posts 1 - 15 of 25
Boston, US
Posts: 350

Readings (select AT LEAST 2 of these 4, which pains me because all are eye-opening):

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 mandating the teaching of genocide was being discussed by the Massachusetts Legislature beginning around October 2019. But take a guess: which group was conspicuously not mentioned?

And believe it or not: a modified version of this bill finally passed both houses of the legislature in Massachusetts (for a text of the final bill, see this site). Charlie Baker signed it into law in December 2021.

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

  1. What do we need to do, moving forward, to better understand the experience of Native Americans in this nation? How do we fully confront that history?

  1. How do we address the stereotypes, misperceptions, the “twistory” that has been passed down among non-Native Americans about this population?

  1. How do we address the fact that Native peoples were murdered for who they are—the very definition of “genocide”? What apologies and amends do we need to make, if any?

  1. How can non-indigenous folks become allies so that Native peoples become fully integrated members of society? What concrete actions can we take to move forward and build a nation with Native peoples?

Be very specific in your response, SPECIFICALLY citing examples BOTH from class and from the readings.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

In order to better understand the experiences of Natives Americans and all that they were put through in the United States, we have to emphasize still having living cultures, despite being relatively unacknowledged by this nation. Acknowledging that they exist begins to give them a platform to speak; for us all to say “We see you, we hear you, how can we help?” We cannot fully confront that history without going directly to the source, and attempting to understand their experiences- or at the very least acknowledge them.

We also have to acknowledge that most depictions of Native Americans- like those seen in statues in Plymouth, or those in Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving Cartoon- are not accurate representations of indigenous people and their cultures. We have to erase the derogatory depictions of Native peoples and replace them with an accurate, raw, history that allows people to be educated about the tragedies they were put through. We have to honor “ancestors who have stewarded our lands since time immemorial” so we can give back to the Native communities- and start reversing wide misconceptions and stereotypes (Deb Haaland).

We have to understand and make it widespread knowledge that Native peoples were persecuted for being themselves- acknowledge that the population rapidly diminished because of genocide (amongst other factors like sterilization and disease). We also need to apologize to those who remain alive, persisting through the horrible experiences. Wherever we live in America, we should be required to learn the history of the land’s original inhabitants, and to acknowledge the extremes of violence in our own history by calling it exactly what it was: genocide. We have to honor the peace treaties, help the populations, and most of all, understand that white people still benefit from the disasters that occurred hundreds of years ago- even if it wasn’t ourselves who were directly related to it.

Non-indigenous people can seek out Native media. Read books by Indigenous authors and watch shows and movies starring indigenous actors. Read articles about lesser known issues in indigenous communities. Share them with everyone and challenge yourself to feel uncomfortable. The more attention that’s given to indiginous people and their communities, the more they become integrated in our everyday piece of life. We have to acknowledge their existence and support them in order to build a nation with them.

Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 18

Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

In the last few years, I feel as though the recognition and reconciliation of what happened to the Native Americans has increased. I don't think in any way we have finished grappling with what happened. In the article about Deb Haaland worked to get rid of racist and derogatory names of streets, parks and more. We need more of this in my opinion. I think anything that glorifies or represents what happened in a bad way should not be immortalized by being an important street name or logo. Now, this doesn't mean that I think we should erase history. I think schools should continue changing their narrative and teach children the real story, not the story told through the lens of the colonists. We need to be informed as a nation without glorifying the event.

The center of the movement to reconcile with this past is education. This can start in elementary school, teaching about what really happened and erasing the harmful stereotypes by not teaching kids to start to have them in the first place. Another thing that could help is the erasure of harmful representations of Native Americans such as in sports logos and statues such as the one in front of the MFA.

I believe that it is hard to apologize for something that occurred in the past, especially since it was something that nobody who is alive today took part in. However, I believe that it is the job of the people who are alive today and can recognize the horrors of what happened to reconcile with what happened.

For non- indigenous people, the best thing to do is to not take part in enforcing harmful stereotypes, stay informed, and correct people when they say the wrong thing. Many of the issues that Native Americans face today are things that have been occurring for years. They still feel the effects of forced sterilization that occurred during the 1970s as part of an initiative to lower birth rates of Indigenous women. The mistreatment of the Native peoples has continued since the discovery of the Americas by the Europeans and it is our responsibility to remove harmful stereotypes and move forward as a whole.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples post 22-23

