Mark Morey: Cultural Capital (Part 2)
This is Part 2 of our podcast with social activist Mark Morey. (Part 1 can be heard here)
Much of society's ills can be resolved through changing our behavior. Native populations are a rich resource of wisdom in doing so, as they had to address many of these same problems centuries ago. The question is: Will we take the time to listen?
Relationships change people. Being in isolation is a degenerative cycle, it’s really bad. So if people feel isolated, that's an end of the road kind of thing. So cross-cultural exchanges, seeing native people perform ceremonies -- those kinds of things -- change people. Going into communities that are not your own changes you.
There’s work that has been happening at Unilever where executives go on a consciousness retreat, visiting actual coffee farms and meeting the people there. They walk away disturbed. That’s way better than data rolling across their desk every day. That’s the kind of work we should foster -- in our lives as well as other people -- this type of peacemaking. Proactive action that helps us realize we’re all related and I may know that before you. That’s creates powerful moments.
We call this regenerative mentoring. There's a mentoring process to this where you’re either in a peacemaking relationship or you’re mentoring towards that. Some people don’t feel like they have a connection to others, and so you have to really give them some surplus -- you have to get them on board and bring them into the game again. When people are really hurting they do nasty things to each other.
Click the play button below to listen to Chris' interview with Mark Morey (56m:54s).
Chris Martenson: Welcome back everybody to Peak Prosperity’s podcast. This is Chris Martenson. We’re here for part two with Mark Morey; and we’re going to continue talking about culture and cultural items and everything related to Standing Rock and Nature Connection and how we can be in these troubled and troubling times. Welcome back.
Mark Morey: Thank you.
Chris Martenson: I was just thinking that it’s so easy to have our needs satiated in this culture, but really never satisfied.
Mark Morey: Interesting.
Chris Martenson: It couldn’t be easier. And I was just down in New Orleans, and people listening to this have probably hear this already but I was at this conference pension managers and they overlapped this on purpose with Mardi Gras because it attracts people to come to this conference. I come out of the Astoria Hotel right there on Canal Street – Canal and Bourbon and it’s just like wall to wall debauchery, right? This is like a frat party gone wild into the streets you know?
Mark Morey: Pension managers leaving their conference.
Chris Martenson: Make of that what you will and – but I found that I can’t – ever since my heart opening and I’ve become a lot more sensitive as a human being. I think an earlier stage of my life I would have said wow, you know this is great. And I just bounced off it in like 30 seconds. And like I can’t even engage with this because what I detect there is a lot of deeply unhappy people who need a grotesque amount of stimulation to even begin to feel something. And it’s such an overload of stimulation for me that it overlies – pegs and breaks all my stimulation meters like way too much right?
Mark Morey: Yeah.
Chris Martenson: It’s beyond, but I think you take Vegas, you take Mardis Gras, you take Disneyland these are all pre-packaged, re-sold experiences you got to fly hundreds of thousands of miles, spend hundreds if not thousands of dollars to be given an experience that is capable of breaking through the numbness of your life, so that you can go home and say I felt something. I had a good time.
Mark Morey: That’s true.
Chris Martenson: But how – what befell us that we get to this point where people aren’t experiencing that level of connection and aliveness in – from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep? Not needing a repackaged experienced to have that?
Mark Morey: Yeah, well I think it’s important to note that Mardis Gras actually comes from an old cultural tradition that was meant to have Bacchanalia in our life once a year. And that goes back hundreds and hundreds, if not a thousand years; so it’s interesting that the repackaged and resold thing I think could be like Halloween where that time of year was meant to be connecting with the ancestors, which is the meaningful aspect of the season as opposed to pretending you’re a ghost with a sheet over your head getting candy that’s being sold, right?
So, there’s a clue there that there is a purpose of that. And so if we can find that cultural element called, you know, wildness, what does that look like if we authenticate it. And I think we can do that with a lot of, you know, seasonal things.
Chris Martenson: It was interesting, my Uber driver, is going to the airport. I just wanted to ask, she had a heavy Creole accent so I was like perfect. About a 55 year old Black woman, heavy Creole; so I was like “Hey Mardi Gras, what can you tell me about where that came from.” She’s like “Oh it’s because of Lent.” I’m like no; this is not what Catholics do. I know Catholics, this ain’t it. There is something else going on here, what can you tell me? She was like “Oh good question.” So, she calls her son.
Mark Morey: That’s great.
Chris Martenson: And then he’s on Google over the phone trying to figure out what this is about. Because I said I’m feeling – there’s heavy island/West African influence clearly in the death masks and the costumes. You can feel the echoes of this. This is clearly not a Catholic tradition, but it’s what Christianity has often done. You find the local energy in their current rituals and you sort of co-opted them into your calendar. Because she was like “This is what Catholics do” and I’m like “No, not in Philly.” Total different relationship to Lent there. But there’s – that – all I could really feel was the dim echoes of what they used to be. Ritualistic – it had the surface actions of the Bacchanalia, but not the deep connection to why, which was if you think about it, this is the time of the year, down in that region of the country where the food is finally returning.
Mark Morey: Yeah.
