Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Indian with Bow and Arrow

This picture was taken in 1913, and shows an Indian man stringing his bow. This has to be one of my all-time favorite Native American photographs.

I find it sad that this traditional way of life of these people has been lost. Sometimes when I think about history, I imagine what things might have been like if events had unfolded a little different. I think some of the original treaties signed by the US with the Native Americans might have been fair. I think the problem is we kept reneging on the deals until the Native Americans ended up with just about nothing. What if we had not killed off the buffalo, and what if we had honored the initial treaties with the Indians. There might still be people living this traditional way of life. Now wouldn't that be something?


  1. I'm curious, how could it have unfolded any differently? this country came into being on the basis of colonialism, which included a disdain for the rights and capacities of the native "savages". the drive to expand across their lands included not only a greed for resources, but an attitude of entitlement that defied, and continues to defy, the inclusion of any equal opportunity of sharing.

    I enjoy your posts, but seriously, such wishful thinking merely entrenches the deep-seated oppression that continues today.

  2. I also enjoy your posts very much, but it was very difficult to read the commentary that came along with this picture. Are you familiar with US policies on forced attendance at residential schools for Native children? That has had much more to do with the dissolution of Native cultures, I think.

  3. I tend to disagree with the two earlier posters that seem to chide you for wishing things had been different and the indians had been left alone to live the way they wanted to. It seems to me they have other issues bothering them.

    The early treaties would have done essentially you want, but the problems came about when the government did not follow up on the enforcement of the existing treaties to keep the encroachment of settlers and the development of native lands at bay. The indians soon realized that the treaties would not be honored, so they became hostle which further aggravated the problem for both sides.

    Ultimately, the situation degenerated into a tit-for-tat war that resulted in the tragedy we have today. I spent some time near the Sioux indians in South Dakota about 35 years ago and have always been sad at the way the indian life has gone away. There are, however, some modest attempts to hold onto the language and stories for following generations.

    PJM is only wishing it could have been different and that is not a bad thing. I wish the same.

  4. that PJM is only wishing is my point entirely.

    Your POV, littlepadre, ignores that fact that those reneged treaties did not happen in a vacuum. they were already then and are now par for the course. With native nations the poorest in the US, the repercussions still go on today.

    Wake up.

    Watch the PBS miniseries "Unnatural Causes." For a tiny window into impacts on Native Americans, especially watch "Bad Sugar."

    We who are white are benefitting from the race wars of a 100 years ago, and as long as we refuse to look more closely at the complex ways in which we do, we will continue to benefit, and continue to be complicit.

    Or perhaps you think the native Pima did not deserve the water that was taken from them, and only finally given back in 2004.

  5. I think that ALL of us need to stop worrying about where we went wrong; innocents were lost because of everyone's favorite greed and fear. I for one have stopped trying to analyze it and start studying the old ways. simple.