Re: Amerind an offensive term (was: Early Amerind assimilation

Stephen W. Russell (
Sun, 4 Aug 1996 20:10:15 -0500

Gosh Tom, I can't tell you how much it hurts my feelings that you find
nativist politics degenerate. Why the surprise? What is more political
than people wanting to control their own story?

I had heard the hegemonic version of Coronado discovering the pueblos
many times. How ol' Frank had this dude set up as a "medicine man" until
one day he sent his "medicine man" into a pueblo and the Indians killed
him. I found that odd because all of the pueblo people I know are so
peaceful and they did not, as far as I know go in for conquest. The
Pueblo Rebellion was a response to extreme provocation.

Well, one day I wandered into the Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque
and--guess what?--there was the same story. Seems this "medicine man"
dude waltzed in with a few parlor tricks and demanded food for the
Spanish troops. While the Indians were putting it together, he started
picking out which women he would take to the Spanish for their
entertainment. Hearing this, the Indians decided that while he was not a
medicine man he was dangerous--so they killed him.

I admit to being predisposed to favor the Indian side of the story, but
doesn't it sound more likely?

Yup, control of the terms of discourse can be very political, no
question. And, yes, our traditions hold a lot in common--particularly
land--which you are used to holding as an individual. And many tribes
have this odd notion that a man gains prestige by giving away things
rather than by accumulating them. Guilty!

Got another guy on this thread telling us that technology makes him above
nature's laws and therefore superior and now you want to tell us that a
system based on greed is more rational and more reliable and therefore

Is there any reason why we can't just agree to disagree about these
things? I have read the Bible front to back and found myself completely
disinterested in yonega spiritual beliefs. Can I plead that you display
the same disinterest in mine?

But, like all Indians still in the resistance mode, I will still try to
control the terms of discourse to my advantage. With all your guns, all
your technology, and Adam Smith's invisible hand weighing in on your
side, surely you can spare a few words?

Steve Russell