Chris Martenson: In Europe the most common month for starvation deaths to happen before modern agriculture was June. I always thought it would have been February, January but it's June. It’s all gone and nothing –
Mark Morey: Eating grass –
Chris Martenson: Tough stuff like that, so –
Mark Morey: I think you could call it in its original form probably a form of grieving. You know that there is a tending to what is maybe stored up from winter, right? What is locked up in the veins? It builds the fire and there is some wild reclaiming of things like this over in Europe. There is a town over there that does a fire festival that’s just out of control. It would break all the laws over here. And when I hear about that, I’m like damn that sounds fun. They roll barrels down the street that are on fire, or like have big puppets and they’re lighting them on fire. And I’m like where are the police in all of this? But why are they not getting arrested? And they’re like – well the whole town is on board. Like everyone, like the select board. Like people come to this thing and, you know, then they have like a big fire and a ceremony there and people are actually doing personal you know renewal work as part of this community festival. Like they know what they’re doing with it all, and it has this cold, wild aspect to it. So, I think it might be part of you know burning the cobwebs, too.
Chris Martenson: Well and one of the things that I remember you telling me a while ago that the indigenous cultures had that edge experience; and so you can look at like some of the crazy old European stuff, which is my heritage. Like there’s this place in England where they roll these 40 pound wheels of cheese down a very steep hill. These things are just like little death balls, and people are trying to outrun them at the same time. And they’re falling and the cheese wheel is hitting them and they’re getting broken and they’re all laughing. It’s like wildly unsafe, completely unproductive.
Mark Morey: Totally, I love that.
Chris Martenson: And you can see that in the running of bulls and all those things. People will swarm to this idea of having an edge experience again because it’s real in that moment.
Mark Morey: Well, you know, if we bring back in the human development part of this, we don’t have to just start as adults figuring this edge experience stuff out. You know then it could be just dangerous. But if we think about raising our children that way, all the way through their childhood, they have a relationship with edges. It’s the whole thing of like do you let your kids play with matches or not? Do you let them shoot guns or not? Do you let them work with knives or not? And I’ve seen this with parenting, because I work with parents, because that’s one of the key people that can change culture. It’s humongous influence and often they have to stretch themselves into this other level of building capacity to let their child explore the world. And I’m an important part of holding them back to learn to hold themselves back, with observation, values in place, you know? But, allowing the kid to use the sharp knife, you know, and to explore cutting through things? And edge experiences of climbing trees. And, you know, we’re not trying to cause a broken bone, but if there is a relationship to falling out of a tree that’s earned for them. If you withhold them, you’re essentially keeping them in a hospital bed, softer and softer and softer. Out of control and fear that they might get hurt, but we have this backward result which is unresilient, ungreedy children who then run culture from that place. It’s a very different place to be guiding any aspect of our society.
So, in a risk and adventure, getting skinned knees, getting lost, we call these six rights of passages: hungry, buggy, muddy, wet, cold and alone. And that’s our map. That basically kids got to be going through that every year of their life for about 15 years and it makes a very different adult.
I ran into this guy at the co-op yesterday. And he’s like the biggest activist in town. Rides his bicycle everywhere. And he’s all excited to see me because my 16 year old daughter is now running protests. From like 15-16 she’s now very eager to like throw DeVoss out of office. Very upset about Trump and went to Washington DC and you know, 16 years old. Who let’s their kid go to Washington DC without their parents for a million person march? I really had to sit with that one for a while. I’m like “Is she ready for this?” “What kind of things has she done”? Yeah she’s done that, yeah she’s done that, she’s done a 48 hour solo by herself fasting. She traveled to India when she was 14. Okay, I think she can do this.
Chris Martenson: DC, I don’t know.
Mark Morey: I did, you know it’s a big city. You gotta have this in place, that in place. I want you to have cell phone numbers. You should know where you are at all times. Study this map. And she’s like “I got it, I got it. I’m on it. I’m doing that.” Okay good. Then she figured it out. She went down with a mom and another daughter and she stayed at this place. She figured out the subway by herself, buying the card and the million other people. And how to stay safe in crowds and when to get home and get off the street.
Anyway, so this activist guy was really psyched to see that she was emerging as this young adult. She organized like 200 people to protest the other day. And I said, “How is your daughter doing?” And that’s the one that I mentored in nature programs back in 1999. So she was 10, now she’s –
Chris Martenson: 26 or 27 –
Mark Morey: 27. I go I just saw on Facebook she’s heading to Cuba. And he’s like “How did you know that?” And I’m like Facebook. And he’s like “Oh I don’t do that,” but he says “Yeah, heading to Cuba.” I’m like “How do you do that these days, can you just fly straight there? Do you have to go through Canada”? He’s like “I don’t know. When Maya gets her mind set on something she just goes – you know, you made her this way”. I go “Really?” He’s like “All those things you did for 10 years with her, oh my God. She doesn’t even know Spanish.” I’m like “Really, she’s going anyway?” “You did that to her.” And I said, “Who is she going with?” “She’s going alone.” “Wow that’s amazing.” I go “Why is she going?” He said “She’s going because she wants to see the culture there before it disappears”. She wants to go and see the people – it probably is already changing and I want to go there for myself and meet the people and see how it is before it’s gone. He said, “That’s how these kids turn out.”
Chris Martenson: Because with the open travel now it will – all of that sort of culture resilience and belt tightening they had to do will just sort of get lost in the inevitable flood of United States amortization of the culture? Like she wants to go there before the KFC’s and the Burger King’s show up in every corner.
