Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Comments by David Walker, PhD

Showing 70 of 70 comments.

  • Hi again, David,

    I hope commenting here reaches all those who might be interested. My first piece of an eight-part series is now up on Indian Country Today Media. If you feel it has merit, thanks for sharing with your friends and relations. http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2015/06/18/how-us-mental-health-system-makes-natives-sick-and-suicidal-160777

    In solidarity,

  • Thanks for your comment, Fred. ‘Balance’ is an interesting concept and alternative to ‘deficiency’ and ‘impairment’. Of course, I don’t accept chemical ‘imbalance’ as it is promoted by biopsychiatry, but I do think we can learn from the native-based value of ‘walking in balance’ with our lives and Mother Earth. And I agree, we’re terribly out-of-balance there, and the tragic loss of young people to suicide tells us we have much to do to help one another and our planet.

  • Hey Paula! Thank you so much for your unflagging support- you’re a great inspiration! Deep admiration for all you’re doing for veterans and their families – I hope everyone at MIA will read ‘When Johnny and Jane Come Marching Home’ and support your wonderful work- http://whenjohnnyandjanecomemarching.weebly.com/ Also, view your film ‘Is Anybody Listening?’ Your comment has prompted me to (finally) put in for my DVD copy!

  • Hi warmac, and thank you for your comment. I’ve met some very strong and tall people from Crow 🙂 When I was full time working at a reservation clinic, some very poor families figured out how to get everyone diagnosed ADHD. Generic ritalin went for $10 for 4 hits and you could raise three or four hundred dollars a month when you had multiple prescriptions. I tried to talk about this practice to Indian Health medical administrators but they did nothing. So the IHS was a supplier to the illegal drug trade on the rez.

  • Duane, thanks for your comment and support. I recall a nutritionist at the Indian Health Service telling me about advising native people not to boil the bones of the salmon they’d caught anymore. It is traditional to eat the entire fish. However, the Hanford Nuclear plant contamination entered the Columbia River and radiation became leached into the bones of the fish. The flesh was fine, bones no. One federal agency advising native people to beware of the effects of another federal agency. One agency ‘treating’ what another agency inflicts. Hmmm.

  • Thanks for your comments, Steve. I submit that despite being beleaguered by poverty, racism, and oppression, the native people of North America have always been front and center regarding environmental advocacy. They have also witnessed the lands promised to them by treaty constantly under threat by corporate and government interests. Check out our Duwamish young men here in Seattle getting out and ‘drumming up’ their protest in their beautiful hand-carved canoe facing off with Shell’s Polar Pioneer as it invaded our port just yesterday. http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/news-photo/environmental-activists-from-the-duwamish-tribe-protest-the-news-photo/473372172

  • I think I didn’t understand your question or your quest, someone else, and I hope you prevail. In my own situation, fiction ‘worked’ better to keep the story I needed to tell off some dusty shelf in academia. Nonetheless, I began the process by writing about what I’d seen and experienced directly and was warned quite vehemently that I’d be sued. It is one thing to tell the truth, but quite another to be threatened with having it obscured and re-spun in a manner that would hurt one’s career and family. Fiction offered not so much a retreat as a means of expanding an audience for the issues I felt were more important than my own particular situation. I wish you justice in your own efforts.

  • Thanks so much for your comment, madmom. I’m very glad that you are looking at what’s going on with your daughter in light of family history. I’m currently writing a fiction project partially based on the life of my own grandfather, who enlisted as a regimental runner in the Army at the age of 16 and was ‘invalided’ out due to being gassed at age 18. I believe the pain of what he went through in the Vosges Mountains in 1918 crossed three generations beyond him.

  • Thanks for your comment, Someone Else. My novels started as a nonfiction project. However, I came to feel no one would believe me. It is interesting to change the names and attributes of characters, combining them until they’re unrecognizable in relation to your own lived experience, build a plot that approximates some of what you’ve heard, some of what you’ve known, and some of what you’ve lived, and then find the fictional end result becomes more believable. I hope that helps.

