By Jerry Cegelske
July 25, 2020
In reading the book and seeing Syd Hartley's article [letter] in Sitnews that led me to the assumption that in general all peoples have things in their past that they are not proud of. It is easy for one person to point out the failures of others and choose to forget those failures associated with themselves. It is easy to call on changes and the need to address past grievances done to them and ignore the history which may point out their faults. This may be why some get upset when past grievances and inequalities are pointed out and they are pointed out as failures in not addressing a problem they had little if anything to do with. One of the problems it that a part of history is being ignored, one part that may be a bigger problem to a group which is trying to project their vision and version of history and place fault at the feet of another group.
As an example, let us take the statement that "Lincoln freed the slaves in the then United States." That statement is false because there were five Indian tribes in the southeastern United States which held black slaves at the time and kept them. Lincoln could not free them as they were sovereign nations with their own laws. In looking at other instances of Native American's holding others captive (think Mary McDonald as Kicking Bird taken as a young girl- Hollywood would never put out anything false) led to an internet search which led to the information on the five tribes. There was also information on the pacific northwest tribes which was very interesting and needs to be addressed by the City Council if they are going to make a statement on the issues Syd Hartley brought up which pointed out past grievances and past or current problems.
In an article called "Indian Slaves and Slavery", the statement is made " Beginning with the Tlingit, slavery as an institution existed among all the northwest coast Indians as far as California. It practically ceased with south Oregon, although the Hupa , of Athapascan stock, and the Nozi (Yanan ), both of northern California, practiced it to some extent, according to Powers.
It continues with " The northwest region, embracing the islands and coast occupied by the Tlingit and Haida , and the Chimmesyan, Chinookan , Wakashan, and Salishan tribes, formed the stronghold of the institution. As we pass to the eastward the practice of slavery becomes modified, and finally its place is taken by a very different custom.
I did not read anything about slavery in the northwest coast Indian culture in Hartley's article however it might be a good thing for the City Council to address along with her grievances. I think this is an issue that needs to be addressed so that all of us can move forward with a discussion of the many issues facing the many peoples of the world.
As I said, I think there is something in everyone's past that they may not be so proud of if someone digs deep enough.
Maybe it would be best to treat everyone as we would like to be treated and to love one another as God wants us to.
About: A student of history with an extensive book collection including Mud (yes mud), Hiroshima (effects of the atomic bomb and the Japanese response), Roman Life and Manners (4 vol), Avalanches and Snow Safety, Kings of Cocaine, Clover Passage, Mr. Bligh's Bad Language, and hundreds of Revolutionary, Civil war, WWI, WWII, and Viet Nam war volumes courtesy of the Friend of the Library.
Received July 19, 2020 - Published July 25, 2020
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