Mark Morey: Exactly. But that’s the consciousness though; so it’s kind of like the whole sleeper cell thing. Like she was involved in cultural customs as part of her nature programming that were pretty deep, right? Including having native people come and the ceremonies that we did with them and the songs and the dances. And just the way she related to the community, all the stuff about elders and respect and I think it’s like in her to actually keep that alive, right? It becomes more and more dissident for her as she enters the world as an adult and saying this is like I know it can be better than this. I’ve had a developmental experience of what it can be like. Even if it was a little community project of just 100 or so people she is now out there going to Cuba because she wants to see before it goes. We’ll see what she does with that. It could change her life. But I like that she’s on that quest versus people who don’t know what the hell to do.
Chris Martenson: Absolutely. All right, so you started all of this awhile ago with kids and Wilderness School and we heard the story about how that impacted Maya and of course your own daughter. What are you doing with this now?
Mark Morey: Well the brief chapter was that I started my own program and organization, which I left after eight years as executive director, that was a non-profit. And then I started my own for profit to go around and start other schools and coaching consultants, which one of the main activities I focused on was this week long course called “The Art of Mentoring.” And that was like a 200 person event that was a six day immersion. In not just nature connection, but the story of how we got here. A lot of what this podcast is about, this like six day version of that. And then tools and exercises and physical experiences of how to become a culture creative habit in your life again. And then we give them all these tools when they go home.
And then there’s a big network that they can stay a part of. So now there is a couple hundred organizations internationally and about 80-100 in North America. And each of those has probably, you know, 100 to 500 people around that doing all these kinds of things I’m talking about, living meaningful lives. Figuring out an economy, figuring out deep nature connections, season rituals, relationships, growing food, eating food and all the things that make us slow down. And so I had a turning point – I started saying, you know, who really needs this that affects all of these communities is the business world. All the things we’re talking about: meaningfulness, what is my gift, how do I live in the economy. The whole millennial generation is questioning this, I’m sure. So, I started bringing those same exact tools into the business world and I found out that they’re starving for it.
And initially I went into sustainability and that whole world I think is plagued with difficulties. Because they’re trying to do it through metrics and measuring materiality and all these high end cerebral conferences –
Chris Martenson: They want sustainable growth. It’s an oxymoron; it just doesn’t work out.
Mark Morey: It’s not working out. I thought I would be a real help to them, but they’re too far gone. So, I took a different tack. And I found myself in the investor world. Like there’s all these people committing suicide in Connecticut. And their kids are committing suicide and I thought wow, maybe I can help them. And we started doing some retreats with those folks. Then the startup world I dipped into because you could inoculate early companies with cultural customs. And I found that young people are really into it, as well as out in Silicon Valley; so this was Boston and Silicon Valley. And so that’s been really successful. They were really open to doing nature connection retreats, learning about conscious communication, doing some survey work in the company around what are people’s gifts. And then moving their occupation in alignment with that, so they’re not just a job title. You know, they’re a person with a specialty, you know? Yeah, so then Standing Rock happens. And what happened there is that I really felt a lot of the heat of activism rising and I’ve been a much more long term cold, strategic cultural change person, as you can tell. This is a 25 year journey for me and I think there’s – I did a poll, there’s 55,000 new people being introduced to this work every year. So, we’re in the half a million, million range of exposed and deeply into it after 25 years, so that’s pretty good.
And it’s like a mountain, and it’s totally decentralized. You can’t take it down. Everyone is personally owning it, 500,000 miles is, you know, is a lot of people who have their own self-directed nature right now. So, it’s on a curve, too. Anyway, so the heat part of it is I really felt a lot of compassion for the intersection of this pipe line that we can’t afford to build anymore, anyway. And the governmental corruption that basically was trying to erase the regulations to push this thing through, crossing an indigenous reservation, barely; it was about half a mile north. And running it across the Missouri River, which the reservation has to draw water from.
And they have a history of Ogallala Aquifer, which is a gigantic aquifer that got poisoned through uranium mining in the 70’s. And so the American Indian movement, which got kind of classified as a terrorist group.
Chris Martenson: Sure, that’s what you do.
Mark Morey: Just like El Salvador, you know the peasants who are like trying to keep from starving were called Communists. I didn’t know that until like recently. I did that research again and I saw these movies of these peasants. They’re actually Mayans and they said, “You’re not Mayans, you’re peasants. We’re changing your name now.” There was a whole history there of what people do when they’re pushed against the wall.
So here they are and this is the most marginalized group ever native people, especially in this county, which we can’t bear to own or acknowledge that we’ve just destroyed them. And I think earlier versions of the United States; one of them doesn’t go away and force the simulation patterns.
Chris Martenson: So Tim Yakaitis, who you know is a friend of mine who went out and took a lot of pictures. And when we did our earlier podcast I posted Tim’s pictures. And he’s been out there, I don’t know 10 times now. But he had one story that really stuck with me where he said – he really got close with one of these guys, Coon Dog, and he was really explaining the reality of what it’s like to live there. And he said this whole thing with the Morton County Sheriff. They’re not just being dicks right now, he said that as a Native American, if you break down on the side of the highway, you double cross your fingers, hope that the next person who comes along is an Indian. Because if it isn’t, if it’s a police car that pulls up behind you you’re probably getting arrested. You might disappear, they will never investigate your disappearance anyway. Who knows? It’s –
Mark Morey: Charge you with a felony.
