Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Perceived as Savages....

Listening to two co-workers' conversation of how Native Americans payed a small price when settlers first came to their land. These co-workers believe that compared to the luxury of making millions in casinos, the millions that died and the death of their culture was nothing.

Here's what I think....

There were many differences between western settlers and the Dakota Indians of Southern Minnesotan. The Dakota had no desire for exploration for personal gain, no innate need to make a mark on the world. They believed in conservation and preservation. Even under duress, most were able to find peace through acceptance of fate. Despite the fallacious belief that Indians were savages, only those cultures who were most peaceful could be subjugated so easily.

The settlers, like most who adopt western culture, believed in divide and conquer. The practice of decimation and exploitation of natural resources was predominant due to a misconception of an inexhaustible supply. However, the disparities between these two cultures was not what created the clash among them that is still present today. It was a parasitic relationship where the dominating settlers managed to make use of the most resourceful aspects of the Dakota culture, while at the same time assimilating them to a western way of life. The settlers could not see the intrinsic value of any facet of the Dakota civilization that did not tangibly enhance their own way of life. As in any parasitic relationship, the culture of one has died for the continuation of another’s.

These two co-workers, (native Minnesotans and most likely descendants of those same settlers) are now jealous at the Dakota's new found way of life. My two co-workers should blame their ancestors. The Dakota are only making the best of what was given to them, exploiting the pale faces - the same way pale faces exploited them long ago.


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