  1. What do we need to do, moving forward, to better understand the experience of Native Americans in this nation? How do we fully confront that history?
    1. There is nothing we can do to change the past all we can really do is modify the future to be a more inclusive place for all specifically the Native American community. How do we do this ?
      1. We can start off by doing the obvious and giving reparations in terms of land and money. This way they can properly allocate it in places that they need most. They can build and better infrastructures like schools and offices to be more self sufficient (not saying that they all are fully dependent on the American government or that they need to have a society similar to the one in the United States but it is important that these people are given the chance to continue to thrive as a community that they were stripped of)
      2. We can also incorporate a lot of Native culture in the school curriculum. Teaching the young about the Native community is one, if not, the more important and effective thing we can do. By teaching we can help keep history alive in order to not repeat it as well as clear misconceptions on the community or so the original people of this land are not forgotten.
      3. To fully understand the Native experience we can also speak to them and learn form them as well. Having Native people teach others about their history to prevent any change in history allows them to not only create a space in which they can speak but also give them a platform.
  1. How do we address the stereotypes, misperceptions, the “twistory” that has been passed down among non-Native Americans about this population?
    1. The best thing we can do is continuously debunk the stereotypes by having native Americans speak in schools.
    2. Ironic enough the stereotypes , misconceptions and twistory were created by Americans about the Native Americans now we need the Natives to fix what they messed up. It shouldn't have been done in the first place but doing research and learning about the culture is the best way to clear these harmful misconceptions.
  1. How do we address the fact that Native peoples were murdered for who they are—the very definition of “genocide”? What apologies and amends do we need to make, if any?
    1. We address it first by acknowledgment. Acknowledging what happened to the Natives, with the genocide and the continuous attempts in making the Native population die out.
    2. In the article The LIttle-Known History of the Forced Sterilization of the Native American women they write about the multiple times of medical malpractice by sterilizing Native American women they would come in asking for something and leaving never being able to have children. A lot of the times they are not aware of this ever happening this has the ability to drastically decrease the native population as well as cause mental health issues within the community. The doctors did this and knew what they were doing and there are incidents like Deer island that aid to why it should be considered a genocide.
  1. How can non-indigenous folks become allies so that Native peoples become fully integrated members of society? What concrete actions can we take to move forward and build a nation with Native peoples?
    1. We can become allies by again educating ourselves on their culture. We shouldn't try to integrate them into society because it comes off as forced assimilation but the "merging of cultures" and or joining them into our society without actively shunning their way of life because its not something we are use to. We can be involved from a distance as in providing help if needed or giving them a platform to speak on their experience but not go as far as mimicking them with or without good intentions.
    2. To build a nation with Native peoples we can conversations around them not taboo because their history is often briefly mentioned in American history but played a big role is how the US is today. Not only to we teach but we also have to act on what is being taught.
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

The Effects of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

Moving forward to understand the experiences and struggles of Native Americans we need to start listening to Native people more. We need to listen to their stories and learn from our past mistakes. We should all look at those who are still around and who are still affected by the improper treatment from the government. The government doesn’t recognize their wrongdoings towards native people, which leaves them without a voice to speak up against their injustice. We can’t understand their experiences until we acknowledge that they are still here.

Addressing stereotypes that have been passed down is the first step towards doing something right. Once we acknowledge that the stereotypes that we still use today, are both racist and bigoted, we will be able to change our actions as a society and better understand how the Native Americans have been feeling for centuries. These include sports team logos and names, and general “dressing up” as a Native American. Another example would be the statue outside the MFA. It doesn’t correctly represent a Native American, and it perpetuates wrongful stereotypes. I think it is important to acknowledge these stereotypes, and stop using them, but not necessarily to erase them. Erasing them completely would in turn, erase the “time immemorial” (Deb Haaland) of struggle that the Indigenous people have had to endure.

To address that native people were victims of genocide, we would also have to accept the fact that the European colonists were the ones committing acts of genocide. A truth that people don’t typically like to face, is that they were in the wrong. Therefore when people say that the European colonists were awful people, people of European descent today believe that it is a personal attack to which they have to defend. Though, there is nothing to defend, because the facts are that people of European descent have done nothing wrong but defend the actions of their ancestors. The facts also say that there was a specific group that was harmed by their actions who have yet to receive reparations for that behavior. First the government should give back the land that they stole from indigenous people, then honor the actual peace treaties that were granted towards them.

