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NOT QUITE AN APOLOGY

 

Sara M-August 2004

 

Guest Contributions do not necessarily reflect my own opinions. I am trying to create an open forum. I reserve the right to include any submitted article or not, with or without saying why. If you wish to reproduce any of these writings or graphics  you must ask permission of the author. At the bottom of each article will be contact information for the author when it is available. ~Snow Owl

         Oh, where to begin with this message. The need to speak these words has
been burning in my heart for some years, but I donít know how to say it
without sounding apologetic, condescending or patronizing. I do not mean to
sound that way and perhaps the way to avoid sounding that way is not to give
my message at all, but, selfishly, I must. So here goes:

         I am a white woman of European ancestry from the time of the earliest
settlers (early 1600ís on my motherís side, 1900ís on my fatherís side).
So, my motherís ancestors were some of the first men and women who came here
on a quest for more of whatever they thought they needed and took all that
they could from the Native People.

       I didnít understand the enormity of what these People lost (school just doesnít do this job well at all) until after I read the book Hanta Yo by Ruth Bebe Hill.

       In the years following, I heard a lot of controversy surrounding this book, how it didnít depict the Native Peopleís spirituality accurately, or their way of life, or anything at all the way it should have been depicted.

      That may be true and I am obviously not one to say yea or nay to those opinions, but I can say that reading this book opened something in me Ė something so enormous that it would influence me to turn away from a lifetimeís worth of Christian religion and step onto a path that leads me very far from all I ever knew.

       So, whatís my point, you ask.

       It is this: While I do not feel it is appropriate for me to apologize for something that happened during some other lifetime, my heart breaks, truly breaks, for what has been and continues to be lost.

       I now see with clear eyes what happened to the Native People of this land. I see that something elemental and powerful was stolen from them. The way of life they had evolved for tens of thousands of years, their culture, the very fabric of their being, the beliefs that held them up and sustained them, were stolen and destroyed.

      I now see with clear eyes that this did not happen only in the past, only here; I now see with clear eyes that this happens today everywhere around the world.

      I also see with clear eyes that some of what the Native People here and in
other parts of the world have lost is being slowly, painfully, meticulously
reclaimed, resurrected.

      I cheer for these efforts Ė I long to be a part of them. But I am a white woman filled with misinformation and stereotypes so I sit on the sidelines, learning, waiting, watching - hoping to find a way to contribute.

     In the meantime, I will tell anyone who thinks otherwise that many beautiful truths exist; that no truth is better or truer than another.

     People must realize that their way is not the only way, or the only life, or the only truth and I will tell them that, for the sake of all thatís been lost.

      Thank you for listening.

       Sara M

SHIWAWATIWA ZUNI (circa 1900)
-KAREN CLARKSON
http://www.clarksonart.com/

HUPA WOMAN (circa 1900)
-KAREN CLARKSON
http://www.clarksonart.com/

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Updated December 7, 2007
Created August 25, 2004

 
 
 

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