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Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows

The True Story of an Indigenous-Based Social Transformer


R. Michael Fisher

In times of extreme cascading global crises facing humanity, all responsible humans need to re-evaluate the dominant worldview that has brought us to this point of facing extinction. As a species we need to relearn the "good" ways from our greatest allies in Nature and from Indigenous cultures that lived in relative harmony with Nature. Equally, we need to learn the best ways to think critically and act on the holistic understanding that may guide us beyond our individual and collective trance and illusions cast forth like chains upon modern societies through elites who manipulate fear.

Fearless Engagement of Four Arrows offers a unique strong "medicine" for the reconstruction of a healthy, sane, and sustainable future for all. Utilizing the form of an intellectual biography of Four Arrows (aka Dr. Don Trent Jacobs) and his daring activist life and true teaching stories, the author creates a powerful adventure into the firey philosophy, activism, and emancipatory inspirations of one of the world’s great visionary prophetic educators and social transformers. Through a number of unique experiences, including firefighting, white-water kayaking, wild horse training, world-class athletic competitions, and counter-cultural activism, Four Arrows has become a connoisseur of fear and courage. This book shows how he walks a universal ethical path of Fearlessness at a time when too many remain trapped by their fears.

Among other readers, high school teachers and post-secondary teachers across diverse disciplines will find great ideas, eliciting dialogues and study questions for students, who now face a globalizing world where they can take charge of the future via fearless engagement.

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3. Radicalization of a Moralist


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I fought and loved

And laughed and cried,

But while living life I died!

—Four Arrows

Peace and War: Wearing a “Velvet Glove”

The opening excerpt from one of the very first poems Four Arrows has penned (c. 1969) reflects the existential and initiatory radicalization theme and dilemma of I-3. He dedicated the poem to: “the stranger who taught me the importance of each person expressing his or her full potentiality.”1 And in such full-potentiality is full-freedom and equally important, full-responsibility. How has Four Arrows been raised to engage the existential and its inevitable rebellion(s) and its resolution(s)?

Written at age 22, during a time of personal and collective crisis in America in which Four Arrows was awakening to, the last line presents the “existential imagination” coming through with a need to make a distinctive and spirited meaning of one’s life, under sometimes limiting and brutal, if not absurd, circumstances, anxieties and suffering in the world.2 The poem’s last line reaches into the depths ← 95 | 96 → of a sensitive soul in realistic admission of mortal fate; yet, one can sense with the exclamation mark a rebellious existential echo in the zest of Jack London’s quip (said two months before his death): “I would rather be ashes than dust.”3 In a poetic imbroglio of conflicts at the time, the young man Don Jacobs confronted Life, Death and Fear as all one dialectical...

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