Non-indigenous people can become allies to the indigenous community by stopping the spread of stereotypes and fighting for the reparations that Native people deserve. We can also start observing Native culture and begin to understand it even more. This could help us integrate into Native culture rather than having Native people integrate into ours. As far as taking action to create a nation with everyone, we as 16 and 17 year olds can’t do much more than fight stereotypes, protest, and help support the Native community. It is ultimately up to the government to create peace with Indigenous people.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 21

The Effects of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

1. I think the first step to better understand the experience of Native Americans is beginning to hear their stories. The problem with this is that Americans have become so accustomed to the constant celebration/honoring of European colonization that we tend to disregard how this may have impacted the Natives. Converting Columbus day into Indigeonous People’s Day was a great first step. Efforts like this help uplift Native Americans and promote their stories as well. I feel as though it is also necessary to address this situation lower down on the chain as well. By this, I mean educational departments should begin to enlighten younger children on the true results that native peoples faced as a result of colonization—or at least offer dissent to how the typical stories that are told are not generally true. A major problem in our society is that we tend to avoid addressing these sensitive stories that damage our history, instead fabricating the stories on our behalf to “put a positive spin on the nation” and support our “commitment to white supremacy” (Vaunt). By teaching the true stories earlier on in life, students are better prepared to fully confront the history in general.

2. In order to address these misconceptions, we need more information to gain a deeper understanding of the truth. By hearing multiple stories on the insights of their experiences and the history that has been perpetuated by white-settlers, a broader array of perspectives is presented to society, allowing us to form a better interpretation. It is also important to teach kids not to adopt bias against non-American whites. Too often in our society, people hold implicit biases against immigrants—which has ultimately expanded to include native peoples. They are seen as “intruders”, even on their own land, and constantly “benighted” and “degraded” (Blackmore). In order to better shape a positive conception of Native Americans, we need to be taught at younger ages the dangers of bias and how that can divide our nation. Additionally, hearing the stories from the native peoples’ perspectives allows us to disregard the pre-established views we have and form healthy relationships with the natives, rather than continue to see them as ‘savages’ and ‘uncivilized’, which they are commonly referred to as.

3. In order to address the fact that Native peoples were murdered for who they are, we must actual teach the facts of the relationship between the Natives and Europeans. That is, society should be informed that Europeans sailed over to the Americas to colonize, yet exploited the Native American population by taking their land and using them as slaves for physical labor. Colonizers, like Christopher Columbus, killed/raped/abused the natives solely because he saw them as inferior and not deserving of natural rights. At this point, there isn’t much society can do to bring justice to this genocide; however, by ending all prilgrim celebrations and replacing it with recognition for the natives, society can be better informed of the truth history of our nation. Additionally, government action to replace taken native land is necessary. These indigeonous peoples have been pushed off their land and never permitted to return. By giving them grants of this land back, they can build communities and restore aspects of their culture that was taken from them by the white-settlers.

4. Non-indigenous folks can become allies so that Native peoples become fully integrated members of society by being more welcoming to them. A major problem is that native peoples still live in fear from discrimination—possibly rooted from the many laws that outlawed open identification of ‘native’. Additionally, it is also necessary to disregard the stereotypes people have against natives so that there is less hatred between these groups. Moving forward, we need to restore the population of Native Americans. This number has been on a constant decrease since they first encountered Europeans. By being more welcoming to those who identify as indigeonous people, they are more likely to be open about their heritage and restore their population. We cannot continue to think of them as inferior to us—and yes that includes using them as test subjects for sterilization because they aren’t ‘smart’ enough to acknowledge this exploitation (*cough cough* The Indian Health Services). As for all races and ethnicities, we need to think of everyone as equal to establish a universal sense of liberty amongst our nation.

Posts: 20
  • Americans moving forward need to listen to Native people and start implementing real reparations. In the drafted speech of Wamsutta he states“Time and time again, in the white man's society, we Indians have been termed "low man on the totem pole." It is time for America to stop with the performative activism, only addressing Indigenous people on Indigenous people day. Wamsutta refused to accept this meaningless activism calling for a better option. “We the Wampanoags will help you celebrate in the concept of a beginning. It was the beginning of a new life for the Pilgrims. Now, 350 years later it is a beginning of a new determination for the original American: the American Indian.” Confronting that history means we need to listen to Native Americans and learn their history, not just sweep in under the famous American history rug. Native voices need to be lifted in all communities and their stories need to be told in every history classroom.
  • The only way to address the stereotypes is to completely change every logo, gift shop, statue, and movie that depicts Native Americans in the harmful stereotypes we often see. We have started to do this but much more needs to be done. Instead of just quietly changing the logos these companies need to address the issue at hand. Explain to their consumers the danger of these stereotypes and why they have decided to change them. Although Americans claim their use of the Native person as a logo is to honor them, “most of today’s narratives about indigenous Americans are cast through a negative lens, focusing on health disparities, economic disadvantages, poverty”. So the lies about “honoring” need to be stopped. White Americans using native names as code names, helicopters, it's disgusting. In regards to the twistory which has caused many Americans to be ignorant, we simply need to talk about it more.
  • I honestly don't know how to address the genocide- I dont really have the authority to do so. Native people have the authority to tell the government what apologies and amends need to be made, but they themselves probably have no idea what can be done. Because you can't change what happened, you can't bring back millions of people. Wamsutta states, ““What is more, such gestures shift the onus of action back onto Indigenous people, who neither asked for an apology nor have the ability to forgive on behalf of the land that has been stolen and desecrated. It is not my place to forgive on behalf of the land.”Native Americans make up only 1 percent of the U.S. population when at one time it was 100%. That is horrifying, our country is literally built off death. As I said before the lies need to end, The invasion of America makes a similar argument stating, “ Native peoples may be a small minority, but their history poses a fatal challenge to triumphalist narratives of the US.” Ms. Freeman mentioned Australia which gives real reparations to their native population and I think that is just a beginning, I don't know how long it will take for America to take a similar action.
  • In order to become an ally to Native people, lift Native voices in any possible way. I also believe that an ally should try to make changes to their surroundings, educate those around them, challenge harmful stereotypes and boycott movies or brands that depict native people in a bad light. We the people should also try to hold our government accountable when it comes to reforms for the native people. Lastly, we need to recognize our own privilege and use our resources to preserve our Native people and history in any way possible.

