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

Matt Silberstein (
Thu, 08 Aug 1996 05:00:21 GMT

"Stephen W. Russell" <> wrote:

>On Sun, 4 Aug 1996, Matt Silberstein wrote:

>> How can you justify to
>> dividing the population into Indian/Native American/? on side and
>> Whites/Bubbas/? on the other. How does responsibility follow skin color
>> or previous national origin? IMHO, a major source of evil in this world
>> comes when we divide humanity into Us and Them. Indians have been
>> horribly mistreated and they continue to be mistreated to this day. But
>> do not fool yourself. Given the opportunity, if they had the technology,
>> they would have done the same to others. We are all humans, with
>> weaknesses and strengths, good intentions and selfish. Work to eliminate
>> the evil, work to correct the problems, but don't see a Them or you will
>> (if successful) just create a new evil.
>I can't justify it, but I'm not the one who did the dividing.

Are you saying that when those Euros came over the First Nations did
not see the Euros as "the other"? Are you saying that the First
Nations saw everybody as one big happy group? I doubt they did that, I
doubt you think that.

>As I said,
>Indians did not all become citizens until 1924. We are now about one
>half of one percent of the population. Even if we are as evil as you
>say, I cannot see what threat it would pose to allow us a measure of
>self-sufficiency and autonomy on reservations.

To claim that I am calling you or anyone else evil is disingenuous at
best. I claim that Native Americans, like the rest of us are human,
with human greatness and human faults. And where do you get the idea
that I, or anyone else on this thread, opposes self-sufficiency and
autonomy. I would support a rather significan transfer of assets to
Native Americans. It seems only fair to me.

>It is certainly true that
>my ancestors staked out quite a large territory by warfare, so you may be
>right. It is also true that the traditional beliefs that built in
>limitations to both our war making and our hunting are followed by few
>these days. But if we go to hell in our own way and by our own means, we
>are unlikely to take very many non-Indians with us.

I have no proof on what I am about to say, and could be very off base,
but I will say it anyway. I have a suspicion that the traditional
beliefs as we talk about them were probably very similar to Christian
charity and universal love in the Middle Ages. That is, the religious
beliefs came into conflict with realpolitic, and often religion and
morality lost.

>There is a quote from Justice Hugo Black that always appears in dissenting
>opinions in Indian law cases, as a signal that the Indians are about to
>get screwed again: "Great nations, like great men, should keep their

Sounds great to me. I admire Justice Black. He shows that you can't
always predict what a man will do when he grows up.