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Showing posts with label ecogynocentric. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ecogynocentric. Show all posts

Haunani-Kay Trask


“Politics - the blind are showing movies/in the plaza/so the deaf are gathering/in the plaza/so the mute can debate/in the plaza/the fate/of one beloved nation.”
            - Merlinda Bobis (born 1959) is a Philippine-Australian writer & academic.

Chapter 27. Haunani-Kay Trask (Hawaiʻi/US)

Introduction: Gynocentrism and Gift Economy

Among the Indigenous people of Turtle Island, corn was the staple crop, and the Green Corn Dance was celebrated from North to South America. This important dance varies by group, but the core is a commemoration of the gift of corn by an ancestral corn Goddess. This sacred gift was reciprocated among the people of many nations. In matrilineal cultures, corn was stored in large granaries and distributed equitably by the clan mothers, the oldest women from every extended family. Since Indigenous communities placed an emphasis on sharing and equity, inequality and stratification were far less of a problem than in Europe.

Gynocentric theorists link many forms of social oppression to male domination and the exchange economy. These feminists suggest that only by dismantling male rule and phallic supremacy will many of the social problems that plague our modern world be mitigated. In her fictional account of a mother-centered culture, “The World of the Gift Economy,” feminist scholar Genevieve Vaughan describes the characteristics of the maternal gift economy as "Giving rather than exchange in the way we transmit our goods." The female-centered system is based on unilateral giving, like the mothering of little children, who cannot give back an equivalent in exchange for what they receive from caregivers.

Gynocentric and matriarchal cultures focus on meeting the needs of its members, which establishes bonds of mutuality and trust between givers and receivers. For example, Vaughan writes, "Hums like to guess each other's needs, so it is not unusual if I need a new pair of shoes to find them on my doorstep without my even asking anyone." The relational economy helps the future society the author describes in “The World of the Gift Economy,” to overcome competition and violence so prevalent in male-dominated societies in each corner of the globe. She writes, "The elimination of Patriarchy and exchange everywhere has defused the emphasis on categorization and belonging to superior categories that was part of racism, classism and sexism."

Despite centuries of patriarchal colonization, it is remarkable that some gynocentric traditions remain, even in the colonized US, and other parts of Turtle Island. Many Indigenous survivors understand and write about the importance of maintaining female-centered ways of knowing and being, like gift-giving. First Nations female scholars also document the intersection of colonization, dispossession and racism on Turtle Island, and feminist, cultural, environmental and social justice activists could learn much from these women. A shining example of Indigenous female leadership is Haunani-Kay Trask of Hawaiʻi.

Haunani-Kay's Biography

Haunani-Kay Trask (born October 3rd 1949) is a Hawaiian nationalist, educator, political scientist and writer whose genealogy connects her to the Piʻilani line on her maternal side and the Kahakumakaliua line on her paternal side. The Hawaiian native grew up on the island of Oʻahu and continues to reside there. Known as "The Gathering Place", Oʻahu is the third-largest Hawaiian Island. The island has around one million people, about two-thirds of the state's population.

Haunani-Kay earned a BA, MA and PhD in political science from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She graduated in 1981, and her dissertation was published as Eros and Power: The Promise of Feminist Theory (1986). Trask is professor emeritus of the Kamakakūokalani Center for Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, and has represented Native Hawaiians at the UN and other global forums. Sista Trask is the author of two poetry books, Light in the Crevice Never Seen (1994) and Night Is a Sharkskin Drum (2002). And in addition to her thesis, Dr. Trask published the nonfiction, From a Native Daughter: Colonialism and Sovereignty in Hawaii (1993).

Professor Trask co-wrote and co-produced the award-winning documentary, Act of War: The Overthrow of the Hawaiian Nation (2011). The scholar-activist also created an educational video on the Hawaiian Sovereignty movement, Haunani-Kay Trask: We Are Not Happy Natives (2002). In March 2017, Hawaiʻi Magazine recognized the Oʻahu native as one of the most influential women in Hawaiian history.

