Amoeblog

November is Native American Heritage Month

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 5, 2008 07:19pm | Post a Comment


NATIONAL AMERICAN INDIAN HERITAGE MONTH

The first American Indian Day was celebrated in May 1916 in New York. Back in 1990, President George H.W. Bush named November National American Indian Heritage Month. The purpose of the observance is to highlight the roles America's aboriginal peoples have played in the country's history. It's kind of interesting. I'd say that the main role Natives have played in regard to American history was armed resistance and reluctant subjugation. It's kind of like Israel having a National Palestinian Heritage Month, Turkey having an Armenian History Month or Sudan having a Darfur Day.

I suppose, somewhat begrudgingly, that most Natives today have come to accept the fact that America is here to stay ...at least until 2012. Furthermore, Natives have, in many cases, actually been supportive of America and contributed to her history, to be sure. For example, not only did many Native nations align themselves with the US and its colonial antecedents at various times, but they also served as really good trackers and proved to be natural ecologists who demonstrated their intrinsically environmentalist natures by using every part of the bison and coming up with 30 different names for snow.

  
                              Don't worry, I will use every part of you                                                                     Hmm... what kind of snow is this?


AMERICAN INDIANS VS NATIVE AMERICA

Now, one thing I don't get is why we're supposed to differentiate the hemisphere's various indigenous people along the present day lines of colonial-imposed boundaries. For example, why are the Uto-Aztecan-speaking Comanche and Hopi lumped in with Alaska's Aleuts and separated from their Uto-Aztecan cousins, the Aztecs, just because the latter chose to cross a then-non-existent border? It gets especially confusing when you realize that there are/were various people like the
Míkmaq, Inuit, Lingít, Niitsítapi, Cree, Algonquin, Kanienkeh, Blackfoot, Tohono O'odham and many others who lived on both sides of the future US's borders as if they weren't even there (namely, because they weren't). Though far from hegemonic, to distinguish between Canada's "First Nations" or "Aboriginal Peoples," the US's "Native American" or "American Indian" population and Latin America's "Indios" or "Pueblos Indígenas" along the lines of their colonial destructors is not only nonsensical but ignorant, at the very least, and possibly a bit racialist.


Clearly, since the presence of Mounties indicates that this is Canada, these can't be Native Americans, right?

Anyway, though the stated aim of Native American Heritage Month is to honor contributions only of the U.S.'s indigenous peoples (you know, the usual Sakajewa, Pocahontas and the Navajo Code Talkers stuff), it's not going to stop me from addressing the contributions and existence of non-U.S. Natives from the blogversation as if there's some kind of pan-Native solidarity.





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MANY MOONS  -  A BRIEF HISTORY OF NATIVES AND CIVIL RIGHTS

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Happy Fourth of July! -- In which various VHS and DVD titles are suggested...

Posted by Eric Brightwell, July 4, 2008 11:32am | Post a Comment

  
 

These chaps have the right idea! 

  



   

Some "Cut & Run" types think it's ok to celebrate such other July 4th holidays such as:

Filipino - American Friendship Day
Day of Agwe - Haiti
Birthday of Queen Sonja - Norway
Commemoration of Jewish Genocide - Latvia
Family Day - Lesotho
Fisherman's Day - Marshall Islands
Independence Day - Rwanda
King's Day - Tonga


   



Macaronis
(pictured above) were the Hipster douches of their day. On July 4th they mocked Yankee Doodle (a Dandy who, naturally, was the arch foe of the clueless, appalling, hideous sartorial abominations, the Macaronis). They erroneously assumed (unfamiliar as they were with understatement) that Yankee Doodle sticking a feather in his hat amounted to him wanting to join their odious ranks. In response he had to regulate. This is his day.

  

The War of Independence wasn't just fought against the teabags. On the western front, the colonies fought a genocidal campaign against the cussed natives. The Shawnee were upset at the Iroquois for having sold land to the English. They organized a resistance but were defeated by the Virginia militia. The Declaration of Independence spelled out the newly independent country's intentions. "…[He] has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions." God hates redskins.

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