Remember our Exterminated Native Americans This Weekend

This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Driftwood70 2 years, 1 month ago.

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  • 25 Nov 2015 at 6:13 pm #7883

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    I’ve read estimates that the native American population in the early 1600s, when European colonization of North American, began in earnest was somewhere in the vicinity of 25-26 million. Today, that number – attenuated by disease, starvation, expatriation and direct violent slaughter – is around five and a quarter million.

    If we’re exhorted “never forget” the victims of the most recent holocaust, let’s also not forget the victims of the much longer, even more vicious holocaust of our predecessors in these lands – and take notice of the racist, xenophobic poison being vomited into our political discourse by the likes of Donald Trump and the collected Republican governors of America. It seems as though there’s no lesson sufficiently powerful or obvious that these execrable demagogues can learn.

    While you’re celebrating the rescue of the Pilgrims by Massachusetts tribesmen four hundred years or so ago, take some time to remember the kind of gratitude with which European settlers rewarded the folks who were already living here.

    It’s absolutely the least we can do.


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    • This topic was modified 2 years, 1 month ago by  Rick Wallach.
    26 Nov 2015 at 3:57 am #7885

    cantona
    Member

    The ‘our’ in the title of this thread is the master stroke. Excellent post, powerful and unforgettable.


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    26 Nov 2015 at 10:02 am #7887

    Clement
    Member

    I never much cared for turkey. The first execution in the Massachusetts Bay Colony was of the adolescent Thomas Granger in 1642, for committing buggery “with a mare, a cow, two goats, divers sheepe, two calves, and a turkey.” This last particularly caught my attention. The amateur anthropologist in me wants to impute the sacralized notion of the Thanksgiving Day Turkey to its’ victimization by Thomas Granger, who himself becomes victimized by the Colony’s kangaroo court. Once sight is caught of this sacrificial mechanism (the turkey was destroyed for having been buggered by Granger) I’m only capable of withdrawing like Holderlin after the battle of Jena. Personal piety precludes me partaking in this farce.

    I hope the Trump farce continues a bit longer, if only to improve my sense of his audience, for whom he obviously fills some psychic need, and half of whom will move on to another psycho (Ted Cruz) when the plug get’s pulled on the Donald.. I understand all the middle-aged white guys – steeped in Resentment as they are, but I’ve yet to pin down the youth and the women other than the obvious FEAR.


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    26 Nov 2015 at 11:30 am #7888

    Rick Wallach
    Keymaster

    Cantona: yes, “our.” I know there’s a tendency to blow off what was done to others by others before most of us were even born but that misses the point entirely: if we don’t own responsibility for our forebears, we’re liable – as demonstrated by our heartless response to the Syrians who love an ideal of an American we apparently no longer harbors ourselves – repeat the same brutality upon others.

    Clem: I like turkey. There’s nothing like a tryptophan rush when your diabetes drugs make it too dangerous to smoke weed anymore. Moreover, I you’ve inspired me to apply Rene Girard’s idea of the obfuscated scapegoat at the originary moment of institutionalized ritual to that buggered and sacrificed turkey. Oh boy. There are some things for which one cannot be too grateful.


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    26 Nov 2015 at 6:15 pm #7889

    Richard L.
    Member

    Yep, we should be aware of all the awful facts in Howard Zinn’s A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES, starting with the crimes of Columbus in his greedy pursuit of gold.


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    27 Nov 2015 at 2:23 pm #7892

    Candy Minx
    Member

    Thanks Rick. Never forget.

    Iattended a film and lecture a couple weeks ago with the Last Nazi Hunter. And a few folksier surprised that anyone thought that was still “relevant” topic. Efraim Zuroff was fascinating and I have been fascinated with the Nazi Hunters all my life.

    Almost all the criminals are dead now…only a few hiding in Denmark and U.S. left to find. The argument that they are too old now and why bother an old people….arises a similar response in me to why we would feel “our” is not relevant to hate crimes from other generations.

    The idea that a Nazi war criminal is too old to hunt down or bring to a trial is so hypocritical.

    We hear people say we should respect our elders and listen to the wisdom of former generations. Well you can’t suck and blow at the same time. If we want to give respect to our elders and previous generations…and we might believe there is wisdom in age….then all the more reason to chase down war criminals no matter what their age is. The kind of lifestyles and freedoms we have….and the kind of freedom Demjanjuk or Kepiro or Zentai lived insults the lack of any life their victims were allowed to live. We must remember who ancestors here killed and that our live and existence are on those lost.

    Our weight of loss for those people who were killed and whose livelihood we robbed is connected to our grief for refugees today…and for the loss we have living in our own police state here. Every human who has killed is our brother or sister just as every victim killed is our brother or sister.

    If we believe there might be some reason to respect an elder or to look at traditions for wisdom then we must believe there is a reason to hold them accountable. One way to hold a ghost accountable is to see their story connected to our story.

    And to add to the beloved Howard Zinn, I would add “Oliver Stone’s Untold History of The United States”

    here:

    http://www.sho.com/sho/oliver-stones-untold-history-of-the-united-states/home

    and this series you can watch here “Guns Germs and Steel” here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojU31yHDqiM


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    30 Nov 2015 at 6:52 am #7901

    Driftwood70
    Member

    Wanted to say thanks for this a few days ago, Rick.

    I’ve long been intrigued with the relationship between holidays and the perpetual process of power and manufactured identity; and alternately disgusted and intrigued with how to process the holidays both personally and socially in light of historical consciousness and social justice. This year, inspired partly by your post, I’ve been mulling over the paradox of the seeming contradiction: how can holidays and consciousness of social in/justice coexist. Well, the short answer is: they just do. Neither is going to go away or reconcile – neither Thanksgiving, nor the genocide of Native Americans. So, for example, on a practical level, does my family (or anyone else I may encounter) have to take it as a guilt trip or a bummer that I point out the injustices waged against Native Americans as we go about our Thanksgiving indulgences. No: I don’t think so: if holidays are truly about reverence (for natural cycles, for family, for metaphysical shenanigans, for historical kismet) then they may truly be about consciousness, about letting everything in, and bringing everything to the table, as it were.

    Even as a white American male, I had my holidays “corrupted” and “poisoned” at an early age by divorce. The irony, or medicine for me personally has been to apply a complex perspective on the holidays to other issues of social irreconcilability. How, for example, can I integrate the monstrosity of Christmas every fucking year, even as a non-Christian? Strategies…. and more consciousness.

    Anyway, after sharing your post with folks. I followed it up with some very brief more general reflections of my own, which are neither meant to soften the blow of brutality committed, nor to reconcile what should not be, but to continue the engagement and strategies for encouraging consciousness of social justice. Take it or leave it, or discuss. And thank god that in the spirit of the Evening Redness in the West, Tarantino seems to have become the Christmas Ambassador of our times. And of course ruminations are not to be confused with action, legislation and reparation.

    “Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do with information. There’s a lot of noise. Consciousness of social justice isn’t about feeling guilty, or about undermining your own identity, or defending against it. It’s firstly about being awake: to the layers of complexity and the overlapping maps that orient us to where and when we are. All holidays, if we look closely, are birthdays and funerals simultaneously. They’re not about seeking rightness or immunity. They’re about the confluence of the lava flows that make them worth celebrating. They are by design amoral: reverence, on occasion, for the terror and illumination of interdependence. There’s a window where transformation is possible. ‘No, it’s not your fault, but we’re in this together,’ said the fox to the duck… beneath the shadow of the hawk. Be awake! The bells are ringing!”

    Thanks again for your post.
    Jeff


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