Re: >Decolonizing anthropolo

Alx V. Dark (avd5863@IS.NYU.EDU)
Fri, 3 Feb 1995 20:25:06 -0500

On Fri, 3 Feb 1995, Bjorn Conrad Fry wrote:
[warning: long post]

> John Cook wrote:
> >. . . . . .
> >Why for instance should native Americans, if you see no need in offering
> >some sort of compensation for their colonial history, be at constrained by
> >the demands of US citizenship. Are you going to write it off as a valid
> >historical process when someone bombs your dept. or will you suddenly decide
> >that this is inhum,ane and demands reparation,
> Good point, but how are Native Americans different with respect to
> citizenship than any other American citizen? Historically and politically,
> just about every conflict between peoples that resulted in territorial
> conquests (let's not kid ourselves) that occured more than three
> generations ago, is water over the dam. This is not what I want. This is
> simply the way things are. You can try to get the overwhelming victors to
> compensate you all you like. Unfortunately, you can't, with reasonable
> expectations, reevaluate history with the ethical standards and fashion of
> today. If the victors have raised several generations on that land, they
[etc. Sorry if the original poster felt there was a different argument
further along.]

If we are talking about Native Americans, we are not talking just about
pounding people into submission, then calling it justice (in a
Machiavellian tone I find a little strange for an anthropologist, I have
to say). We are also talking about a set of legal relationships, entered
into on our side fully of our own will, which out to be enforced if we
care to think of our government as in any sense democratic or for that
matter, legitimate (or is this a totalitarian state, or what?). Plenty
of lands have been confiscated from Indians that were never a matter of
any treaty agreement. We can at least pay reparations for those lands,
and return lands of religious importance to native control.

Native peoples are not "conquered" in the sense of having been eliminated
culturally, geographically, or politically -- far from being a done deal,
by dismissing these concerns as "water over the dam" is simply to
perpetuate these conflicts.

______________________________ ____________________________
Alx V. Dark Department of Anthropology
internet: New York University
"Wash your brains, think 25 Waverly Place
again, double check" -- H3O New York, NY 10003 USA