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freemanjud
Posts: 70

Readings:

Claudio Vaunt, “The invasion of America,” Aeon, January 2015.

https://aeon.co/essays/how-were-1-5-billion-acres-...

Janet Siskind, “The Invention of Thanksgiving,” Critique of Anthropology, 1992

http://coa.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/12/2/1...

Dennis Zotigh “Do American Indians Celebrate Thanksgiving?” Smithsonian Magazine, November 26, 2016.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/blogs/national-muse...

Erin Blackmore, “The Little-Known History of the Forced Sterilization of Native American Women,” JStor Daily, August 25, 2016.

https://daily.jstor.org/the-little-known-history-o...

Tristan Ahtone, “Native Americans are recasting views of indigenous life,” National Geographic, December 2018.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/1...

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Many people believe that Native Americans have been erased from the story we tell about the history of the United States. America was discovered….by Columbus. Let’s be generous: let’s call it an “encounter.” Its first settlers? The British and the Dutch, let alone the Spanish and French. Before 1492, this land was wilderness, waiting to be “discovered.” Were there people here? Were they people or savages? How did we depict them, describe them, study them, remember them?


If you believe in ghosts, then Native American ghosts are all around us. And yet their descendants survived. They are here but how often do we hear their voices? Are we paying attention to them? We have much to learn from the Native peoples of this country, if we are willing to take the time to do so.


It is argued that what happened to the Native Americans in this country was genocide. The definition of genocide is the deliberate killing of a group of people because of who they are, what their identities are, often with the goal of eliminating them entirely. Yet on Beacon Hill, where a bill (S.327) mandating the teaching of genocide was being discussed by the Massachusetts Legislature in October 2019 (for a text of the bill, see https://malegislature.gov/Bills/191/SD1441, and for coverage of the motives and the legislator behind it, see https://mirrorspectator.com/2019/10/03/bill-seeks-to-mandate-teaching-of-genocide-holocaust-in-ma-middle-high-schools/) , take a guess: which group was conspicuously not mentioned?


Consider what we’ve looked at in class and the content of the readings listed above as you respond to the following questions.


  • What do we need to do, moving forward, to better understand the experience of Native Americans in this nation? How do we fully confront the history of the Native American experience in this nation?
  • How do we address the stereotypes, misperceptions, the “twistory” that has been passed down among non-Native Americans about this population?
  • What apologies and amends do we need to make, if any?
  • How do we address the fact that Native peoples were murdered for who they are?
  • How can all Americans become allies so that Native Americans become fully integrated members of this society? What concrete actions can we take to move forward and build a nation with Native peoples?

  • Be very specific in your response, citing examples both from class and from the readings.

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    shorty123
    Posts: 16

    Re-education

    For people to understand Native Americans experience in the world, they must first understand that Native Americans were the first settlers and had more than a billion acres of land. This land was later stripped as well as their freedom when the Europeans took over. The Native Americans were seen as bad people and even today some people unfortunately still believe this. Our American sports teams use the r word in the name of their teams and depict the indigenous people as their mascot. It is disrespectful to even use these images due to the way that America has treated native Americans but, like Tristan Ahtone said, Americans make Native American history invisible which is why many don't get why the images are controversial and hurtful. The known stereotypes, for example red skin, are disrespectful stereotypes that people choose to associate with indigenous people even though to them it’s very offensive. People either mock or skip over their culture like it doesn’t even exist. To address this we need to educate people about the real history of the land they walk on and we have to remove any disrespectful stereotypical images or work targeting these people. I think that many things need to be apologized for starting with official tribes. The tribes that did not have written records since the beginning of their time weren’t considered tribes, like the Massachusett, which is why we don’t learn about them as much as we learn about the Wampanoag. We need to also speak about the real evil that Christopher Columbus did. Christopher Columbus and his colonizers, after invading the Native American land, spread diseases to them, injured them, and even sold their brains and body parts for a reward. This is not spoken about. We don’t learn about this is the textbooks. Christopher Columbus has a day named after him which he doesn’t deserve. Instead of celebrating him and talking about his false accomplishments, we should spread the real story about the REAL first people to discover this land. Native Americans were murdered for their identity which is genocide. Even after time had passed, some laws refused to restore the rights of the indignity people. The United States refuses to acknowledge that they have committed genocide. We need to acknowledge this by adding it to the list of genocides so that it is mandatory for schools to teach students about what really happened. Americans can become allies by listening to experiences and stories of different people from different tribes, and also by recognizing these tribes individually rather than grouping them all together to show more respect. Also like we said in class, sometimes it takes people higher up to say something before real change is made, so I believe that people who are able to use their voice to reach large groups of people should speak about the indigenous people, like Elizabeth Warren, so that they can get the respect and appreciation that they deserve and should’ve received from the very beginning.