  • Thanks so much for your comment and analysis, Crux. Many children and youth are being socialized these days to believe the labels and meds that paint them as damaged, inferior, or otherwise dysfunctional, instead of containing infinite possibilities within their nonconformity, difference, and awkward genius. BTW, the ordeals of curmudgeon psychologist Dr. Ret Barlow in my two indie novels (www.tessasdance.com) contain numerous parallels to my own professional subjugation. Even so, I must assure you that they are both entirely ‘works of fiction.’

  • Thanks for this acidpop5. If we scroll way, way back, we find the Bishops of Nicea outlawing personal investigation of spiritual truths in Christianity (i.e. Gnostic practices) on behalf of the establishment of the Christian Church. Then we see the Romans murdering Celts on behalf of that Church while the Church coopts the taking in of the evergreen and the winter light with solstice. This becomes the celebrating of Jesus’ birthday. Other Celtic practices are thereby revised or outlawed. The infection of oppression proceeds as people flee and migrate. The Orthodox split follows, upheaval, factions, Crusades and further murder, and then papal bulls declaring all ‘heathens’ and ‘pagans’ to be subhuman, eligible for extinction if they won’t convert. So what you speak of crosses many centuries and many people. I believe it must be spoken of and understood before it can be healed. The expression of ‘Christian dominance’ over American Indians has been well-researched and described by my friend, Steven Newcomb at Indian Country Today – http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/tags/steven-newcomb

  • I think we need to account for and acknowledge the damage psychological testing and its interpretation has done to human beings. I believe it’s possible to develop psychological methods that are sufficiently humble, ethical, regulated, and useful to people in learning a great deal about themselves and their families. I adhere to a philosophy based in ‘liberation psychology’ and still feel my profession could redeem itself if it were subjected to greater self-scrutiny and public oversight.

  • Sad but true, B, the category of ‘American Indian’ is collapsed along with ‘Asian’ and ‘Pacific Islander’ in the Wechsler norms. A few years ago, I requested to view the most recent American Indian Wechsler normative data from a Pearson rep while I was working as a graduate professor and was assured I’d receive them but never did despite several requests. I’ve seen older tables, however, and they don’t have sufficient numbers to be considered statistically useful to the test makers. This is likely why they combined them into this Other category. I wonder why indigenous Americans are reluctant to participate in intelligence test norming even when test makers offer them money?

  • Excellent point, chrisreed, and we have the Texas Board of Education (to which all textbook publishers must kowtow) to thank for sanitizing and eliminating student perusal of this history. I recommend ‘Inheriting Shame’ by Stephen Selden as a good resource on this history. Additionally, ‘The Nazi Connection’ by Stefan Kuhl illustrates the cooperation between the American eugenics movement’s sterilization architects and policy makers in Nazi Germany.

  • You are exactly right, acidpop3, although I don’t state it directly. In fact, intermarriage was initially viewed positively in federal forced assimilation practices in Indian Country, and families with intermarried whites were given more and better rations and resources. In boarding schools, ‘mixed blood’ children were measured for intelligence in an effort to show they were superior to ‘full blood’ children. This pseudoscience theory came to be known as the ‘blood quantum hypothesis’ or ‘blood quantum fallacy.’ I have heard mixed-blood enrolled native leaders discuss more ‘full-blooded’ employees derisively as an intergenerational echo of this fallacy. Boarding school intelligence studies were used as ‘evidence’ of a threat of ‘brown-skinned, brown-eyed’ immigrants to the white gene pool in 1924, leading to passage of the Immigration Exclusion Act. The related eugenics promotional display stood in the halls of Congress for 3 years.

  • Hi academic and travailer-vous, Thanks for your comments and the link. Your comments are very different and you got me thinking. So here’s a long comment back.