As an Indigenous feminist, Haunani-Kay opposes tourism to Hawaiʻi, as well as US military's presence on the islands. In a 2014 interview, the Oʻahu native explained how she got involved with anti-military activism in the Pacific,
I got involved with Kahoʻolawe and the whole archipelagic idea of bombing ranges when I came back from college [in the mid-1970s from the University of Wisconsin Madison]. My mother, who was very straight, said you better come home, these people are going out there [to Kaho‘olawe] and getting arrested, and some of them are dying. It sounds like something you’d like. So that’s how I got into it. I did come home, and I didn’t write my dissertation for two years because I was so engaged in this process.
More recently the professor has spoken against the Akaka Bill to establish a process for Native Hawaiians to gain federal recognition similar to the recognition that some Native American tribes currently possess. Advocates of Hawaiian sovereignty oppose the bill since it disregards the 1993 Public Law (103-150) in which the US Congress apologized "for the overthrow and the deprivation of the rights of Native Hawaiians to self-determination." Professor Trask exposes the Eurocentric settler bias and violence present in her native islands, writing,
The color of violence, then, is the color of white over black, white over brown, white over red, white over yellow. It is the violence of north over south, of continents over archipelagos, of settlers over natives and slaves.
The Hawaiian studies scholar explains further that melaninized subjugation in the island chain is inter-linked with other layers of oppression,
Shaping this color scheme are the labyrinths of class and gender, of geography and industry, of metropoles and peripheries, of sexual definitions and confinements. There is not just one binary opposition, but many oppositions.
Melaninized persecution is one form of patriarchal dualism among many. Intersectional oppression in Hawaiʻi is complicated and requires complex analysis and multi-disciplinary approaches. The political scientist describes different levels of violence inherent in the occupation of Indigenous lands by the most powerful nation in the Anglo-sphere,
Within colonialism, such as that now practiced in my own country of Hawai'i, violence against women of color, especially our Native women, is the economic and cultural violence of tourism and of militarism. It is the violence of our imprisonments: reservations, incarcerations, diasporas. It is the violence of military bases, of the largest porting of nuclear submarines in the world, of the inundation of our exquisite islands by eager settlers and tourists from the American and Asian continents.
Predatory capitalism is part of colonialism and racism, and this gets translated into the society, language and institutions of Eurocentric rule on Turtle Island. The Hawaiian nationalist describes this process with regards to culture,
Colonialism began with conquest and is today maintained by a settler administration created out of the doctrine of cultural hierarchy. It is a hierarchy in which Euro-Americans and whiteness dominate non-Euro-Americans and darkness.
Professor Trask contends that in a colonial country, there must be dominance and subordination, and low-melanin hegemony delineates this hierarchy in the US. Thus, the Indigenous political scientist argues,
white people are the dominant group, Christianity is the dominant religion, capitalism is the dominant economy, and militarism is the dominant form of diplomacy and the underlying force of international relations. Violence is thus normal, and race prejudice, like race violence, is as American as apple pie.
People of European descent are an elite minority in the islands. Low-melanin people comprise about 25 percent of the ethnically diverse state's 1.3 million residents, while those who identify as Native Hawaiian account for around 20 percent. Most residents are of mixed 'race,' so multi-racial people are the majority. The female Indigenous scholar explains how structural racism works in the US,
In a racist society, there is no need to justify white racist behavior. The naturalness of segregation and hierarchy is the naturalness of hearing English on the street, or seeing a McDonalds on every other corner, or assuming the U.S. dollar and United Airlines will enable a vacation in Hawai'i, my native country. Indeed, the natural, everyday presence of the "way things are" explains the strength and resilience of racism. Racism envelops us, intoxicating our thoughts, permeating our brains and skins, determining the shape of our growth and the longevity of our lives.
As an activist poet, Professor Trask employs the “art as an anvil” method in her writing style. Recognizing that Indigenous Hawaiians have been relegated to the margins of their society, the First Nations poet utilizes her words as weapons against the colonizing oppressors. An example of the art as anvil approach can be seen in the poem, "Racist White Woman," featured in her 1994 book, Light in the Crevice Never Seen:
Racist White Woman
I could kick
Your face, puncture
Both eyes.
You deserve this kind
Of violence
No more vicious
Tongues, obscene
Just a knife
Slitting your tight
Little heart.
For all my people
Under your feet
For all those years
Lived smug and wealthy
Off our land
Parasite arrogant
A fist
In your painted
Mouth, thick
With money
And piety.

