Thursday, January 25, 2007

Like The Sand In A Whirlwind

Journal No. 8
English 48B
Dr. Scott Lankford
Author I Chose: Sarah Winnemucca

Excerpt from Scott Lankford's "Tahoe Transformed"

I. "[Your enemies] will come like the sand in a whirlwind and drive you from your homes. You will be forced among the barren rocks of the north, where your ponies will die; where you will see the women and old men starve, and listen to the cries of your children for food."

II. Sarah Winnemucca is quoting a foreboding tale that her cousin Numaga had prophesized to her. He is telling her that if she tries to combat the "white" man, he will destroy her and her people. The white man has so much more than the Paiutes that there is no chance for survival once he has invaded.

III. Sarah Winnemucca is writing about the conversation that she had with Numaga. He was telling her, rightfully so, that she shouldn't try to battle with the "white" man. The Paiutes didn't have all of the artillery and battle skills that the whites did. They wanted only one thing- to defeat anyone who came across their paths and tried to stop them from "conquering" the territory. The Paiutes were later terrorized and brutalized. The survivors were split up into many different reservations, most of which were hundreds and sometimes thousand of miles away from one another. The devestating effects of this move is, I am sure, still causing a ripple effect on many tribes today.

This was a tragic tale, and it was even more tragic knowing that Sarah still fought for her people after they had been through the worst of it all. She was still trying to give the children a chance at a better life. One that she herself was unable to avoid.

It's hard to believe that this nation was filled with so many peaceful people who had been here for thousands of years before European occupiers. The indigenous people had such respect for the land and celebrated it often prior to the invasion of America, as we call it today. The same people who were the backbone of this country before are today treated as though they don't exist at all. If you aren't doing research on indigenous peoples, how would you know about them? Who tells you about their history? The history books? The government? How about the people who ostracized them in the first place? No- it seems as though they have long been forgotten. As Scott Lankford presents in "Tahoe Transformed," an article in an 1865 newspaper pushed for "a final solution of the great Indian Problem: by exterminating the whole race, or driving them forever beyond our frontier." I mean, what do they have to contribute to society today? The ones who are left are nothing but diabetic, overweight, drug-abusing, alchoholics who seem to think that they are owed something. Who do these people think that they are? The people who helped out the Europeans in their treks through trecherous territory? The friggin' first people to live in this country or something? Sheesh! The nerve of some people.


Scott said...

20 points. Sarcasm heals.