Being from neither here nor there

13 09 2008

I was reading an essay about growing up Native American, and it blew my mind. The struggles that Native Americans go through living in and out of two very contrasting cultures, almost opposites. I cannot begin to comprehend the depth of the search  for an real identity, for who they really are.

Let me start with a little bit of history. You live in a farm, this farm has been in your family for generations, all of the sudden some people show up and they announce that they are moving into you house; These people are armed and take over you house and most of you land, they let you live with you family in a acre of land. Then other people show up, and they keep distributing your land, the land of your ancestors, among themselves, and you find yourself limited to less of a yard to live in. These people have the idea that you do not know how to properly manage your assets, so they also take your livestock, your bank account, etc. Some of your family members refuse and they are tortured, imprisoned or killed. The author had a similar metaphor, which I thought was very poignant, to describe this period in history that has been called “Colonization” I don’t believe that it is the right word.

I have heard that the winner gets to write the history of what happened; but I am still appalled when I see those movies called westerns where the Indians are the savages, and the settlers that come and take their land and kill them, are the good guys and the victims of the so called savages.

Since that time of “colonization” there has been a relentless battle to strip the Native American from their culture (I guess the only thing that could not be taken). The famous boarding schools to civilize them, and the imposition of the European culture, to name just two.

So now a days, when a child is born Native American, at home they might still have their traditions, their vision of life, their views on family, community, etc. When these children go into the outside world, they encounter a culture that is so different and is almost opposite to theirs; they have to live in this dichotomy of two conflicting worlds, within themselves. To top this off, the messages in the outside world portrait your culture as something to be rejected, with so many negative stereotypes that can lead to selfhatetred. What a position to be in, I cannot even start to imagine or put myself in their shoes.

I do understand that African Americans, Asian, Latinos and other cultures might go through a similar experience, probably all to different degrees. I don’t want to minimize any of them, because every experience is different and to each of us our own is the most important, or bigger or greater.

I wanted to bring this up to make you think. When you see somebody that does not fit the mold, that doesn’t look like you, that doesn’t talk like you, or has a different view of life, stop and take a second to get to know them, you might learn a whole lot and enrich yourself in the process. They might be going throught what the Native Americans go through. They might be struggling to understand this world. Things aren’t always what they seem.




3 responses

16 09 2008
Johnny Peepers

The atrocities committed against the American indigenous population is beyond comprehension. The wholesale slaughter of native Americans throughout the continent beginning in the 1500’s, the 20th century Catholic school murders of tens of thousands in Canada, and the forced sterilization program for native American women in the 70’s are but a few of the genocidal actions taken by immoral governments.

The victor not only takes the spoils, but gets to write the erroneous (his)tory. The centuries long agenda to wipe out indigenous peoples is an attempt to control the narrative and deny the great thinkers, shaman, and consciousness warriors their due. The jig is up.

17 09 2008
Johnny Peepers

P.S. I forgot to mention how much I adored the little pink bow on your skull and cross bone avatar.

20 09 2008

Thanks Johnny, you’re so sweet…

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