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Old 08-23-2006, 08:17 AM   #1
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Help with defending our heritage

I have been talking and trying to teach some people and am having a hard time. Several of them will never accept ANYTHING I have to say and some are listening. The ones giving me a hard time defend the killing of Indians from the time of Columbus, and deny millions were killed from that time on. They use racial words, call Indians names, calling me a racist because I say the Europeans killed our people. The purpose is to point out that the Indians were savage killers and HAD to be taken out. I really got them angry when I used the term Genocide to describe the killing of millions. They don't believe that there were millions at all, and say that since I can't produce the bones to prove it, then I am lying. They want proof of birth, as they say chapter and verse or it's just my oppinion and is worthless.
In their argument, they believe that since there weren't millions killed, then it can't be a genocide and the killing was nothing more than battles here and there! They say that since, there were schools or any type of help after the trail of tears, the long walk etc. then it couldn't be genocide if the whites were trying to help them!
I get soooo tired of the song and dance, that Indians weren't treated well and I am sorry for that, but then go to town, saying that it was soooo long ago, to just get over it, because They didn't do it, and even if their famlies did, it happened to our g g g g g great grand parents who are dead. That's how they dismiss discussion of history especially when it's an Indian talking about it! There's one man who is French and Spanish who fancies himself to be an historian or purist of history. He's the worse and once again called me racist because in typing to him, I didn't capitalize the "w" in white! He gets beligerent with me because he doesn't think that I should have the right to question what he says, being a history teacher. He uses the old west books! Loves Onate! He screams if you use anything other than written European history or oral European history, while saying that the oral history of Native Americans is nothing more than your family messing up a story they think happened in a Ghost Dance dream! Or someone having bad dreams in their old age, because demencia has set in!
I really have no hope of teaching some of them anything, but I want to be able to teach the ones who are listening.
Do any of you know how to answer what I talked about above? Links would be great as well. I have done a decent job thus far, but know there are many who can do it much better! I think I have gone thru every emotion there is, talking to them, and just really want to do a good job.
When My son was about 12, and my grandmother nearing 96 many, many, yrs. ago, she told my son one day, by grabbing his arm, her eyes filling full of tears, telling him that he was looking too Indian that day, and that he had to be careful or someone might hang him. She knew fellow Indians that had been hung when she was young and feared for his safety. She had been thinking about her youth when she saw him walk into the room. I remember how it shook him up and how it has never left him. You can't explain this to someone looking in from a world that doesn't see what others have been through. So I thank you in advance for any help, that you might be kind enough to offer.
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:06 PM   #2
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Wakopataki,
I don't know if I am welcome here in Native News And Issues...cause I am German-yes-European with a tiny little bit NDN blood in me. But I don't know much about your/our history. Not yet. Everything I know I 'learned' from reading books like "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee". Too sad.
Be sure I would be so glad to have a teacher like you! You are telling not only those facts you feel comfortable with. I think you are right, it is not a teacher's job to judge about history. History is history. It is past which repeats in different forms, and remembering history should avoid some mistakes that have already been made.
This is only my opinion. I read it somewhere. (WhoMe?)
I am sorry that I cannot help you. I don't know enough. The only thin I know is that NOBODY should have to suffer because he/she is Indian, African, German (Hitler) or whatever! Everybody please show respect against each other. No prejudice...
Okay, I better get out of here. Best wishes from Germany!
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Old 08-24-2006, 06:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indian-heart-beat
I read it somewhere. (WhoMe?)!


Uh oh. I heard my name! *L

------------

Wakopataki,

If you are sincere and really want to learn Indian history. I have compiled a 36-page paraphrased timeline of: treaties, ordinances, policies, laws, decisions, commissions, acts and removals affecting American Indians from first contact to the present.

I would be willing to share this document with you to help you educate some of those who may frustrate you.

Each piece of information is a paragraph long but includes the call numbers to find the original document if you want to do some real research.

Let me know by PMing me with your email address.




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Old 08-25-2006, 03:29 AM   #4
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Two wonderful people helping me thus far! I feel very blessed and am anxious to learn more! I love to study our history!
The one question that seems to mean more to some of them is the proving that there were millions alive in the first place and then proving it by finding that many remains as evidence. The question is framed in such a way, that it's impossible using their standards of proof. They can't see how that many people could disappear in 400-500 yrs. Therefore it didn't happen. I am hoping that there is a better way to explain it to them, or maybe there's something I have missed. Any imput or verifiable facts, would be most welcome!
Others are asking great questions and I am enjoying them, they are just out numbered! I'm a strong woman, and some of those men didn't count on that! LOL!

My dad called me, all of my life, his, "Little NDN Princess Running Mouth!"
I loved him for that and it was and is sooooo true!!! LOL!
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Old 08-25-2006, 11:07 AM   #5
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Because of the ideological underpinnings of the pre-Columbian population debate, people can be quite attached to their particular population count. I've short-circuited these arguments on occasion by saying (in essence): whether you agree with 100 million figure of the high-counters -- like David Stannard author of American Holocaust -- or 15 million number of the low-counters - like R. J. Rummel -- isn't this way too many?

