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

Matt Silberstein (
Wed, 28 Aug 1996 00:21:28 GMT

In sci.archaeology wrote:


>>The American government owes significant moral, legal, and economic
>>debt to the Native peoples. As a reasonable successful taxpayer I am
>>fully prepared to pay that debt. I, as an individual, do not owe a
>>moral debt to them. I do owe a moral debt to the righteous people who
>>help people survive the holocaust. By extension I owe a debt to people
>>who have help the Native peoples. Does than make sense?

>Not a lick. It does sound self centered and absorbed, narrow
>minded, hippocritical, divisive, monofocused (I just made that word
>up) and down right ugly. If I understand you correctly I and
>everyone else should go to our respective communities and support
>only our individual struggles. The money we pay in taxes absolves
>us of any additional actions of support or concern for others. Oh!
>and we do not refer to each other by skin color because that may
>offend and spot our character. Dum, dada, dum, da, dum, da, dum
>can't buy that!

My goodness! Let me try again. I have been misinterpreted and I did
not say what you thought I said. Please try to work with me on this,
because we are miscommunicating and that is causing difficulties. I
owe a debt to people who, at the risk of their lives, tried to help
others. I owe a debt because of their moral actions, not because they
help my group. But you have to understand how that kind of debt is
paid. I do not give them money, or help their family, I have to act
morally to others. My concern for, and support for Native Americans
(among other groups) is because others showed concern for me and mine.
The money I pay in taxes supports a different kind of debt. That was
in response to the point that the American Government has broken
treaties. They have and should pay back what they have taken.
Personally I do not think I owe a specific moral debt to Native
Americans. That is, I am not responsible for the damage. While your
ancestors were being massacred in here, mine were having very similar
treatment "there".

>It may be that
>>we are using different concepts of moral responsibility. Not
>>contradictory, just different ideas.

>Very different concepts. It amazes me how we can justify a dodge
>and a side step of the truth. Your concept is yours to have but it
>only adds to the hipporitical wasteland. We make so many recipes
>for chicken salad, but is still tast like - well, you know. :-(

Please tell me how I have side stepped the truth. I do not think I am
being hypocritical. What is funny is that I am not denying that I have
the responsibilities you claim, I am disputing how I "take" them. I do
not owe because of the color of my skin. I do not owe because my
ancestors did anything wrong. I do not owe because of my ethnic
background*. I owe a responsibility as an American citizen. I owe a
responsibility as a human being. I owe a responsibility as a person
who happens to be doing fairly well. Once again I ask if this makes

>>>The tree was planted over 500 years ago and the fruits are here
>>>now for us to pluck but the Native American has to *shake* the
>>>tree for theirs. Shame!

>>>I was taught that the evil
>>>>done to my ancestors gave me a special responsibility to not do evil
>>>A lesson we can all learn from and thereby refer to the
>>>indigenous people in a manor they deem appropriate!
>>>To them not to is evil!
>>Only a small part of the responsibility, but I agree.


>Facing the wall, head up, arms stretched upward:
>Paloma: "Am I talking to the wall"!

I do not understand. I was saying that refering to people how they
want to be refered is only one of many responsibilities. You don't
think otherwise, so I don't understand your response. You are not
talking to a wall because I am trying very hard to communicate with


*I do not claim that my background absolves me of any responsibility.
Just that my background does not bestow any specific responsibility
for Native Americans on me.

Verbing weirds language - W. W.