Happy thanksgiving to you and yours.
–Freedom Is Blogging in Your Underwear by Hugh MacLeod
November is Native American Heritage month. The following is one of a series of historic Presidential quotes on Native American rights and the political relations between the United States government and the first nations of this continent.
Fair warning: Most of these statements are not nice and, at times, can be difficult to read. They also make excellent starting points for a research paper.
The most striking thing about this quote is the fact that it is a really long speech (REALLY long) and this single sentence is the only mention of Native Americans. Also, by this point in USA history, ‘civilization’ was code for forcing Native Americans (and all other colonized cultures around the globe) to learn and wholly participate in European (primarily British) culture, religion, beliefs and politics. In short, assimilation or death (literally).
JAMES MONROE FIRST INAUGURAL ADDRESS TUESDAY, MARCH 4, 1817
“With the Indian tribes it is our duty to cultivate friendly relations and to act with kindness and liberality in all our transactions. Equally proper is it to persevere in our efforts to extend to them the advantages of civilization.”
In anticipation of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I am posting a series of virtual gratitude parades. Imagine the following collection being worn by school children (or adults) who selected costumes that best represented one item he or she was truly … Continue reading
“By now, I was familiar with every curve and outline of a coyote. But I didn’t expect to find one here, and I don’t think he expected to find himself here, either…To the north, those houses were breeding like humans. To the south, the city was installing a golf course. I know a wild animal is wild and anything suggesting otherwise is a fairy tale. When the gates of Eden finally swung open, the animals made a firm decision. They fled, never again to befriend the creature responsible for destroying paradise…He didn’t move, but shifted his eyes again. Then he looked back at me and tilted his head. One of us had to move, and I think he wanted it to be him. But he didn’t know where to go.”
–Animal, Mineral, Radical: Essays on Wildlife, Family, and Food
“So let us act as befits who we are, rather than who we think they might be.”
–Blood of Dragons (Rain Wilds Chronicles Book 4)
“It’s not hard to say no. It’s hard to say it right. At the right time. For the right reasons.”
–Nein. A Manifesto by Eric Jarosinski
I am not a teacher or an expert in Native American culture (or language or history or…), but when I read this book it occurred to me that this might be a particularly useful story for Native American Heritage Month. The reason is because the story is about an Ojibwe boy who arrives at a community event feeling very hungry. Ojibwe traditions require allowing the elders to eat first, so Johnny (who loves to eat), must learn to sit patiently and wait his turn.
It’s a very simple story about a cultural tradition that kids can readily understand. It’s also the kind of thing that exists in many cultures, in one form or another, so it’s an easy thing to talk about.
Again, I’m not an expert, and I most certainly could be wrong about all of this, but those are my thoughts. Take them for what you will.
“He looked at all the people still waiting to eat and started to count them. “One, two, three…” Grandma tapped Johnny’s knee. “It’s Time to eat.””
–Hungry Johnny, written by Cheryl Minnema and illustrated by Wesley Ballinger