Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Who are the Mashantucket Pequot?


Full article Dorreen Yellow BirdOh this one was a good one, with a title like "On the 'Indianness' of Indians" you knew it was going to dig up some dirt. We open with the introduction of the new National Museum of the American Indian in D.C. With this new opening, came a flood of "indians" and I use that term very loosely now-a-days. (In my mind, if you're not a card carrying member, shut the fuck up!)I particularly liked the article because she brings to light the numerous people who make claim to their heritage and look nothing like the stereotypical Indian."It was then that I realized my knowledge of Indian tribes needed reorienting. The influence of Indian gaming probably is the reason I am seeing a new kind of Indian. For example, the tribal chairman from the Mashantucket Pequot, whom I saw at the press conference, looked black rather than Native American. His aide did, too. I realize that for the past 20 or so years, I haven't gotten out much past Canada and the states surrounding North Dakota. The Indian people in this area usually are Dakota, Lakota, Nakota, Chippewa or from the Three Affiliated Tribes - Arikara, Mandan and Hidatsa. And I absolutely know there are Native Americans who are mixed blood; I have blond grandchildren, for example. But these two Pequot men certainly turned my head when they walked into the room. Since that press conference, I have paid more attention to Indian gaming issues. "A good read that I plan on looking into is "Without Reservation: How a controversial Indian tribe rose to power and built the world's largest casino," by Jeff Benedict. It's about the Mashantucket Pequot. Granted the Mashantucket Pequot give money to their people, regardless of tribal affiliation, so at least their giving back to the community."Over the next 30 years, the reservation grew to 2,000 acres and 600 people claiming to be Pequot. Their Foxwoods casino grosses more than $1 billion a year. There is a murmuring in Indian country about tribes who, it seems, have jumped on the bandwagon because federal benefits and, more recently, casino wealth. ""So it twisted my gut a little when I saw Thomas boasting about their Indian gaming successes. In some parts of Indian country, a word used to describe these tribes is "opportunists," not Indian people trying to regain a culture and language. That word crosses my mind on occasion, too. And I still have questions about the federal government and Congress' role in granting federal recognition. " I like that word opportunists. I'll have to use it instead of my choice word "money grubbing-whore", it makes me sound intelligent rather than just another pissed off indian. I'm glad I'm not the only person out there wondering about these things, especially since she writes a weekly column. Maybe it'll put a bug in the ear of some people, and they'll wonder why too!




An example of not listening to yourself...


"there's no getting around it. it has to happen sometimes in order to progress in the formation of oneself. and it's a good thing to know onself (what one is, wants, and feels) rather than to have others determine them for you." or "...but i think that when you actually take the time to reflect and observe yourself, the people around you, and the things you keep around you, you learn a lot about yourself and what makes you you. "




My first impression of the above statement was "WHAT THE @#$%^!" It was uttered by someone whom I haven't heard from in months. I've tried to contact this person since our last visit to no avail, so I was getting ready to write them off, and lo and behold I get a note from them sputtering the above nonsense. (see refer to past posts about energy and karma)

I say nonsense because I think it sounds very Zen and for the area we live in, very gimmicky. I also don't want to believe that people actually talk like that, and if they do they should keep their granola munching, hemp wearing selves away from me.

Ok, it's jealousy on my part, I want to be like that! That's it! Eureka! Whatever. The more I babble on, I think that I just want to be apart of something bigger than myself...oooh listen to me now. My problem is that I'm constantly trying to be different that everyone else, that I don't want to sound like the hokey schmokies of the world.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Indian Mascots


What really is there to say on the subject, people are usually on either side of the issue, but recently, I have come to consider that yeah it is a terrible thing. The following is an article from the Fresno Bee.



Professor critiques Indian mascots Kansas instructor tells Fresno college audience about lack of sensitivity.


"Professor Cornel D. Pewewardy brought tiny toy soldiers and Indians with him Thursday to Fresno City College, telling students they were "tools of genocide," the dominant culture's depreciating of American Indian history.


Pewewardy is on the faculty of the Department of Teaching and Leadership at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. He was a featured speaker during American Indian Heritage Month at City College. The title of his talk in the Student Lounge was "The Indian Mascot Controversy," in which he argued that sports teams' use of Indian mascots merely represents the most obvious way that American Indians suffer demeaning treatment in their own land."

To see the full article: http://www.fresnobee.com/local/story/9451075p-10360599c.html

Friday, November 19, 2004

Thanksgiving a celebration of genocide


I found this online, and would like to share it. I did not write it.