Posts: 20

The Ghosts of the Native Peoples

  1. The history of Native Americans has been long ignored. I believe that this country stands on a lot of guilt––buried guilt. In my opinion, the root of this is the education system. Why are we still teaching our children that the Natives and colonizers were friends? Why are we still teaching the facade of a Thanksgiving feast? I think that children are more than capable of understanding the homicide, the thievery, and the exploitation that the settlers caused––and that Americans still cause. I find it ridiculous that it took me so long to understand the relationship between the Natives and the settlers, and the truth about America; that “the United States seized some 1.5 billion acres from North America’s native peoples” (Vaunt). To put this into perspective, this land loss was compared to twenty five times the size of the United Kingdom. America’s educational history requirements should start there. US history taught in high school should focus and emphasize what the settlers did, and what we are still doing. Now, it is either not taught at all, or taught very briefly: Yeah… the settlers caused HUGE exploitation of the Native Americans, oh and we’re living on stolen land, but it’s okay! Now let’s talk about George Washington :D We need to be taught, from the very beginning of our education, of how we have made the lives of the natives miserable. Unfortunately, for the ones already grown, we cannot go back in time; however, the educating does not stop here. Let’s self-educate, let us listen to those who are still struggling and hurting from the past, and support these people. Why are we ignoring all the facts? Why aren’t we doing something to help our Natives?
  2. I think debunking stereotypes begins with conversation. First off, like I mentioned before, we are taught stereotypes at a young age––either by family, or school, or simply the things we hear around us. I think it helps to have the person being stereotyped, talk to the stereotyper. Sometimes it’s not enough to tell someone, no, that is a stereotype, or, no, that’s not true. In America, this might begin with more representation of Native Americans. We need to see Native Americans as leaders, who can teach and spread their culture. In turn, we need to be accepting and open to this as well. We need to have more productive conversations, and see one another as equals. This, of course, might be the “easy” solution. We must acknowledge those who are static in their views. There is always going to be a group who wants to tear things down, but the progressive group must become the majority.
  3. Honestly, there is no proper way to address this genocide. We are all at fault, there is no taking it back. It really needs to be seen for how it is. Settlers killed Native Americans for being different, and took extreme pride in it: "In the Great Plains, the US Army conducted a war of attrition, with success measured in the quantity of tipis burned, food supplies destroyed, and horse herds slaughtered.” (Vaunt). It is America’s fault that the Natives have been slaughtered, their populations cut down, relocations of their homes, and even the mass sterilization of Native American women (Blackmore). To acknowledge this last fact, it is absolutely terrifying that doctors (who owe everyone the same treatment) worked to essentially exterminate the population of Native Americans. What?? How is this okay or ignored? We owe all Native Americans––and their ancestors––a huge apology. Even after an apology, it still does not make anything about their treatment okay. To tell you the truth, I wouldn’t know where to start with amendments. A lot of seemingly irreversible things have been done. There is no way we can give Native Americans their billions of acres back––not without a massive retaliation. What we can do, however, is give them their rights back, give reparations. Make laws that will give them the proper representation, respect, and recognition they deserve––and make this a continuous thing. Ask Native American leaders, ask tribes, ask ask ask what we can do to make this better.
  4. How to become an ally… I think this might start with social media––maybe the easiest way to do this in the 21st century. Repost and normalize Native American culture and shops and articles. We need to show more of an interest in their hardships, and trauma. Again, ask around, ask what you can do for these people, donate to their funds and organizations. As for moving forward, Native Americans should be given roles in government, we should help improve reservations, give them respect and space if they wish for it, and understand that the differences between our cultures are okay. In order to do this, we need to fully acknowledge them. Yes, they are different from have-a-beer, red white and blue, Uncle Sam America, and this is okay.
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 17

