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Boston, US
Posts: 366

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.

Dorchester, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 18

In the future and moving forward, I feel that we need to teach more about Native American history and make sure to acknowledge their presence. In history class we always talk about how they were here before Columbus, but never really go into lots of details of how they were really treated, and when history books and teachers talk about Native Americans, they make it seem like they're extinct and don't exist anymore, because we never follow up on the development of their race and their group. We never learn about what happened to them post 1700's, about the sterilization of Native American women, about what happened to them in modern society during the 60s and 70s. The reason there are these stereotypes and misrepresentations of Native Americans is because of the lack of their stories being told about them without having a white narrative.

Today we can try to fix these mistakes by doing small things, like changing derogatory terms used in textbooks, federal papers, and just generally used in everyday convo. For example, Deb Haaland a U.S interior secretary has deemed the word "squaw" a derogatory term, actions like these can continue and we will have positive change in society. We can also change offensive logos for companies and sports teams, that continue to represent Native Americans off these very wrong stereotypes. These stereotypes are derived from history and the recalled encounters made by white people, when really we should also be looking at Native American stories and asking people whose ancestors were Native Americans, to tell us how they want to be depicted and how their ancestors actually acted and looked.

As non-indigenous people we can help by signing petitions and demanding that we further acknowledge the stolen land we are on, give back some of that land and give the Native American descendants and orginizations money, supplies, and support for their causes, as a way to give reperations. And although that will never be enough, it is a step in the right direction.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 20
  1. The most important thing is to listen and understand. It is important to be receptive. Listen to a variety of Native voices and believe in their experiences. It is ok to feel bad or uncomfortable around these conversations but that is not an excuse to ignore them, to be disrespectful, or to try and defend yourself because you feel “attacked”. Yes, the truth of what happens to Native Americans in this country is harsh and unfortunate. But if you feel uncomfortable imagine how the Indigenous people feel. We need to be aware of problems so that we can fix them. We need to know about bad situations so we can try to make them better. When you hear about the struggles of Native Americans it is important to sit with and fully process that information. It is not ok to become comfortable with this history, but it is important to become aware of it so you can try to remedy these ongoing situations and become active in the fight for Native rights.
  2. While it may seem extreme, I believe that every single caricature, misrepresentation, and stereotype of Native Americans needs to be addressed, acknowledged, and removed. From highschool sports teams mascots to multi-million dollar company logos, we need to work toward replacing and removing them and truly understanding why these are offensive. It's like the images we saw in class of the same treatment applied to other ethnicities. It would shock and horrify us. Native Americans are not symbols of American culture. They are not mascots. Like Madeline Sayet says, “Americans feel like they own native culture in this really twisted way.” It is time to stop treating Native Americans like the bald eagle - a cultural symbol, an animal, a one dimensional representation of power and bravery.
  3. The first step to addressing it is to acknowledge that it happened. It should be common knowledge that it happened and it's shocking that it's not. It's terrible that people don't understand how truly devastating even well known events like the Trail of Tears are. Some people even see it as a good thing. In Germany, there are monuments everywhere. Efforts have been made to educate and make up for the Holocaust as much as possible. Holocaust deniers and Neonazis are shamed and condemned, they are not given a platform. We hate to see ourselves as villains comparable to Nazi Germany. In fact it can be argued that we are worse because we refuse to acknowledge and learn from that experience. Indigenous people still feel the effects. We still oppress them, restrict them, and even kill them.
  4. As with other forms of being an ally, the most important thing is to listen. Then amplify Native voices, don’t drown them out. We should learn and teach about their cultures. We should learn the names of their societies. The Cherokee, Mohegan, and Chinook people were all vastly different from each other and other Native civilizations. Can you name 5 Native tribes? 10? Can you name 5 European countries? 10? Could you even point to where these tribes were from on a map? Have you ever seen a map like that? We should treat these societies the same way we treat European, Asian, and South American countries. We should learn about their stories, their ways of life, their people, and we should respect it. Another important thing is cooperation. Don’t assume what would help Indigenous people, but rather ask. What do these people want and need? There is no reason they should be treated differently than any other person and have different rights than any other American citizen.
Boston, MA, US
Posts: 17

I read "The Little Known History of the Forced Sterilization of Native Women" and "The Invasion of America"

1. I think this is definitely the easiest question to answer, although the hardest to really "get" at. It's difficult to just say "well just teach what really happened" because what has "really" happened keeps changing. History is unfortunately a lot more subjective than it should be. So I think if I had to give one piece of advice, it would be that we need to stop teaching history as a black and white matter. When we think of one side of always doing good or evil we stop thinking of them as people, and the whole point of teaching history is to understand that historical figures were people just like us. This can also be an issue when you learn of something good that X figure did or something bad Y person did, almost like doublethink. While stopping thinking in black and white is more of a personal skill, I think schools can still strive to teach it.