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    DuckBoots
    Posts: 25

    The Missing Chapter

    “Native peoples may be a small minority, but their history poses a fatal challenge to triumphalist narratives of the US”- AEON article.

    We ignore history or stories that make us uncomfortable. Whenever the word racism or slavery appears there is nervous shifting and mental cringing for the connotations of the subject. Similarly too with Thanksgiving or the founding of our country.

    With the holidays right around the corner, let's address the turkey in the room; Thanksgiving. A native school child described their experience anonymously in “For Thanksgiving I was the Indina. Umm go figure” and another girl receives an F for wringing why her family doesn’t celebrate it.- Smithsonian. Why are we shoving a tragic event down these peoples throats painted as a celebration? Let the people on the other side of colonization either have a dinner of thanks or “A day of mourning”- Smithsonian.

    Stereotypes of native people don't stop after November. They are present in media and the market where images that are "bufoonishly racist"-Smithsonian can be found in Disney and in Ms. Freeman’s salt. Halting the spread of these images and calling out companies for such racist portrayals is a good first step in squashing accepted racism towards Native Americans. Also, the conversation should at least arise over the ethical naming of teams with the r-word or Indians. Drawing attention to the ignorance behind these images will help to correct the history of ignorance.

    The key to addressing the history we gloss over is education. “Good history makes good citizens”-aeon article. We need to give Native people’s history a place in our history classes aside from an inaccurate elementary school version. For example, I remember learning about the savior Squanto, but never that when he returned home “all his family and the rest of his tribe had been exterminated by a devastating plague”-Smithsonian. We need to aknowledge the devestation to and genocide of the Indigenous peoples to get our early history clear.

    There need to be amends made from the top of our government to local consciousness. Respecting Indigenous people's decision to not celebrate Thanksgiving or not stand for the Pledge of Allegiance is something that we all need to at least respect and try to understand. Indigenous voices and votes need to be seen in our country and their history a feature.

    Native people are more likely to be targets of violence like we heard today in the assembly. We need to draw attention to this targeting and take measures to protect Native people. Most of all, the victims need to be seen beyond a statistic. I have never heard this story covered on the news and that is disturbing.

    Most of all we need to be American upstanders. We have talked in class about talking over a group of people vs. letting them talk. We can use our privilege and education to educate others about the complex American history before the settlers of Plymouth. We can listen to and olster Native activists and historians who can make an influence on our world. Xiuhtezcatl Martinez is a climate activist who was awarded U.S Volunteer Service Award by President Obama. His voice is poignant, but lost to a nation that doesn’t recognized Native’s contributions.

    We need to learn more, listen, and support present day Natives to try and make amends with the bloody past and make a brighter future.