THANKSGIVING A CELEBRATION OF GENOCIDE
By Laura Eliff, Vice President Native American Student Association


Thanksgiving is a holiday where families gather to share stories, football games are watched on television and a big feast is served. It is also the time of the month when people talk about Native Americans. But does one ever wonder why we celebrate this national holiday? Why does everyone give thanks? History is never simple.


The standard history of Thanksgiving tells us that the "Pilgrims and Indians" feasted for three days, right? Most Americans believe that there was some magnificent bountiful harvest. In the Thanksgiving story, are the "Indians" even acknowledged by a tribe? No, because everyone assumes "Indians" are the same. So, who were these Indians in 1621? In 1620, Pilgrims arrived on the Mayflower naming the land Plymouth Rock. One fact that is always hidden is that the village was already named Patuxet and the Wampanoag Indians lived there for thousands of years.


To many Americans, Plymouth Rock is a symbol. Sad but true many people assume, "It is the rock on which our nation began." In 1621, Pilgrims did have a feast but it was not repeated years thereafter. So, it wasn't the beginning of a Thanksgiving tradition nor did Pilgrims call it a Thanksgiving feast. Pilgrims perceived Indians in relation to the Devil and the only reason why they were invited to that feast was for the purpose of negotiating a treaty that would secure the lands for the Pilgrims. The reason why we have so many myths about Thanksgiving is that it is an invented tradition. It is based more on fiction than fact.


So, what truth ought to be taught? In 1637, the official Thanksgiving holiday we know today came into existence. (Some people argue it formally came into existence during the Civil War, in 1863, when President Lincoln proclaimed it, which also was the same year he had 38 Sioux hung on Christmas Eve.) William Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chair of the anthropology department of the University of Connecticut, claims that the first Thanksgiving was not "a festive gathering of Indians and Pilgrims, but rather a celebration of the massacre of 700 Pequot men, women and children."


In 1637, the Pequot tribe of Connecticut gathered for the annual Green Corn Dance ceremony. Mercenaries of the English and Dutch attacked and surrounded the village; burning down everything and shooting whomever try to escape. The next day, Newell notes, the Governor of Massachusetts Bay Colony declared: "A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children." It was signed into law that, "This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots." Most Americans believe Thanksgiving was this wonderful dinner and harvest celebration. The truth is the "Thanksgiving dinner" was invented both to instill a false pride in Americans and to cover up the massacre. Was Thanksgiving really a massacre of 700 "Indians"? The present Thanksgiving may be a mixture of the 1621 three-day feast and the "Thanksgiving" proclaimed after the 1637 Pequot massacre.


So next time you see the annual "Pilgrim and Indian display" in a shopping window or history about other massacres of Native Americans, think of the hurt and disrespect Native Americans feel. Thanksgiving is observed as a day of sorrow rather than a celebration. This year at Thanksgiving dinner, ponder why you are giving thanks. William Bradford, in his famous History of the Plymouth Plantation, celebrated the Pequot massacre: "Those that scraped the fire were slaine with the sword; some hewed to peeces, others rune throw with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatchte, and very few escapted. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fyer, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stincke and sente there of, but the victory seemed a sweete sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to inclose their enemise in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enimie." The Pequot massacre came after the colonists, angry at the murder of an English trader suspected by the Pequots of kidnapping children, sought revenge. rather than fighting the dangerous Pequot warriors, John Mason and John Underhill led a group of colonists and Native allies to the Indian fort in Mystic, and killed the old men, women, and children who were there. Those who escaped were later hunted down. The Pequot tribe numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but disease had brought their numbers down to 1,500 by 1637. The Pequot "War" killed all but a handful of remaining members of the tribe. Proud of their accomplishments, Underhill wrote a book (above) depicted the burning of the village, and even made an illustration (below) showing how they surrounded the village to kill all within it. - John K. Wilson Link to Above Report The First Thanksgiving The year was 1637. 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Tribe, gathered for their "Annual Green Corn Dance" in the area that is now known as Groton, Conn. While they were gathered in this place of meeting, they were surrounded and attacked by mercenaries of the English and Dutch. The Indians were ordered from the building and as they came forth, they were shot down. The rest were burned alive in the building. The next day, the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared : A day of Thanksgiving, thanking God that they had eliminated over 700 men, women and children. For the next 100 years, every "Thanksgiving Day" ordained by a Governor or President was to honor that victory, thanking God that the battle had been won. Source: Documents of Holland, 13 Volume Colonial Documentary History, letters and reports form colonial officials to their superiors and the King in England and the private papers of Sir William Johnson, British Indian agent for the New York colony for 30 years Researched by William B. Newell (Penobscot Tribe) Former Chairman of the University of Connecticut Anthropology Department. 1637-When the Green Corn Dance Turned to Blood