2. It's really important to understand that stereotypes are always going to be part of humanity. They aren't exclusive to anybody, and anything can be stereotyped. If I told you to tell me what color a pepper is, no matter what you said, that would be a stereotype. Although, to be specific to the stereotypes American Indians face in the US, it is important to understand the symbol for what it is, and whether its intent is to be hurtful. Since at its core, that is what makes a stereotype harmful. (Although, in my opinion the name Kansas City Chiefs and the Braves' Tomahawk logo are fine, excluding the tomahawk chop)

3. One thing that always bothers me when dealing about issues of race is "white guilt". I don't think anyone should feel guilty because of something their ancestors did. I do think governments should apologize and take responsibility (It is not the responsibility of the people to take actions caused by the government), although that is the bare minimum for these kinds of things. I'm sure most Indians would prefer their peoples' land back over 1000 apologies.

4. Some of the stuff that I read is just vile. Forced sterilization is one step of eugenics away from genocide and absolutely horrible, especially when you realize the US did not stop at that. Not only that, but the United States has shown a repeat lack of care for minorities as human beings, and is willing to actively deceive its own people for anything they may stand to gain. From giving black men syphilis in the 60s to telling Indian women that cutting their Fallopian tubes was reversable. As I've mentioned before, the best thing we can do as civilians is educate ourselves especially when it is uncomfortable. If we do not learn about history, we are doomed to repeat it.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 22

I think a key part of moving forward and confronting the history of Native American experiences is actually confronting them. Education in schools is our primary way of learning history, and what we learn in elementary school really sticks and builds stereotypes and misconceptions. In my experience, and that of many other students I’ve talked to, elementary school history was early American history, primarily the Revolution, taught over and over again each year. Yet, Native Americans were often only mentioned briefly at the start, or in the Thanksgiving story, which isn’t even real history in it’s commonly known form. Even at BLS, the stories of Native Americans often are only glimpsed through the arrival of the Pilgrims, and the conquering of their territory by the US. I can’t recall a single time when they were mentioned after the Civil War in a history class. This makes it very easy to grow up with misconceptions that Native Americans have disappeared, and don’t exist, which also makes us less likely to learn about their actual experiences and cultures. In the article The Invasion of America, Claudio Vaunt shows a 2014 map detailing US acquisitions of territory, a map much like those used in education, which only show large chunks of land traded with imperial powers, and not at all mentioning the Native peoples who lived on and claimed those lands. It is just one example of the many subtle and not so subtle ways in which textbooks make it easy for students to forget about the existence Native Americans.

To address these stereotypes, I think we need to remove racist imagery like the logos of sports teams and product branding. I disagree with StaphInfarction’s point about stereotypes. While I agree that due to human nature they will always remain, and that there are stereotypes for pretty much anything, I don’t think they can really compare to stereotypes about peppers. Yes, as we learned last week we all have notions about what makes a pepper “good”, but that’s not a stereotype in the same way in which we stereotype people. I also do agree that hurtful intent makes a stereotype harmful, but I think stereotypes can be unintentional, or not intentionally harmful, and still end up being incredibly harmful. Therefore, I don’t agree with them that the keeping the sports teams names and logos are acceptable, because while fans may claim they are out of respect they completely generalize and degrade Native peoples. I also think its important to stop telling the Thanksgiving story in the way we do, especially in elementary school. It sets up these false stereotypes very early which only makes them harder to break, and perpetuates false ideas about the treatment of Native Americans by settlers. It also extends past education in schools. I think we all have responsibility to educate ourselves on other peoples experiences, especially those whose voices are often excluding. From seeking out media with accurate representations and input from Native Americans, to staying informed about current issues, there are many simple, yet impactful ways to change our mindsets and stereotypes, which chips away at them overall. Actions like Secretary Deb Haaland’s formation of a committee to remove derogatory terms from places also helps prevent their normalization.

