• Learning Native Wisdom

  • What Traditional Cultures Teach Us About Subsistence, Sustainability, and Spirituality (Culture of the Land)
  • By: Gary Holthaus
  • Narrated by: Kenneth Lee
  • Length: 9 hrs and 16 mins
  • Categories: History, Americas
  • 3.5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)
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Publisher's Summary

Scientific evidence has made it abundantly clear that the world's population can no longer continue its present rate of consuming and despoiling the planet's limited natural resources. Scholars, activists, politicians, and citizens worldwide are promoting the idea of sustainability, or systems and practices of living that allow a community to maintain itself indefinitely. Despite increased interest in sustainability, its popularity alone is insufficient to shift our culture and society toward more stable practices. Gary Holthaus argues that sustainability is achievable but is less a set of practices than the result of a healthy worldview. Learning Native Wisdom: Reflections on Subsistence, Sustainability, and Spirituality examines several facets of societies - cultural, economic, agricultural, and political - seeking insights into the ability of some societies to remain vibrant for thousands of years, even in extremely adverse conditions and climates. Holthaus looks to Eskimo and other Native American peoples of Alaska for the practical wisdom behind this way of living. Learning Native Wisdom explains why achieving a sustainable culture is more important than any other challenge we face today. Although there are many measures of a society's progress, Holthaus warns that only a shift away from our current culture of short-term abundance, founded on a belief in infinite economic growth, will represent true advancement. In societies that value the longevity of people, culture, and the environment, subsistence and spirituality soon become closely allied with sustainability.

Ultimately, Holthaus illustrates how spirituality and the concept of subsistence can act as powerful guiding forces on the path to global sustainability. He examines the perceptions of cultures far more successful at long-term survival than our own and describes how we might use their wisdom to overcome the sustainability crisis currently facing humanity.

©2008 The University Press of Kentucky (P)2014 Redwood Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

“This book is just what we need. It is deeply informed by Gary Holthaus's many years of teaching and working in the Alaskan bush.” (Gary Snyder)
“This is story-telling as learned from [Holthaus's] Indian and Eskimo friends and mentors in Alaska, with a brilliance that is refreshing because it is rooted in experience. Anyone interested in sustainability will find this book engaging and different.” ( Agricultural History)
“For Holthaus, the 'spiritual task' is to learn to love the universe, including all the creation and the destruction, the health and the disease. Holthaus does a wonderful job of communicating this task throughout Learning Native Wisdom. ” ( Worldviews: Environment Culture Religion)

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true words

might be a smart thing to look at real problems and quit worrying about money and the color of underwear.

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  • Yvonne
  • 08-21-19

Didn't live up to the description

Kenneth Lee was just the right choice to voice this book. His earthy tones just exuded the wisdom that this book was aiming for.

There is no doubt that Holthaus is an experienced and very well read person. He regularly quotes others can be a bit distracting in an audio book as I found myself losing context and having to rewind, if you're reading you can just glance back.

There were some very interesting points early on in the book which I will take the time to relisten to at a later time, but for the second half of the book I found at times there wasn't a lot of structure, to me he was just throwing out words and rewording in different ways without saying a lot - a bit like someone who likes the sound of their own voice.

I would have liked more time spent on subsistence living and the "native wisdom", as he seemed to get into the spirituality aspects that seemed to have little linkage to the topic.

I did learn some things from this book, and Kenneth Lee gained another fan.