posts 16 - 23 of 23
Freight Farm Enjoyer
Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 19

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

1. The very fundamental first step to understanding the Native American experience in this country is to acknowledge that they exist. This might seem simple, but historically it's been something that we've refused to do. When people speak of the "melting pot" of cultures in this country, Native American ones are often the last to come to mind. People think of Native Americans as people who aren't really around anymore, and when we do acknowledge their existence, we use caricatures of them for marketing or name our towns and landmarks after derogatory names for them, often treating them as if they're a monolith and not a vast expanse of different cultures. To confront the history of our genocide against Native Americans, we need to just start treating them like any other ethnicity. Changing Columbus Day to Indigenous People's Day doesn't solve anything unless we make it mandatory to teach about the genocide of the Native Americans alongside the teachings of slavery and other atrocities committed by this country. It makes sense why the genocide against the Natives isn't often as compulsive in a lot of curriculums nationwide, as we were sterilizing them until less than fifty years ago. This country doesn't really like to acknowledge its dark past unless it can pretend like it's long behind us and no longer a problem, but we need to be able to see the fact that things like this are still happening to this day.

2. By far the greatest step which can be taken to remove the stereotypes associated with Native Americans is to just do research when portraying them in media. From what I've seen, the vast majority of negative stereotypes of Native Americans seem to originate from poorly researched and unrealistic depictions of them, from the Massachusetts flag showing a bizarre amalgamation of different indigenous cultures, to the artwork in front of the MFA showing an entirely unrealistic representation of what Native Americans looked like in Boston. If non-Native people just tried to research what native culture actually looked like, they could avoid these offensive missteps.

3. Unlike the stealing of land or the naming of locations after racist slurs, the murder of native people isn't really something which can just be reversed. At the same time, it should be clear to everyone by now that merely apologizing for these actions isn't going to get anything done. I think, again, that a major solution for this is just education. Almost every child in America is going to have learned about slavery by the time they're a teenager, and the same should be the case for the murder of Native Americans. The genocide sought to remove them from their land and completely replace them with a new race of people, and so by continuing to platform Native Americans and tell about how they were the initial ones here prior to the genocide, we are actively counteracting what the genocide was trying to do.

4. The best way for non-indigenous people to be allies is probably just for them to try to give them a voice whenever possible. I understand that this is easier said than done, as it can be argued that the average non-indigenous person also has no real voice in society, but the reason that Native Americans have been treated so horribly over the course of the last few centuries is simply that we refused to listen to them. In the eighteenth century they weren't given a say in what land they were allowed to own, and two hundred years later they weren't given a say in whether or not they would be allowed to have children, as mass forced sterilizations took place. These things would never had happened if they had a louder voice in our government and an overall more dominant presence in society.

Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 16

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

1. To better understand the experience of Native Americans in this nation, we should listen to Native American people alive today. Schools should also not teach the white-washed version of history, and instead teach the more accurate version. Also, we should not try and switch up the stories that we hear based on other stories that we've heard previously that are false, and tell the full truth.

2. The stereotypes and misperceptions that has been passed down among non-Native Americans about this population are not addressed that much, and people don't give much thought when thinking or acting upon these stereotypes. We can better address these misconceptions by calling people out when they talk about or act on these harmful stereotypes and educate them on the Native America cultures.

3. We aren't really taught about the fact that Native peoples were murdered for who they are, we are taught instead that when the Europeans came to America, they were peaceful with the Native Americans and had a feast with them, when in reality, there was a mass genocide, which was then celebrated with a feast.

4. Non-indigenous folks can become allies so that Native peoples can become fully integrated members of society by learning abut the truth of history related to Native peoples, and helping educate others about this as well. Non-indigenous people can also push down negative stereotypes about Native people, and try and eliminate all harmful words and actions against Native people.

