Fictive Kinship

There’s a great post by John Robb at Global Guerrillas regarding “fictive kinship” in the recent attempts to revive the lore of the Knights Templar toward criminal ends.

The Knights Templar is an historical model that is a ready made formula for manufacturing fictive kinship. Fictive kinship is the “glue” or “cement” that holds together tribes. Manufacturing fictive kinship enables the formation of a tribe/gang/cult that is able to defend itself and its interests.

In the case of religiously grounded historical examples like this, it allows the group and its members to believe they are special. So special they can transcend the laws, customs, and morality of the outside world without remorse/pause. The result is a group that will often kill in a far more aggressive way than what is seen with groups that are glued together only through economic ties (al Qaeda used this approach).

We Natives don’t need fictive kinship, of course. We have real kindship complete with creation stories, ancient traditions, customs and beliefs. While the examples posed by John Robb use these sorts of bonds to commit murder and atrocities, we can and do use our tribalism for good. The most current example of this is how we bring up our children; using our culture to teach our children right and wrong, how to be a man or woman, how to live and be, and who they are and what their place is in the world. I have argued that we can extend this into a system of clan/tribal based law, tribal/clan based property, and a true to tribal ways system of education. Build your clan! Build your tribe!

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About Vince

I am a Tlingit, born and raised in Tlingit Country, and a proud member of the Tlingit Nation.
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