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    Regina Phalange
    Posts: 19

    Taking responsibility

    The only way to move forward is to accept the truth of the past. In order to better understand the history of Native Americans in this country, all we need to do is tell the truth. It seems obvious, but history textbooks shouldn’t lie about the treatment of Native Americans just to make Americans look better. As embarrassing as it is, I didn’t really learn about the treatment of Native Americans by Eurpoeans until 8th grade U.S. History. Ideally, it should be federally mandated somehow that U.S. history textbooks must contain factually accurate and sufficient information about all topics.. For example, the “Invasion of America” article from Aeon is about 2 pages, and I think that it was extremely informative. So imagine the awareness that could be spread if every school was required to teach a chapter, or multiple, on the treatment of Native Americans. Maybe it can replace learning about the American Revolution literally every single year in elementary school? Just a thought.


    Along with ensuring that the atrocities of the past are recognized, it is essential that we come to terms with the state of the present. In doing so, there should be a tremendous effort to overhaul the inaccurate stereotypes that depict Native Americans negatively. One way to do this could simply be through media representation. As we learned in class, the typical Native American person is inaccurately reflected in our collective image of "Indians," so to change that we should attempt to eliminate stereotypical imagery on things like butter or corn starch. We celebrate diversity when we see characters on TV shows or people in magazines who have disabilities, different genders, and different sexualities, so I think that Native American people should be a part of such displays. On the contrary, I could see the argument that Native Americans shouldn’t have to constantly appear in our lives for us to recognize them and disregard such stereotypes. Is it our responsibility as Americans go to go the extra step to educate ourselves, as opposed to just waiting for mainstream media to do it for us?


    Honestly, I’m not sure how we address the fact that Native American people were murdered for who they are. First of all, I think that it is important that we accept it and tell it how it is. I personally think that it should be considered a genocide, although it is not always grouped in that way. I guess since you can’t undo the past, we just have to move forward with increased knowledge and awareness of it. We should recognize the victims like we do with other tragedies. We should ensure that nothing like it happens again. I think that the responsible thing to do would be for the United States to lead a global campaign to ensure the rights of native people in all other countries, using ourselves as an example of what not to do. Nevertheless, I doubt that will happen because we are still struggling to take responsibility among ourselves. Overall, the most important thing that we can do it educate ourselves. This is the exact reason why we take history (especially Facing History): so that we don't repeat it.


    I think that we can try to be allies by being vocal about the issues that Native Americans face today in the context of our own lives. One thing that is important is renaming Columbus Day nationwide. At this point, it would likely happen if a democrat wins the presidential election and/or the senate next year, but until then we should call for statewide action to change it in Massachusetts. On a national scale, there should be more time, effort, and money dedicated towards museums and memorials. Also, one more manageable thing that we, as a school, could do is push for the College Board to make it a required and essential part of the APUSH curriculum. Overall, we should be more inclusive towards Native Americans in our national dialogue surrounding diversity. We should talk about their oppression and struggles in the same way that we talk about those of other races. It can, and will, be somewhat difficult to make changes in the way that we address Native Americans in our conversations, our laws, and our media. But after the centuries of pain that they have endured, what could be more worth it?


