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  • I agree with Rena about the power of the Calloway book. I thought from a historiography perspective the intros to the readings that discuss who actually recorded the information and what their agenda might be was excellent. I also appreciated the beginning where he referred to the white settlers as immigrants. It is an interesting way of referring and thinking about it. We should probably refer to them as illegal immigrants to be more accurate.
  • Section III Native Americans
    I finished Our Hearts Fell to the Ground last night. I have read several of Colin Calloway's other histories (A Vast Winter Count, With the Scratch of a Pen, etc. and am so grateful that there is such a scholar working on bringing the defeated peoples perspective to the table.

    I was born on the Blackfoot reservation in Browning, MT, went to high school with the Nez Perce at Lapwai ID,and have come to know a number of Lummi and Nooksack people while living around the Bellingham, WA area. Honestly, some of the things I've heard and read that were done to the Native Americans, all across the continent, make me ashamed to be mostly white. (My grandmother claimed Cherokee descent, and we found family listing on the Dawes Register.)

    First off, I have to say that the way this little book is chronologically formatted gave me the best global picture of the sequence of the horrendous land grabs and Indian encampment massacres I've ever read. So many books hand one great event, and are not particularly clear on the relevance of the event to other recent events in U.S. history. For instance, although I have read extensively about the Battle of the Little Big Horn and Sitting Bull and his life and death, I never put together how those events and Wounded Knee related so closely. I was aware, but not as vividly as this book portrays.

    Secondly, the powerful way that Calloway introduces and sets up each primary speech or writing igracefully frames what the source is telling us. I heard and felt the anguish in Luther Standing Bear's voice. I felt the sorrow in Pretty Shield's description of the end of the buffalo. The end of her story particularly struck me ..."And then white men began to fence the plains so that we could not travel; and anyhow there now little good in traveling, nothing to travel for. We began to stay in one place, and to grow lazy and sicker all the time.....Our men, our leaders, began to drink the white man's whiskey, letting it do their thinking....Our wise-ones became fools, and drank the white man's whiskey. But what else was there for us to do?"(p. 131)

    As a mother, grandmother, and teacher, the section on attending the white man's schools was probably the most depressing to me. And full of new insights. I knew children were beaten, forced to speak English, had their hair cut and dressed like white men and women, etc. I didn't realize that their names were taken away. That was their identity! Thee little boys in Luther Standing Bear's story were shown undecipherable letters on the board and asked to pick their name. They had no idea what the name was or how it sounded, or what it meant. The names they were given at home had meaning. And they slept on the hard floor with just a blanket, and using their leggings as pillows!! That's crude, at best. I always imagined that they were at least provided cots or bunks, with some sort of mattress. And they were thrust amongst strangers. They didn't know anyone, or have any support network to lean on. No wonder there were suicides and sickness. What horrendous stress to put young children under. Was this intended as a Darwinian experiment? It certainly qualifies as one!

    Crising through the Smithsonian website this morning, I marveled at the symmetry and beauty of the winter counts on hides. What a pity that educating Native Americans has led them to move away from that beautiful way of transcribing their histories. I do know that there is some of that kind of art still practiced in South Dakota. A museum and shop, Prairie Earth in Rapid City carries Native artists renderings of those kinds of artifacts. They are replicas, but it is a way of making some economic recovery and of carrying on their artistic traditions.

    Finally, I would encourage all my classmates in this class to go to the site of the Battle of the Little Big Horn in southwestern Montana. The ghosts still roam the hills. It has been turned into a pretty decent historical site. I also visited Wounded Knee, though realized I was not very welcome. I think the fact that we were three women, a grandmother, mother and daughter was probably the only thing that saved us from being asked to leave. It's a desolate place. You see the foundations of the mission where the AIM fighters hunkered down for their battle with the local police and the F.B.I. F.B.I. in their eyes stands for the Federal Bureau of Intimidation. Read Peter Matthiassen's book about the second Wounded Knee in 1973. I could feel the ghosts and the pain standing there. The wind always blows. And it's bitter cold. Big Foot and his band didn't have a chance. And the graves. It's a cemetery, but the people - old men, women and babies that were massacred at Wounded Knee were mass buried in a long trench.

    As I stated at the beginning, sometimes I'm ashamed to be mostly white.
  • So it is a Wednesday night, Patty Smith on NPR's POV, and I am still trying to get a handle on this class. I started at square one, "MobileMe idisk Home," and opened every posting, printed the readings for the classes I missed, went through every class power point we had, opening each embedded URL, printed the assignments, and basically just oriented myself once again to the formatting and material. Only took five hours. Time well spent. I have four reading assignments that need to be completed, not to mention the assigned assignments. But I feel good gettin' back on it.
  • I believe the Blog is separate from the Ning, but I am not 100% sure. Just a guess...
  • He was talking the Ning. This appears to be it. I think the idea is to comment on todays content, Immigration II, or perhaps he just gave us time so we would sign on, if we hadn't already. As I had not.
  • Rick your comment reminds me of my Alaska Studies class - we're looking at the Gold Rush and discussing who gained wealth? I explained it wasn't necessarily those few who "struck gold", but rather those providing services - saloons, laundry, restaurants, prostitutes, etc. . . . That's interesting to think about those that make money off of immigrants.
  • Thanx for the time for me to locate the ning, Tom.
  • And just to blather on... Today in class I discussed with kids the Temperance movement and the "pull" of saloons on immigrants. Offering potent libations, a social outlet for the new and lost immigrants, a place to get fed, a place to flop in, all the while fleecing the immigrant out of his or her wages. I have two grandparents that died of extreme alcoholpoisoning in a "flop house" across the street from the quarry they worked in. They were only in the U.S. for two years.
  • Just a semantics questions - when Tom's says class blog - does he mean this page: http://chnm.gmu.edu/courses/alaskatah/wp/ . . . or this page that I'm leaving a comment?
  • Last year I briefly looked at the Conspiracy Code class. It is an interesting idea. I didn't look at it with enough depth to see what type of assignments it had, but I wonder if these are somewhat limited. It is definitely a very interesting idea, and I am sure it is more engaging than your typical on-line course.
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The Origins of Environmental Degradation

While Worster's writing is full of many ideas, one central feature of his work is the location of the origins of environmental degradation in capitalist world-views and modes of production that are as alive in the present as they have been in the past.  This admittedly Marxist and materialist interpretation runs counter to most historical narratives produced 'these days.'  What responses do you have for this point of view? Worster Toward.pdf

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