    Who can’t admire the work of Paul Meehl, defender of the nomothetic? While taking the stance he did, Meehl himself did profess admiration for Gordon Allport, patron saint of the idiographic position. Meehl also noted “if nothing is rationally inferable from membership in a class, no empirical prediction is ever possible” (1954). I think he was trying to make a different point, but I agree with his statement more readily than he likely did.

    Obviously, many if not all classes or categories researched in social science exhibit a much wider degree of variability in consensual definition and operationalization than phenomena in natural sciences (although there’s certainly controversy there). Yet such categories are routinely ‘reified’ and applied to individual lives as though they have the same level of empirical validity as, say, gravity does in physics.

    I have encountered numerous individuals who seem to defy the class definition pertaining to ‘schizoaffective disorder’ yet still have this label affixed to their personhood (and to their detriment). On the other hand, I’ve yet to find any individuals who defy gravity. Nomothetic social science studies researching constructs of the same name emerge from theories that define them very differently yet are frequently collapsed together in review articles to suggest to the rest of us that we now know something about ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’ or ‘criminality’ or ‘schizoaffective disorder.’ I don’t think it prudent or wise to develop inferences from such an array of varied information and apply it to any single individual. I consider it deceptive at least and oppressive at worst.

    I’m philosophically at odds with the claim of (problematic) nomothetic research in telling me anything particularly meaningful about an individual person. This is where I part ways with Paul Meehl and ally with Allport, who said “psychological causation is always personal and never actuarial.” Please understand, however, that I’d also be the last one to defend the predictive validity of ‘clinical judgement’ in comparison to nomothetic prediction. While I’m a critic of the nomothetic approach, I also don’t accept the priest-like omniscience presumed by society for licensed psychologists, psychiatrists, etc.

    Just because nomothetic approaches may do better than the subjective (psychic) predictions of professionals, doesn’t mean they come out smelling like roses. I’m reminded of the numerous large frame studies of ‘violence potential’ done in the 60s and 70s using data from thousands of released felons. In one study, 86 percent predicted to be ‘potentially violent’ did not exhibit violence; in another, for every ‘correctly-identified’ felon, there were 326 who had been ‘incorrectly-identified’ as potentially violent; in another, complex multivariate equations still yielded an eight-to-one false-positive ratio.

    It’s a common clinical psychology heuristic, therefore, that ‘history of violence’ or ‘history of suicidal acts’ is our best bet for making predictions along such lines. Yet they’re not particularly accurate criteria, just cautious ones, and they signal just how limited predictive conclusions from nomothetic research really are. They are also mostly common sense – “they did it before, and they might do it again.” If I had time, I could have a field day with intelligence and personality tests, by the way.

    So I don’t really feel what’s described as the ‘heart of my position’ revolves around critiquing nomothetic approaches by arguing on behalf of subjective clinical judgment. I’d be on shaky ground using the pot to call the kettle black.

    Instead, I want to show how clinical psychology and psychiatry are far more mired in philosophical quandaries than they let on and why they deserve to be roundly critiqued, deconstructed, and regulated as they become more global in influence. My aim in future pieces will be to demonstrate the social-historical origins of this evolving applied mental health movement and to expose its oppressive features at a point where they are brought into boldest relief– at the boundaries of cultural difference in Indian Country.

  • Thanks for your comment, third43. I agree wholeheartedly with you in what you seem to be implying – that trying to understand and help someone with ‘traumatic experiences’ involves holding a deep respect for their subjectivity and life experience. For me, a phenomentalistic, idiographic, and qualitative approach (as described above) has aided me to be of service to other people who’ve requested my assistance much more than the normative, pathologizing, and evaluative stance that currently dominates ‘mental health systems.’

  • Thanks for your comment, Steve. I believe so-called ‘normative’ research in mental health can function very well as a tool for pressures to conformity. Also, when it’s assumed that so many educational outcomes will result in a bell curve (high, average, low; gifted, average, disabled, etc.), we’re encouraged to assume that we should accept this as the status quo, rather than wonder what we could do to move all students toward the high end and corrupt the entire concept of a curve as an outcome.

