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Veganism and Native Americans


Baby Hercules
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Ojibwa brought up an interesting new topic: how to be a vegan in a culture whose spiritual identity is so closely tied to hunting.

 

Y'all are not going to like this. My dad was an Ojibwa Indian who took me on my first hunting trip when I was about 8 years old. I have hunted and fished all my life. Recently I discovered that what I like most about hunting is the hiking, so I've been doing a lot of hiking and I shoot sporting clays. I am vegan because it cured my diabetes, and diabetes is what killed my dad. I haven't done any hunting lately because what would be the point? I'm not going to eat it. I would really love to hear from another American Indian vegan to find out how they deal with the conflict between their hunting and fishing heritage and being vegan.

 

Now THAT is a unique perspective, indeed! Especially with hunting being such an integral part of the spiritual life of so many native cultures. Which clan are you? How have your family and immediate friends accepted your lifestyle decision? I suppose, considering you are so far from "home" in Phoenix , that certain adaptive concessions have been made over the years to allow the tribe to survive change. Are you the only vegan Ojibwa to your knowledge?

 

Baby Herc

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I believe there was also a strong spiritual aspect of hunting and fishing for Native American cultures, yes? Hunting and fishing were challenging parts of life, highly ritualized and highly respected. Unfortunately (IMO) we have moved so far from the Native ideal of 'being one with nature' that hunting and fishing are pointless, physically, mentally, and spiritually. I know of no hunter who really values life above all else, and yet I think that was a strong tradition with the old tribes. Of course, there was still war against other tribal groups, but respect was maintained for the earth and the animals that fed the tribe. Surely modern man has something to learn from that history...

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My family is Bear clan. As far as I know, I am the lone vegan Ojibwa in AZ. There aren't very many Ojibwa here anyway so I'm related to most of them. We are from the Red Lake Minnesota band. I have an extra struggle because I have been an outdoor writer for over 25 years, writing hunting and fishing stories for newspapers and magazines. I know that a a lot of vegans are very passionate about animal rights, so I spend a lot of time being embarrassed about what I do. But as an Ojibwa, I should feel pride in my hunting and fishing skills, and in my ability to share them with others. Being vegan does seem to be changing my attitudes about killing animals, and I don't know whether to be happy or bummed about that. I have a LOT of hunting and fishing buddies, and I would like to stay buddies with them. I'm well aware that many vegans would not approve of fishing, even catch and release fishing, but I still do dearly love bass fishing, and so does my husband. We have always released the bass, even before I became a vegan. I've only been vegan for about a year and a half, so I'm still trying to get my head wrapped around stuff.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Though my family chose to live and affiliate themselves in White society in the early 1900's due to social pressures and fears, there was always a privately shared, familial pride in our NA family history. While hunting fell by the wayside until my brothers and I became adults, fishing was an integral part of our lives. We hunted and fished for food and not for sport. A deep respect for nature was imbued into use as my parents believe strongly in the beauty and sanctity of all living things. They now live in AZ (my parents and brothers) and are actively involved with NA youth which has solidified their personal beliefs. It was difficult for me to broach the subject of becoming vegan with my parents only to find my father was eschewing all meats excepts for occasional fish and eating some dairy and eggs. He had become vegetarian for health reasons and was fully supportive of my decision for the same reasons.

Though I cannot sully understand the pressures and conflicts of Native Americans raised within tribal settings and with long-held beliefs, I do understand family traditions and those shared ideologies and beliefs. My dad explained it is the respect he holds for life that made it easier for him.

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  • 1 month later...

Personally I don't eat meat because of environmental and moral reasons, but once I learn how to hunt I will make sure that my family(not vegans) never eat store bought meat again. My father follows many native traditions and both of my brothers and myself have been a part of it for many years, the only one of us with actual blood ties to the culture is my half brother. None the less I have a very strong attraction to the teachings and philosophies. If you want my non-native opinion:P don't let the tradition of hunting and preparing your own meat end with you.

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I don't think culture and tradition is a valid reason for doing ethically questionable things. The times change, life is change, people and cultures have to adapt. The cultures that exist now aren't carved in stone. The cultures that exist now weren't always are as they are now. At one point those cultures were something different and changed to fit a situation. Same goes for religion.

 

At some point you have to update to the way things are now the best you can, embracing the new and saving what is most useful out of the old.

 

No disrespect to anyone.

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Personally I don't eat meat because of environmental and moral reasons, but once I learn how to hunt I will make sure that my family(not vegans) never eat store bought meat again.

 

You don't eat meat out of moral reasons, yet you plan to hunt?

 

My morals, not yours:)

You can totally not hunt if you don't want to, but don't come crying to me when the zombie apocalypse hits AIGHT?!?!

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You can totally not hunt if you don't want to, but don't come crying to me when the zombie apocalypse hits AIGHT?!?!

 

You don't keep up with The Walking Dead, do you? Hunting got carl shot and Otis killed.

 

All depends on whether you go by the AMC show or the graphic novels as to how the events play out

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Oh, for goodness sake, gentlemen. You'll go out of your way to make sure nothing that passes your lips is not pure, wholesome, and cruelty-free but you feed your brain stories based on cruelty and carnage? What the--? Get rid of your television and save your soul before it's too late!

 

Baby Herc

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