New Book: Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess


Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess: Men's Domestication of Women and Animals, and Female Resistance is now available from Amazon ( and other booksellers. This book has a compelling and unusual story to tell.

For millions of years, early humans lived in gynocentric or female-centered cultures which revolved around the worship of Earth Goddesses. Female-led clans were ecological and managed the land sustainably throughout the Stone Age. What is more, numerous aspects of so-called human 'civilization' were developed by prehistoric females, thousands of years before men/cyborgs domesticated animals - from fire, fireplaces, cooking, food preservation, and storage, to dance, art, medicine, philosophy, language, stories, ritual, trade, settlement, pottery, textile, calendar, metal, and more.

The text includes engrossing details on specific Goddesses, such as the Goddess of animals, the Moon Goddess, the Triple Goddess, Sybils, and Oracles. The significance of hundreds of Woman/Goddess carvings found in Europe and Asia is considered, along with evidence of prehistoric women's cave art. There are vital discussions on gynocentric power, and female-centered family and culture. The importance of the Mother's gift economy is also explored, especially its influence on socialism and the capitalist backlash against feminism that resulted.

The 358 pages in divided into 28 chapters. The writing is eclectic, interweaving research on female prehistory, archaeology, anthropology, genetics, evolutionary biology, art, culture, myth, theology, and theory. Intersecting with insightful analysis on Stone Age females are fascinating discussions on diet and the historical relationship between human and non-human animals.

This unique book on the history of women and animals is loosely organized and includes a compelling narrative in each chapter, called ASIA's Journey about a group of climate refugees in the near future. Some of the key issues explored are the status of women during the Stone Age, the emergence of animal husbandry and male-centered civilization 10,000 years ago, the social construction of patriarchy during the Bronze Age, and the effects of male dominance into the present.

Seenarine shows that millennia after the intensive cultivation of crops, around 8,000 years ago, men harnessed animal power to gain the superior strength and speed of cyborgs. Horses were exploited by pastoral sperm-producers to conquer gynecological clans across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. But unlike agriculture, the use of domesticates is unsustainable, and this practice has led to countless wars over land and water resources.

After taming animals, men subjugated females into property and used literacy and religion to reduce them to the status of animals. Correspondingly, the once mighty Earth Goddesses became the jealous consorts of kings and male sky gods. The cyborg domesticating mindset continues into the present where nonhuman animals and human females are stripped of agency and considered as objects freely available for phallic use. Seenarine argues that men's defeat of the Earth Goddess is the root of the present ecological and social crisis, and empowering women and animals are necessary for avoiding ecocide.

The study explores several important questions: What was the Paleo Diet? Were the Paleo diet and food security more influenced by female gatherers or by male hunters? Are men natural born killers driven to rape? How did Stone Age women deal with male aggression? How are female-centered cultures organized and maintained? Can female governance help to restore the balance with nature and heal our relationships with animals? Can an understanding of gynecology help to solve the massive problems of climate change and species extinction?

Importantly, the book examines resistance to patriarchal thinking and cyborg consciousness formulated by ecofeminists and others, and argues for a return to gynocentrism. There is little domestic violence in existing female-centered groups, and men live happier when women are in charge. What is more, the author suggests that adopting a Mother's gift economy can help end global poverty, inequity, and discrimination. In addition, learning about ancient gynecological perceptions and spirituality can help both women and men to live simpler and happier lives.

Xpyr Press

New Release - Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess

Now Available!

 Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess

"In a rousing, incisive tome that spans centuries, Moses Seenarine deftly unpacks the suppressed histories of female-centered cultures that pre-dated traditional patriarchal hierarchies based on the colonial subjugation of women, children and animals.  Using Stone Age Goddess culture and iconography as a guidepost, Seenarine argues that patriarchal dominance was an anomaly in prehistory.  He explores the ways in which female-centered communities established peaceful, communistic societies anchored by female gathering rather than male hunting.  In so doing, he seeks to challenge the prevailing Darwinian narrative that cultures based on male dominance—predicated on meat consumption, territorialism, misogynistic power and asymmetrical control—were ultimately the most successful and “inevitable” systems of human social development. Acknowledging his privileged position as a male scholar and researcher, Seenarine provides a valuable overview for those interested in the crucial connection between the radical politics of ecofeminism and the contemporary battle over climate change, food justice and sustainability." - Sikivu Hutchinson, Author, Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars

Prehistory Was Female-Centered

Early humans lived in ecogynocentric cultures and worshiped Earth Goddesses

(Excerpt from Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess: Men's Domestication of Women and Animals and Female Resistance (2017) by Moses Seenarine)

(Female Hand print, Chauvet cave, France c. 32,000 BP)

The Earth and her organisms are wholesome, active entities. Each unique creature has individual and collective interests and relationships. However, acting like aliens, modern men or Cyborgs have reduced and eliminated the subjectivity of Earthlings to establish themselves as the only 'real' subjects in both theory and practice.

The status of being a subject is central to having rights and safeguards under a patriarchal society. Framing unique, individual beings as similar objects is a key strategy of patriarchal reduction and oppression. This article sketches female subjectivity during prehistory and their extraordinary decline in status when men gained control over human organization. It starts with a brief look at how female-centered societies were associated with Goddess ideologies. After this, the decline of the Greek Goddess, Metis, is explained. And the article concludes with an examination of the great fall in female status in the post-Stone Age.

(Woman/Goddess of Willendorf, Germany c. 28,000 BP)

Roles & the Goddess

Female-centered primate cultures existed for millions of years, and females held a high status within the earliest human groups, around two million BP. Also, from the dawn of the species over 200,000 years ago, females have been active participants in shaping culture, behavior, and human destiny.

The notion of a Goddess was central to Stone Age oral traditions, imagery, gynecology, and female-centered thinking. Gynocentric practices revolved around reverence for various Goddesses, and evolved along with our human-like ancestors.

The Goddess perspective was maintained during humans' continuous migration out of Africa to populate the Earth, so it was a Global one. Gynecological sanctions were part of Goddess narratives, and adhering to these environmental laws ensured long periods of sustainability for our species.1

Stone Age humans viewed the Earth as a providential Goddess and a fertile Mother, and females' prominent positions were connected to the bountiful Deity. Under the Goddess worldview, nature and animals were perceived as female – sacred, mighty, and nurturing. Men were active participants in female-led communities, with valuable roles and strong ties to their maternal clans.

As fully realized subjects, females led child-centered groups under the protection of various Earth Goddesses. Then, as now, egg-producing humans were creative, intelligent, reasonable, courageous, and powerful. They were likewise generous, compassionate, moral, socially responsible, and hard-working.

Stone Age females lived in matrilocal kin groups based on maternal residence and group motherhood. Clans were also matrilineal, with inheritance based on maternal lineage.2 The Goddess-centered economy was proportionate and equal, with gift-giving playing a primal role in fostering cooperation and solidarity between female communities.

The tightly-knit, female-centered social organization kept the power of human male animals in balance during the Stone Age. Lack of art and other physical evidence imply there was an absence of conflict, and the numerous successful migrations across the globe suggest vast periods of human cooperation.

In many parts of the World, Goddess worship and females held dominant roles, but over the past centuries, grave robbers pillaged a lot of this evidence. The burial of a 4,500 years old Siberian noblewoman from the ancient Okunev Culture that was found undisturbed provides a glimpse of the history that was wiped out.

The early Bronze Age grave include an incense burner decorated with solar symbols - three sun-shaped facial images which match ancient rock art in Siberia. There were also two jars, cases with bone needles inside, a bronze knife, 1,500 beads that once adorned the woman's costume, and 100 pendants made from animal teeth.3

In the Americas, female authority persisted into the last millennia. For example, the priestesses of Moche were renowned for their monumental architecture and rich visual culture. Regarded as the first state-level civilization in the Americas, the Moche inhabited the north coast of Peru from 2,000 to 1,200 BP.

