Re: Amerindian resistance mode (was: amerindian an offensive

Paula Sanch (
Tue, 20 Aug 1996 13:06:18 GMT

"Stephen W. Russell" <> wrote:

>On Tue, 13 Aug 1996, Matt Silberstein wrote:
>> I truely do not understand how my "spiritual ancestors" are the White
>> Americans Who Destroyed The Indians when not one person in my family
>> stepped foot on this hemisphere until 1903. And they left the
>> countries they came from because the people there were killing my
>> physical ancestors' families. Could you explain why I should take on
>> that particular burden of guilt?

Matt, if I interpret your ethnicity correctly from your surnname, I
understand that you have your own distinct subset of ethnic culture,
which I honor and would rather affirm than deny.

However, please consider whether and how much you participate in the
common culture of America as a whole. To whatever extent that you do,
you are the heir and beneficiary of the culture which founded this
nation on the blood and bones of my ancestors' friends and family, and
Steve's, and that of those other Native Americans who are still here.
It is in that fashion that you owe. It is in that same fashion that
you owe to Black Americans (or whatever their current preferred
nomenclature is - I'm getting old enough to be distinctly more
ethnocentric each year - which does not mean that I do not identify
with their sufferings. I participated in the civil rights activities
in Mississippi in the late 60s; eventually was warned to "get out of
town;" probably was given the courtesy of a warning because my work
was very low-profile, not "in your face") for what their ancestors
suffered and the disadvantages they still "enjoy". Every privilege,
every benefit, you enjoy comes out of either the patrimony or the
hopes and dreams of someone less fortunate than you. I point to the
cheap goods in our stores from third world countries, where the people
work for slave wages in slave conditions.

Please understand; I'm NOT a "bleeding heart". I try to be severely
realistic and logical in my thinking. Each of us owes a peculiar
(original meaning) debt to our own ancestors, something which is
clearly reflected in the Ten Commandments. Each of us also owes
something to the culture which provides us with our level of material
wealth and legal freedoms. Everyone who values American citizenship
owes a debt (s)he can NEVER repay to a man named Haym Solomon. He was
the treasurer for the Continental Congress (IIRC, re the title, but
that's not the important part) and when the money was all gone, and
the armies desperately needed supplies, he used his personal fortune
to secure the debts. Eventually he went bankrupt, and was never
reimbursed for what he spent, much less made money.

>Take it easy, Matt, nobody is accusing you of being at Wounded Knee.
>However, the depredations continue as we speak, and I hope you can
>understand that contemporary Indians are interested in making people
>choose a side. Injustice is, I suppose, a matter of degree, but there is
>a point (e.g., the Jewish Holocaust) when it is fair to say those who do
>not speak up are accomplices. Reasonable people can differ about when
>that point is reached. We are now about 1/2 of 1 percent of the
>population counting beaucoups mixed bloods. Excuse us if we choose not
>to go quietly.

"Oh, go not softly into that good night;
"Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

Written to a different end, but, IMHO, more valid for cultures than
individuals, unless you're dying young. We affirm one another, even
those of us who look more white than "red", because in so doing we
affirm ourselves and honor our ancestors, who had so much wealth and
so little need for it (in white eyes).
My object is to be perfectly frank, without hurting anyone's
feelings. My next impossible goal is . . . I dunno yet.