  • Thanks for your comment, Someone Else, and for sharing your paranormal dream experiences and how you were pathologized for having them. These kinds of ‘deviations’ generally be taken as ‘evidence’ of abnormality including psychosis. I think consumers within the mental health system may wish to consider carefully how they may be ‘evaluated’ if they choose to share experiences like you’ve described.

  • Hmm. Well, the competing world view per New Agers is not indigenous even if it has co-opted certain indigenous beliefs, one has been around for many thousands of years and the other has emerged over the last 40 years mostly in response to the massive ‘technocrocizing’ of human beings. So I don’t believe the derivative viewpoints of New Age philosophy are comparable at all to what I’m trying to reflect from my own experience inside native communities. An indigenous view doesn’t negate the approaches of Western science either, but I believe Western science does attempt to preempt indigenous science as too mystical and subjective. That’s understandable given the cultural history of European science. I’ll close by reiterating that I’m deeply concerned about the movement of pseudo-science within Western psychiatry toward indigenous people and consider its forced and unquestioning imposition to be cultural hegemony. I’ve enjoyed our dialogue and have to opt out at this point, herme, with the hope that maybe others will weigh in alongside our dialogue. Thanks again for sharing your views.

  • Hi Hermes. Re- your comment below “quantum mechanics bridging Western view to the spiritual view is just silly”- I have no ‘reply’ button there so am responding here. My effort in my post is to encourage thoughtfulness about indigenous world views embedded in spirituality that conflict with Western psychiatric assumptions. Too long a piece if I tried to delve into the bridge evident in Western science quantum physics, but I tried to hint at it. I’m hoping you’ll stay open and take a look a closer look at what F. David Peat has to say- try http://www.fdavidpeat.com/bibliography/essays/black.htm Thanks.

  • Hi Hermes. Thanks for your comment. I take issue with bioreductionism but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy reading and studying biological views. Two different things and Saplosky. I also agree with you that psychology and psychiatry shouldn’t have last say on what’s what. My post highlights F. David Peat because quantum physics offers a bridge for Western scientific thought toward indigenous spiritual perspectives. I think that’s useful and interesting and am glad this particular blog post is provoking reaction and commentary.

  • Hi amnesia, thanks so much for your remarks. The quotes from your psychiatrists should be shocking, but alas, they are the mainstream perspective on paranormal dreaming. Out-of-the-ordinary experiences, which may be very disturbing but also revered in many spiritual traditions, offer many opportunities for pathological labeling via the DSM system. I’m glad you’re writing your book–it sounds like you have plenty of experiences to draw off. Good luck.

  • Thanks for your comment, subvest416. I have strong opinions about this particular scientist. First off, Robert Saplosky is neither a psychiatrist nor a psychologist–he’s a biologist and neuroendocrinologist. Ideologically, he is a biological reductionist who presupposes schizophrenia is a genetically-based disease of the brain. He relies on the term ‘schizophrenia’ in his lectures and papers as though the category itself is as immutably reliable and valid as any other physical disease. As is well known, there is no reliable or valid physical correlates for the alleged ‘brain disease’ of schizophrenia. Saplosky and others sharing his view minimize or even entirely disregard the brain as an open system in relationship with the world around it. I assume he may have made the remarks under discussion in this thread about when a villager ‘hears voices’ based on some interaction he had while studying baboons in Africa. He has made similar remarks in other places–“Now we have to ask our evolutionary question: ‘Who are the schizotypals throughout 99% of human history?’ And in the 1930s, decades before the word “schizotypal” even existed, anthropologists already had the answer. It’s the shamans. It’s the medicine men. It’s the medicine women.” (ffrf.org/legacy/fttoday/2003/april/index.php?ft=sapolsky) His views on what we’re discussing are entirely conjectural, his opinion, premised upon no background in behavioral sciences, and open to dispute. The quote I’ve included illustrates one of the main points of my post–he uses psychiatric language to obfuscate what is presumed to be an inferior world view, not on par with ‘psychiatric science’ (as thought there is such a thing). I don’t share his perspective at all–I’m fundamentally at odds with the underpinnings of his scientific philosophy, which seeks to locate human complexity in the elemental. I’ve looked at the same science for many years and consider it mostly shoddy and trite, fueled by drug company money. In my view, mind does not equal brain. I’d watch his lectures with great skepticism.

