“Come along,” I say, making sure my tiny elephant follows me. Because that’s what friends do: never leave anyone behind.
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.“
Please, trust me. I most definitely can be cheerful. I can be amiable. Agreeable. Affable. And that’s only the A’s. Just don’t ask me to be nice. Nice has nothing to do with me.
–The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Note: This book is narrated by Death. The plot occurs during WWII. It is a very good book, with both humorous and serious aspects.