Just fishing around here. The situations where this has come up were all awarenesses of Indian cultures that have a genuine history, a long connection with their people and customs, and a historical connection to a landscape. Roots. In each instance I became aware of a living in a rootless non-culture. (The first time I experienced this was during a five day Ford Foundation Community Based Forestry retreat hosted by the Gullah people on St. Helena island off the coast of North Carolina. During a breakout group session a fellow traveler who happened to be a Nez Perce Indian was describing his cultural background, and it occurred to me that I didn’t really have one - I was a free agent, rootless - free to choose my own culture, but having no real building materials to make one out of.)
Seriously, what is the quintessential ’American’ culture - the culture of the invaders of the past 500 years? It appears to me to be one of conquest, exploitation, selfishness, and narcissism. Trumpism is the pinnacle of American culture.
I have been realizing for years that our problems cannot be solved without curing the flaws of our culture… the weird thing is that our culture is one of no culture - rootlessness.