I definitely think the US needs to apologize for the mistreatment and genocide of Native Americans, and engage in conversation with all tribes across the country to discuss what kinds of amends would be most impactful for them. I looked it up, and found out that the US didn’t issue a formal apology until 2009, tucked into a larger defense bill passed by Congress, as stand-alone bills in the previous 2 years had not garnered support. Even then, it didn’t allow any opportunities for Native Americans to sue or make claims against the US government, making it a fully performative act, broadly and vaguely:

"The United States, acting through Congress, apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States and expresses its regret for the ramifications of former wrongs and its commitment to build on the positive relationships of the past and present to move toward a brighter future where all the people of this land live reconciled as brothers and sisters, and harmoniously steward and protect this land together."

I don’t know what amends would be best and I think that that should be decided by specific Native American nations for themselves in negotiations with the government. However, I definitely think the return of lands would be very beneficial. I think the biggest thing non-indigenous people can do to become allies is to educate themselves and actively listen to native voices, and then use their own to amplify their voices, and take action based on their input, whatever that may look like. Concrete actions like mandating Native American education in schools, something the National Congress of American Indians found only 11 states to currently do (This is a really good report on Native American education in the US), or getting rid of antiquated laws discriminating against them, such as the one repealed in 2005 preventing Native people from living in Boston, could have a massivly positive impact.

Posts: 19

1: The best way we can better understand the history of the genocide of Native Americans and their experiences is to implement their history into schools the same way slavery and the civil rights movement is. Every American is aware of the targeted racism towards African Americans since the founding of our country, because it is taught as early as elementary school. Schools don't fear of holding back either. They teach of the rapes, lynchings, slavery, murders, and every horror of our country's dark past. Schools also teach the story of Christopher Columbus and his heroic act of discovering America. We learned about "The First Thanksgiving", where the pilgrims and Native Americans sat down for a meal of peace, but we were never taught of the slaughter of the natives, who lived in America years before Columbus ever set off on his expedition. It is such an easy fix: to stop covering America's past, acknowledge our country's mistakes, and stop being afraid of confronting the truth. As mentioned by Deb Haaland, one of the more day-to-day solutions is to be rid of all derogatory phrases/names towards Native American people. "Our nation’s lands and waters should be places to celebrate the outdoors and our shared cultural heritage — not to perpetuate the legacies of oppression". As we acknowledge the past, and the tragedy Native Americans experienced, the least we can do is stop using degrading words.

2: As said earlier, it is as simple as stopping the attempt at covering our mistakes up. All it does is make things worse, and make it look like America is trying to pretend it never happened. An example is the forced sterilization of Native American Women. I had never heard of this before reading the article, which is scary to think about. I can't imagine how much more is out there that is purposefully untold or even unknown.

3: I think we don't think of the genocide towards the Native Americans the same as we do the Holocaust because it was so long ago. Of course, this doesn't make a difference, genocide is still genocide. We are moving in the right direction after certain places have started to change the name of Colombus Day to Indigenous People's Day. Since this was so long ago, I can't think of a realistic way we can make up for the genocide our country committed. A simple apology isn't enough, and land mentions certainly aren't either. I think the best we can do is educate each other about what happened and work as a country to get rid of all potentially sensitive sayings/words towards Native Americans.

4: The best way non-indigenous people can be allies is to encourage discussion about the racism against their people. Even though these conversations are difficult, they are essential to moving toward the full acknowledgment of what happened. As said in class land mentions are not what's going to make things better. What will is changing sports names, offensive logos, military vehicle names, and to stop using Native American names in derogatory ways. Although these are small changes to a big problem, they send the right message and can inspire greater change.

Boston, US
Posts: 19

1. I think that understanding the experiences of Native people in the United States is virtually impossible, given just how deep their history on this continent is. However, I do think that we as a nation need to try much harder to learn about this history, and to understand how much has changed. They have been on this continent for 100 times longer than any other group, and "modern America" came along and pushed them into the background. We learn more about the history of every other ethnic group than the one that has literally been on this continent for tens of thousands of years. This is starting to change, which is very much a good thing, but it is not changing nearly enough. I do think that even in our American History classes we are learning more about the history of the natives than students even 10 years earlier. Despite this, we barely know anything about them. It now falls upon us to keep pushing for this change, and to make sure we learn way more about their history.

