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Enough

Enough

It is time, in the wake of yet another school shooting, for a history lesson. One of history’s fundamental lessons, after all, is that if something terrible happens, and those with the power to prevent it from happening do nothing, it will most likely happen again.  The Valentine’s Day Massacre at Parkland happened just over three months ago. And last week, in Texas, a state that fetishizes gun violence like no other, a right-wing terrorist murdered children in their classrooms…

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Book Orders are In

Book Orders are In

As the semester comes crashing to a close, I did manage to get my book orders in on time for next semester.  For my survey course in Native American History, I will be assigning: Prucha, Documents of United States Indian Policy, 3rd Edition Hoxie, Talking Back to Civilization Treuer, Rez Life Oberg, Native America, 2nd ed. Calloway, Our Hearts Fell to the Ground, 2nd edition and Silverman, Red Brethren.   For my course in American Colonial History, students will read:…

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The Coward John White

The Coward John White

The failed governor of a failed colonial enterprise, sent packing from what would soon become the fabled “Lost Colony” of Roanoke, and a pretend aristocrat whose patron procured for him a bargain-basement coat-of-arms, John White was also an “important” and “renowned” artist whose “vivid” and “lifelike” images included an Algonquian woman he depicted with two right feet.  Nearly everything John White touched turned to shit. White did not lack for experience, we are told. He likely sailed aboard one of…

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The Stories We Ought to Tell

The Stories We Ought to Tell

I have always loved Rebecca Solnit’s Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities. Her reflections on the historical enterprise in which we all are engaged inform in ways great and small what I try to do in much of my teaching and writing.  “History,” she writes, “is like weather, not like checkers.”  A board game comes to an end, but the weather, “in its complexity, in its shifts, in the way something triggers its opposite, just as a heat…

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Native Lives Matter

Native Lives Matter

One of the items students in my Indian Law class will be reading for next week’s classes is the Lakota People’s Law Project study, Native Lives Matter.  A number of disturbing figures leap out.  “Although Native youth are only 1 percent of the national youth population, 70 percent of youth committed to the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) as delinquents are Native American, as are 31 percent of youth committed to the BOP as adults.” “Native men are admitted to…

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The Sins You Forget Can Never Be Forgiven

The Sins You Forget Can Never Be Forgiven

And the sins you forget, you may commit again. Are there historical sins that can never be forgiven? Are their historical crimes so great that the guilt can never be washed away? Last week a story appeared in the New York Times  announcing that the “Holocaust is Fading from Memory.” Many adults, according to a recent survey, “lack basic knowledge of what happened—and this lack of knowledge is more pronounced among millennials, whom the survey defined as people ages 18…

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The Allure of the Archives, and the Accompanying Responsibility

The Allure of the Archives, and the Accompanying Responsibility

I recently finished reading Arlette Farge’s The Allure of the Archives. It’s a beautiful little book, written originally in French, translated into English by Thomas Scott-Railton. Farge’s journey into the archives brought her into contact with the denizens of 18th century Paris, ordinary men and women who entered the historical record only because they found themselves dragged before authorities as accusers and victims, witnesses or perpetrators. They came to advocate for their cause, to protect or recover their property, to…

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Times Up?

Times Up?

I have been thinking a lot, and reading a lot, about gun control and the various strategies for achieving it since Saturday’s “March for Our Lives.”  I went to the local march here in Rochester. There was a small cluster of pro-gun counter-protestors standing on the edge of Washington Square Park, holding their menacing “Molon Labe” flags and signs, and they engaged in running debates with some of the audience.  I heard all the familiar NRA talking points, including the…

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Clarence Thomas is Right. And Wrong. Mostly Wrong. But, Still…..

Clarence Thomas is Right. And Wrong. Mostly Wrong. But, Still…..

I tell my students to give Justice Clarence Thomas a chance. It is a difficult thing to do, because to me so many of his views are so loathsome. For my students, it is a bit different.  If they have heard anything about him at all, it’s that Justice Thomas is the quiet one, and not in the George Harrison sort of way, but in the “I got nothing to say” sort of way.  They know he is one of…

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This Week’s Current Events Roundup

This Week’s Current Events Roundup

Native America focuses on a number of communities in order to tell the story of Native American people in what became the continental United States.  In the past few days, news stories have appeared connected to the tribes and nations we focus upon in the book that you might want to share with your students. According to the Newport News Daily Press, the Pamunkeys of Virginia, one of the constituent nations that belonged to the Powhatan Paramount Chiefdom, are looking…

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