Saturday, November 18, 2006

I’ve begun to realize just how far off from my people I’ve been.
In our quest to educate ourselves and learn the skills for survival, we seem to be moving further and further away from our community and our culture. I must have visited my village and people a hundred times in the past, but all I ever did was to have a good time sightseeing and passing away my time in idle leisure – fishing, hiking, hunting, sitting around the fire spending the evenings in nonsense chatter. I never considered observing my people and culture and to understand them in a better manner. Perhaps I felt it was always there so that is how it would stay. I have had a very delayed awakening to the fact that the culture and ways of living of my people like so many other small tribal communities all over and especially in the northeast states are fast eroding against the forces of modernization and time. Traditional rituals, ways and customs all over the world are fast becoming just occasions for festivals and prayers.
It was a very fruitful stay of around fourteen days in my village this time. Since I had to make an ethnographic study of my people I began asking questions in a serious manner probably for the first time to my people. The answers and discussions that came out was I guess unexpected in a way because all my previous assumptions about modernization affecting small local communities came much closer to the truth than I believed, and that this was bringing subtle but wide affecting changes to my Tribe as well.
I took out my handycam and started documenting people talking about themselves and their ways of life. What came out was fifteen Mini DV tapes in just ten days. Most of them however would be unusable professionally due to poor camera quality and format. I am hoping however that it would help me bring in sponsors for funds. There is an urgent need to document and archive the cultures and traditions of my people.
I have been cut off from my people. It’s time I turn back to rectify that.