Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Review: A People’s History of the United States

Below are some reflections on Native people’s activities and viewpoints from “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn.

Chief Luther Standing Bear, in his 1933 autobiography, “From The Land of the Spotted Eagle”, wrote:

True, the white man brought great change.  But the varied fruits of his civilization, though highly colored and inviting, are sickening and deadening.  And if it be the part of civilization to maim, rob, and thwart, then what is progress?

I am going to venture that the man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting the kinship of all creatures, and acknowledging unity with the universe of things, was infusing into his being the true essence of civilization…..

And later in 1976, Ila Abernathy wrote:

I am grass growing and the shearer of grass,
I am the willow and the splitter of laths,
weaver and the thing woven, marriage of willow and grass.
I am frost on the land and the land’s life,
breath and beast and the sharp rock underfoot;
In me the mountain lives, and the owl strikes,
and I in them.  I am the sun’s twin,
mover of blood and the blood lost,
I am the deer and the deer’s death;
I am the burr I your conscience:
acknowledge me.

And Buffy Sainte-Marie wrote:

You think I have visions
because I am an Indian.

I have visions because
there are visions to be seen.

No comments: