Paul Haeder, Author

writing, interviews, editing, blogging

Another Genocide Month — Plying the Ignorance of K12, USA Lower/Higher Ed

by Paul Haeder / November 8th, 2021

Here we go, what will most likely be published in the Newport News Times, two-times a week dwindling newspaper. I will then follow up, for sure, at the end of this fit-for-small-town-news column.

Historic Iroquois and Wabanaki Beadwork: The Cultural Appropriation of American Indian Images in Advertising (1880s-1920)

November is National Native American Indian Heritage Month

By Paul K. Haeder

Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect.

– Chief Seattle

It’s sad to gauge the ignorance Central Coast residents possess regarding Native American history and present day activities: education, culture, arts, language and political engagement.

The month of November is mostly the only time K12 students learn about Native Americans, and even then, it is most always in the past tense and lessons about Indians as helpless “wards of the state.”

Most of my students over four decades have had trouble with the concept that hundreds of books — especially textbooks — can lie. That first week of class, we research students’ family lines – those not native come from myriad of places. We then make up a passport of those countries they or their ancestors came from.

Accordingly,  I steal them for a few weeks. Eventually, we see this theft as a process of stealing their own pasts, their histories, and their very identities.

I run into people DAILY in Lincoln County, who most vociferously display ignorance and outright racism when discussing Native Americans.

However, I’ve clashed with this ignorance in other parts of the USA:  Texas, Arizona, New Mexico, Washington, and Oregon.

I’ve confronted college students’ parents who wanted to give my department heads  a piece of their mind about the materials students in my research writing, composition and literature classes were asked to read, view and discuss.

I am embarrassed at the ignorance of who and what Columbus was and represents to many millions of people who are not Anglo Americans. Many college students do not know when the Civil War was fought (or why) or what James Madison or Frederick Douglass did.

Most do not know which Native lands their schools or neighborhoods are built upon. For sure, though, they enter the classroom with this myth of a brave fellow named Christopher Columbus “who discovered America” (sic).

Again, school textbooks have, by omission or otherwise, lied to them.

Today more than five hundred federally-recognized Indigenous nations comprise nearly three million people. Today’s doctors, lawyers, educators, nurses, construction workers and, yes, homeless, sick and substance abusers, are the descendants of the fifteen million Native people who once inhabited this land.

I’ve utilized interviews of and essays by historian Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz to enlighten students (and de facto, their parents/ the public) on a history of the United States told from the perspective of Indigenous peoples.

The original peoples did resist expansionism and genocide. In An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, Dunbar-Ortiz takes readers into a deep dive debunking the official founding myth of the United States.

Part of the book and teachings give students a sense of how policy against Indigenous peoples was colonialist and designed to seize their territories, displacing or eliminating them.

This gives students who might be watching (or attending) COP26 (climate change summit in Glasgow) a sense of a worldwide effort by Indigenous activists to stop the pollution, water theft, elimination of ancestral lands through outright criminality.

Teaching about Native American history, I can challenge students to reflect upon their future, whereupon the youth understand they must act locally, learn deeply their own regions but also think and respond globally.

Global Witness’s, Last Line of Defense, looks into land defenders around the globe who have been murdered for fighting for their right to water, land and liberty. Teaching about Native American present day issues, we will broach these larger issues.

We don’t have to go far back to see how the fight in the US for Native American sovereignty is a constant reckoning with racist roots:

  • In August 2011, environmental and indigenous groups launched a massive campaign designed to press President Obama not to approve Phase IV of the Keystone XL Pipeline project that would run through and near tribal lands, water resources, and place of spiritual significance.
  • In 2013, the Havasupai Tribe Files a Lawsuit to Stop the Operation of a Uranium Mine.
  • On April 1st, 2016, citizens of the Standing Rock Lakota Nation and ally Lakota, Nakota, & Dakota citizens, under the group name “Chante tin’sa kinanzi Po” founded a Spirit Camp along the proposed route of the bakken oil pipeline, Dakota Access. They are dedicated to stopping the Dakota Access pipeline, illuminating the dangers associated with pipeline spills and the necessity to protect the water resources of the Missouri river.

The educators I have met in the Lincoln County School District who work with the youth of Confederated Tribes of the Siletz Indians on the history, culture and current struggles of the Central Coast original people are amazing and should be regarded as cultural heroes.

General William Tecumseh Sherman Called For "The Extermination" Of American Indians - Imgflip

What Local Residents Really Can’t Take

The amount of racism I experienced teaching/subbing just a year in this Coastal County is not so unusual, but still disheartening. This concept of “we beat them, so they have to eat our crow” is how the lowly, the poor speak, and the more educated, well, they have seven syllable words and books 22 people read that say the same things, but in a thousand pages.

Hick, small-town, and backwards? Nah, the great liberal city of Portland, now, is going after BIPOC.

Yeah, this is a story, Nov. 3, 2021, the blue state, the build back better retrograde land:

Analysis finds property owners in Portland’s most diverse, gentrifying areas hardest hit by code violation fines”

An analysis by a Portland city watchdog found that complaints about property maintenance have been highly concentrated in the city’s most diverse and rapidly gentrifying neighborhoods.

The report from the city ombudsman’s office made public Wednesday showed that neighborhoods with some of the fastest-rising home prices, and those with the most racially diverse residents, tend to also face the most financial consequences for property violations like overgrown grass, trash in a yard or a deteriorating building.

