Friday, November 28, 2014

Never forget

My office contains the display of several Native American artifacts.

Often people ask me "Why the Native American material?"

 Natural question, I suppose, since not many people think much about the subject or the people to whom we owe so much.

The ongoing discussion about sports mascots, especially in professional sports and particularly in the NFL with the Washington franchise, offers a reminder and the space to at least acknowledge the issues surrounding native peoples who were dispossessed, largely by my ancestors.

I collect and display the Native American items as a reminder to everyone that oppression, injustice, fear, hatred, racism and notions of ethnic superiority run through our national narrative from start to present.

A people with our history should practice humility and exercise sensitivity far beyond what comes natural for most of us.

The New York Times published an editorial today by Yale professor, Ned Blackhawk ("Remember the Sand Creek Massacre") that brings much more focus and seriousness to the tragic story of Native Americans and the invasion of their homelands.

Here's how Blackhawk begins:

Remember the Sand Creek Massacre
NOV. 27, 2014 NEW HAVEN

MANY people think of the Civil War and America’s Indian wars as distinct subjects, one following the other. But those who study the Sand Creek Massacre know different. On Nov. 29, 1864, as Union armies fought through Virginia and Georgia, Col. John Chivington led some 700 cavalry troops in an unprovoked attack on peaceful Cheyenne and Arapaho villagers at Sand Creek in Colorado. They murdered nearly 200 women, children and older men.

Read the entire essay here.

No comments: