In Original Politics, Glenn Aparicio Parry argues that Native American history and culture are imperative forces within America’s past and present.
From Parry’s perspective, Native American politics represent a sacred America, or a politics of the heart, syncing human needs with those of nature. Here, no being is seen as superior to another. Paying homage to The Tao Te Ching, Original Politics is so organized into four interrelated circles, or sections, to represent nature’s cycles. These circles are used to provide a blueprint for American politics to circle back to its native culture, embracing the greater good and stretching beyond personal need.
The relationships between Mayflower settlers and Native Americans are detailed to correct the whitewashed history of Thanksgiving, as Parry argues that America’s unique character was formed via the fusion of two opposing origin stories. Native Americans, he shows, have a American origin story that’s about connection to, and intimacy with, the land, while the settlers’ story suggests a valiant journey to a foreign place.
Parry suggests that America turned away from its sacred roots in time with its shift into Western thinking and its adoption of an overarching, linear perspective. Afterward, less knowledge came from lived experiences; instead, ideas about the world were passed on through books and rhetoric, and the change extended to American approaches to politics.
Dense explorations of Native American and European history are included to show the influence of Native American culture on the US. There’s much to digest within this book, which links the ideals of early Native Americans to movements within American history, pinpointing Native peoples’ stamp of influence from the outset. Breaking with past tendencies, Original Politics revises approaches to history to center Native American traditions within it.
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