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    DuckBoots
    Posts: 25

    Originally posted by shorty123 on November 14, 2019 18:34

    For people to understand Native Americans experience in the world, they must first understand that Native Americans were the first settlers and had more than a billion acres of land. This land was later stripped as well as their freedom when the Europeans took over. The Native Americans were seen as bad people and even today some people unfortunately still believe this. Our American sports teams use the r word in the name of their teams and depict the indigenous people as their mascot. It is disrespectful to even use these images due to the way that America has treated native Americans but, like Tristan Ahtone said, Americans make Native American history invisible which is why many don't get why the images are controversial and hurtful. The known stereotypes, for example red skin, are disrespectful stereotypes that people choose to associate with indigenous people even though to them it’s very offensive. People either mock or skip over their culture like it doesn’t even exist. To address this we need to educate people about the real history of the land they walk on and we have to remove any disrespectful stereotypical images or work targeting these people. I think that many things need to be apologized for starting with official tribes. The tribes that did not have written records since the beginning of their time weren’t considered tribes, like the Massachusett, which is why we don’t learn about them as much as we learn about the Wampanoag. We need to also speak about the real evil that Christopher Columbus did. Christopher Columbus and his colonizers, after invading the Native American land, spread diseases to them, injured them, and even sold their brains and body parts for a reward. This is not spoken about. We don’t learn about this is the textbooks. Christopher Columbus has a day named after him which he doesn’t deserve. Instead of celebrating him and talking about his false accomplishments, we should spread the real story about the REAL first people to discover this land. Native Americans were murdered for their identity which is genocide. Even after time had passed, some laws refused to restore the rights of the indignity people. The United States refuses to acknowledge that they have committed genocide. We need to acknowledge this by adding it to the list of genocides so that it is mandatory for schools to teach students about what really happened. Americans can become allies by listening to experiences and stories of different people from different tribes, and also by recognizing these tribes individually rather than grouping them all together to show more respect. Also like we said in class, sometimes it takes people higher up to say something before real change is made, so I believe that people who are able to use their voice to reach large groups of people should speak about the indigenous people, like Elizabeth Warren, so that they can get the respect and appreciation that they deserve and should’ve received from the very beginning.

    I agree with Shorty123 that Christopher Columbus's crimes need to be recognized. However, I feel like that is on its way to be acknowledged, but the stereotyped culture of Native Americans is more important to learn about. These people did not become relevant once the colonizers arrived, and their traditions are still relevant. We should learn about the crimes against the Natives, but their civilizations should be learned about like any other in our world history or APUSH classes. I agree that this education should be mandatory.

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    fatimazraibi
    Posts: 20

    Education

    I believe it’s less necessary to sympathize with the Native Americans (not that we shouldn’t), and more necessary to acknowledge the suffering and begin undoing, or at least attempting to undo, the damage done. This includes a sort of compensation, whether that be more land, money, or any other resources needed to start their own country or countries. It also is important to teach the full uncensored history of the land we live on and what happened to the people so we can know as much as we can and understand why we need to help them.

    The most effective way to erase the misperceptions is education. Stereotypes are an unfortunate reality of our society, and no matter what we do that will not disappear. However, incorporation or Native history into the curriculum is very important to spread awareness and possibly even lessen the amount of discrimination. Classes like Facing History are very good courses to learn about what happened to Natives, and I personally am very grateful I got to learn a little about the history, though I feel having it very well incorporated in the US history and APUSH curriculums more than they are at the moment would be much more efficient.

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    borne
    Posts: 23

    Originally posted by Regina Phalange on November 14, 2019 20:18


    We celebrate diversity when we see characters on TV shows or people in magazines who have disabilities, different genders, and different sexualities, so I think that Native American people should be a part of such displays. On the contrary, I could see the argument that Native Americans shouldn’t have to constantly appear in our lives for us to recognize them and disregard such stereotypes. Is it our responsibility as Americans go to go the extra step to educate ourselves, as opposed to just waiting for mainstream media to do it for us?


    I personally feel like we do, in fact, need for native people to constantly appear in our media. How else are we to normalize their presence? Just like you said in the sentence before, we celebrate differences in ability, gender, and sexuality in our media, and that wouldn't have come about had there not been a constant push of casts with such diversity in our mainstream movies and tv shows and the like. And we can see even now that people who differ in these aspects of their lives are still experiencing discrimination. So if we didn't have constant exposure to native people in the media, where do you think that would leave them? Exactly where they are now. They need to be a part of everything, everywhere, all the time. History has shown through its lack of representation that not including native people in everything that happens to this country socially, culturally, and economically only makes sure that they are left in the dust and in the dark. We as a society cannot undo the legacy of these stereotypes unless a positive and accurate image of these people is ingrained in our minds, filling in the place where the stereotypes resided. We control mainstream media, and you're right, it is our responsibility not only as Americans but as human beings to educate ourselves. Through this education we can and must alter mainstream media for the better.

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    RedStudent
    Posts: 19

    Is thanksgiving so giving?