Chris Martenson: It’s very bad.
Mark Morey: It is bad. And this is one of the good things that came out of Standing Rock; so this is a lot like Martin Luther King’s strategy, as well as Gandhi’s, which is to force the oppression out into the open by doing non-violent peaceful actions; so you could actually see the level of racism that currently exists. And that’s what happened; I think people are – didn’t realize that Selma, Alabama is happening in Bismarck, North Dakota today, 2017.
Chris Martenson: I had to search. I couldn’t find any use of water cannons on peaceful protestors since Selma. And before that, before that the prior use before that was in Nazi Germany.
Mark Morey: Oh my God; yeah. So that was the same thing that broke open the Civil Rights Movement was that level or racism that was going on there. So, that really – that broke me open that I wanted to do something there. And I had this gigantic network of people who do nature connections, so that we can live more local indigenous lives, not in the cultural sense. But in terms of like actually living local lives; getting more human again.
And the source of our nature connection curriculum is native people; it’s not necessarily science. It’s individuals who met with John Young over the years and contributed stories and teachings and methodologies that are best matched with how human beings learned. Native people are the best sources of our original way we learn. So, there’s lots of trauma in there and lots of difficulty and lots of history of White people abusing and taking stuff from Native people. So, it’s tricky intersection in terms of historical trauma and colonization. Colonizing them by dressing up like an Indian on Halloween, right? It’s like you’re just taking their image because it's fun for you, but it’s not fun for them.
But there’s definite ways of being respectful and ways of supporting their existence and going from 80% unemployment, top rates of death of suicide, heart disease and diabetes. Those are their top sources of death on the reservation; it’s so sad. It’s so sad. And there’s just no reason for it. They’re not bad people, you know what I mean? There’s no reason for this. It’s the saddest thing ever. So, I decided that I would, as a meaningful act in my life, orient my resources towards building a collaboration between Native people in this continent and the nature connection movement that I’m a part of for a resilient future. So, we have the same interests in mind: we both want clean water, we both want a healthy social justice culture. We both want respect for nature and the feminine, we both want community, we both want a different kind of economy because they’re not into the economy either. They would rather not have a job then force themselves into that White world; it’s like you coming out of the building into the Mardis Gras. They’re just like, can’t do it.
Now that said there’s of course lots of people who have, who have gone off to get college degrees and come back and fight legal battles and things like that. So, it’s not black and white, but my general sense is like if it’s possible that they can live a traditional life again without the inhibitions of the colonizing world, they would. So, there’s a lot of work to do there, so I created this project called “We are Nature Rising,” that when we connect like that adolescent and bond with nature as a part of who we are. This is what Joanne Anasy says, that it’s not about more information that we need. It’s about identity. Do I identify as nature? Do I identify as friend, as relationship, as relative? Who do you end up showing up for your whole life? You end up showing up for your blood family, even if you hate them. You go to all the funerals, you go to the weddings, you go to the graduations. Why do you keep showing up? It’s because they’re relatives. They’re blood family. Even if you don’t do it well? Even if there’s lots of dysfunction, that should tell you something.
What if nature was like that? What if you had blood bonds with nature from infancy? And what are the 100 ways that you could do that? What – how would you feel about that respect and reciprocity that you wouldn’t have to think about donating $5.00 a month, but you actually show up. I mean Tim is like super showing up right now, right? But there’s middle of the road way of showing up because Standing Rock is revealing what’s going on 500 other reservations. That’s just one example. You can go to every single native reservation and you have serious issues environmentally and socially, every single one.
So, there’s actually one near you. There’s actually easy work for you to do on the weekends. You can actually discover who the original people were here, how they got extirpated, where are they now, where are they hiding?
Chris Martenson: Well, I think the metaphor in all of this for me is that if we still can’t relate to you know, we started with this whole idea of the Iroquois Nation and said “We the people” and then later they said all people, all men are created equal, right? All men, they didn’t really believe it obviously, still had slaves. But they put the line in there –
Mark Morey: Women couldn’t vote.
Chris Martenson: I know. And it took us a couple hundred more years to say – it took some time to really pull that one sentence into our sort of sense of things and we’re still struggling with it, right? Because clearly that’s what the reservations show. No, all people are not created equal, right? And that’s what the Morton County Sheriff’s actions revealed for all the world to see. Whether you can see that or not because it’s very troubling information. But of course this is the United States policy with drones and all the brown skin people we bomb. And so there’s really almost like a death cult running. And if I was going to rewrite that one sentence, it would be not all people are created equal even. It would be that all life has a purpose. And we might insert that sentence into our next founding document, because I think we need one. And it might take us 200 or 500 more years to live into that sentence, but that’s the truth you’re speaking to here. The thing that we’ve forgotten that is always going to be true, because once – now that we’re starting to unravel the gut biome and the other stuff, and the fact that our DNA talks to the world around us in ways that we didn’t understand, it’s like wait a minute I’m not this isolated human wasp sort of a container. I’m actually this really porous thing that’s in dialog, still.