Posts: 20

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

In order to fully confront the history of Native American treatment in America, we have to teach it. All of it. We need to change our school curriculums to include lessons that dive into the truth. I'm not saying 6 year-olds should be taught about gruesome crimes against humanity before they've even learned their times tables, but they shouldn't be lied to that it was all sunshine and rainbows. Ugly history can't be taught in a pretty way, but that doesn't mean that it can just be kept from kids altogether. Schools have provided kids with either terrible "twistory" or no information at all. The majority of us in class didn't even know what indigenous land we reside on, and I'm willing to bet that it becomes even worse on a national scale. For those of us that realize we were taught lies, we need to take it upon ourselves to reeducate. But the sad reality is, even if we fix our schools, this legacy of hatred towards Indigenous peoples is all around us. From media portrayals, to racist mascots, to cultural appropriation, to derogatory place names, the list seems endless- but it only seems that way because for so long we've allowed it to grow. I combined points 1 and 2 into a single paragraph, because there is no way for us to better understand the experience of Native Americans in this nation without fully addressing the twisted history that has prevented us from doing so. They're one in the same. I wish I could give some step by step foolproof plan, but that's just not possible when discussing how to reverse hundreds of years or oppression. That being said, I feel schools can be a start.

We have plenty of apologies to make for the genocide of Native peoples- long overdue apologies at that. I've noticed that this seems like a really touchy subject for people, because they always resort to: "well I'm not the one that did this- why should I be held responsible for what my ancestors did?!!?!?". And it's like...yea no shit. It's so incredibly common when someone passes, to say "I'm sorry for your loss" to those close to the deceased. That apology is not incriminating you as that persons murderer- it's showing that you have compassion and are understanding of the situation's effect on others. If your thought process is one that takes you from two words that show understanding, and turn them into words of incrimination...maybe it feels incriminating because it challenges your comfortable complacency. Once again, points 3 and 4 have been combined because they are so interconnected. Non-indigenous folks can't become allies we are uncomfortable with even giving out mere apologies. We as individuals cannot make amends or apologies that will miraculously make things okay. But we can work together to undo racist remnants of this part of American history, and instead honor the Indigenous peoples whose legacies have been lost. We can join Deb Haaland and other activists who are fighting to remove the uses of slurs as place names. We can join so many causes that help indigenous people, if we just listen to their voices.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 16

The effect of settler colonialism on native peoples

  1. I think that if we want to truly understand and appreciate the experiences of Native Americans in this country, it is necessary that we uplift their voices and listen to their stories as well as what they have to say about what is actually important when trying to confront the past. To fully confront that history, it is important to do it based on the judgment of those who experienced it and are still affected by it today rather than the fiction that is easier to believe. If we do not do this, we will not be able to make changes that are as meaningful as they could be.
  2. The entire issue is that we don’t really highlight or address the stereotypes and misconceptions passed down among non Native Americans in our everyday conversations. If we want to even be able to address them, we have to start including these things in our discussions and make it a part of our narrative of change. In terms of actually addressing these stereotypes and misconceptions, the best place to start is probably educating those around us on the stereotypes that have been formed over the hundreds of years since Columbus accidentally made it to the Americas. We need to do this without talking over Native American voices because they are the ones who we are trying to do right by in the first place.
  3. We can address the fact that Native Americans were victims of genocide by forcing those who perpetuated it to admit that that’s what it actually was. If the major governmental systems won’t admit that genocide took place right here in America, then there is no way to hold them accountable for making reparations to those who have been hurt. Once that acknowledgement is gained, the next step is to include it in our education to spread awareness, like the Aeon article says, past the Trail of Tears so that more people think that this history is a central part of the greater American narrative that affects us all.
  4. I think that the most important thing for non-indigenous people to do in order to make themselves allies is to open their minds and ears to the voices of Native Americans who are speaking up about the atrocities of both the past and present. Education is important, but not effective if not followed with conclusive actions. Some actions that we can take are to donate our time and money to organizations committed to helping Native Americans, and convincing our local governments to aid in changing any residual offenses like places named with derogatory terms, as well as helping to push for better representation of Native Americans in institutions such as the government and entertainment in order to combat efforts to erase/ignore Indigenous people like it is said in the National Geographic article.
East Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 16

