Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Stereotypes and Realities

Many of us are concerned about various stereotypes. Fortunately, Devon A. Mihesuah, a Professor of History and an enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma, has taken aim at many of them in her book, American Indians: Stereotypes and Realities.

The Table of Contents itself says a lot - at least it says a lot about how wrong many Americans are about the Native people.

Here are some of the Stereotypes that are refuted:

[2] Indians were conquered because they were inferior

[4] Indians had no civilization until white people brought it to them

[9] Indians had/have no religion

[10] Indians welcome outsiders to study and participate in their ceremonies

[12] Indians are confined to reservations, wear braids and ride horses

[14] Indians get a free ride from the government

[19] "My grandmother was an Indian"

[22] Indians know the histories, languages and cultural aspects of their own tribe... and all other tribes

Mihesuah counters each stereotype with a reality.

So... if Indians weren't inferior to whites (in many ways), then how were white invaders able to conquer them? Mihesuah explains (pages 29-32) the reality: Indians were conquered because of their lack of immunity to European diseases.

Of course - if you've been reading Algonkian Church History - you already knew that.