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

I believe that moving forward, to better understand the experience of Native Americans in this nation, and to fully confront the history, we must take a step back and actually give Native Americans the platform they deserve to accurately tell their stories in all their cruelty. We must stop seeking immediate validation when we engage with Native Americans to "honor" their memories. Speaking of indigenous peoples as if they no longer exist is perhaps the greatest dishonor to the proud peoples who still stand today. Soon, our genuine concern for the well-being of Native Americans and the undeniable rights in this country will trump all selfish greed for pushing political agendas in spurious acts of solidarity.

To address the stereotypes and misconceptions passed down among non-Native Americans about this population, we really must look to the legislature that has ruthlessly oppressed indigenous peoples and continues to remind us all of a dark period in American history that continues to present itself in modern politics today. In November of 2019, US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland advocated for the removal of the word a derogatory term from federal legislature used to describe national parks and designated lands sacred to the indigenous populations that once occupied those lands.The continued use of these words, argues Haaland, reinforces bigoted values that seek to "perpetuate the legacies of oppression." By allowing these words to remain untouched symbolizes that the nation is unprepared to condemn their racist connotations. Removing these words demonstrates Native American perseverance and reinstates the sacred beliefs maintained in these communities.

I strongly believe that throughout world history, we as a species are notorious for the mistreatment of genocides in their aftermath. An unfortunate truth is that the development of modern nations and cultures today are built upon genocide and the lack of affirmative action taken by the diplomatic community to address these atrocities. No amount of reparation will justify the needless slaughter of civilizations.

Again, legislation and communication are at the heart of this cause. We must adopt a radically progressive stance on the issue if we are to ever see positive, fair, and and equitable change occur in our country.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 14

I think that we need to first fully educate ourselves on how Native Americans have been treated in this nation. After that, we need to start actually listening to what Native Americans say. This nation has created the harmful story that Native Americans are “savages” and that the Europeans are the ones that should be honored for what they did in the Americas and they begin teaching these lies from a young age. And because the lie was told for so long and so early on in one’s development, it makes people start to take the lie as fact. In addition, it makes it even harder for people to realize that it really is a lie. Sure we probably shouldn’t be teaching 6 year olds about the atrocities that the Europeans committed but we shouldn’t be completely fabricating the story with lies and harmful stereotypes. I think that we need to start giving Native Americans the audience to say their stories and to have people actually start listening.

I think that in order to address these stereotypes, we should stop teaching them to begin with. We should also stop putting these stereotypes on product branding. I think that non-Native Americans seem to think that they are “honoring” Native American culture by putting a caricature of them on random products but truly how is this honoring Native Americans? I think that if we just asked ourselves this more and more and asked others this we would start to address the misperceptions.

At least acknowledging what actually happened to the Native Americans would be the bare minimum. We can’t take back the genocide, the forced sterilizations, and countless other atrocities but I think that we can start to repair what happened by actually listening to Native Americans and what they need from us. I remember watching a documentary (I think it was “There’s Something in the Water”) about how many Native Americans don’t have access to clean water or live in areas with high pollution due to systemic racism pushing them into these areas. I remember that the people were trying to get lawmakers to help them but they refused to acknowledge what was going on. I think that if we really wanted to repair what we did, we need to start listening to what Native people need, and not just by giving out empty statements and fake promises to do something about it.

To build a nation with the Native people, I think that we need to bring awareness to their real culture. I think we need to uplift their voices to the level that other Americans have in order to make things more equal. With uplifting their voices, we should also be changing harmful laws that have hurt the Native community and creating new laws that benefit them to a level that other Americans are at.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 19

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

  1. What do we need to do, moving forward, to better understand the experience of Native Americans in this nation? How do we fully confront that history?

- We need to do a handful of things moving forward in order to better understand the experience of native americans in this nation. Acknowledgment simply isn't enough. Acknowledging what happened and apologizing is a great step, but more needs to be done after that. To fully confront this history, we first need to stop pretending like it never happened. Even after being informed on the truth, many people just tend to ignore it and not think it was that big of a deal. A man named Tristan Ahtone interviewed a group of indigenous youths, and the main reason they were frustrated and upset was because they felt as if they were being ignored too often, and sometimes even almost erased. One kid named Michael (A Tlingit who leads a colorado based institute) states “There’s a real invisibility when it comes to Indian people… We don’t show up in the media, we don’t show up in textbooks, we don’t show up in everyday conversation. Folks don’t know Indians or anything about Indians.”

