A powerful commentary piece in Vermont Digger April 2, 2018 (read full article):
While doing research on my family genealogy, I learned that my late grandfather, a child of German Jews, was born with the middle name Adolph. I knew that his family had changed their last name from Slawitsky as his father, my great-grandfather, faced insurmountable anti-Semitism while serving in the U.S. military against the German Nazis due to his surname. What I didn’t know was that when making the anglicized legal switch from Slawitsky to Lawton, the family had also changed my grandfather’s middle name from Adolph to Tilden, defiantly distancing him from a dangerous oppressor while assimilating to avoid discrimination. While I do grieve the loss that my family suffered through the assimilation of our last name, I also celebrate the agency that allowed my grandfather to feel liberation from one of the most despicable practitioners of violence and hate. The name Tilden was passed on to his own son, and just a month ago my cousin gave the name to her newborn son, his great-grandson who he did not live to meet.
Here in Vermont we have an unfortunate history of refusing individuals their agency that has played out from the first time that European settlers arrived, simultaneously and paradoxically denying both the presence and the humanity of the Western Abenaki. Since that relatively recent arrival, the Abenaki have survived genocide taking the forms of land theft, property destruction, mass murder, scalping and more – insult after injury after insult after injury. The forced sterilization of Abenaki en mass in the 1930s and early ‘40s via the Vermont Eugenics Survey is only one of the more recent manifestations of this genocide… (see link above for balance)
Note: Strong medicine follows…
This reconciliation is not our reconciliation.
The only reconciliation that exists for us, as Indigenous nations, is the reconciliation we need to find within ourselves and our communities, for agreeing and complying to this madness for so long.
The only reconciliation that exists for us, is the reconciliation needed to forgive our families, our loved ones, for acting like the colonizer.
The only reconciliation we need. Is a reconciliation that doesn’t involve white skinned handshakes and five dollar handouts for our lands.
Read the full statement by Andrea Landry at The Wrong Kind of Green.
In this provocative new book, Margaret M. Bruchac, an Indigenous anthropologist, turns the word savage on its head. Savage Kin explores the nature of the relationships between Indigenous informants such as Gladys Tantaquidgeon (Mohegan), Jesse Cornplanter (Seneca), and George Hunt (Tlingit), and early twentieth-century anthropological collectors such as Frank Speck, Arthur C. Parker, William N. Fenton, and Franz Boas.
This book reconceptualizes the intimate details of encounters with Native interlocutors who by turns inspired, facilitated, and resisted the anthropological enterprise. Like other texts focused on this era, Savage Kin features some of the elite white men credited with salvaging material that might otherwise have been lost. Unlike other texts, this book highlights the intellectual contributions and cultural strategies of unsung Indigenous informants without whom this research could never have taken place.
These bicultural partnerships transgressed social divides and blurred the roles of anthropologist/informant, relative/stranger, and collector/collected. Yet these stories were obscured by collecting practices that separated people from objects, objects from communities, and communities from stories. Bruchac’s decolonizing efforts include “reverse ethnography”—painstakingly tracking seemingly unidentifiable objects, misconstrued social relations, unpublished correspondence, and unattributed field notes—to recover this evidence. Those early encounters generated foundational knowledges that still affect Indigenous communities today.
This book also contains unexpected narratives of human and other-than-human encounters—brilliant discoveries, lessons from ancestral spirits, prophetic warnings, powerful gifts, and personal tragedies—that Native and non-Native readers alike will find deeply moving.
Coming out in January 2018. Pre-order here!
Coming out on January 9, 2018 from Yale University Press – this looks amazing… A compelling and original recovery of Native American resistance and adaptation to colonial America.
With rigorous original scholarship and creative narration, Lisa Brooks recovers a complex picture of war, captivity, and Native resistance during the “First Indian War” (later named King Philip’s War) by relaying the stories of Weetamoo, a female Wampanoag leader, and James Printer, a Nipmuc scholar, whose stories converge in the captivity of Mary Rowlandson. Through both a narrow focus on Weetamoo, Printer, and their network of relations, and a far broader scope that includes vast Indigenous geographies, Brooks leads us to a new understanding of the history of colonial New England and of American origins. Brooks’s pathbreaking scholarship is grounded not just in extensive archival research but also in the land and communities of Native New England, reading the actions of actors during the seventeenth century alongside an analysis of the landscape and interpretations informed by tribal history.
Listen to a NEXT interview by John Dankosky on WNPR with author Professor Lisa Brooks about her compelling new work “Our Beloved Kin” (scroll halfway down).
Pre-order a copy here.
Lisa Brooks is associate professor of English and American studies at Amherst College. She is author of The Common Pot: The Recovery of Native Space in the Northeast.
Holidays don’t simply spring into existence – they’re conceptualized, created, lobbied for, and passed into law by state and federal lawmakers. On this show, we’re looking at the New Hampshire author Sarah Hale, who helped craft the modern traditions of Thanksgiving. Also, a holiday that’s still under construction: Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
Go to 25:45 in the podcast to hear a discussion of the grassroots movement to re-envision the misrepresented glorification of Columbus Day as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, honoring those who embody the destructive aims of colonization. Featured is commentary Denise Beauregard Pouliot of the Cowasuck Band of the Pennacook Abenaki Nation.
See and hear the post on NHPR here.