Stolen Land

I find this interesting too….

Went to St. Charles for their Christmas Traditions Festival over the weekend.  Found a book, “Indian Story and Song from North America” by Alice C. Fletcher … a Victorian woman who did a lot of research on American Indian music around the 1890’s — by hanging out with them, listening to their stories.  I’ve always been interested in a lot of the cultural aspects of the American Indians.

So I bought the book.  And I’m reading along in it – she tells the stories behind the songs as told to her by tribe members.

“The He-du’-shka Society is very old.  It is said to have been in existence at the time when the Omahas and the Ponkas were together as one tribe.  There is a song with a dance which must be given at every meeting.  It is to keep alive the memory of a battle that took place while we were migrating westward, and where defeat would have meant our extermination as a tribe.  I will tell you the story.

One morning, the tribe, whose country had been invaded by the Ponkas, made an unexpected assault upon the camp of the invaders.  For a time, it seemed as though the Ponkas would fare badly at the hands of their assailants, who were determined to drive out or destroy the intruders;  but after a desperate struggle the Ponkas pushed their enemies back from the outskirts of the village, until finally their retreat became a rout.  Both sides suffered great loss.  The ground was strewn with the dead, and the grass stained with the blood of the warriors who fell in the battle;  but the victory was with us, and we had conquered the right to dwell in that country.”

There are those who insist on advancing the view that Europeans came across the ocean with some sort of unique “western” attitude that migration and acquisition of property by force to facilitate it means that the “white man” has no right to the land that he lives on today, many generations later.  This attitude is based on standards since set by those very “white men”.  We are judging the past through the lens of today’s standards, and we are leaving out important details to do that.

If we, the descendants of those who conquered this land have no right to it as it was obtained by conquest – and we obtained it from people who obtained it by conquest … where, exactly, does that chain of logic end?

D’Souza’s “America – Imagine A World Without Her” addresses this and many other memes.  It’s worth watching.

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One thought on “Stolen Land

  1. Severian

    I have never, ever understood the “peaceful Native American” meme. Violence is endemic in all human societies. Heck, in all hominid societies. Except the bonobos, I guess. So that would really be something — North American natives and bonobos, alone among hominids, have no territorial conflicts. Because imperialism.

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