  1. How do we address the stereotypes, misperceptions, the “twistory” that has been passed down among non-Native Americans about this population?
  • We address the “twistory” by not letting people believe in it. I think that the real history of native americans and the pilgrims should be taught in every school in America. The thanksgiving re-enactments are cute or whatever in kindergarten to 1st grade, but once kids start to reach 6th or 7th grade, then they should learn the truth. If We address these stereotypes and misperceptions in the beginning, and teach the truth, then people are less likely to go around spreading those lies, and they will eventually die out.

  1. How do we address the fact that Native peoples were murdered for who they are—the very definition of “genocide”? What apologies and amends do we need to make, if any?
  • We will never truly be able to fully address or make-up for the genocide. What we can do is educate people and learn to be kind to one-another so that events like these wont ever happen again. We all really just need to start being more kind and understanding as a whole society.
  • We have many, many apologies and amends that need to be made. Its appalling that we havent done more to apologize for a whole genocide. We need to work on giving back some of the land somehow, even though it has now become more and more increasingly difficult to do so. I think that doing things like changing sports team names is a good step in the right direction though. Calling for the creation of an advisory committee to solicit, as well as reviewing and recommend changes to other derogatory geographic and federal place names is also another great step in the right direction.

  1. How can non-indigenous folks become allies so that Native peoples become fully integrated members of society? What concrete actions can we take to move forward and build a nation with Native peoples?
  • Non-indigenous folks can really just become more understanding, kinder, and more knowledgeable on the subject. Allies need to stand up for what is right. They need to take action by doing things like joining protests, writing to politicians, educating others, and just overall helping out. Sometimes allies also just need to help give others voices, and allow for those people to get their points across. All we really need to do is just make true, fair amends and become more empathetic people.
West Roxbury, MA, US
Posts: 20

The first thing we need to do is learn the real history of Native Americans; not the sugar-coated, dumbed down version taught in elementary schools. When I was in third grade, during a lesson on Columbus, another student in my class brought up how Columbus was a horrible human being, and my teacher ended up talking for a while about all the bad things he did. I was, understandably, very shocked at this information, however, I was thankful that this was brought to my attention. I believe all these facts–the actual first thanksgiving, the life of Tisquantum, the forced marriage of Pocahontas, etc–should be taught at a young age. To better understand the experience of Natives today, I think we should learn more modern history. When we learn about Native Americans in the past tense, we tend to forget that there are still over 5 million Natives living in the U.S. today. Learning about more recent history will help us better relate and understand the Native Americans existing today. For example, in the 60s and 70s, Native American women were subject to falsification of medical treatment and even forced sterilizations. If we learn about things like this more often, we could understand that horrible acts against Natives aren’t just something that happened hundreds of years ago, but that are still ongoing today.

To address stereotypes and misperceptions, I believe we need to just listen to actual Native Americans on how they wish to be perceived. We non-Native Americans could talk all day about how to not view Natives offensively, but none of us know as much about their culture as them. Madeline Sayet sums it up pretty well, saying that “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”. I think it’s apparent that Natives know best which stereotypes are most harmful to them, so we need to talk to them so we know what we actually have to erase. I also think there could be some sort of legal repercussion for such stereotypes. For example, I think sports teams and universities should be legally required to remove any offensive depictions if they’re deemed harmful by Native Americans.

The truth is, no amount of reparations can recover a group of people from a genocide. What we can do is teach people about these appalling acts and offer Native Americans comfort in their own country. We can also make an effort in getting more Natives in office, which has already been started by Haaland and Davids, who were both voted to office in 2019. By doing this, they are giving Natives a voice and power in this country. After all the country has done to them, I feel like that’s the least it could do.

People can become allies by taking direct action in support of Native Americans. Simply acknowledging or stating something is not enough to become an ally. Joseph Pierce in the article “Your Land Acknowledgment Is Not Enough” says it well when he claims that empty acts like these are “self-serving”. People always want to feel like they’re doing good, but never actually go through with it when it requires effort. To build a nation with Natives Americans, we first need to know what is harming them in the present, whether that be stereotypes or government-inflicted atrocities like forced sterilizations. Second, we need to get Native Americans in positions of power so that they can take action for themselves when situations like these rise.

