A beautiful extended reflection on the methodology of study in a coast Salish context from author Lee Maracle:
The object of ‘study” from a Salish perspective is to discover another being in itself and for itself with the purpose of engaging it in future relationship that is mutually beneficial and based on principles of fair exchange. We study from the point of view, that there is something unknown to be discovered, that all life contains something cherished, but hidden from us and that if we observe from as many angles of perception that we can rally, engage one another in exchanging observations, and consider the internal dynamics governing the behavior of the being observed from the perspective of its perfect right to be, we will understand it in relationship with ourselves. We do not believe we can fully understand the being under study, but we can come to see it clearly enough to engage it in relationship.
This process is a collective process, requiring many different sets of eyes, many different points of view. This is because if we examine something from one subjective angle [and all human observation and thought is subjective] then we will only understand an aspect of the being under study and we are very likely to engage in huge errors, leap to absurd conclusions based on subjective assumptions and so forth. We engage one another in this process on the presumption that all points of view are valid, but they must be POINTS OF VIEW, not biases. The points of view are accepted. They are never right or wrong, just different. No argument, attempt to persuade one another is useful here and thus we do not need to compete to see who has the best eyes, the clearest vision. The process of discovery requires different points of view, different sets of images, and different perspectives about the being under examination in order for the collective to be able to discuss it’s possible internal dynamics. We first see how it moves, see how it conducts itself, mark its sense of movement, its sense of time and being, we connect its conduct to its own being and then we connect its movement to its desire, its sense of time to its longevity and its behavior to its condition and its history.”
When we do this, we come to see that the end result is a powerful story, a long lasting relationship and this fosters, beauty, hope, heart and song.
This is a gorgeous inspiration for the power of collective harvesting.