  • Hi Ron, thanks for your comment. While I don’t think it’s easy to generalize about the wide diversity of native people worldwide, I suspect as you do that the development of healers and/or shamans occurs deep within a place of relationship and a community that helps those with disturbing voices, visions, etc. by providing a spiritual and epistemological context within which they are not only understood, but valued and given a role. I intended this piece to suggest that one culture’s language (and version of reality) reflected in terms like ‘psychosis’ or ‘mental illness’ or whatever else cannot be presumed to readily account for the understanding of reality embedded in another, unrelated language. Tusu seems to have bristled because of the desire to de-contextualize the word ‘psychotic’ from its roots in European and American psychiatry so it can be exported universally to indigenous communities. Horse-puckey. That’s an oppressive effort that’s already well underway, unfortunately, along with its shoddy science and ‘masquerade of medication’ for the ‘severely mentally ill’. For the record, I’ve worked with numerous members of medicine families in Indian Country who would surely be re-labeled and fed sedatives by that movement. ‘Pacification’ has unique meaning in the history of American Indians. As to what we might learn from their traditional understanding, their home language for their experience has only been disrespected and so many historical efforts have been applied to destroy it. I think we should be responding to the imposition of oppressive mental health language as a substitute or borrowed language for what’s been damaged or taken away by those who wield that language. See my post WHOMHP to learn how the WHO psychiatrists hope to export their language globally as a substitute for oppressed experience. When I say there’s never been a word for the ‘mental illness’ phenomena of Western societies in native languages, I’m not pointing to problems in translation– they are insurmountable in my opinion. I mean to suggest more importantly that it’s cultural hegemony to compel people to substitute words for their experience from your own language (that label and stigmatize and secularize them away from their own traditions) when your society is the very one responsible for trying to destroy that people’s traditions and the very language by which they have always understood themselves.

  • Thanks for sharing your perspective, tusu. Although I think you’re as off target as you feel I am, I’m glad we have a forum to exchange ideas. It’s interesting to read your anecdote, which fails to cite which psychiatrist and which African village. You’re right, I’ve not heard that particular story, but it sounds like others similarly positioned to legitimize the universalism of psychiatric ideas. I doubt its authenticity, but that’s not really the point. There’s no body of intercultural study to legitimize the claims you’ve made. As to your contention that psychosis is ‘recognized and is a matter of concern in all traditional, third world, and tribal cultures’, I challenge you to simply provide one tribal language term that easily translates to the English language word ‘psychosis.’ It’s a European construct.

  • I very much agree, Dr. Romesh, and want to add to your reasoning that stress tends to promote cravings for carbs and sugar. A psychosocial aspect of mutual sharing of poisonous foods has evolved. In the early days of federally-supplied commodity foods in the U.S., flour and lard were provided to displaced, starving indigenous people. Within families, treasured recipes for ‘fry bread’ (now considered ‘traditional’) emerged. A current treat at pow wow and celebrations at Yakama Nation is fresh fry bread topped with homemade huckleberry jam and powdered sugar. There’s nothing really traditional about the treat– it is not historical to the cultural community at all, which relied on fish, meat, and gathered roots and berries. Fry bread is a food directly linked to historical oppression. BTW, those who cooperated with civilizing policies, especially by intermarrying with Europeans, were given better quality rations in the early days of commodity foods. So carbs and fat were aimed at the resistors.