coffee and pie
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18
  1. Moving forward, we need to educate fully and try to start doing the right thing through actions as well. Full education, gore and all, about the genocide, mistreatment, and rich diverse culture of native Americans is an important part of 'facing' this part of history (pun intended). This will help squash any misconceptions and hopefully push a new age of actively reversing our wrongdoings. However, further than simply learning, we need to make actions. Rather than just acknowledging mistakes like discussed in class, we need to make actions that compensate for the great mistreatment of Native Americans. For example, in 1864, Federal government paid someone thousands of dollars who did not legally own land as compensation while not giving a single penny to the Native American tribe that lived on that land. To reverse this, the best scenario would be to give them back the land, but if not possible, giving them some unified land or even financial compensation would be a good step in the right direction.
  1. To address stereotypes, I think we need accurate education. This means learning about American history fully, with as much accuracy and primary sources as possible, as always. Actually listening to today's generation of Native Americans and encouraging the learning of their lives as people would help a lot. An accurate description and media representation means deleting or changing harmful imagery, like the dozens of sports teams names/images.
  1. I think the obvious apology and spread of awareness has already happened but is not too helpful. Though it may sound materialistic, I think financial/property compensation would be a really good idea. There is not much we can do - the deed has been done - and verbal sympathizing is incredibly rude. Money and land are two things that would be extremely useful, and compensating Native peoples for that could help. I think another big thing is to start discussing with them and figure out what they want. They are Native Americans but they are also citizens of the U.S. and live in this nation with the rest of the nation. That being said, it is crucial to listen to them to make sure nothing is missed.
  1. I think the best they can do is to uplift Native voices. There is an important between uplifting. The goal is to lift them to more relevance. Additionally, it is important for anyone to remember that Native Americans, and just like any other immigrant, we have the right to maintain our culture and unique traditions. The goal should not be "integrate" it should be join without losing that individuality. Back to education, I think another way they could help is to help educate the Native population about possible lies they've been told. Historically, groups of women would be fertilized against their will it was. I think actions they could do are protests, spreading awareness, and effort to learn more.
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 12

1. What do we need to do, moving forward, to better understand the experience of Native Americans in this nation? How do we fully confront that history?

We should actually ask Indigenous people about their experiences in life and how they are treated due to their background. Directly learning from them is great. Having stories told by non-Indigenous people is not enough as there are many possibilities of it becoming watered down as time passes. It would be like the Telephone Game. However, being told about true Native American history by a non-Indigenous person is better than not being told about it at all. I haven’t been in elementary school in a long time, so I don’t know if the curriculum has changed, but they should start teaching about Native American people early on. This would prevent many, many things. It is easier to learn earlier than to be retaught. Not everyone is going to have the chance in life to learn it later. It is better to have a blank slate. In class, we discussed how kids are affected early on in their lives by the things they watch, or the things they are surrounded by. An example would be when kids asked why “Jafar” did 9/11. It is learned behavior.

2. How do we address the stereotypes, misperceptions, the "twistory" that has been passed down among non-Native Americans about this population?

As we discussed in class, I think changing labels/branding to removing stereotypical images of Indigenous people is one step in the right direction. It might not be a lot for a single company to do it, but as more brands are changing, it adds up. Hopefully, in the near future, there will be little to no brands that include those types of depictions. Similarly, getting rid of derogatory names is great. In the article, “Deb Haaland seeks to rid US of derogatory place names,” it discusses the actions of changing names from damaging words to accepted names. This reduces the normalization of these labels. It allows for growth. Another thing we can do is simply correcting a person when they are saying something wrong about Native Americans. This is not something that can be changed by one singular person (unless you’re rich and powerful), there needs to be a lot of people who do it. One thing we should specifically look at is the Museum of Fine Arts’s statue made by Cyrus Dallin. I get that they thought they were doing something by adding a small plaque, but I’m going to be honest, I do not think people are going to read that at all. I mean, I don’t even remember the last time I’ve read something on a statue. If a person was passing by, they would not care to read it. Going back to the kid example, many kids don’t read either. They will just take in the art piece as true, and therefore affecting their perceptions of Native American people. The art piece itself is a statement. Adding another statement to try to “lessen the blow” is not going to help at all. What they can do is remove that statue. Now I know that it is expensive but it’s just a price that they will have to pay. They can earn the money back. And after that, they can commission an Indigenous artist to create a new and better representation.

3. How do we address the fact that Native peoples were murdered for who they are--the very definition of “genocide”? What apologies and amends do we need to make, if any?

Talking about the genocide of Native peoples is already addressing it a little bit, however, we need to go in depth about the consequences. Glossing over it is just as bad as not addressing it. It is important to incorporate the genocide into middle/high school history classes and not just elementary school classes. Similar to the “Letter from Birmingham Jail” by Martin Luther King Jr., I think that the rejected speech created by Wamsutta Frank James should also be analyzed. This is a speech that is directly by an Indigenous person. Just because it was not officially spoken as a speech, the stories hold true. Another thing we can do is get rid of the monuments that hold misinformation about the interactions between the Native Americans and the Europeans. By continuing to keep them up is a way of upholding the false history. Giving as much land back as possible is a good way to compensate. Donating money, or items, to reservations or Native American owned businesses. In an article called “The Little-Known History of the Forced Sterilization of Native American Women,” written by Erin Blackemore, it goes through the horrendous manipulation of Native American women. I’d say apologizing to the tribes affected is one of the very first things we should do as it was not that long ago.

