Resistance and Conquest in the Americas(was Amerind etc.)

Shannon Adams (
Fri, 02 Aug 1996 13:25:28 -0700

I think everyone is ( or definately should be) aware by now that this is
an extremely tender topic. Words imply conclusion as to who's the *bad
guy* and who's the *good guy*. I'm pretty sure that is the root of this
discussion (it began about the term *Amerind*).

As far as I can tell this is the way it stands. Modern Native Americans
feel they are being treated as a conquered people (and let's face it they
are still treated that way). Many Native Americans RESIST this limiting
definition of themselves (the *conquered people*) and find pride and
value in seeing themselves as the only legitimate heirs (for lack of a
better word) to nativeness (dumb word, sorry) and all that represents.

Many European Americans on the other hand do not feel they should be held
accountable for the atrocities committed by people they didn't know
(every if they are descended from them). Further they see their own
people (working class immigrants from Europe) as an oppressed people
(the oppression being the motivation for immigration in many
examples). Thus these people RESIST being identified with the conquerors
and try to enlist their own claims to nativeness.

(If this isn't an accurate dipiction PLEASE let me know)

I guess an important question is who has the RIGHT to be here? Is it
the Native American populations? Is it the European Americans? I
personally haven't the faintest idea. Because I am of European descent,
I don't really want to be told I'm not welcome. But at the same time I
can clearly see why Native Americans view Euro-Americans (as a group) as
intruders and worse. I'll admit to that I feel some responsibility for
the atrocities committed but I'm not sure how to repay them without
committing more.

We can squabble all we like about who did what to whom first. It won't
solve anything. What we really need to discuss are WORKABLE solutions
for restitution and empowerment AND forgiveness.

Brigham Young University