Tribeless in McDonaldsland

Golden arches, milkshakes and fries, that redheaded clown, over a gazillion hamburgers served. McDonald’s is one of the great symbols of corporate America. This is my cultural inheritance, at least what the powers of my childhood wanted for me. The powers of my childhood didn’t understand me at all. I knew I was a sagebrush, but they tried to make me into a marigold.


The sagebrush in my front yard lives quietly among neighbors’ marigolds and bluegrass lawns

I’m sorry, powers of my childhood. I can’t accept your world. I can’t accept the trademarked, artificial culture that’s been peddled my whole life on cereal boxes and milk cartons, by housekeeping magazines and smiley television spokesmen. It’s a beautiful dream you tried to give me, powers of my childhood, this American Dream. If only it wasn’t off limits to most of humanity because of skin color, gender, or financial status. If only it wasn’t an illusion that only seems real within the male, white-privileged world.

It is no coincidence that the clown has red hair. Clan McDonald is one of the great clans of Scotland, a stronghold of redheaded warriors, ancient and fierce. But now it’s all about two-all-beef patties-special-sauce-lettuce-cheese-pickles-onions-on-a-sesame-seed-bun (or if you’re under age 40, you’re supposed to be lovin’ it).

In my veins runs the native blood of Algonquins, Irish Clans, Gauls, and Vikings. This indigenousness is my most powerful weapon in the battle with McDonaldsland. But being raised in the world of marigolds, I’ve not inherited most of the culture, language, and connection to my own ancestral tribes. Because of this I’ve lost much of my power. Still I persist, recognizing that indigenousness may be the only real hope for the future of humanity. McDonaldsland is not sustainable, yet corporations are still focusing on their profit margins while continuing to eradicate things like sagebrush in the process.

I recently read a book called Planting in a Post-Wild World, by Thomas Rainer and Claudia West. Their landscaping approach is based on recognizing and embracing the mixed nature of plant communities, using native and introduced species together to heal our scarred landscapes. Maybe this is can be a metaphor for human cultures too. There are a lot of us sagebrush out here, with mixed heritage but a unified purpose. Maybe we can help reclaim some of our own damaged landscapes by opposing the corporate mindset that scarred them in the first place. We can hold out against McDonaldsland a little longer.