of small, scattered shareholders find it impossibleto attend
general meetings, etc. The“democratization” of theownership of shares, fromwhich thebourgeoissophists and
opportunist so-called“Social-Democrats” expect (or say that they expect) the“democratization of capital”, the
strengtheningof theroleand significance of small scaleproduction, etc., is, in fact, oneof thewaysof increasing
thepower of the financial oligarchy. (V.I. Lenin ImperialismtheHighest Stage of Capitalism)
Stock DispersionSmaller %s of Total
Stocks Needed for Control of Assets

SubsidiaryA Subsidiary B
10%voting 10%of voting
stock stock

SubsidiaryC Subsidiary D Subsidiary E

10%of voting 10%of voting 10%of voting
stock stock stock

Multiple Political Parties +Voter Cynicism

 Less not More “Democracy”
TaketheU.S. 2000Presidential Electiondecidedbyonevote
(buy the U.S. Supreme Court 5-4) with three of the U.S.
Justices(Scalia, ThomasandO’Connor) whovotedfor Bush,
in violation of 28 USC 455 [which demanded their recusal
from the case for clear conflicts of interest which they
refused to obey] With 50% of age-eligible potential voters
voting, for two parties that have only nominal differences,
and with the winning candidate getting 50% of the votes,
that candidate wins with only .50 x .50 or 25% of age-
eligiblepopulationvotingfor himor her. Withthreeparties,
aswithClintonin1992, his“mandate”wasevenless.
Pillars of Neo-liberalism & Imperialism
 Competitiveexchangerates;

a)Translation, webelievein“freemarkets”when it suitsusand

administeredexchangeratesor other priceswhen that suitsus.
b)Theexchangerateof theU.S. Dollar hasalwaysbeen about the
political-hegemonic aswell aseconomic roleof thedollar. The
U.S. dollar hasin many waysbeen“overvalued”sinceBretton
c) fallingdollar issupposed to stimulateexportsunlesslossof
general confidencein thedollar causesdecreased willingnessto
demandand hold dollarsthusnot only dollar meltdown, but
lackingdollar reserves, countriesdecreasedemand for U.S.
exportsand tradedeficitsriseinstead of fallingwithafalling

Pillars of Neo-liberalism & Imperialism

Liberalization of inwardforeign direct investment;
The U.S and others following neoliberal prescriptions will
only reinvest their profits if given afree hand to determine
where, when, how much and in what sectors regardless of
the implications on overall growth and development
imperatives of the nation in which the reinvestment is
directed. Not only doesthisunderminenational sovereignty,
but it leavesroomfor all sortsof social systemsengineering
schemes. Thisisdemandedbut not practicedbytheU.S. and
someof itsallies
What is your answer to the question Socialism
vs. Capitalism Who Will Win?
 My answer was I do not know but I do know which must win if
thisplanet andhumanityaretosurvive—Socialism.

Imperialism, Neo or Classical, will never tolerate, because they

couldnever handle, trulyfree, fair, openandpeaceful competition
betweensystems—Socialismvs. Capitalism.

Social Systems Engineering is about identifying and then

exploitingthekeyvulnerabilitiesof atargetednationfor purposes
of destabilization and overthrow of regimes and systems; and to
engineer the supposed “proof” of the supposed “superiority” of
Capitalism over Socialism and the supposed “proof” of the
supposed backward and repressive nature of Socialism and

Di guo zhu yi de mian zhao

he tang yi pao dan

"Evil isno facelessstranger

livingin adistant neighborhood
Evil hasawholesome, hometown face,
with merry eyesand an open smile.
Evil walks amongus, wearingamask
which looks likeall our faces.
(TheBook of Counted Sorrows)