4. How can non-indigenous folks become allies so that Native peoples become fully integrated members of society? What concrete actions can we take to move forward and build a nation with Native peoples?

Non-Indigenous people can become allies by speaking up and out against the hate towards Native peoples. We can take time out of our lives to actually care and educate ourselves on the past and present. Not continuing to participate in obvious harmful anti-Indigenous acts. I believe that there should be more Indigenous people in the decision making of the government. We can start to truly acknowledge them and not just mention them passively and be like, “Oh yeah, here’s another messed up thing America hid for a long time. Anyway!” It is super important to go through the laws again and to make sure that there are absolutely no laws that would allow for discrimination against Indigenous people, or just people of color in general.

(A little unrelated but I learned recently that Christopher Columbus never even stepped foot in North America. At that time, there was a lot of hate towards Italian immigrants. The government put out that fact to decrease the discrimination. And it worked. It worked so well that that fact is still being believed today. Honestly, I was in shock when I found out. I knew that Christopher Columbus didn't discover America, but I didn’t know that there was not a single footstep he took on North American land.)

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

To better understand the experiences of Native Americans, we must listen to their stories. As Madeline Sayet, a Native American artistic director, says, “More kinds of stories mean we have more potential. We have a greater comprehension for what might be possible, for empathy building and learning and recognizing there are many paths.” Often times I think non-Natives who know that what the Natives have experienced was horrendous don’t bother to listen in-depth to gain a true understanding. Like ReginaldWindowWasherKitchenSink says, many people seek immediate validation for “honoring” Native Americans. We want to feel good about ourselves, feel like we’ve done something good, without actually having to put in any effort. So, we make a quick land acknowledgement statement and don’t bother to actually do anything to help Native people. We don’t listen closely to what Native people have to say. But without listening to their stories, how can we truly confront our history and move forward?

Many, many stereotypes and misconceptions about Natives and their history are being taught to students in schools all over the country starting from elementary schools and extending throughout students’ educations. We must stop this. Continuously teaching to every child in America that the pilgrims and Natives had a happy Thanksgiving meal only further erases the true history and pushes stereotypes about Natives. We must put in the effort to educate ourselves and future generations. It is not the job of Native peoples to educate everyone else about their history. Because while the harm done to Native Americans will always be a part of their history, it is also a huge part of American history, and we as Americans, must never forget that.

The first thing we non-Natives must do is acknowledge that what happened to the Natives was a genocide. There is no denying it. Like professor Kim Tallbear says, many people “are reluctant to use the word ‘genocide.’” This is not okay. If we do not recognize the truth, we will never be able to even start doing the right thing.

In order to even try to address this genocide, there needs to be proper education on everything that truly happened. In school, we learn about the “first Thanksgiving”, the Trail of Tears, and maybe if your class goes a little further, what happened at Wounded Knee (which is not something I was ever taught). We never learn about the full extent of the genocide that happened, the forced sterilization of women, or anything else related to Native peoples. This all should be taught in basic U.S. history, as Natives were the first Americans.

As someone who is not Native American, I cannot fully say what apologies and amends need to be made. That must be left to the people to whom the apologies and amends need to be made. However, I think we can start by returning what was taken from them, including land. We also need to memorialize all the Natives that died at the hands of colonizers. Although this will not even come close to the actions needed to support Natives, I believe that brushing aside all the lives that were lost, like what happened at Deer Island, will only act to erase their history. We cannot forget history.

For non-Native people to become allies to Natives, I think we need to learn about and celebrate their culture. Many of us were only ever taught that they were “savages” who hunt and some people are incredibly disrespectful towards their culture. For example, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla were seen laughing at a traditional Inuit performance of throat singing. I think it’s also important to emphasize having a basic level of respect for everyone and everything, even if it’s something you don’t understand. Learning about Native relationships with nature and land and all the different aspects of their culture can truly help everyone connect and come together.

I think the most important thing we must do in order to move forward and build a nation with Native people is let Natives take the lead. We must uplift Native Americans in order for them to decide the change that needs to happen. For example, when Deb Haaland was elected U.S. Interior Secretary, she sought to remove a derogatory slur towards Native women from federal government use. I think many non-Native people were or are completely unaware that this term was being used or even existed. When Native voices are amplified and heard, real change can happen.

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