And I have to wonder if some of the grief that I experience isn’t due to the fact that I can feel the web of life snapping strand by strand, and that hurts. And that’s what’s on display at Standing Rock. But if we can’t even get that at a human level, there might be a little bit of a stretch that people that share the grief I share, which is that we drove up to upstate New York every summer of my life. And every time we stopped for gas in the old Woody station wagon there was a scraping of the bugs ritual because you couldn’t see otherwise. Last three summers we drove up in August through upstate New York, we’ve had exactly one bug strike in three years. They’re gone. Right? That causes immense grief to me. And a lot of people won’t be able to connect with that, ooh insects, we spray them.
But, no the fact that the insects are disappearing causes me enormous grief, because I can feel the tragedy of it. You can’t go out – I was doing this talk at NASA and the guys were like bumble bees, why? And I said how would you feel if on the space station there was some dunce going in pulling random components out of the oxygen generator? They’d be like “oh no.” Like that’s what’s happening here.
Mark Morey: This is the fabric.
Chris Martenson: This is a really complex machine the unknowable, incalculable feedback loops and we’re just randomly –
Mark Morey: It’s not even a machine. That’s what’s really wild.
Chris Martenson: I was trying to speak to engineers, right?
Mark Morey: You don’t know what happens when you pull that. That’s the gap.
Chris Martenson: It’s the humility that has to get born into this, which is we’re not super clever monkeys who will make the next Uber and iPhone 7 prove to me that we can solve this. I’m like no, there are some things that are just predicaments. Once you remove the bumble bee you will discover that you cannot – I’ve had this happen. Just in an audience just a few weeks ago, “Oh, but Chris I heard people are making little drone bees.” How many billions of those – tell me who’s just in charge of charging 30 billion drone bees? Just plugging little wires – who is doing that every night? Just think this through?
Mark Morey: It’s Wi-Fi. They enter the room at night and Wi-Fi charge.
Chris Martenson: On and on and on.
Mark Morey: But see the relationships change people. Being in isolation is a degenerative cycle, it’s really bad. So, if people feel isolated that is an end of the road kind of thing because relationships change people; so cross cultural exchanges, board rooms with native people doing ceremonies in them, those kinds of things change people, or you know going into communities that are not your own changes you. There’s work that has been happening at Unilever where executives go on a consciousness retreat, essentially to actual coffee farms and meet the people there. And they walk away disturbed. That’s way better than data rolling across their desk every day. That’s the kind of work that I would like to foster not only my life, but in other people is this is peacemaking, right? Is proactive action to “we’re related and I may know that before you.” Like we got to work through this and then at some point you will awaken to the you and I are the same thing. that’s a powerful moment.
And so we often call it regenerative mentoring. There’s a mentoring process to this where you’re either in a peacemaking relationship or you’re mentoring towards that. And it’s like knowing that we’re all connected and that some people don’t feel like they are. And so you have to really kind of give them some surplus that you have to get them on board and bring them into the game again. When people are really hurting they do nasty things to each other.
Chris Martenson: Sure.
Mark Morey: And that could be a generational thing, like fourth generation being nasty. I saw some amazing things come out of Standing Rock on a generational story level of it’s impossible to heal this trauma that we’re in right now, right? That’s some of the feeling that this is just too far gone. But then you see these little stories that are like really moving where you have the – one of the generals that massacred native people during the 1800’s, and his name is Harney. And there’s this whole story about the Minnesota Uprising because during the reservation era the people were supposed to get hand out food. Okay, we’ll go on the reservations as long as you feed us. This is a horrible deal. And what are they feeding them, lard and white flour and things that kill them anyway, sugar, alcohol. But even then the traders at the forts were selling it instead of giving it to the Native people, trying to make money off the government donations and rations and stuff. So, the native people would show up and there would be no food for them and they have to walk home to their starving family. So, one day they decided fuck it, we’re just going to burn down the houses that these people that take their food, these random families and then this whole uprising. And the cavalry went after them, of course and didn’t tell the first half of the story. The conditions of what happens when you’re against the wall?
So, it was Lincoln’s era, I think, and they went and hunted down all these people and they just took a spiritual leader from every community and said we’re going to hang all of you. And then there was a negotiation and then they said okay we’re only going to hang 38 of them. And so there’s this famous 38 people that got hung. And the whole thing is an injustice if you know the whole story. There’s no conclusion to this for people. When you talk to them about this currently, they sit down at the fire and say “Hey you know what happened yesterday? 38 people got hung, here’s the story.” It’s that fresh. They’re an oral history people. This is not buried, it’s not yesterday. This is not the witch burnings from 500 years ago. This just happened.
And so this guy says “The reason why I’m telling you this story is because I have the commemorative Teepee that’s being passed down through the generations.” This painting on here tells the story of the story I’m telling you right now. So, he’s a holder of I have to tell this story and got it from him, got it from him, right, generationally? And he says “This crazy thing happened that somebody got in contact with my aunt so and so and it was a descendant of Harney. And he says “I feel horrible about my ancestry. I can’t even live with my own name. I want to come and heal this.” So, you’re the family that holds the story for those people. And this guy had a relative of one of the 38, that’s why he’s holding the Teepee. Because think about the healing and grief removal aspect of your ancestor was one of the ones that were hung, so now you have to tell the story and the commemorative Teepee from now on. And your kids have to tell it and their kids have to tell it. There's a grief removal aspect to always having to tell that story and have people listen to it.
Also, the medicine is back in because now there is a family to go to. Who do you go to if you’re Harney’s descendant? All native people? No, so you can actually go to the descendants of those people and then they created a ceremony around it and forgiveness ceremony in both directions. Like for burning the home of those people, like they say we’re not off the hook for that either.