    I remember it vividly, I was in first grade and Thanksgiving was coming up. My teacher filled a hat with pieces of paper labeled Pilgrim or Indian. She’d walk around to each student and we’d pick out what we’d be for our Thanksgiving celebration. I was a pilgrim and wore the hat and clothes while other classmates that picked indian wore feathers and put their hair in braids. During the class party we celebrated the joining of two groups and throughout elementary school I was taught how the pilgrims and Indians worked together and helped each other to create a community. It wasn’t until I was a bit older that I realized the truth behind that first meeting and the horror that the natives endured at the hands of the colonists.


    I think what we need to do in order to move forward is to re-educate ourselves and properly educate future students about the truth of what happened back around 1621. It's been said many times that “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it”. I think a great way to better understand what happened would be to start to listen more. Read up on the history from their perspective, invite indigenous people into the schools to share their stories. I think a way to stop stereotypes is to teach people about indigenous people. It’s easier to make fun of or hate a group of people if you don’t know them. But if more awareness is made then maybe people will learn to respect their history and their culture. I also think in order to move forward we need to separate Thanksgiving holiday from the pilgrims and native encounter of 1621. For many indigenous people Thanksgiving is a day that started the genocide of their people. Imagine a national holiday that celebrates one of the darkest periods of your history. In “Do American Indians Celebrate Thanksgiving” Smithsonian article it talks about Thanksgiving and how most natives don’t celebrate the holiday’s origins. They celebrate family and togetherness but not the Thanksgiving of 1621 that has been wrongly portrayed for generations.



    There are a few ways that we can right now try and make amends to the indigenous people. In “The Invasion of America” when gold was discovered in California colonists murdered the natives in order to steal the gold that was on their land. ‘That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between races, until the Indian race becomes extinct, must be expected,’ the state’s first governor instructed the legislature in 1851. This is pretty much the definition of genoicde. For people to still exclude indigenous people from groups that suffered genocide is wrong. In order to move forward we need to acknowledge what really happened to the native Americans. Another way to make amends as we learned about in class is to end the sports teams with names like Redskins, Blackhawks, Indians, etc. A stadium filled with mostly white people chanting and doing a tomahawk chop is ridiculous and I’m sure offends many indigenous.


    I don’t think we’ll ever get to a point where all Americans are allies to Native Americans but I think if we start to educate people on the truth about what happened and if we get people to listen to their stories to better understand where they’ve been more people will realize that indigenous people are much like any other people. They want others to recognize their past and respect them and their culture and traditions like you would any other American.

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    borne
    Posts: 23

    Originally posted by fatimazraibi on November 14, 2019 21:10

    I believe it’s less necessary to sympathize with the Native Americans (not that we shouldn’t), and more necessary to acknowledge the suffering and begin undoing, or at least attempting to undo, the damage done. This includes a sort of compensation, whether that be more land, money, or any other resources needed to start their own country or countries. It also is important to teach the full uncensored history of the land we live on and what happened to the people so we can know as much as we can and understand why we need to help them.

    I agree that we should give the native people more land, and I will even go insofar as to say that we should honor every single treaty we hae broken in regards to land ownership. It doesn't matter that it would cause an imposition to the Americans living on that land, because legally it doesn't belong to them anyway.

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    guardianangel
    Posts: 15

    Opening Our Ears

    We can never truly understand the experience of a Native American but we can listen to them when they speak. We will never understand somebody unless you've experienced what they've been through but we can give our attention to those who want to share their experience. To confront the violent history that Native Americans have faced we would have to rewrite our history books. Our history books were written by white men who have colonized and tortured Native Americans for centuries. Perhaps we can start by listening to history from the Native Americans and seeing things from an ancestral perspective. Many ideas such as gender fluidity and traditional rituals are native to their culture and yet because they were constantly colonized, their culture has been erased and now they are forced to decolonize and stray away from western ideas. We also have to recognize the terrible things that Native Americans have faced in their lifetime such as scalping, foreign disease, no rights, etc. We can address Native stereotypes and negative connotation by researching what is true or untrue. While we should always ask for information straight from Native Americans, we shouldn't always rely on them because that would me we would be too "lazy" to find out things for ourselves. We should make our apologies and make our amends by allowing Native Americans to make their own choices such as picking when Indigenous Peoples' day is (maybe they don't want it on Columbus day). Americans can become allies by working politically to remove boundaries for Native Americans. Reservations should be removed and the struggles of Native Americans have to acknowledged nationally. We can't speak over voices that need to be heard but we can use our privilege to support and make the movement to integrate Native Americans into society.


