Sand Talk and The Walking Dead

A couple of months ago as I was listening to the radio, an author, Tyson Yunkaporta, was being interviewed about his book, Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World. The interview intrigued me enough to explore his book. I purchased it as an Audible book.

As I’ve listened to it, I have found I want to “re-read” what he is reading to me. It is very hard to have to keep hitting repeat, and not actually feasible while listening driving back and forth to work. For the first time for an audiobook, I am going to purchase the physical book so I can read, and re-read certain passages just to try and digest what he is trying to say. His words, and maybe I’m a little dense, have such deep meaning on many different levels and topics that I’m not getting it the first time round.

Today the topic, as I understand it, was about the true strength of women that has been lost over time by the dominant culture. That in a sense, women have been domesticated. These kinds of statements are why I must read and reread the words again. When he talks about women being domesticated, it is as a sense of powerfulness being lost.

He speaks of a time when men and women walked side-by-side, fought side-by-side, lived side-by-side, and were truly equal in mind and physical stature. I’m still wrapping my head around what he means by domesticated. It seems as if he is referring to the dominant cultures thinking of the man as stronger, A woman as not being complete without a man by her side. The misnomer of women being the weaker sex.

At one point he wondered about what it would be like if we were able to evolve towards a time when everyone acknowledges and accepts women as the true equals they are in reality.

As this rolled around in my head, The Walking Dead came to mind in terms of the evaluation of women being seen and usually (can’t say always) treated as true equals.

Spoiler alert if you haven’t seen any of The Walking Dead.

There are three women—main characters—that come to mind from the show: Carol, Michonne, and Maggie. Michonne is strong from the beginning when she is introduced as having two zombie “pets” helping to protect her and carrying a samurai sword. Maggie is the daughter of a farmer, and has a sense of strength and self from the beginning. Then Carol, who is an abused beat down wife and mother.

Michonne exerts herself as an equal from the get-go. She won’t, and doesn’t, take guff from anyone. Mincing words and actions aren’t not things you’ll see from Michonne.

Maggie does evolve over the course of the show. She has some strength and confidence from the beginning. However, she isn’t really shown as being a leader at first, then gradually grows into being one. Eventually, Maggie becomes the leader of a settlement, doing what is necessary to protect it, and fighting right along, and often better, than the menfolk.

Carol is someone we feel sorry for, and are angry at, from the first time we see her. Her husband is physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive. With a young daughter seeing how Carol is treated, we want her to stand up for herself. As time goes on, we slowly watch Carol, especially after the death of her husband, grow as a person. She becomes more outgoing, more thoughtful, more powerful, and a protector. Carol is willing and able to do what others, of all genders, are not willing to do, even when not doing so puts them all in danger.

Sadly, through this evolution to a place of being powerful in her own right, people become afraid of her. Afraid of the decisions she makes. It is almost as if when she “comes” into her own, those around her must then begin to push her back down because they can’t handle her strength.

Now, once I go back and read this passage again, I may have a totally different take as I seek to better understand. Please be patient and have grace in case I totally misunderstood Tyson’s intent. I could be totally wrong. If so, I’ll know more and will do better.

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