The Moche flourished before the Incas, but at the same time, the Mayas thrived in Mexico and Central America. The Moche developed the inland desert with a complicated system of irrigation used for agriculture. They built adobe pyramids, and, like other gynocentric cultures, used an Earth Goddess to unify their society.4

The Moche had no written language but left thousands of ceramic vessels with intricate drawings portraying their daily lives and beliefs about the human and supernatural worlds. Moche artists crafted ceramic and metal objects of striking realism and visual sophistication depicting the Goddess and female life cycles.

The eight royal tombs of Moche priestess discovered contained extensive artifacts, and the complexity of the burial reveal the power and influence the women wielded in life. Archaeologists know the eight women were priestesses because of their resemblance to figures depicted in rituals scenes found in Moche art.

The women were priestesses, but they could have likewise been rulers. The political and religious realms were blended in ancient cultures, and rulers were often the priests. For instance, the Señora de Cao, who reined around 1,700 BP, is considered the first female sovereign of pre-Hispanic Peru.5

(A winged goddess depicted under Zeus' throne, possibly Metis c. 2,550 BP)

Remembering Metis

In Greek, Metis means 'wisdom,' 'skill,' or craft.' In pre-patriarchal Greek religions, Metis was of the older Titan generation and an Oceanid. Metis was born of Oceanus and his sister Tethys. She is of an earlier age than Zeus, the chief male god, and his siblings. This era was the age of the Goddess when male deities were rare or insignificant.

Metis was the Titan­ Goddess of good advice, planning, and cunning. She was the mother of wisdom and sound thought. After the decline of gynocentrism, Metis was reduced to a counsel and spouse of Zeus, and besides, his cousin.

A prophecy revealed that she was destined to bear a son greater than his father. Zeus became jealous and tricked Metis into turning herself into a fly. Then, he promptly swallowed her. Trapped, Metis spent the rest of her life giving Zeus advice from inside him.

Inside Zeus' belly, Metis conceived a daughter. In time, she began making a helmet and robe for her fetus, and her hammering caused Zeus great pain. Eventually, her daughter, Athena, re-birthed from the god's head fully grown and armed with a war-cry.

In later Greek mythology, after the solidification of patriarchal versions of earlier religions, poets described Athena as a "motherless goddess" and did not mention Metis. Other versions of Athena noted that Zeus, her father, later attempted to rape her. Athena killed him without hesitation and took his name and skin. In many different versions of the story, Athena never has a birth mother. Plato identified Athena with Neith, a much more ancient Triple Goddess from Libya.

Zeus swallowed Metis and made her a part of himself. But that was not enough. By having Athena born only from Zeus, the narrative gave males authority and power over something that had previously only been a female realm, the cycles of reproduction. Moreover, this framing of male-birthing removed all female association with wisdom.

In remembering Metis, this study is reclaiming female prehistory and wisdom as female-centered. It is asserting that gynocentric cultures existed among early humans and lasted throughout the Stone Age. Honoring Metis reminds us that ancient gynecological principles were sustainable and a return to these practices can slow down planetary heating and help to restore harmony on Earth.

(Woman/Goddess of Çatalhöyük c. 8,000 BP)

The Great Fall of

Stone Age gynecological worldviews that honored females and nature through various Earth Goddesses survived well into the so-called 'agrarian' era. But by the Bronze Age, even though some Goddesses remained, sex roles and status were totally reversed. Maleness became prized, at the detriment of other subjects, and females, nature, and the Goddess were collectively debased to mere objects for male use.

Men's opportunity arose with females' continuous innovations in cultivating plants during the Neolithic, or New Stone Age (12,200 to 4,500 BP). Sperm-producing humans embraced, learned, then took over female cultivation technologies, but this was not the end. The stupendous decline in female status and culture, and the attendant rise of patriarchy, are related to animal enslavement that occurred later.