It can also be helpful to re-cast the discussion in different terms. I worked with a guy who was very much a John Wayne "we made a mistake by not letting them join the American mainstream" type. In one discussion he started in about how Americans had tried to help the Indians with "free" boarding schools. I personalized the arguement. I started out taking the tack of "yes, the people who started those schools really thought they were doing good." Then I asked him to imagine his son being taken away, asked him to imagine his son going through what my grandfather went through. Then I brought the whole thing into the present and told him how having relatives that had these experiences effected my life. By avoiding shoving guilt and blame down his throat (not that I am saying you do this), I got him to re-evaluate his attitudes.

As for the oral history, that is harder. This matter goes to a very deep difference in worldviews. With a lot of research it is possible to provide documentation that supports portions of the oral history. However, sometimes you can counter by asking how much of your educatee's family history, not just birth and death records but life histories, is verified by independent written sources -- several independent sources with appropriate creditials form "good" schools. Then ask if the act of writing something automatically prevents lying.

Anyway, my 2 cents.
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Old 08-26-2006, 08:09 AM   #6
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Those are good ideas! I too try to personalize my responses, on a level that is not meant to become an argument.

I did tell them though, that if I had a dollar for every time I was told in my life that Indian's got a raw deal, I'd be rich!

Then I told them, that if I had a dollar for every time I was told that we should just shut up and get over it, I'd be a millionaire!
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Old 08-28-2006, 11:47 PM   #7
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Boozhoo niji,

OLChemist I kinda like the way that you served the truth as a side dish. I have tried this, with my boss, that I see everyday. It didnt work for him. It does work with some people though.

Wakopataki, Keep on teacking the ones that will listen, and ignore the ones you cant. Like my boss, there is nothing I can do or say to change his mind, he is a bit of a historian, he likes to be correct (all the time) and if its not written in a book somewhere, then it didnt happen. It is useless trying to argue with him, and sometimes I forget that when HE brings up the subject and I end up loosing my temper in the end.

These people are not worth wasting your time on, use your time to teach the ones that will learn. What you are attempting to do is a noble effort, and its soemthing that more people should be trying to do. The more people that know the truth, the better it will be for future generations.

There are people that prefer not to change anything, the people that wrote the history in the first place. History is written for the masses by the victors. These people you need to be careful of, because they will try to stop you. I cant really tell you how to deal with these people, except to just tell them to leave.

Thats about all I have to say about this so I will leave it at that.

Derek
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Old 08-30-2006, 05:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by crazywolf
if its not written in a book somewhere, then it didnt happen...


*L Don't you just love that mentality?

Most of the world's historical cultural evolution is undocumented.

Just because a whole culture is wiped out and there were no witnesses to write down what took place, does that mean it didn't happen?
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Old 08-30-2006, 05:41 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhoMe
*L Don't you just love that mentality?

Most of the world's historical cultural evolution is undocumented.

Just because a whole culture is wiped out and there were no witnesses to write down what took place, does that mean it didn't happen?
Ennit? I had a guy tell me recently that for history to be valid, it must be written.

Wakopataki, there are a couple of books I think might help you, mainly because they present an unusually unbiased view AND were both written by whites. Since you indicate that some of the people you talk to don't believe nDn's, these unbiased white writers could be helpful.

The Earth Shall Weep by James Wilson is a blow by blow accounting of the theft of Turtle Island, Nation by Nation. Take your blood-pressure meds before reading!
1491 by Charles Mann gives an eye-opening account of the civilizations that flourished here before Columbus got lost and stubbed his toe on an island 12,000 miles from where he thought he was. It is based on solid archaeological evidence that most mainstream scholars try to ignore, due to the fact that it seriously messes with their concept of history.

As others have said, there are many who will not ever understand or even listen. Don't waste your breath on them. Some want to know the truth. Please be careful to give them your best efforts. And thank you for trying, and for asking for assistance.
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Old 08-30-2006, 06:26 PM   #10
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Wakopataki,

