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Sundered from Mother Earth

In this poetic and thoughtful article on Indian Country Today, John Wickham posits a sort of ecological attachment disorder. He says that  modern humans, deprived of the deep connection with the earth enjoyed by cultures that hunt and gather, endure

mounting psychic stress, mental illness and social disorder plaguing affluent societies as the consequence of a dysfunctional, immature relationship with nature.

If repressed by poor parenting and culture, an individual's full emotional maturity becomes stunted into adulthood as an ecological attachment disorder. Left untreated, this failed development of self, when aggravated by society, never moves beyond the pre-adolescent impulse to control early fears in a frightening environment.

Wickham compares this to what happens to children who are deprived of the care and bonding they need to grow into loving, functional adults:

[We suffer] a profound loss of humility and tender sense of earthly limitations once invoked by a harmonious and reverent liaison with nature. Humanity has become disconnected and alienated from a non-human world fallen and debased. Man has become enraptured in a mania of domination and absolute control to worship a hydra of endless consumption and materialism.

Wickham is writing about the attempts of Washington State's Makah Indians to reinstate their ceremonial whale hunts. Before your knee starts jerking, look down at your feet. Are your shoes leather? Then, read his piece.

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