  • Hi Tina, Sorry to get to your comment so late. I was honored to meet you and know what you and your members are doing. There are other cross-currents at the UN right now pertaining to indigenous issues that are generating controversy in lacking an inclusive voice. We may need to compare notes…

  • Thanks so much for your comment, Chris. I’m with you on many of the issues you identify. To me, we live in a period of evolving human consciousness. It’s my hope that we might act persuasively to change the belief system about ‘defective’ and ‘impaired’ human beings. On my academia.edu website, for example, I received a note in response to a paper I wrote comparing ‘ADHD’ to the historical label of ‘feeblemindedness’ applied to native kids in the 20s and 30s. Amazingly, the individual writing this message to me wanted to dispute my commentary by using a eugenics argument directly out of that time period– he suggested that native children have damaged brains due to alcohol consumption by their mothers, that’s why they get labeled ADHD, and mothers should be sterilized for this crime. This coercive ideology is old, intergenerationally learned, and stubborn. Only when it’s brought into the full light of day will people wake up to its many facets. My hope is we can shred it to pieces and bury it.

  • Fred, your comment evokes memories for me of being a tech for about a month on an adolescent psych unit many years ago. A young person had been pushed into the ‘quiet room’ for ‘acting-out.’ He was tired of the techs staring at him through the little window on the door, so he moved his mattress up against it. This was not okay as he was compelled to have eyes on him at regular intervals. Four strapping young techs were assigned to deal with him. They entered the room on mass, used the mattress to pin him against the wall, grabbed him and rigged him into four-point restraints, and then the psychiatrist jumped in from the rear and injected him with halperidol. I was the tech in the rear, the one who couldn’t bear to put his hands on the kid and force him down. I was reprimanded and quit the next day. I borrowed from that memory to construct a scene in my novel, Tessa’s Dance, an allegedly ‘fictional’ work (shameless plug, http://www.tessasdance.com). One of my astute native psychologist friends asked about the story, “What about this is fiction?”

  • Thanks so much for your comment, JenA74. I so agree with you in standing your truth. I’d like to share back that when I came to work with the Yakama Indian community in 2000, my fair skin appearance caused me to hide my Missouri Cherokee family roots. They became gradually discovered by my native friends. At one point, I mentioned being aware of my grandmothers’ Cherokee pride since I was a little boy. A Blackfoot elder made the following ‘intervention’ with me: ‘Then why not follow her? Do you need a federal card to do that? You may be part-Irish or part-English. If you’re Cherokee, be all Cherokee. If your blood runs red, own it. It’s a way of life.’ This set me on a journey in which I was grateful to be assisted and during which I took apart my graduate training and socialization in order to become a real person again with others I was trying to assist. In the process, I reclaimed my forgotten grandmothers and families during sweatlodge in 2001. I’ve never felt any push-back from my indigenous brothers and sisters about all that, only certain Nacirema-Orue, especially those who do not know me. I’d always had conformity issues in the mental health profession, and 2001 is also the time I began to truly see how so many Nacirema-Orue beliefs I’d been raised to were destroying human beings. The Yakama Indian community is very poor and chronically beset with problems related to intergenerational oppression and cultural destruction. Yet some of the strongest people I’ve ever met live among them, and I am forever grateful they chose to help me with my mental and emotional confusion, especially when I was the one who was suppose to be ‘helping’ them.

  • Thanks for your comment, Fred. I feel blessed to be able to share my thoughts. I watched a beautiful sand painting get created by Buddhist monks in Detroit years ago, and you’ve brought back a wonderful memory. If we get a solid plasma hit from the sun one of these days, we’ll all be back to landlines and reading books. Nothing’s permanent…

  • Thanks so much for your comment, John. I’m with you on all points except your last (I may not quite get your intent)–I believe the mish-mash of various political agendas creating this dysfunctional system are learned behaviors across generations that re-perpetuate the so-called ‘mental health problems’ that big pharma’s psychiatrists sedate and medicate. The political struggles are incorporated into the entire dysfunctional system. The polarities fight it out, but nothing really gets fixed. I’m hoping we can somehow step outside, take a longer view, see how we got here, and bust the whole paradigm. Best, Dave