Overgrown grass near a sidewalk on a residential street

But back to the Native American Indian Heritage Month. I have countless fights with co-workers, members of the public, students, and more. Countless. As if I am the first asshole in their lives to put up a resistance to their racism. It is a deep racism. All the way to the core, and while I don’t pull my revolutionary anti-USA, anti-Military, anti-Anything-to-do-with-capitalism rank on them immediately, I do not stand for insipid ignorance that pushes racism as a way to delineate the victors and the losers. Again poor white trash, or rich white trash, complaining about China, about billionaires, about misrepresentative government for, by, because of the rich, the lobbyists, on both sides of the red-blue manure pile. Yet, they do not see themselves now as the losers in this billionaire’s game. Nope. Every social safety net, every infrastructure net, every security net, frayed, cut, burned, and they still believe that the Indians, or the Africans, or whomever, if they are under the thumb of this or that white great savior, so be it. But, again, these whites losing everything, including their Oxi lives, their coronary arterial clogged lives, but they do not see that as “well, we are the losers in this rich man’s/oligarchy system, so shut up and take the comeuppance delivered . . . just like we think the conquered tribes should too.”

Old Teddy — Swing a Big Racist Stick, Roosevelt, oh, that family!

When Theodore Roosevelt took office in 1901, he already had a long legacy of animosity toward American Indians.

Seventeen years earlier, Roosevelt, then a young widower, left New York in favor of the Dakotas, where he built a ranch, rode horses and wrote about life on the frontier. When he returned to the east, he famously asserted that “the most vicious cowboy has more moral principle than the average Indian.”

“I don’t go so far as to think that the only good Indians are the dead Indians, but I believe nine out of every 10 are,” Roosevelt said during a January 1886 speech in New York. “And I shouldn’t like to inquire too closely into the case of the tenth.” (source)

And, so, what does this racist’s offspring have to say? You got it, once a racist from their loins, always a millionaire racist with loins to breed more and more racists:

“He was a man of his times,” said Tweed Roosevelt, a great-grandson to Roosevelt and interim director of the Theodore Roosevelt Association. “In his presidency, he wanted the Native Americans to experience the American dream, but to do that by assimilating. The Indian population had been shrinking for a long time, and he believed that if they assimilated, that meant prosperity for everyone.” (source)

And Build Back Better Biden, oh, man, 2021, and his level of enlightenment, whew:

There’s no federal environmental impact statement on this project, which is why we want Joe Biden to stop it. I mean, they stole 5 billion gallons of water, fracked 28 rivers out, and then they have this broken aquifer losing 100,000 gallons a day of water. They have no idea how to fix this stuff, since January. You know, it’s really horrible up here. So, you know, Enbridge has been trying to rush to get this online before the court will rule against them, because, generally, courts have not ruled in favor of pipelines. That’s the status that we have seen, you know, in the federal court ruling on the DAPL, where the federal court ordered them to close down. This is the same company. Enbridge was 28% of DAPL. And when the federal court ordered them to close down the pipe, they said no. When the state of Michigan ordered them to close down a pipe this last May, they said no. So they’re just trying to continue their egregious behavior.

It’s so tragic that, you know, on one hand, the Biden administration is like, “We are going to have Indigenous Peoples’ Day, but we’re still going to smash you in northern Minnesota and smash the rest of the country.” Same thing, you know, Klobuchar and Smith, the two Minnesota senators, shameful their lack of courage, not only for Indigenous people but for the planet, you know?

When I left there to go to the second gathering of another couple thousand people closing down the line at the headwaters of the Mississippi, shortly after that is when they came in with the helicopter and kicked up this sandstorm so everybody could get all beat up by sand. And I just want to put out: That’s a federal agency; that’s not a state agency that came in. Most of the cops have been just financed by Enbridge, but that helicopter was financed by Biden. So, we have some really — we’re really concerned that Department of Homeland Security would come in and basically assault Indigenous people in our own homeland.

— Winona LaDuke

And this is what a strong advocate for Native American truth gets in the USA: You will have to read between the crap lines of Mother Jones, if you want the entire story — Churchill is 73 now, “I Never Claimed I Was F***ing Sitting Bull”

Standing before the crowd, the 69-year-old Churchill cut the image of the bomb-throwing radical—“a traitor,” as O’Reilly put it—that he’d been cultivating his entire life: 6-foot-5 in cowboy boots, with a long gray-black ponytail cinched with a black band and his waist lassoed with a beaded belt. He grit his teeth while talking, like he was chewing tobacco, and spat out his words with disgust. “American jockstrap sniffers,” he called his critics, in particular the academics who’d picked apart his scholarship and helped get him fired. He compared them to SS officers, to apparatchiks helping the trains of a supposedly corrupt University of Colorado system run on time. “That’s what Eichmann did,” he said. The crowd gasped with delight.

Churchill’s penchant for this comparison, ad-Nazium, runs deep. Each of his 18 books is a brick in a monumental project dedicated to proving that Native Americans were subjected to a genocide comparable to the Holocaust. The day after September 11, he published an essay describing the stockbrokers and technocrats who died in the Twin Towers as “little Eichmanns.” Right-wing media was incensed: The O’Reilly Factor aired 41 segments on him. The Weekly Standard tagged him “the worst professor in America.”

Back on the highway, Churchill stomped on the pedal and gunned it to 80 mph. He lit his last Pall Mall. “I’m only human,” he said, as the city he no longer recognized gave way to farmland and snowy peaks. He went even faster—85, 90.

It was as though he were trying to outrun Boulder, but without a clear destination in mind. The seatbelt warning screamed. “It hurts,” he said. “I’ve been hurt. No one said the fucking process of decolonization was going to be painless.”

[Ward Churchill in 2006, before he was fired from the University of Colorado. Thomas Boyd/Zuma]

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