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

What we need to do moving forward in order to have a better understanding of the experience of the Native Americans in this nation is to make sure that the people that were behind the forced sterilization of Native American Women are punished and it should be a wake-up call that we have to fight for their human rights in our nation. We also have to make sure that if there are statues referring to Native Americans like the one by the MFA have the correct context, because if not people are getting the wrong information about them which can lead to stereotypes. In the Invasion of America, it said that 1.5 billion acres were taken from North America's native peoples which very few people know about and has to be written in today's history textbooks in order.`The stereotypes that have been addressed as said by Wamsutta is, "The Indian was a savage, illiterate, uncivilized animal." this has been passed down by the historians themselves who create this image for the Native Americans when in reality they are just like every other person. The many genocides like the Massacre in eastern Colorado, the Washita Massacre in western Oklahoma, and the Bear River Massacre in southern Idaho all of their history is hidden in order to keep the US's reputation as being a triumph. non-indigenous folks can become allies by first becoming educated on the Native Americans' history and making sure it is the correct one, and spread awareness to all museums or publishers of textbooks that are teaching the next generation of humankind to make sure that they recognize the Native Americans for what actually happened even if it hurts America's reputation. We can reach out to any friends or family that are native American and just ask them how they feel in their community and what actions they would like to change with your support.

Boston, Massachusetts , US
Posts: 21

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

In class, we discussed President Obama’s actions to return land in Massachusetts to the Wapanoag people. While this measure was certainly a step in the right direction, more drastic steps of this variety should be taken. It can be argued that, no matter how much land is returned, it might not be possible for Native peoples to really return to their traditional ways of life. In my opinion, the action of giving land back to the Native peoples that originally held it would be an improvement on the growing practice of land “acknowledgment.” There is a large difference between saying something, and actually taking legislative action to make it happen. While the act of returning land can in no way make up for the genocide of Native peoples that began with the start of European and American colonization, this action would at the very least show physical and economic commitment to helping the tribal communitees that remain today. Another piece of legislative action that we can take would be to go about changing place or team names that present derogatory terms or stereotypes of Native American people. In Deb Haaland’s words, these actions would help to prevent “perpetuat[ing] the legacies of oppression” that still continue today.

One of the articles that shocked me the most was “The Little Known History of the Forced Sterilization of Native American Women.” I was aware that hysterectomies have been used as a method of degrading and repressing women since the advent of modern surgery, but I did not know that it had taken place on such a large scale against Native women within the US. This sort of violence is still used in the US, and as recently as 2021 has been used as a court-ordered punishment against those deemed “unfit” to have children, mainly women of minority backgrounds or those suffering from mental health disorders. One particularly notable case was investigated in Georgia in 2020, where a number of immigrant women who had been detained there had been forced to have “unwanted gynecological procedures.”

Posts: 13

The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Peoples

I think that the most important thing that we need to do moving forward is to make sure that all of the events we have learned about this week are taught in schools, throughout all levels of history classes. One of the most striking things was that many people (including myself) didn't know that all of these awful things happened. I think this is also how we need to address the stereotypes and misconceptions, by teaching an accurate, uncensored history about what really happened, including how these stereotypes came to be. One quote that I found really impactful from the articles was that "good history makes for good citizens" and I think that message is crucial moving forward for all kinds of history. The fact that Native peoples were kicked out of their land, hunted, and killed is horrendous, but what makes it even worse is that so many people don't know that it happened. We have been allowed to forget and that needs to change.

As I stated before, I think that education is the most important way to address these issues, and acknowledgement is the first step to making amends. But simply teaching an accurate history is the bare minimum. No apology will ever come close to making up for what happened, and as a non-Native person, I don't think that I'm the one who should be deciding what needs to happen. I'm not sure how this would work, but I think that there should be land given back to Native peoples, since it was theirs in the first place, as well as some money given. A land acknowledgement should be required at every big event, everywhere where the national anthem is played. I think that information and education is definetely the most important way to move forward, so that we can build a nation together. Society needs to see Native peoples as people, and I think learning from a young age, or not, is the best way to help with stereotypes and to ensure that everyone knows what really happened.