2. I think the first step to addressing many of the stereotypes about Native Americans is to stop treating them like folklore. Many of our modern places use Native names, some of them offensive. Despite this, we don't know basically anything about what the words mean or where they came from, past "they're Native". This is just one of the many things that most Americans never think about when discussing Natives. We live in Massachusetts, which is one such place. Even though we live in a state named after a Native group, we don't know anything about them. We just think, "Oh, that's just a Native American word" and not that it is a group of people that lived here before us and have now been pushed into the background. Another important thing to remember is that while a large portion of them have been murdered, they are not some sort of extinct species; These are very much people that still exist and that we need to remember that. Once we remember that, it opens a path to dealing with other stereotypes. However, as long as we think of them as a thing of the past we won't ever make that progress.

3. As a society, we are incredibly reluctant to call what we did to the Indigenous population genocide. That's what Hitler did, and he was bad. We're not like Hitler at all. Although there are differences, the Holocaust and our treatment of the Natives are the same thing at the end of the day. They were both a planned extermination of a people for being different, and they were both very effective. We reduced the percentage of Natives in the population from around 16 all the way down to barely 1 percent. That is the textbook definition of genocide, and is something that we need to identify for what it is. As for the matter of reparations, it is very challenging. The scale of what we did cannot be repaid, especially not realistically in our current society. Simply giving them back land is a possible solution, but not a very good one. It is impossible to give them back all of their lost land. I think ultimately, what we need to do is listen to the wishes of the Native people and try to accommodate those wishes as best we can. I think it is impossible for any non-native to give a very good plan for reparations, as we don't truly know what we would have to be paying for. We did not experience this genocide, and so it is impossible for us to determine what "good" payment would be.

4. I think that we a society need to take steps to acknowledge Native more. As I mentioned earlier, so many people don't realize that we still have Native Americans, they aren't just relics. We need to obviously treat them like everyone else, but we also need to stop thinking about them as some other group of people. I think that of any group, Native Americans are probably thought of as "other" the most. The way our history is taught, and the way they are spoken about in so much of our society, paint them as a completely foreign group. As simple and terrible as it sounds, more members of our society need to acknowledge that they are just more humans at the end of the day. So much of our culture focuses on them as some group independent from modern day America, and that needs to change. We fully and completely accept them as the same as any other group, and we need to listen to them more. This may mean renaming many of our places that are currently named offensive things, and other things like that. We don't listen nearly enough to indigenous people in regards to pretty much anything, and that needs to change.

Curious George
Boston, MA
Posts: 21

1. Education Education Education. Students must be properly taught the history of Native tribes, institutional laws and actions that threatened their existence, and how our government currently mistreats them. According to "The Little-Known History of the Forced Sterilization of Native American Women," 1/4 of Native women were subject to forced sterilizations in the 1970s. Most of our parents would have already been born by then! We need to realize how recent these events are and for what purpose. With their population quickly decreasing, Native Americans also loss much of the little political power they already had. We can fully confront these effects right now by looking into the number of Natives who are running for public office at the state and federal level.

2. Negative views and misconceptions of Native Americans are spread through the media, mostly shows/movies for young children and commercial ads. For one, networks planning on releasing articles of media should consult with Natives to represent in a way they wanted to be represented; for example, Madeline Sayet is a famous artistic director and is able to lift native voices in theater through her work. She has the power to carefully choose which projects she wants to direct and has often times straight up rejected plays that play into stereotypes. For companies that showcase Natives in their branding, we, as consumers, should boycott their products so they cannot exploit the Native American image.

3. Alongside verbal apologies, tangible reparations must be made. We obviously cannot bring back any of the population that was murdered (or prevented from being born), but we can provide proper healthcare. I'm pretty sure in class we learned that Natives pay taxes like everyone else, but do not receive the benefits of social security. what's up with that? Although I agree that we should always try to uplift Native voices (i encourage it!), there should also be a way for them to get more political power, which they would have already gotten had not the population decreased from sterilizations

4. non-indigenous people could be allies by treating Native peoples as human like everyone else. Not a sports logo, marketing strategy, or characters for kids, but a well-established, unified group. We can help call out any wrongdoings of the government, sports teams, and corporations. More concretely, we can require Native American education courses and repeal laws discriminate against them.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 13

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native People

I think that the best thing to do to fully confront the history of Native Americans in the United States is to better represent it in our education. I think that simply having native people help write textbooks and curriculums for history courses will make actual positive change in the country. The main issue right now is that people simply don't know exactly what happened in the past, and from that, don't really understand many of the problems Native people have in the present.