Where in Washington are you at? When I went to school up there, we had to take a Pacific Northwest History class from middle school up to high school. It covered alot of the Okanagan, Nez Perce, Colville, Tulalip, and other tribal histories, like Chief Sealth, up that way. Actually, I was lucky to have that class, and I don't know if the school kids are taking this class any more, or whether its mandatory or not. But, knowing what was being taught and I hope still being taught, the WA state schools were really into that part of native american history. If you are on the eastern part of WA, then it may be different. Regardless, don't worry about who you are reaching or how many you are reaching. Its the fact that you are teaching, is all that matters. You can't force everyone to listen to you, just because what you have to say is important, others will not think so. Speak from your heart, speak from what you know, instead of criticising yourself, give yourself a pat on the back. I have been trying to teach native american history to kids and adults for many years but you'll end up defeating yourself in the end, if you keep 'expecting' too much.
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Old 08-31-2006, 03:16 PM   #11
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Wakopataki,
I agree with the others that it is important for your well-being and sanity that you leave behind the ones who will never change their minds. I live in Pennsylvania which is the most ignorant state in the union when it comes to knowing anything about NDNs.
I have had great success with Talking Circles though. It attracts the people who want to know and are willing to have their view of the world and themselves turned upside down.
The reason many Anglos are so unwilling to accept the facts when it comes to the truth about history and NDNs is that it is too painful to face the truth. I know how painful this is because I am part Anglo. So, I know the psyche from both sides and have the honor and misfortune of being a symbol of my people’s survival and destruction all in one beautiful package. It is painful for Anglos to deal with the atrocities committed by their ancestors and the fact that they continue to benefit from those atrocities today.
A Talking Circle makes it possible to dig deep and face the truth because it is a safe environment where people who are willing can deal with the emotions that come up when the truth is allowed in.
I wish you many blessings on your journey.
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Old 08-31-2006, 10:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wakopataki
Several of them will never accept ANYTHING I have to say and some are listening. The ones giving me a hard time defend the killing of Indians from the time of Columbus, and deny millions were killed from that time on.
...
They don't believe that there were millions at all, and say that since I can't produce the bones to prove it, then I am lying.
...
I really have no hope of teaching some of them anything, but I want to be able to teach the ones who are listening.
...
When My son was about 12, and my grandmother nearing 96 many, many, yrs. ago, she told my son one day, by grabbing his arm, her eyes filling full of tears, telling him that he was looking too Indian that day, and that he had to be careful or someone might hang him. She knew fellow Indians that had been hung when she was young and feared for his safety. She had been thinking about her youth when she saw him walk into the room. I remember how it shook him up and how it has never left him. You can't explain this to someone looking in from a world that doesn't see what others have been through.
Wakopataki I am glad you posted. It stirred up a lot of ideas in me...

I can't help you with numbers, facts and history (I'm sure there are others who will), but there are a number of things that I'd like to share.

Teach the ones who are listening - PLEASE. Don't waste time on people who demand "proof"... They will never believe you even if you *had* the bones right in front of them with a counter. They would still find some excuse to explain it all away. [People like that don't believe the numbers of the Jewish (and others) Holocaust and they have bones, numbers and documentation.] When you run into a doofus like that, just remember - "You can't teach a pig to sing. It's a waste of time and annoys the pig."

There's always someone listening. It may not be who you expect, but teach them anyway. It may be what survives long after those books are obsolete and discredited.

It may be no consolation now, but look at the things we're finding out about the Egyptians *thousands* of years later. There are instances where the names of previous pharoahs were scratched out, murders that were unknown until this time, and plenty of lies that passed for 'history' for a long time. Eventually the truth is discovered.

And there are many of us who know exactly what you're talking about with your grandmother and son (unfortunately so). I live about 15 minutes from Puzzles Lounge - where Jason Robida took an axe to one man and shot a few others in a gay bar. I remember hearing about the death of Matthew Shepard. (He was driven to a remote area, tied to a split-rail fence, tortured, beaten and pistol-whipped by his attackers, while he begged for his life; he was then left for dead in near freezing temperatures.) I remember Stonewall. And yes, I've been beat up on the street by strangers just for 'looking gay'... (Can you imagine what they would have done if I had actually been holding hands or kissing someone?)

But I don't let any of that stop me from being me. There's a lot to be said about 'safety in numbers'... And all good people should gather together. We're all fighting the same evil...
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Old 09-02-2006, 02:20 AM   #13
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Hey everybody, thanks for all of your help and kindness! Hazben, the books you mentioned I will definitley look into. The blood pressure meds just got refilled! LOL!

Nezbah, I live in Vancouver Washington, and the schools here now, I think are different from what you experienced. My daughter who is in high school was told by her history teacher, that since the Trail of Tears killed so many NDN's and because it was so long ago, it wasn't as important as other history to teach.
My little ones were taught in school a very small unit about NDN's and history. The teachers are always confused about why we don't celebrate Columbas day!

I have encountered the dark side, as I call it, and had to walk away at one point in dealing with some of the people I have spoken to. You all have been so right about that. This guy said that I was full of "Buffalo Dung" and got indignant with the use of the words "Native American". He and several others said that those words are for White Americans now, because they were born here and that we should only use the term, "Indigenous Americans", only. Then it was the usual, lazy, drunken, worthless, always got a hand out talk. I won't even try with them now that they have taken it to that level. I don't mind a healthy debate, but this was abusive.
On the bright side, I am still able to talk to others who find the history fascinating, because they had never heard it explained that way before.
I do find it interesting that when talking about the various massacres where large numbers were killed, that the ones that I have talked to always want to lower the numbers by several hundred to many hundreds. It's like if 800 were killed, they are OK thinking it was 300. Maybe the denial thing helps them somehow, but it's ridiculas when they don't care about 300, like that is somehow that's an acceptable number! I will continue to plug away at this and always welcome your support and advice, there's alot of wisdom here, and I am thankful for that! Beyond the blood pressure meds., I think I'll need some dye for the gray hairs this is causing! LOL!
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