Originally posted by
freemanjud on November 28, 2021 18:19
Readings (select AT LEAST 2 of these 4, which pains me because all are eye-opening):
- Claudio Vaunt, “The invasion of America,” Aeon, January 2015.
- Erin Blackmore, “The Little-Known History of the Forced Sterilization of Native American Women,” JStor Daily, August 25, 2016.
- Tristan Ahtone, “Native Americans are recasting views of indigenous life,” National Geographic, December 2018.
- Susan Montoya Bryan, “Deb Haaland seeks to rid US of derogatory place names,” Indian Country Today, November 19, 2021.
Many people believe that indigenous folks 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.
As you know, it is argued by many that what happened to indigenous folks 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?
And believe it or not: this bill is still unresolved and has morphed into several new versions over the past few years. And references to specific genocides were ultimately omitted from the most recent draft: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/192/S2557.
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 non-Native folks need to do, moving forward, to better understand the experience of indigenous peoples in this nation? How do we fully confront that history?
- How do non-Native folks address the stereotypes, misperceptions, the “twistory” that has been passed down among non-Native Americans about this population?
- How do we address the fact that indigenous people were murdered for who they are—the very definition of “genocide”? What apologies and amends do non-Native folks need to make, if any?
- How can non-Native folks become allies so that indigenous peoples become fully integrated members of society? What concrete actions can we take to move forward and build a nation with indigenous peoples?
Be very specific in your response, SPECIFICALLY citing examples BOTH from class and from the readings.
1. To better understand the experiene of indigenous peoples in this nation non-Native folks must do a number of things. Non- native folks must first reflect on their own taught prejudices, privelege, and place in this topic in order for them to correctly retain new information and to avoid negatively impacting indigenous people in these interactions. Then non-native folks must do their research! In conducting this research the priority should be on sources by indigenous people. (note, non-Native folks should not pressure Indigenous people to share their story and/or their community's story. That can negatively impact the individual) Non-native folks should continue their research through credible sources on historical events, current events, and the cultures of indigenous tribes in this nation. Researching is crucial; the major majority of the United States (and myself before learning this in class) does not know that Thanksgiving was founded in respect to the whites' celebration dinner after they massacred hundreds of Pequot children, women, and men in 1637. After substantial reseaerch, non-native folks must reflect on how they perpetuate the miseducation of this nation and the marginalization of this group and address it. As we examined in class, it is rare for inhabitants of the United States to not celebrate Thanksgiving, let alone to respect the tragedy that Thanksgiving is founded around.
2. "Today, over one per cent (3.8 million) of Americans identify as native"(Aeon's "The Invasion of America" article). Claudio Saunt explains that the Indigenous population of the United States does not have political influence due to the low population. Like the political cartoon of the racially derogative mascots for four races protrayed, government saunctioned progress of a marginalized group always is due to the pressure applied by a large number of people. Therefore, non- Native folks must use their political power to help the liberation of indigenous people from oppresion by the United States, following the instructions of indigenous leaders. One of the ways to address this miseducation is to push and require history curriculum be redetermined. The history that we are taught must be the complete and unbiased truth, not a story that glorifies whites at the expense of the rest's image and commemorations.
3.A part of apologizing is taking accountablity. It is crucial that the United States take accountability for the genocide of the Indigenous people of this nation. They must publically admit how they intentionally sterilized Native American women (Black women, and latinx women- even today), how they seperated 1 out of four indigenous children from their family in the late 1900s, how they enticed settlers to murder Indigenous people with money and status.
The United State's (nearly completely non-Native) government must respectfully remember, commemorate, and repay for the genocide of the original inhabitors of their state. This can be publically addressing, changes in curriculum, memorials, reparations, affirmative action, and representation. A video we watched in class showed the complete lack of disrespect of the site of a massacre of Indigeous people by the United States. Sites of events in this genocide should be respected, there should be memorials at all these sites. Those affected by the Native American erasure generationally should recieve reparations. For as the film "The Dawnland" displays, generational trauma, generational economic disadvantage, and generational mental troubles is concerningly pravelent in Indigenous survivors of this nation. Non-native folk that are not in the government must push the government to take these actions, educate themselves, pay respects, and to fight against those perpetuating the marginalization of this community.
4. Non-native folk must first do the self work explained in response one. Then non-native people must pressure their government and thier companions to take the same actions. Non-native people should then reach out to Indigenous leaders and organizations to see how they can help.