Chris Martenson: Right.
Mark Morey: And this guy said “What can I do” and so they came to realize that one of the injustices is that the Black Hills is one of the most sacred places for the people. And it was never sold, it was taken from them. It was the original place. It was never sold, so they refused to take the money. There is like 13 billion dollars in New York City in a bank account and they still refuse to take the money, even though they’re the poorest people on the planet. Because they say if we take that money it’s no longer ours.
Anyhow they named one of the highest peaks in the Black Hills on all the maps Harney Peak, which is the ultimate –
Chris Martenson: Insult.
Mark Morey: Ultimate, ultimate. That’s more important to them than the money.
Chris Martenson: Yep.
Mark Morey: And so this guy says “I’ll tell you what you can do for us, change that name.” This is guy is like okay, what do I have to do? So he had to go to Congress. He had to find lobbyists. He had to put in petitions. He had to go to local levels, regional levels, state levels. He worked on it for years of his life. And then got it changed to Black Elk Peak. That’s reconciliation.
And you know, to decolonize actually means to give stuff back, plant, buffalo, names, sovereign rights. Anyway, I tell that story because it’s inspiring to me that we need to know that through cultural relationships, even hundred years down the road we can actually heal and create a fabric together. Because now they’re a team, right? They’re descendants will keep getting together because that’s what they do. Their families and the generations will keep celebrating this moment, every year.
Chris Martenson: Hundred plus year healing arc.
Mark Morey: Yeah.
Chris Martenson: That it is possible.
Mark Morey: Yeah. I think that’s the time scale we’re on. I think the activism is important you know, stop actions. Like I don’t want to see native people disappear. I don’t want to see the bees disappear. I don’t want to see all the water poisoned for the next 20 years. So, those are the way that the heat actually has to come to the stop action. But in the background, this long term cultural change is slow and steady.
Chris Martenson: In my – I think that the activism is important. It’s not where I put a lot of my energy currently. Because in my world I think that we’ll just be fighting that rear-guard action forever, you know? Fight all you want on the bees but the next thing you know we’ve lost all together insects, or something happens, right? We have to change the operative narrative, which is your cold strategy and mine as well, which is listen until we get back into right relation through a narrative that’s fundamentally different, right?
And I had a weekend with – at Rowe, where Steven Jenkinson was speaking about money and the soul's desire. And he said people get it wrong all the time. They say money is the root of all evil; you’ll see it on T-shirts. He said the whole sum is for the love of money is the root of all evil. Money is neutral. It’s our relationship to money. And if you’re out of relationships, then the evil can happen. But let’s – it’s not the money but it’s our relationship. So, we’ve gone down a big cultural detour where we’ve decoupled, we’ve broken the relationship strands from all sorts of dimensions such that those people, not to pick on Unilever, but there are people in corporate boardrooms that make decisions that are fundamentally wildly destructive because that’s what they need to do to make money.
Individually, I don’t know of a single engineer at Pacific Gas and Electric who would have poured hexavalent chromium into a child’s cereal in the morning, not one. Yet they were able to pump it down into wells that came out the taps of those same children. Because it was just one step removed, and that allowed them – they had enough human distance from their actions to go “I’m not that bad person.” But deep down they are. And not to pick on those engineers because we’re all enmeshed in that story. So, step one is to say how am I complicit, right?
Mark Morey: Yeah.
Chris Martenson: And that’s a hard conversation to have.
Mark Morey: It is. And a part of it is consciousness raising; so systems thinking right, I think should be taught at the youngest of levels. You know because systems thinking – it doesn’t have to be – sound like aerospace engineering because I think it kind of does. But understanding that identity is co-evolves with other things. You know that salmon is the river, that deer is the oak tree or the hunting pressure, you know? I am the fabric of my community for good or for bad; that can be taught at young ages. And stories and teachings and that’s what schools should be doing because life is super complex right now and we’re kind of still in the reductionist decardian thing. That’s one of the biggest challenges we have. Like what’s the country, Norway that says we’re getting rid of individual subjects.
Chris Martenson: Mm-hmm.
Mark Morey: In their educational system. That seems so radical. It’s no we’re actually going to learn about life according to what attracts us and what is inter-related. Oh, that’s 300 years too late. No, really I think that would be a tremendous thing. If anybody is in your audience that does anything around learning or education, I would push for that, systems thinking.
And I think of like the camp that your daughter was at that we ran, the last one and we went to Rattlesnake Ridge, Rattlesnake Gutter. And on the map I was like we need to go on adventure, we need to get out of camp; so where is the dangerous place we can go. Ooh, Rattlesnake Gutter, that sounds good. I did research. When was the last rattlesnake seen there and as it is, like it’s like the wolves. A lot of that stuff just got killed off earlier in these eras, but they survived in rocky, difficult to access areas. And the same up in Vermont. There’s rattlesnakes in this huge boulder field that’s south facing, so it’s warm, they can get up on the rocks and they can disappear, and you can hardly get in there. So, that’s what’s great about difficult, remote places. It’s like the wild things are still there, like our ancestry is still there. The Amazon and the Arctic, these extremes. You find these kinds of cultural places that you can’t find in the middle band of the planet.
