Re: Amerindian resistance mode (was: amerindian an offensive

Paula Sanch (
Sun, 11 Aug 1996 23:13:37 GMT (Gerold Firl) wrote:

>In article <4ua7ob$>, (Paula Sanch) writes:

>|> Most NA tribes/nations want
>|> most that their lands not be despoiled. I guess it depends on what
>|> your vision of the Garden of Eden is, whether it is a place where
>|> nature rules or where cultivated plants parade in orderly rows toward
>|> the sunset.

>It'a all a question of population density. If the land is lightly
>populated, then agriculture isn't necessary. For the foreseeable future
>we will need those orderly rows of crops, if we want everyone to have
>enough to eat.

So you're in favor of a world population at or above 5 billion? Is
that what you're saying?

>A self-described iroquois from upstate new york in her 40's, named
>barbara johnson, told me that until recently she felt ashamed of her
>indian ancestry. In the last few years she had come to terms with her
>negative feelings, and last year she went to a sweat at a local
>reservation around here, to emerge feeling purified and reborn. She felt
>pride in her iroquois heritage, and felt good about herself.

>I didn't quiz her very thoroughly about how other iroquois felt about
>being indian; my impression was that she was not unique in her feelings,
>but we didn't get real sociological in our discussions.

Perhaps your acquaintanceship of NAs is more comprehensive than mine,
Gerold, but I doubt it, and I've never encountered anyone who was
ashamed. Is that truly the word she used? If so, did you ask her
*why* she was ashamed? I would be very interested to know why any NA
was ashamed. In my book, it is conquerors and/or oppressors who do or
should feel shame, not the objects of their attentions. I feel
tremendous pride in my NA ancestry; I feel *no* shame, even for the
uncle who served time because he was unwilling to show the 'proper'
"yassa, massa" attitude.

>Really? You've never met a native american who had a chip on his
>shoulder? Who felt angry and bitter about all the injustices suffered by
>his people? Who had even just the tiniest bit of trouble "appreciating"
>the culture of the conqueror/oppressor?

I've met plenty who were angry about the injustices; they make me
angry, too. The ones who have a real chip on their shoulders mostly
aren't walking around as free members of society; they're behind bars.
A real chip on the shoulder results in anti-social behavior, which
generally leads to prison time. To the best of my knowledge, there
are no NA participants on this NG who are behind bars. However, even
today, there are NAs who are in prison for reasons other than crime;
Leonard Pelletier is the most prominent, but hardly the only one.

One of the things that it seems clear to me you *don't* understand is
precisely what it feels like to be a "marginal" person (in the
anthropological sense). A person who is able to function at all in a
society in which the cultural leaders are from a culture not his(hers)
is quite clearly able to compare and contrast the differences between
the values of the two cultures s/he must balance. There are
invariably features of each which appeal, though they may not be the
same features for each marginal person from the same (or similar)
cultures. Appreciating those features (whatever they may be) of the
dominant culture has little to do, in the individual lives of such
persons, with one's overall assessment of the relative merits of the
two, on any scale or in toto.

>Based on what I've seen in this newsgroup, I find that hard to believe.

Gerold, you ain't seen nuthin in this newsgroup. If you want to see
real chips on shoulders, go into any ghetto. I've yet to see a
militant NA who was nearly as vitriolic or violent as some militant
blacks are. And that isn't intended as a put-down to blacks.

The thing that most whites refuse to see is that your ancestors (your
spiritual ancestors, if your family immigrated more recently, but you
are a part of the dominant white American culture) have "sown the
wind," and you (or maybe your descendants, if you're as incredibly
fortunate as your ancestors) will "reap the whirlwind." Whatever
worth anyone may assign or deny to the Christian Bible as a religious
document, it contains tremendous wisdom about sowing and reaping, and
about how your descendants pay, in due season, for what you do, in the
event that you do not, personally, "reap what you sow."

(Though it isn't the translation I now use, all my quotations tend to
be in the King James because that's what I learned as a child and
young adult.) One full and entirely apropos text goes as follows:

"Be not deceived; God is not mocked. For whatsoever a man soweth,
that shall he also reap."

Another passage refers to those who sow good things reaping good
things, and those who sow bad, reaping bad. It's all very
allegorical, but it's the sort of truth that farmers learn. If you
sow hatred, you will reap hatred; if you sow love, you will reap love.
What sort of seed are you sowing, Gerold?
My object is to be perfectly frank, without hurting anyone's
feelings. My next impossible goal is . . . I dunno yet.