“I Am Not a Leader”: Russell Means


Plenty of food for thought, written by American Indian Movement (AIM) activist and controversial figure Russell Means in a 1980 cover story for Mother Jones:

Distilled to its basic terms, European faith—including the new faith in science—equals a belief that man is God. Europe has always sought a Messiah, whether that be the man Jesus Christ or the man Karl Marx or the man Albert Einstein. American Indians know this to be totally absurd. Humans are the weakest of all creatures, so weak that other creatures are willing to give sip their flesh that we may live. Humans are able to survive only through the exercise of rationality since they lack the abilities of other creatures to gain food through the use of fang and claw. But rationality is a curse since it can cause humans to forget the natural order of things in ways other creatures do not. A wolf never forgets his or her place in the natural order. American Indians can. Europeans almost always do. We pray our thanks to the deer, our relations, for allowing us their flesh to eat; Europeans simply take the flesh for granted and consider the deer inferior. After all, Europeans consider themselves godlike in their rationalism and science. God is the Supreme Being; all else must be inferior.

All European tradition. Marxism included, has conspired to defy the natural order of all things. Continue reading

Sprout Out Loud! ‘Zine Launch @ Drawn & Quarterly


Montréal artist-activist Emily Rose Michaud is launching the second edition of her ‘zine Pouvoir Aux Pousses! / Sprout Out Loud! tomorrow at local comics powerhouse Drawn & Quarterly. Emily established the Roerich Garden* in 2007, as part of the Sprout Out Loud! gardener’s collective.

The Roerich Garden is located on a plot of land formerly owned by a railway company, and is one of the last undeveloped green spaces in Montréal’s Mile End neighbourhood. This local community space is surprisingly biodiverse, and has been used by locals for various activities, and like other unofficial urban greenspaces on “vague terrains” worldwide, raises questions about citizen engagement, urban occupation and land use. Residents are now working with city officials to keep it as a open, green and communal space.

In the spirit of this collective guerrilla garden, I was honoured to contribute a drawing for Emily’s ‘zine; the event information is below.

*Roerich refers to Nicholas Roerich, early 20th century Russian painter, writer, philosopher and theosophist who worked to establish “pax cultura” (a culture of peace).

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Pouvoir Aux Pousses! / Sprout Out Loud! zine launch + presentation + planting

DRAWN & QUARTERLY in Montreal.

Wednesday, May 22, 5 to 7 PM.

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“We Are Power”: Words of John Trudell


I’m not totally sure how I stumbled upon John Trudell but I’ve been reading up the last few days on this fiery, eloquent spoken word poet-activist of Santee Sioux descent who cut his teeth back in the 1970s as chairman of the American Indian Movement, among other things. Surveilled by the FBI, he lost his pregnant wife Tina Manning (also a prominent activist) and three children to a suspicious house fire, barely twelve hours after he’d publicly burned an American flag at a protest in Washington D.C.

Six months after their deaths a deeply-affected Trudell began writing, saying that: “They’re called poems but in reality they’re lines given to me to hang on to” by his lost wife, “to stay connected with this reality.” He’s since had a successful career in writing, film and music.

His words are fascinating, re-framing things that should be probably pretty damn obvious to us as a collective species of “human being” — yet we are too tied to our imaginary, socially conditioned allegiances to really see this basic fact. In this speech called “We Are Power,” given on July 18, 1980 at the intercultural Survival Gathering, Trudell speaks:

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Permablitz This! Balcony Gardening Workshop


Turning a ho-hum balcony into a little oasis of blooming green (or at least starting to!) one July weekend in 2009. For this one-day workshop / permaculture blitz, we made self-watering containers, transplanted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, one banana and herbs, made a climbing wall, and started a rainwater collection system, made out of recycled election boards (before we got rained in.)

Check out this video of the rainwater harvester in action.

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Drew Lane Residence

Drew Lane Residence

A high-end, high-tech second residence for a family of five, renovated out of an existing cedar shingle house situated in the East Hamptons, New York. Use of salvaged and eco-friendly materials (30% slag concrete foundation, recycled gypsum board, FSC-certified wood, bio-based insulation, energy-efficient glass) and non-toxic finishes. Closed-loop geothermal wells utilize the earth’s stable “heat bank” to heat and cool the house.

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Junk Suitcases Transformed To Chairs, Typewriters To Lamps

For those looking for a more eclectic decorating look beyond minimalist lines (or a little DIY inspiration) it’s always gratifying to see ‘junk’ repurposed into unique pieces. And so-called ‘junk market decorating’ ideas abound with South African company REcreate, which offers up surprising selections like suitcase seats, milk bottle and typewriter lamps and other quirky accessories.

REcreate is the brainchild of interior designer Katie Thompson, an avid collector of “all things useless, impractical, broken, colourful and shiny” which are then turned into refreshing furniture with “Dadaist leanings”.

Dadaist is an apt description as Thompson’s various reupholstered seats made from old suitcases, for example, have a certain worldly and fantastic character.

Read the rest on TreeHugger.