The Dann Sisters.

Posted on June 8, 2014

by Jerry Alatalo

“The study of nature is intercourse with the highest mind. You should never trifle with nature.”

– LOUIS AGASSIZ (1807-1873) Swiss-born, American naturalist

aaa-18Recent events involving the Bundy ranch out west in America/Arizona and the family’s dealings with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) made front page news, while the nightly ABC, CBS, and NBC 6-o’clock news broadcasts featured a string of reports. John Stewart and many other comedians on the late-night talk shows made hay with Cliven Bundy, as Americans talked about the latest “Bundy news” around the company water cooler; the situation has since, like most news stories, fallen off the radar and replaced with the next irrelevant reporting.

I admit to having no researched knowledge of the facts surrounding the Bundy situation, having, frankly, not enough interest to look into it deeper. Like similar controversial situations, opinions have become expressed both for and against the Bundys as well as the BLM, people travelled to the ranch with weapons to protect the rights of the Bundys, while others view the family as deadbeats who are not paying grazing fees, etc. and deserve no sympathy. So, I have no idea what the real facts are.

Americans didn’t see the same worldwide coverage of the experiences of Carrie and Mary Dann. As a matter of fact, their story received little to no news coverage at all back some 7-10 years ago, when the western Shoshone sisters became subjected to some very raw treatment by the American government. They too, were ranchers who had lived and survived in the American west, but the land their family lived on and which gave them sustenance was subject to a treaty signed between the western Shoshone and the U.S. government.

The following short documentary about the Dann sisters’ experience, where the U.S. government took actions to allow for massive gold mining by the world’s largest corporations on land where the sisters and their ancestors lived raising animals and earning a living, gives viewers an example of how multinationals and their owners team with government enablers to force unwanted changes to people’s lives, and in too many instances cause deadly pollution of the environment, social unrest, violence, and wars.

In the case of the Dann sisters, violence was never a consequence, unless one takes into account the spiritual violence done to two elder sisters who see the Earth as our mother who must be treated with care for future generations. The film successfully shows the sharp contrast between two very different life philosophies, and leaves the viewer with much to consider.

Given the  historical evidence that proves wars are fought for natural resources and the wealth that goes with the various metals, energy, woods, foods, banks, etc., the Dann sisters’ story is one which holds a great deal more relevance than the Bundy story when one considers the implications for the human race and its relationship to the environment on Earth. The film, though short in duration at approximately 25 minutes, lays out eloquently a lot that is wrong in the world – and a lot that is right.

****

(Thank you to Oxfam America @ YouTube)

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