Phil Sheridan, a rumored to be great General coined the phrase, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”
In the late 1800s, a new thought was introduced to the land. A man named Captain Richard H. Pratt, decided it was not right to eradicate the Indians. Instead, his theory was to “Americanize” Native Americans by locking their children in schools, away from their families, cutting their hair, and holding them hostage to civilize them. In essence, he said his mission was to “Kill the Indian in them in order to save the man.” Boarding schools, numbering about 150, who were following the model of Carlisle Barracks, had a curriculum which systematically stripped away tribal culture , largely through the educating Native youths in what the government believed to be a higher level of culture.
As many of you know, much of my writing is about Native Americans. I have always been told I have Native American heritage, however; my family did not receive a cdib card. For whatever reason, I do not know, but one thing I do know, if that great general had his way, I and many of my friends and family would not be here today.
A great amount of research is necessary for my writing. A lot of it, I remembered learning in history as a child, but somehow, I either did not learn it well or else I learned it with the voice it was taught with or written with. As an adult, I have my own ears and my own voice. I find the story quite different from what I remembered. Also, I have my own history to compare it to, and my own questions that I need answers for. Perhaps, many of you already have been enlightened in this question, if so, enlighten me. I ask this question with all humility, no malice is in my heart, no hatred is invited into my being for any reason. I just want to know, what was the difference in the genocide that Hitler was responsible for and the actions that our government performed?
If that was not a hard enough question, I have one more that is on a more personal level. Is this what we do to each other and even to ourselves in everyday life? Does our insatiable need to *belong* drive us to change who we are until we no longer us? Surely, we do not *need* to become someone else so that we can be accepted.
I am a strong proponent for self-improvement, but not for the total genocide of who we are and who we can become. Why can we not accept ourselves for who we truly are? It is a strong possibility when we learn to do that, we will no longer look down our noses at those that are different.