As for addressing stereotypes, it also probably has to do with teaching about these things at a young age. Many stereotypes are not conscious or malicious. Most of the time they aren't done to cause harm or to put someone down, but are mainly done from a place of ignorance. Because of this, I think that the solution for this is to teach people about why exactly these things are bad and why they shouldn't be used. Similar to my other point, this can also be addressed in school, because many of the stereotypes that we have today come from our childhood, with people's parents, friends, and even teachers saying these things that simply stick in our brain as fact.

Very clearly right now the living conditions of the average Native American is very poor in the US. This is the first thing that should be changed to address the acts that the government took on these people in the past. A public apology and acknowledgement of the genocide should also be made, as ignoring it and keeping quite about it will usually make something like that much worse. As for other solutions, it becomes much more difficult. While it might seem "right" to give back land to the native people, that option just doesn't seem plausible in this day and age, as millions of people live on land that has been stolen in the past, and to give it back would cause them to be displaced. At the moment many reservations are completely sovereign, and are largely ignored by the Federal Government. I think that this is a mistake, and that forming some sort of agreement with the Federal Government to benefit the reservations would be a step forward, as right now, many of them are in terrible conditions because of a lack of external support.

I think that one of the main things non-native people can do to help is just to make noise about it. I really think that most people simply don't know, or don't think very much about native people. Of course they understand some of the history, and that there were people living in the Americas before the Europeans arrived, but I don't believe that many people think all that much about the native people who remain in the United States. Therefore, I think that just talking about it, and spreading awareness will help. Of course, the main goal of a political movement would of course be to have some sort of legislation passed, so the end game would be to talk to politicians about the problems we have at the moment with native people and attempt to fix them.

Boston, MA, US
Posts: 18

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

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

The history of Native Americans has been grossly misrepresented, young children learning twisted and untrue tales that turn Natives into savages and the colonizers into saviors. Schools promote this propaganda to cover up the acts of our ancestors; we are unwilling to confront our past wrong, so we twist the story to relieve ourselves of guilt and responsibility. In elementary school, American children dress up in feathers and depict a stereotyped and negative portrayal of Native Americans. They are juxtaposed by the "civilized" pilgrims, clad in pants and "refined" clothing. The first step in rectifying this "twistory" is to remove the early-propaganda taught to young children. By putting an end to these teachings, we can work to remove the life-long biases that frame interactions with Natives. In "The Invasion of America," they mention the lack of representation of Native American communities in the US. Genocide, forced sterilization, and other anti-Native American actions have caused Native populations to decline significantly, making up a mere 0.5% of the population. Their lack in numbers makes change more difficult, and we often excuse more discriminatory stereotypes. In class, we discussed the prevalence of stereotypical symbols and logos across day-to-day life. Many can excuse things like the tomahawk chop, but would never stand for similar anti-black, hispanic, etc symbols.

I also believe that we need to teach a complete Native history, not tied solely to the arrival of Europeans in the Americas. While colonization plays a large part in the history of Natives, it is not the only relevant part, and to teach only the destruction of Native populations is to teach that these tribes only existed in adjunct to their European colonizers. It reduces these groups, and their only role in history becomes that of only the defeated. We need to teach not just of times of Native weakness, but of power and success as well; right now, we learn nothing about the tribes before the arrival of Europeans. To understand a full and accurate history, historians should communicate with Native Americans, not only telling a colonizer’s point of view.

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?

To address our country's history of genocide, we must first be willing to accept responsibility for the mass-killing of these groups. There is no way to truly make amends for the actions of our ancestors without acknowledging their wrong-doing. It is easier to teach about the holocaust, shifting the blame onto the Germans–it's easy to deny the US's role in this Jewish genocide. It is impossible, however, to teach of Native American genocide without fully accepting our direct benefit; we only have access to the lands on which we live because of the forced removal of Native Americans. We cannot present an accurate history while still censoring the acts of the past. The article, "The Invasion of America" references the Doctrine of Discovery which theoretically gave the European colonizers the right to take any American land, being the first Christian settlers. Land was stolen through treaties, executive orders, and federal statutes, all of which were unfair and disadvantaged Native Americans. The land we live on was not exchanged legally, and taken by force and trickery. No matter whether we are directly related to colonizers, we all owe reparations to the Native Americans on whose land we live now. In class, we discussed the performative nature of land acknowledgements, how they only serve to relieve colonizers' guilt, not providing any tangible help to Native communities. While acknowledgement is the first step in righting the wrongs of our ancestors, we owe monetary and physical support, something that actually helps revitalize these struggling and dwindling communities. In "Recasting Views of Indigenous Life," they reflect how "most of today’s narratives about indigenous Americans are cast through a negative lens, focusing on health disparities, economic disadvantages, poverty, or addiction." We are unwilling to confront our guilt, instead shifting the blame onto Native communities. By portraying them as savage, uncivilized groups, our responsibility and debt is decreased. Many view Native tribes as “failed” societies, unworthy of support, but if tribes are struggling, it’s usually directly tied to the unjust treatment by the US government. These communities are at least owed monetary support, if not their stolen land, to allow them to recover after centuries of mistreatment.