Boston, Massachusetts, US
Posts: 14

Settler Colonialism and Native Peoples: Where do we go from here?

  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. I think the first thing we can do is talk to indigenous people. In the documentary we watched in class, the indigenous people mentioned that it is vital to connect to real indigenous people in order to confront our part in indigenous history as well as understand indigenous experiences. Indigenous peoples hold plenty of events for both cultural and political reasons, many of which discuss the impact of indigenous peoples on this country and vice versa. Indigenous people create plenty of indigenous art and literature that can be bought or read to both support Indigenous creators and also learn more about Indigenous expression. At the same time, many indigenous practices and circles are closed, and those spaces should also be respected. In the documentary, many white people went too far in their eagerness to understand indigenous peoples and asked to be part of their sacred fire; something that is closed off to outsiders, and I think that while we must be proactive in our attempts to connect we must also grant indigenous people their space and respect when certain things are not available to a non-indigenous party.

  1. How do we address the stereotypes, misperceptions, the “twistory” that has been passed down among non-Native Americans about this population?
    1. The primary way to address this issue is to call it out when you see it. When you see something that twists and misshapes the image of indigenous Americans, do not let it slide. All the racist logos, all the racist sports mascots, all the fetishistic halloween costumes: these are all things that can be protested and ostracized. If people come together and form the general understanding that it is not okay, then they are more likely to be banned and stop perpetuating racism against indigenous peoples.

  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. The very first thing we can do is make land acknowledgements towards the Native people and build memorials for all the unmarked graves of those our forefathers had slaughtered. We can teach native history in schools, we can stop dressing up as them for Thanksgiving, and we can show the young the beauty of their cultures and the loss that they have been forced to endure. That is the apology, the very first step. The amends are much more difficult to manage. After all, how can you possibly amend the near eradication of two continents? How can you amend for the Encomienda system, the Trail of Tears, the Wounded Knee massacre, the bodies as young as three years old under residential schools? You cannot bring back the dead, you cannot restore the time spent with the disappeared children, you cannot rebuild the villages and cities completely wiped off the map. None of these can be brought back. The next best thing that we can do is protect what is left of the indigenous peoples. We can support their movements to regain stolen land and to maintain their land treaties (which are, for the record, constantly intruded upon), and we can protect their children. SCOTUS is reviewing ICWA as I type this. ICWA, or the Indian Child Welfare Act, is entirely vital in the prevention of Native cultural genocide. The opportunity for indigenous children to be able to grow up surrounded by their culture is necessary for that culture to continue. Protecting ICWA is the first step to amends.

  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. I think that more Native people should be in the government. I like how in their reservations they have tribal sovereignty, but I dislike how the United States does not grant these territories any kind of support. Two years ago, when the Seattle indigenous community asked for COVID-19 tests and supplies, they received body bags. One in ten indigenous reservations lack access to basic health conditions or clean water. We have taken everything from them, left them in destitute poverty, left them with inadequate education, left them in inadequate health conditions, and yet we wonder why they are not in our government and why they have higher crime rates. We treat them as expendable, as moral failings, and act as if their suffering is brought upon themselves; if they tried harder maybe they would be more integrated into our society. But maybe the onus is on us to help them. Any group, if subjected to conditions bad enough, will have higher crime rates. Indigenous poverty and crime and alcoholism etc. are not a lapse in morality, but rather a byproduct of generations of trauma brought on by our institutions. If we diverted just 1% of the money we put into the police, or into the military, and we dedicated it entirely to Native peoples, more of them would have clean water. More would have access to quality secondary education. More would go to college. More could serve as politicians. The best way to support Indigenous integration without completely destroying the indigenous aspect (as we have in the past through the taking of their children or the residential schools) is to support them, and in due time they will want to gain sovereignty and they will want to have a voice in our society. They simply do not have the means because of what we have done, and in order to progress we must acknowledge how we must help Them rather than the other way around.
posts 16 - 23 of 23