And so, before we went there I was like okay, we got to talk about rattlesnakes. So, this is a hazard, of course, but let’s go deeply into the hazard. What happens if you get bit? What are some of the untruths about rattlesnake bites, you know? Like you actually can’t suck the venom out with your mouth and you shouldn’t lay there, you should run like hell. And what happens when it swells up and how does the toxin work? And is there an anti-venom and if you’re allergic you can’t use it or you could die. And so as I’m kind of telling them all the reality of this and the lore of the rattlesnake they were just like “Oh my God,” we’re on the edge of our seat, “We’re actually going to go do this?”
And I was like this is what it’s like to be an original human being. We’re not separated from the actual things that can kill us in the natural world, and yet we go there anyway because that’s where life is. And so I said, think of it this way, human beings were shaped by predators like rattlesnakes. That’s what made us so alert and unguarded and can see things out of the size of our eyes. And our hearing is so sensitive. If we remove all those predators, we’re no longer needing to do that and we’re dumb. We’re just lame and we’re going around as lame unconscious, unaware things creating havoc in the world. We’re like toddlers, but toddlers are sharper than that anyway. That’s an insult to toddlers. We’re like I don’t know what, something unnatural, aliens.
Mark Morey: So, I said what we’re going to do is we’re going to go back and reintroduce ourselves to the rattlesnakes respectfully. And realize that that is a big part of who we are as people and we’re going to ask for forgiveness and we’re going to give thanks for the medicine of your edginess; so that we can be alert and alive in the rest of our lives. So, that was like a ceremonial journey to the rattlesnake gutter, so they prepared these gifts. They made these things for the rattlesnake, including palms and songs and a beat boxing thing. And they got to the ridge and they did this whole ceremony as teenagers. And they were totally authentically into it, totally. That we are you, the rattlesnake. Thank you for still being alive, this last little piece of who we are is in this crevice. That quest, right? So maybe that’s why Maya is going to Cuba, you know?
It’s that kind of stuff that I think we can teach early on and to ourselves that really feeds the spirit that we are nature, right? And we are nature rising on behalf of itself. It’s not personal, but I do what I do. I feel like nature is acting through me in that way. When you see the grandmothers on the front line of Standing Rock against those combat police, they have no gear. They have no weapons, they have no sticks, they have no masks, they have no flak jackets. And they’re women of all ages. These guys are all White men of the same age, you know?
Chris Martenson: Varying weights.
Mark Morey: Exactly, varying weights of North Dakota. And they’re wearing – the women are wearing all these colors and they’re singing in the jingle dresses because that’s the women power dance. And they’re talking to them. They’re talking about we’re here – we’re not here protesting anything. We’re actually here protecting the water because we know pipelines break. This river has been here for eternity, that pipeline has a short term interest. And when you’re done with it and it leaks 25, 50, 100 – what do you think is going to happen in 200 years? You going to come back and dig that up and recycle it? No.
Chris Martenson: Nope.
Mark Morey: You have no history of doing that. In fact you have history of breaking them two years into it, 100,000 gallons of crude oil, all sorts of crazy things going on. So, we’re to say no. And we’re doing it for our children, so they have water to drink. Aquifer is already poisoned with uranium, that’s why we have to use this one. We’ve already been here. We’re doing this for our children. You can take me down, but there’s more of us, right? And she says we’re also doing it for your children because you don’t know what you’re doing. She already understands this thing that we are the same. You’re just in a bad way right now. But I’m doing this for your children because I love children. I think that’s so moving that she would be willing to do that beyond herself for the oppressors children. That’s just – that’s the humanity that I love about working with native people and partnering with them and collaborating with them and making sure that they come to the table with that wisdom. That’s the breakthrough wisdom.
Chris Martenson: Right.
Mark Morey: What if our board rooms ran like that, holy crap.
Chris Martenson: Right. I loved hearing a few, not as many as I wanted to but a few stories of police who showed up, who were drawn in from all over the country who basically said screw this and turned around and went home. Individually and whole departments sometimes, like no we’re not part of this junk, whatever is happening here.
And also, the 4,000 veterans who showed up saying hey I want to know that my service actually counted for something. That my country doesn’t count for peaceful protests, it counts for nothing. I was killing other people for an ideal that doesn’t actually exist. So I would like to put – this will allow me to put some meaning into my service.
Mark Morey: Yeah that was super creative. I loved that. There is a high respect for veterans in the native culture. Even though they fight for the United States, that peace is like I can’t reconcile it, but they’re like no the priority is veterans, warriors first.
Chris Martenson: Right. So the larger cultural thing that’s happening for me in this country that I think the Trump phenomenon has exposed this rawness in a lot of people. But there’s a deep profound hypocrisy that I’ve detected in all of this, which is we the people of the United States are deeply afraid for ourselves and the things that we value dearly are potentially going to be damaged. And we want to be safe and we want to live in a safe, secure, social justice environment. And the hypocrisy of that is I’ve been against this for over 10 years in my public life, under Bush, then under Obama, I’ll continue it under Trump, which is the United States is exporting violence all over the world in an extraordinary way. And the hypocrisy to me is this saying we demand complete safety inside our country. And we’re not actually going to spend a lot of time really protesting what’s happening outside our country. So, it’s kind of like a bully who demands never to be punched. It’s – so there’s a lot of things that are stacking up here, for me which are saying we really have to take two steps back. And I think – so, I’ve gone down this spiritual journey in my life. I really believe as within so without.