By 9,500 to 9,000 BP, agricultural economies that relied on a mix of domesticated crops and farmed animals were fully crystallized in the Middle East. Soon after, many aspects of daily life in the Fertile Crescent were diffused into the Mediterranean and elsewhere.6 The agrarian transfer package included subsistence agriculture, animal husbandry, social networks, and cyborg belief systems.

By 8,000 BP, male-dominated farming economies led to the rise to powerful cyborg city-states in Eurasia. The sovereignty of female clans honoring Earth Goddesses was comprehensively diminished, and egg-producing humans were prevented from amply expressing themselves in increasingly male-dominated societies. Formerly honored girls were disempowered and objectified into tools by the falsely entitled cyborg herders.

The Bronze-Age started around 5,000 BP, and durable weapons increased male violence across the Globe as embattled men competed to rule over each other. Across Europe, patriarchal ideology continued to replace matrilineal and matrifocal systems, which severely affected females' personal, social, and economic status.
The pistillate7 calamity intensified around 1,500 BP when Christians and Muslims began to replace the thousands of female-honoring Goddess cultures in Africa and Eurasia with a single patriarchal god. In a short time span, in cultures across the world, once sovereign beings were objectified into reproductive objects and restricted to the domestic sphere.

In Gyn/Ecology, Mary Daly notes, "this attraction/need of males for female energy, seen for what it is, is necrophilia - not in the sense of love for actual corpses, but of love for those victimized into a state of living death." The domestication of 'ladies' is ongoing and so too is its resistance. Sarah Ditum argues that women cannot remain neutral on the feminist issue because the battlefield is our bodies: “There’s no way to avoid picking a side when you yourself are the disputed territory.”

While there has been some progress toward sexual equality in modern times, gains have also been eroded and "the much needed positive developments are not happening fast enough.” This conclusion was made at the 2017 UN Commission on the Status of Women, by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, executive director of UN Women, the United Nations agency charged with promoting women's rights.8

In addition to receiving one-third less wages than a man, over half of all women workers around the world, and up to 90 percent in some countries, are informally employed. The informal economy consists of low-cost, female farm workers, street food vendors, care workers, and so on. These girls and women work without legal or social protection, and in India alone, this sector accounts for 190 million women. "They are the under-the-radar and under-valued cogs in the bigger wheels of the formal economy," Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

The UNW director note that changing discriminatory laws in over 150 countries "could affect more than three billion women and girls in the world." And empowering females politicallly can lead to many positive changes, including economic one. For instance Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka suggested that "advancing women's equality in total could bring a potential boost of 28 trillion U.S. dollars to global annual GDP by 2025."

Women and children represent seventy-five percent of humans. It makes sense that society should be organized around the interests of this majority, rather than a hopelessly insecure minority that is clearly unfit to rule. Returning the Goddess and women to their rightful place in prehistory and the present is not only good for females, but for males, and the entire Earth. Women and men ignore this imperative at our own peril.


1Goddess beliefs were part of gynecological land management practices that contributed to the long-term survival of the species. The contrasting notions of power and transcendence over nature and nonhuman animals are fundamental aspects of patriarchal thought, which are unsustainable and self-destructive as the climate crisis demonstrates.
2Chris Knight. 2008. “Early Human Kinship Was Matrilineal.” In N. J. Allen, et al, eds., Early Human Kinship. Oxford: Blackwell, pp. 61-82.
3Staff. 2016. "Found: grave of Siberian noblewoman up to 4,500 years old." Siberian Times, Aug 19.
4S Bourget & K Jones. 2009. The Art and Archaeology of the Moche: An Ancient Andean Society of the Peruvian North Coast. U of Texas Press
5Liz Mineo. 2016. "Where women once ruled." Harvard Gazette, July 19.
6Melinda Zeder 2008. "Domestication & early agriculture in the Mediterranean Basin: Origins, diffusion, & impact." PNAS 105(33):11597-604.
7A flower that lacks stamens is pistillate, or female, while one that lacks pistils is said to be staminate, or male.

8Edith Lederer. 2017. "Women's Rights Are Under Attack Worldwide, Warns U.N. Chief." AP, Mar 13

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