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

The first step to becoming allies is by acknowledging the Native American genocide. We also need to stop pushing this mistreatment into history, stop acting as if it is over, a thing of the past. We remove ourselves from these acts by placing the blame onto our ancestors, claiming we have no responsibility today. We act as if Native Americans no longer exist, and "the story, which used to be celebratory, is now more often tragic and sentimental, rooted in the belief that the dispossession of native peoples was unjust but inevitable." according to Haselby in "The Invasion of America." The first concrete actions we can take are by teaching of the genocide. Next, we can start to give back stolen land. It is impossible to give back all of it, but we can at least make efforts to rectify our wrongs, even if it is through monetary support. We need to work to remove the systemic barriers that hinder the success of Native Americans; while our ancestors may not still be alive, their discriminatory laws and regulations still remain.

I don't agree with StaphInfarction's opinion that the Atlanta Braves' logo is fine. It portrays an inaccurate and stereotypical Native American, drawing on no specific tribe. This logo is a prime example of white people using Native American stereotypes for their own benefit. While stereotypes will always exist, we still need to actively fight the harmful ones. Intent is never as important as impact, and we need to respect the multitudes of Native Americans who have come out against these portrayals of stereotypical Indians.

I agree with hollyfawn's reference to the importance of "uncomfortable" conversations. Reparations depend on the willingness of colonizers to confront the atrocious acts of their ancestors and the ways they continue to benefit.

Posts: 15
  1. Moving forward in order to better understand the experience of Native Americans, we need to fully acknowledge the atrocities that were committed against them and teach U.S. history with this as a core piece. For example, I had no idea that Native American women were being forcibly sterilized or that Thanksgiving was tied to a massacre of indigenous people. If we fully acknowledge these atrocities that have been rewritten for years to hide the truth, we will be able to move towards a more accurate education.

  1. I think that when it comes to harmful stereotypes in general, we must uplift and listen to the voices of those that the stereotypes harm. When a Native American is calling out a stereotype and how it’s harmful, it is our responsibility to listen and actively fight to dismantle it. For example, the offensive names and mascots of sports teams and the use of red face in media as discussed in one of the articles. In these instances, we must recognize that the name/mascot/use of red face is harmful and in the situation of the sports teams, change the name and mascot, and in the situation of red face use, stop it completely. By doing this, we are actively fighting against harmful misperceptions and pushing the truth and indigenous voices to the forefront.
  1. I think one of the biggest things we can do to make amends for the genocide of Native peoples is to dismantle false narratives and actively educate true Native history. Since we cannot go back and change the atrocities that were committed against Native Americans, the very least we can do is acknowledge the past and actively educate ourselves and others.

  1. Non-indigenous people can become allies by actively uplifting the voices of Native Americans and fighting to dismantle the harmful stereotypes and laws that work against them. I think that the best thing that we can do is educate ourselves and work together with indigenous people to build a path forward.
Posts: 13