  • Hi Someone Else,

    That’s a great handle, by the way. Thanks for your comment. It’d be great to have a sense of exactly what you’re referring to with regard to the UN conceding that forced psychiatric treatment is torture. It’s such a vast organization, it makes me wonder if it’s an official statement or a resolution from some division or affiliate of the UN with no binding force. In any case, WHO is the official United Nations health policy arm. There’s nothing I’ve seen within the WHO literature I surveyed (although my survey was not at all complete) to suggest WHO takes a position on forced or coerced approaches in psychiatry one way or another. I suspect they’d claim they don’t have an official position or leave questions pertaining to coercion up to the laws and ethical guidelines pertaining to the nation states in which their services are occurring. But I don’t really know and doubt there’s been much thought on the issue at WHO.

  • Think nothing of it, Duane. I used to use the same terminology until I got called out by an elder years ago. She set me on a new path about it all.

  • Thanks for sharing this quote, Duane. It’s deeply concerning to me and I’ve sent it out to some other folks. I am aware of Torrey, his biopsychiatric hyperbole, and his influence. I didn’t know he was a former Indian Health Service psychiatrist in Alaska. It saddens me he worked with indigenous people and didn’t notice anything important about their culture(s). I’ll take a look at the article, although not on a full stomach.

  • Thanks so much for your comment, anothervoice. Yes I purposely constructed the piece out of WHO quotes because the truth of their intentions re: mental health with indigenous communities needs to be understood as quite real, rather than approximated in my own effort at satirical parable. There was a lot more to be mined in those references regarding the global exportation of Western ‘first-world’ mental health toward an untapped market– poor people. I invite others to look closely at what’s written in those WHO documents.

  • Hi Fred, Yes, there is some resonance in what you’ve said particularly for urban American Indians (and especially those who are homeless). Another facet– American Indian and other indigenous communities who’ve continually had to defend their right to keep their homeland.

  • Yes, Duane, I do identify myself as Cherokee, and I appreciate and agree with what you’ve said. I say ‘Missouri Cherokee’ because that’s where my ancestors came from and that’s important to me, especially because those families became disenfranchised in various ways. I mention the family names because I’m always looking to connect with lost Cherokee relatives. Thanks again for your comment.

  • Hi Duane, Thanks for your question. My mixed-blood Cherokee roots come through my Barlow, Alexander, McKnight, and Gibson grandmothers on my father’s side who resided in southwest Missouri. Like other disenfranchised people living outside the Cherokee Nation, I’m not enrolled in a federally-recognized tribe. I also make no claims in that regard. There have been numerous efforts but no successes as of yet for Cherokee people of Missouri seeking to gain state or federal recognition. There is no such thing as ‘part-Cherokee’, in my opinion. You’re Cherokee or you’re not. I am also a licensed psychologist in the state of Washington. I’ll look over the wording of that bio again. Best regards, Dave

  • This is a guild war, not a movement. If you really cared about labeling people inappropriately, you’d recognize that the ICD-9 is just as unscientific as the DSM-5. I’m all for hassling the psychiatric profession over their latest tome, but come on, let’s get real–it is total hypocrisy to assert there’s any labeling or diagnostic system ‘more appropriate’ or ‘scientific’ for categorizing people seeking counsel from a professional philosopher for problems in living, feeling, or thinking. The pace of the label-makers only increases for people sensitive enough to react to the vapid consumerism and materialism in which we’re immersed, or afflicted by participation in corporate-sponsored wars, or homeless, unemployed or overworked, or raped or beaten as kids, or coerced and force-fed stultifying public school curricula, or otherwise reeling from cultural decline and moral decay. What we don’t want to label is a society which conceptualizes it as mentally healthy to sustain the myth that those who feel something or behave deviantly in response to these kinds of factors are sick. It must be in the genes or in the brain, right? Not in what we tolerate or in how we treat our fellow humans. So let’s use the ICD-9 and keep the insurance companies happy and the checks in the mail, folks. Let’s continue to feed that psychopharmaceutical complex too. May I have some more soma please?