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    dummkopf
    Posts: 21

    a history clear to many, yet distant to most

    Native Americans have been oppressed in this country ever since colonizers stepped foot on this land. There was never a peaceful relationship between either of these groups, because in the end, the colonizers did not care about anyone but themselves. They carried the mindset of taking what they needed, and if something had to be pushed out of the way, they did not hesitate. An example of this would be scalping, where Europeans would be given prizes for bringing the scalps of Native Americans. This was meant to reduce their population, and leave more room for the British. The men who founded the United States of America did not think of this land as already belonging to someone, but as free real estate for anyone who got there first. They did not consider the Native Americans as humans, so why would they waste their time being courteous?

    In order to better understand the experience of Native Americans in this nation, I think we need to be willing to listen to their voices. They have many voices, yet as many of the articles mention, most people only listen to them when the Native Americans are going through some sort of crisis. Anyone who is not a Native American, who lives on their soil (aka the whole of the USA) should listen to their voices all the time. We need to implement more mention of their achievements and their suffering dealt by the government in our history books. We need to make knowing the full history a cultural norm, so that all non-Native Americans know what settlers did to them to take their land. History needs to be told truthfully and fully, not glossing over the parts that some white people do not like to hear.

    In order to address the stereotypes that Native Americans have, we must represent them more in the media. Not through films like Pocahontas or some western movies, but in average roles, such as being a teenager or a hero in a modern setting. They are the same as everyone else in this country and they do not deserve to be held to such stereotypes. Native Americans are not living any differently than us non-Native Americans (in fact less than 30% live on reservations), so why should they be represented any differently. All the stereotypes people have for Native Americans do not apply to the modern world at all.

    We must make apologies and amends. We should rewrite our history books to fully explain the situations that harmed them in the past and today. We need to set up more memorials and statues that honor them and also commemorate what tragedy might have befallen that area (an example being Deer Island). We should erase the notion that the colonizers were ‘good guys’ as well; this nation was not built through the perseverance of white people, but through the erasure and oppression of Native Americans.

    I have no other words to express the fact that people were murdered for being themselves, other than genocide. Although it did not all happen at once or in a few years like other genocides did, I think the killing of millions of innocents based on the fact that they are Natives, can be considered nothing but genocide. There is no other word for what occurred on this soil. This was in many cases a government sponsored procedure, and those killed have still not had amends made towards them. The ignorance of such a time, enforces the idea that America will not acknowledge its wrongdoings because it does not think it is wrong.

    We must become allies by supporting Native Americans voices. We should not speak for them because that would be like trying to explain something you have never experienced. Spreading any news they are trying to spread, showing up to their rallies to support them; these are just a few of the things we can do to become allies for Native Americans. Another important thing would be educating yourself on their history, and possibly correcting anyone who needs to research further. We must include Natives persons in anything that this country does, because they are of course citizens as well.