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

  1. Moving forward we need to acknowledge Native American history and listen to what they have to say. Our history has always been taught to us from a white male perspective, Disney's “Pocahontas” is a prime example of this. Pocahontas was wrongly portrayed to be of age and in love with John Smith, when the reality was very far from this. But where did Disney get the idea that Pocahontas’ story was the way they portrayed it? I read somewhere that John Smith had kept journals on his accounts of everything while he was in the new world. Mostly everything he had written was a lie. But at that time, his journal was probably considered the most accurate information they’ll get on the new world. So those lies were what people primarily used as sources since it was a first person perspective from John Smith. To fully confront this, we first need to be aware of the real history behind the Native Americans, their culture, and listen to what they have to say today.
  2. There have obviously been so many stereotypes and misperceptions built around Native Americans. I believe that even the bare minimum in this situation could help us move forward, for starters, just simply removing any racist logos from companies could be a huge first step. And although supporters of sport teams whose mascots or logos that depict Native Americans, might think they are “celebrating” Native Americans, they are actually doing more harm than good. This is why I also think people should take the responsibility and educate themselves, so they can stop themselves from making mistakes like these and correct them.
  3. It still comes as a shock that people aren't educated on the real history behind Thanksgiving. A holiday based around the whole idea that the Native Americans and the English had made peace, but this wasn't the situation at all, which makes the holiday seem like one big lie. I doubt those who are educated address the murders as genocide. This reminds me a lot of the genodcide of Jews in Nazi Germany, where they refused admit it was genocide that was committed. If a problem like this isn’t acknowledged by a country, I don't think it can grow or learn from past mistakes. I definitely do think the US owes a huge apology to Indigenous peoples, the racism and discrimination never stops for them. You’d think we, as a nation, would be more welcoming to them but it wasn't until 2005 Indigenous people were ALLOWED to live in the city of Boston. On top of that, the land Boston is built on is very likely to be land that belonged to their ancestors
  4. I think educating yourself is one of the best ways to become allies with not only Indigenous peoples, but any group of peoples. We tend to talk about Native Americans only around November, in time for Thanksgiving, especially in elementary schools. In the little amount of time they teach these kids about Native Americans, they will not mention culture, language, or geography of their land. I think in elementary schools, they should teach the kids when they are young about this history, and not in the context of English. When I was younger and they would teach us about Natives, it always felt as if their story was reliant on what the English did to them. Looking back at it, it was as if they were trying to dehumanize Natives but not telling us about their background and culture.
Posts: 20
  1. To better understand the experience of Native Americans in this nation, we should prioritize education and listen to Indigenous voices when they talk about their own experience. The fact that many people including myself, in class, didn’t realize certain horrific aspects of this country’s past regarding the treatment of Native people is a clear indicator that there is a systematic error in how this history is approached in schools. Acknowledging whose land we are on is a step in the right direction, however it is not enough. The Invasion of America illustrates the sheer amount of land stolen from Indigenous peoples quite clearly and succinctly and proves the general point that reservations and acknowledgment doesn’t even begin to make up for the losses suffered. Understanding the fact that the United States tends to teach Native history as if they are not still here is pivotal in understanding the sheer scope of this issue, in confronting this history. It will take work and it will take action, but we can push for radical change both in how our education system approaches Indigenous history as well as how our legislature does both in terms of respecting and listening to Native voices as the language used within its documents.
  2. We can’t pretend that many of these stereotypes aren’t visible today, and by acknowledging the fact that these misperceptions still exist, we’re beginning to address this. To act as if it did not happen and does not continue to happen risks misinformation seeping back to the non-Native American children and leading to the continued perpetuation of these stereotypes due to a lack of information. Steps to prevent harmful words such as “sq*w” in place names, shown in the Deb Haaland seeks to rid US of derogatory place names article, is one example of steps that do not erase any sort of history; this word is harmful and the continued alteration of derogatory place names sets a precedent for continued work to address these stereotypes. It is important to both acknowledge the fact that these stereotypes exist while removing them in such a way that acknowledges that this is wrong and our society should not allow these caricatures and slurs to continue to thrive.
  3. The first step in addressing a fact is to first acknowledge it, which is sadly seemingly uncommon in the United States’s general knowledge. The fact is that these events are not taught to the same extent that other units, such as the American Revolution, and are often glossed over. Overall, it appears that the United States does not often like to acknowledge the fact that we are in the wrong, an overwhelming amount of times throughout history, and proceeds to gloss over many of its wrongdoings. Germany has made efforts to address its genocidal past and ensure nothing like that could ever happen again, yet the United States is silent on similar events in its past. Things have certainly improved from education on the genocide of Native peoples, but there is not nearly enough information and coverage in general teaching about American history. A single apology or acknowledgement isn’t nearly enough to make up for what our country has done to Native people, but that does not mean there shouldn’t be efforts to amend for the sins in our country’s past. One way to gauge some of what should be done would be to listen to what Native people of today are advocating for and have our government actually listen to them.
  4. To start, non-indigenous folks should first stop treating Native peoples as if they only existed a long, long time ago and are now lost to time. We need to have conversations about racism and the genocidal history of this country and most importantly, we need to listen. To actually act based on what Native peoples are saying to become allies rather than continuing the trend of performative and low-effort attempts to pander. Through signing petitions, donating to causes led by Indigenous people, supporting Indigenous activists and artists, amplifying Indigenous voices rather than talking over them whenever possible, and bettering our education system to acknowledge this uncomfortable history, we can take concrete steps to actually do something about this. Although it will never be enough to make up for the horrors and genocide experienced by Native peoples, by removing offensive language and stereotypes from common vernacular, including sports team logos and military vehicle names, as well as continuing to better our education, we can work to move forward and build a nation with Native peoples.
brighton, ma, US
Posts: 11

