Daniel Wildcat (Yuchi, Muscogee) is the director of the American Indian Studies Program and the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. Indigenous peoples around the world have accumulated deep wisdom about Mother Nature and the ways of plants and animals. Now that humankind is facing the daunting challenge of climate change, their observations on the web of life, simplicity, and environmental adaptation are relevant to dealing with this crisis. Wildcat calls this paperback a "Red Alert" and hopes that it will, as a warning, result in "urgent action based on respectful attentiveness."
The Species Survival Commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that the current rate of species extinction to be 100 to 1,000 times higher than the natural extinction rate. Giant sea turtles, orangutans, and other animals are in grave danger thanks to the engines of business and consumption driving nations and individuals around the globe. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that global warming could lead to a total ecosystem collapse on the planet in 50 years. Given the severity of these developments, we can learn from indigenous people's keen sense of the sacred in the world.
Wildcat suggests that we replace modern mythology based on technologies and rationality with indigenous wisdom based on tribal worldviews and lifeways. It is important to give up dualities and to envision the natural world as relatives, not resources. Wildcat describes some specific environmental actions which should be taken right now. He concludes that the military-industrial system of homeland security be superceded by experience-based homeland maturity which is available in indigenous wisdom.