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Columbus and Other Cannibals: The Wetiko Disease of Exploitation, Imperialism, and Terrorism

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  159 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Celebrated American Indian thinker Jack D. Forbes’s Columbus and Other Cannibals was one of the founding texts of the anticivilization movement when it was first published in 1978. His history of terrorism, genocide, and ecocide told from a Native American point of view has inspired America’s most influential activists for decades. Frighteningly, his radical critique of ...more
Paperback, 258 pages
Published November 4th 2008 by Seven Stories Press (first published 1979)
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10th out of 39 books — 38 voters
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As I have been listening to speeches by native Americans (a propos the polemic Dakota pipeline) this book is timely. From these speeches I took some clarifying (state-of-things) phrases: "we are the majority" (reds and blacks); "([ongoing] concentration camps for Indians"; and the "Catholic Church" should review the "doctrine of discovery".
Inflamed speeches, I would say, with the word "WETIKO".
Oh, one of the speakers said Khadafy is "still alive". WOW.

2nd November 2016

(Jack D. Forbes)

Jul 26, 2012 Kourtney rated it it was amazing
Awesome book. The insanity of ecocide, war, imperialism, colonialism, patriarchy and greed finally makes sense to me. The true gem of this book is the last two chapters.
Written by Native American thinker Jack Forbes, Columbus and other Cannibals is a short and straightforward expression of the idea, familiar to me from Derrick Jensen's writings, that civilized cultures are inherently mentally ill. Forbes calls this illness the "Wetiko" psychosis and attributes to it all the kinds of "cannibalism" prevalent in our culture. Cannibalism, briefly defined, is any kind of literal or metaphorical consumption of the life of another to gain their energy, etc. This ...more
Apr 22, 2015 blakeR rated it it was ok
Shelves: anth-sosh
I love the thesis of this book, that modern civilization represents a sick psychosis that infects all of its victims with a greed for power and domination. It's an important point and I agree with it wholeheartedly. An especially poignant aspect of this "illness" is that it infects even the people that it destroys (the poor or otherwise downtrodden), making them into wetiko-wannabes who jump at the first chance to oppress their weaker neighbor, rather than uniting with a common spirit of the ...more
Jan 18, 2014 Schon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Native American activists, college students, everyone, corporate leaders, political leaders

This book should be required reading in high school. This book should be required reading for life. Not only does he lay out the Native American paradigm of frustration and oppression so clearly, he gives you examples of it going back to great Native American heroes.

The book presents you with a thesis that the current status quo for today’s dog-eat-dog w
Oct 22, 2008 Dylan rated it liked it
This book has a very powerful point to make, but the author's writing simply failed to convey to me the gravity intended. Maybe this is because he simply has the writing skills of an eighth-grader, or maybe his background in native american folklore has tinged his own style with that simplistic mythological assuredness. As he was a long-time professor of Native American Studies at UC Davis, my optimistic assumption is the latter, and I have developed a respect for mythological traditions outside ...more
Oct 24, 2007 David rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who wants to save the world
Shelves: set-down
I will not finish this book this time. It reads kind of like a manifesto. But it reads fairly easy, and it's short, so if you want to remind yourself what's wrong with people, go ahead and read it. But I can sum up what I gathered from it:

Western civilization has grown and prospered entirely by exploiting other human beings. That sucks. It's like a disease - it affects people of all levels of wealth.
Indigenous people aren't like this.

I would recommend Ishmael by Daniel Quinn if you like this bo
Ralphe Wiggins
This book explained a conundrum that has been bothering me for years. Why are indigenous people treated so badly around the earth. The author explains it in terms of a disease, wetiko, that can be summarized as 'more, more, more.' He does a great job explaining how things are and how they got this way. My impression after finishing the book is that there is little hope of escape from the contagion barring a planetary reset.
Dec 14, 2010 Py rated it it was ok
An interesting account of how civilization took hold in North America. I learned alot from this text and found alot of the brutality very emotive and well written. I was disappointed by the pacifist ideology later in the book and also found some parts to be almost sexist or less respectful towards women and people who define as other genders.
Mar 02, 2010 Clayne rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who'll read it.
This book is written simplistically and beautifully. Forbes caught onto a lot of the tendencies of the dominant culture, and I found myself taking in new information despite the general ideas being familiar with me. The Wetiko metaphor is extremely effective, to the point that I believe I'll use it in reference.
Professor Forbes book just might be the most important book you will ever read. If you want to understand how and why our world is on the brink of destruction, this book is for you.
Kyle Boggs
I just picked this up at a fundraiser for my local infoshop. Support infoshops! This is a $15 and they gave it to me for $11.

This book is amazing so far.
Dec 27, 2010 Ash rated it it was amazing
Modern civilization is a product of a a spiritual psychosis, Wetiko disease. One of the most important books ever written.
Jenji rated it it was amazing
Oct 22, 2010
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Jack D. Forbes was a Native-American writer, scholar and political activist. He is best known for his book, Columbus and Other Cannibals, which has become a primary text of the Anti-civilization Movement.
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“Religion is, in reality, living. Our religion is not what we profess, or what we say, or what we proclaim; our religion is what we do, what we desire, what we seek, what we dream about, what we fantasize, what we think - all these things - twenty-four hours a day. One's religion, then, is ones life, not merely the ideal life but the life as it is actually lived.

Religion is not prayer, it is not a church, it is not theistic, it is not atheistic, it has little to do with what white people call "religion." It is our every act. If we tromp on a bug, that is our religion; if we experiment on living animals, that is our religion; if we cheat at cards, that is our religion; if we dream of being famous, that is our religion; if we gossip maliciously, that is our religion; if we are rude and aggressive, that is our religion. All that we do, and are, is our religion.”
“I would suggest that a feminism which does not also seek to alter the exploitation of poorer women is not feminism at all, but is simply a varient for of upper-class politics & self-privileging.” 36 likes
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