Moving forward, to better understand the experiences of Native Americans, it is essential to analyze their history, struggle, and conditions through a contextual lens. This requires sufficient education about not only the history of Native Americans and the violence they faced, but a reckoning with the continued violence they face as well. An apodictic understanding of the experiences of Native Americans must acknowledge the ways in which they are not only racially oppressed, but nationally and economically oppressed, and the nuances of the national question to Native Americans, as well as an understanding of their right to land soverignty.

Stereotypes and misconceptions about Native Americans can be addressed by removing caricatures of their images from products, signs, mascots, and other ways in which images of Native Americans are used to signify stereotypes about them. This includes using their image to denote warfare, noble savagery, or reference a “nostalgic” period of American history. To further deconstruct misconceptions about Native Americans, it is also vital to further criticize the way in which their image is used to portray a meaning and deconstruct the signifier-signified-sign nature of these images with stereotypes that have historically and continue to justify violence and mistreatment of Native Americans.

The genocide against Native Americans can be addressed through education, as well as active efforts to help Native Americans today. This education should not only focus on the violence and death inflicted on Native Americans, but on the continued suppression, economic problems, gender-based and sexual violence, and the further stripping of their land and resources. Understanding the past and continued trauma of Native Americans can allow settlers to be more mindful about the legacy of violence their presence here required. Monetary reparations should be made, as well as protection of the land/returning it to Native Americans.

Actions that can be taken by settlers to better aid Native Americans are to understand their need for national liberation, land back, and to not adversely react upon mention of these things. Another thing settlers can do to better aid Native Americans is understand the cruel and violent nature of settler colonialism and take action against the ways in which its legacy continues through neocolonialism and the continued land grabs in America.

Boston , MA, US
Posts: 14

Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native People

  1. Change starts with the youth. It starts by educating America we have to start prioritizing Native American history and culture in schools and institutions my first impression of new Native American started in my first grade elementary school classroom where is that The Narrative of Christopher Columbus discovering America and the peaceful and happy interactions between settlers and Native that followed I was taught a story that failed to tell the truth about the atrocities committed how is it only now that I'm running about the 1890 Wounded Knee Massacre or the thousands of Native American women sterilized without consent in the 1970s--- mentioned in a tones in Blackwell's article in the article “Native Americans recasting views of indigenous life,” says “we all benefit from hearing more kinds of stories more kinds of stories mean that we have more potential we have a greater comprehension for what might be possible for empathy building and learning and recognizing there are many parts. From an early age we are given a single story about Native Americans and that's where the problem starts. A single-story perpetuates the ongoing tolerance of harmful stereotypes and the whitewashing of American history.
  2. We need to speak up and speak out. Call out individuals, companies, and media that continue to use derogatory Native American images, stereotypes, etc. We need to start conversations with our communities about Native Americans. The first step is to stop sweeping things under the rug for instance, stop sugar coating and palliating history. For instance, I would have never learned about the sterilization of Native American women unless Miss Freeman decided to share this assignment or for the author and Jane Lawrence to write her article. Another way is to push for the removal of offensive images. Kim TallBear, from the article “Native Americans recasting views of indigenous life,” agrees that “the stories and images that have plagued indigenous cultures—including America’s fixation on feathered costumes and reservation life—serve a purpose. They allow Americans to forget their role in genocide.”
  3. America---like Kim TallBear mentioned---refuses to call it what it is, genocide. Honestly I don't believe we could ever atone for all the death and suffering and death America inflicted and continue to inflict on Native Americans. We will never be able to revive the hundreds of millions of lives lost, not to mention the millions displaced. It isn't feasible to give back the land and land acknowledgement themselves just don't cut it.
  4. There needs to be the same degree of emphasis for Native American Rights as black rights or lgbtq+ rights. Firstly, demand the reevaluation of offensive symbols, monuments, and leaders. Demand changes in school curriculums and action from school boards and councils. We have to demand change in unjust legislation and pass legislation that actually benefits Native Americans communities as well as provide resources and support for Native American organizations.
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