It’s not possible for me to expect, require or need something outside of me that doesn’t exist inside of me, already. And I think that happens in our cultural level; so when you say you know, we’re going to build this regenerative, resilient thing and it starts in the rings. And the first ring is yourself, and the second ring is your family. And all of that my – the thing I’ve come to in my life Mark is that I can’t even work on those other rings without even working on myself. There’s no starting on ring two in this story, or ring three. It always begins with ring zero, me. If I change myself then there’s a change of influencing. But not because I’ve done anything, I’ve learned anything. I have to take a special program necessarily; it’s when I change my – who I am on energetic or reasoning frequency, people around me react differently to that. So, it’s an understanding that I am in this dance. It’s a co-creative dance. It’s not very linear, it’s very much organic and it’s emergent. So, that’s what I hear you talking about and so a lot of this is yes, as we see these things around us that trouble us. Honestly the invitation in that story is to begin to work on ourselves first is how I’ve interpreted that in my own life, which is why I’m not spending a lot of time going to DC, attempting to change things from the outside in. Because I know in my own life it changes from the inside out. But that’s my approach and that’s where I’ve come to at this stage.
Mark Morey: Yeah. That’s a good way to go. That’s a good way for everybody to go. Part of the – having a symbolic win of an uprising that comes and goes, doesn’t have any transactional benefits. You know change the system that way but it does change the psyche of the culture. There’s a crack that gets put in there and you’re like wow, native people actually just stood up to enormous violence in North Dakota. Now I realize there’s racism everywhere. And that conversation goes home –
Chris Martenson: Absolutely.
Mark Morey: So that’s – what I think of those events, not as actually trying to change something that’s transactional. But the relationships that get built do change people. So if we show up at each other’s homes for when they’re in times of need, that’s a way of changing myself while interacting with others.
Chris Martenson: Actually, Standing Rock has shifted my view on this whole idea of activist. See, I think I was involved in some activism early in life that was fundamentally – it wasn’t connected to – it felt to me more about the people feeling good about standing on a corner than it was deeply connected to something. Standing Rock connects more deeply. That idea that I’m here protecting for your children, that’s authentic. I get little goosebumps. So that feels like it’s got integrity to me. And so that’s how I judge that.
I think it was Steven Jenkins, and again I think it was a podcast I did. He told a story and he said you know there were these people; they poured their heart and soul into blocking the Hetch Hetchy Dam. It was one of the – this big dam was going to destroy this basically Yosemite like structure. And they put everything into it. They had everything lined up and screw you it still got built. And so they were crushed and they disbanded and we failed. And that was their whole story. But he said it took them 20 years to look back on it and realize not one other major dam had been built after that.
Mark Morey: That’s a good example. I never thought dams would come down. That’s been blowing my mind; like wow dams are coming down, that’s amazing. That’s a really good example and I did research into it just the other day, like why is that happening? And it’s something like they’re unpopular. They’re hard to lobby for. They’re expensive. But they could do them, they could keep building them. But they could fall out of public favor; so maybe that’s what we should keep an eye on. When things are emergent I would say be willing to jump in.
Chris Martenson: The time is –
Mark Morey: Just go with the flow, rise up with this thing and let it succeed and then really be conscious of the transition because you know, was it a victory? Not a victory? What was the point of that? Know how to make meaning in your life because that could happen in another way. Someone could get cancer in your family? How do you go all in on that? How do you basically say oh, not working my job the same way anymore? Or, my – I don’t know what other challenge might happen, your neighbor, just someone slightly removed from you, or there’s a conflict going on in your town. How do you participate in the emergence and keep your eye on peacemaking, the proactive relationship building? Say to yourself when this is over, what are the connections and relationships that have gotten built from this? For example, death is one of the most connecting things that happens in a culture. And funerals and funeral rights and the whole social aspect of grieving is super powerful, probably more so than birth. There’s so much that goes on in the fabric of community when they stop and pay attention to that passing. How am I different? Who was that person? What was their life about? What will they say about me when I die? When is the last time someone died that I didn’t grieve? I haven’t seen you in a while, I love you? I’m so open right now, I’m sorry we haven’t been together. There’s all sorts of things that come together, singing and prayer and celebration often, and that was death.
That’s an emergent thing. You don’t plan on it but you go with it and you build this whole set of web and then afterwards the communities is more together. So, at least that’s a vision you can have, right? And I think we need to move away from the economy of funeral homes. The economy of transactional death to have that though and that’s the same with education and same with governance and the same with gender relationships. It takes a lot more time and it’s not economic; I don’t know how else to say it.
Chris Martenson: Well that’s all very well said. All right, we’ve come to the end of that. It’s been a fantastic discussion again. So glad to be picking this back up with you and finishing it off here today. Mark, thank you so much for your time. Very quickly your websites, so people can follow you.
Mark Morey: Yes IFNaturallearning.com and inside that you’ll see wearenaturerising.earth.aconnectedleader.com
Chris Martenson: Fantastic, so we’ll have all those links below this podcast at Peak Prosperity.com. If you’re watching this or listening to this through iTunes or Youtube, you’ll have to come back to the site to click those links directly; otherwise IFnaturallearning.com and you can find out more about Mark and his incredible work there. Thank you Mark.
Mark Morey: Thank you, Chris. Always a pleasure.