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    secretname7
    Posts: 29

    New Teachings

  • When America was found by Columbus, indigenous people were here on very vast land. Soon after America was discovered, the land began to be burnt down, used for new settler homes, and thus land for Native Americans became scarce very fast. Alongside this, when Europeans came, they brought with them diseases such as smallpox, which greatly wiped out the Native American population, as since they had no prior exposure to this disease, and thus hadn't built up immunity to it yet. According to the aeon site, only 1% of citizens today in America have indigenous heritage. Indigenous people have experienced rapid population decline as well as unresearched portrayal in movies. Throughout history, Native Americans have been silently oppressed through depictions in movies. While this may seem subtle, these depictions paint an image of a "Native American" stereotype, and what they "should" look like. Having been here since before the Columbus' discovery, indigenous people have grown to "blend in" through gentrification, and racial mixing, thus an indigenous person may look completely different than the stereotypical portrayal, thus many would not believe them when one says that they are part Native American. The "stereotypical makeup" has become outdated, and any doubts that people have should be made amends for. Questioning somebodies own ethnic background is rude, and diminishes their voice and opinion because they are told they are wrong about something in their blood, which is blatantly wrong. Nobody should ever be questioned on their ethnic background. To address the fact about unjustly killing Native Americans during the rise of Christianity when the Spaniards first came, we should make it a requirement to be taught in schools. Since this massive killing occured on our ground, students should be aware of what happened. That being said, it is really hard to explain to a Native American that their ancestors were killed for their ethnicity, which was viewed as "savage". There is no explanation one could give that would corroborate the unjust killings, which makes it difficult. Teaching the topic in school, while provides background, in no way provides an explanation, because there is none nor will there ever be. However, teaching it is better than ignoring it, which should be implemented in schools. To answer about becoming allies, the modeling should begin know so that the next generation sees us being nice to one another, instead of judging for our skin, gender, ethnicity, religion, etc. Also if the Spaniards vs the Aztecs is taught in schools more, everybody would feel accounted for in the sense that society is thinking about them. In terms of concrete actions, making new movies depicting Native Americans in a new way could reach a good amount of society and open their eyes to the reality instead of the "Pocahontas" realm.
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    secretname7
    Posts: 29

    Originally posted by guardianangel on November 14, 2019 21:16

    We can address Native stereotypes and negative connotation by researching what is true or untrue.

    I agree with this. To add one, I think research should actually be mandatory because so many citizens are oblivious to the changing "look" of someone from Native American descent. Research can be used and shown through ted talks, podcasts, and movies, but beyond research, it must be shared.

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    pannafugo
    Posts: 17

    Shut Up and Listen

    America needs to be able to acknowledge its own wrong doings in regards to Native Americans before we can effectively make amends. It is an extremely toxic trait to not be able to own up to and admit mistakes, and sadly, America suffers from this greatly, not only in regards to treatment of Native Americans, but also of African Americans, women, and members of the LGBT community, to name a few. The first and most essential step in the process of apologizing and recognizing Natives is accepting that what we have done is wrong and harmful. This can be done in many ways. Young children across the country learn about Thanksgiving and the Pilgrims and think everything was fine, that the relations between the Natives and the colonies was peaceful. While the true history may not be appropriate for children to learn at this age, they don’t have to be told the “twistory” either. We cannot be teaching lies like these and raising children to believe in and perpetuate harmful narratives and stereotypes of Native Americans. This will only further the problem for years to come. Regina Phalange’s idea of teaching about the treatment of Native Americans rather than the same story every year about the American Revolution or Thanksgiving is a good idea. It does not have to be over the top; even a small bit of awareness is better than complete ignorance.


    Current representations of Natives in pop culture should be dealt with as well. Many sports teams or food products use offensive images or names that are tied to Native peoples. However, the only reason they have to not change their names is because of tradition, and the idea that they are in fact honoring Native peoples. Americans are so worried about preserving their “culture” and “traditions”, even though they absolutely decimated the population of Natives in this country, which in turn must have destroyed their traditions and culture as well. For the other aspect of white people thinking that they are honoring the culture, a quote from Tristan Ahtone’s article “Native Americans are recasting views of indigenous life” stood out to me: “‘You don’t even really get to begin to tell your story until you’ve dealt with the fact that there’s these weird things walking around as identifiers of native culture,’ Sayet says of some popular negative images. ‘Which is what makes Americans feel like they own native culture in this really twisted way.’” Native people have been silenced over generations, and white people in America have taken their culture for themselves, as a costume and a caricature. This is unacceptable.



    Another quote from Ahtone’s article describes how hard it is for Americans to face the past and how it still affects us: ‘Echo-Hawk acknowledges that for some diners, hearing about genocide and colonization doesn’t sit well, but that understanding indigenous people’s experiences in America requires learning more about certain hard truths’. It may be uncomfortable, but we cannot deny the centuries of harm we have caused Native peoples, from countless massacres, to driving them off their own land for the sake of Manifest Destiny, and still further to sterilizing Native women in an attempt to put an end to the population as a whole, thinking they were inferior beings. There is no use in denying these things happened. We must pay reparations to the surviving Native peoples across the country. I do not specifically know what these amends or reparations should be, as I am not a Native person. I believe that they themselves should decide what they want from us as reparations, if they even accept an apology at all for what we have done to them.


    There is no denying that what occurred against the Native Americans was a genocide. Going forward, we must not speak for Natives, but let them speak, and listen, so we can better incorporate them in our lives and recognize what they have done for our country, and truly honor their history and our own by telling the truth.

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    ghostchicago
    Posts: 22

    It Starts with Education

    I think that it comes down to education. As Dennis Zotigh proposes in his article “Do American Indians Celebrate Thanksgiving?”, the misrepresentation of indigenous experiences begins as early as elementary school, when learning about the first Thanksgiving. Children dress up like Wampanoags, and act out friendly scenes between the natives and the settlers. I don't think we should expect young students to be able to comprehend the vast and complex history, but we need to be careful in the way we depict indigenous peoples. There can’t be just one portrayal, young kids need to see that there isn’t just one way to be Native American. Things like Pochahontas and sports mascots that depict indigenous people in one specific way create a difficult situation of indigenous people, who are constantly living under a stereotype. We saw a cartoon in class that perfectly captured this in my eyes, which was of a boy telling his classmate “you don’t look like an indian”. This shows how these types of portrayals actively harm the indigenous community. Claudio Vaunt in “The invasion of America,” also talks about how our education system is inadequate in presenting the Native American side to history. The textbooks we use in our history classes hardly ever depict the struggle of Native Americans in an accurate way, and the majority of Americans are not educated about indigenous issues. Although Native Americans make up a small minority of the current American population, it is impossible to ignore them when looking at the history of our nation. Our nation is built on Native lands, and structured upon the oppression and subjugation of native peoples.


    One quote that really stuck with me from Dennis Zotigh’s article was “For [American Indians], Thanksgiving should be the Last Supper.” We all know the story of the first Thanksgiving, but as we celebrate, rarely do we stop to think about and acknowledge the history of native people in our country. While we can use Thanksgiving as a way to express our gratitude for the things that we are given in our lives, we should also use Thanksgiving as a time to reflect upon the history of our nation, and especially the experiences of indigenous peoples.


    In the same vein, I had absolutely no idea about the forced sterilization of indigenous women. I think it is truly a shame that I had never heard about this before. Reading this article just reinforced the lengths that the government took to completely eliminate and weaken the Native population. One of the reasons that the United States was able to so thoroughly eradicate the indigenous population and illegally seize their lands was due to the dwindling population, which was again, in part due to these sterilization practices on indigenous women. Issues such as these should be common knowledge, and must be spread.


    The fact that the genocide of native peoples was left out of a bill mandating the teaching of genocide in Massachusetts classrooms is a misstep. I think that the idea of mandating a curriculum to inform students in our state about these important issues is absolutely crucial. When talking about genocide, it is necessary to talk about indigenous people. There is really no way to say how we as a nation can ever give back to the native communities, but education is a necessary first step. Before we can consider real, structural change, we first need to inform every American citizen about these issues. I can’t say what the solution is, only that there needs to be one, and that before we get there, we need to be educated.

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