11/1/06

The Oklahoma Centennial is Coming, Whether We Like It Or Not

History is repeated every time it is ignored or falsely told or reported. Oklahoma is gearing up to celebrate the centennial, the centennial of land theft. Many of our tribes were forcibly "removed" to Oklahoma. Then lands were forcibly taken from us.

Kate Henderson offers this from the CreekIndians listserv:

My husband called this afternoon to state the company he works for (headquarters in Houston, Tx with subsidiaries nation and worldwide) was preparing for the Oklahoma Centennial. In preparation their office of 50 or so employees was divided into "teams". Each team would work together for the next year and should select, as their team name, a tribe represented in Oklahoma.

My heart fell thinking about the tribes forcibly marched in Oklahoma in winter conditions. A forced march where families were told by soldiers carrying guns to leave their homes, their belongings often in the middle of the night with no warning. My heart remembered the stories my grandfather told about his father and grandfather being spit upon and told to sleep with the livestock because even though they had money to pay no one would give them lodging. My heart remembered how my grandfather and his siblings hid in a tree to escape being murdered by white men who wanted his family's land.

And I thought, when will Oklahoma history be honestly taught? I want the truth to be told in all its horribleness and understood so that this and future generations become sensitive to why romanticized stereotypes hurt. I am sick to think of a group of adults forming a team and calling themselves The Creeks, The Choctaws, The Cherokees, The Comanches, or any one of the tribes forcibly removed to Indian Territory where yet another promise was made then broken. I cannot change the past, I can educate those in Oklahoma to the truth. This is where I take my stand.

(Thanks Kate Henderson for reprinting permission.)

2 comments:

WHITEHORSE said...

FORCED MARCHES FROM ALL OVER THE CONTINENT, THE "LAND RUN", THE DAWES ACT; THESE ALL HAD THE SAME RESULTS FOR NATIVE PEOPLE HERE IN THE AMERICAS.
ALTHOUGH THESE ATROCITIES HAPPENED EVERYWHERE; HERE IN "INDIAN TERRITORY" (OKLAHOMA), NATIVE PEOPLE SAW MORE THAN THEIR SHARE.

LATER, THE DESCENDENTS OF THE COLONIZERS CHOOSE TO "HONOR" THE NATIVE PEOPLE WITH DEGRADING AND STEREOTYPICAL "MASCOTS".
SINCE IN OKLAHOMA, FOOTBALL IS THE SECOND STATE-SPONSORED RELIGION, QUESTIONING THE VALIDITY OF OFFENSIVE MASCOTS DRAWS THE SAME ANGRY, SENSELESS RESPONSE THAT ONE WOULD RECEIVE BY DARING TO QUESTION ONES BELIEFS.

EVEN THE NON-NATIVE MASCOTS REEK OF DISHONOR.
HISTORICALLY, "SOONERS" AND "BOOMERS" WERE POLITE NAMES FOR LIARS AND THIEVES.

THERE HAS BEEN PROGRESS IN PRESENTING A MORE ACCURATE HISTORY TO OUR STUDENTS, AS WELL AS HELPING THEM TO UNDERSTAND THAT THE ACTUAL "REVISIONISM" (LIES) OCCURED FROM THE BEGINNING, AS THE "HISTORY" WAS RECORDED.
YET, MINDLESS NEOCONS STILL TRY TO LABEL IT REVISIONISM, WHEN NATIVE PEOPLE TRY TO CORRECT THE LIES.

THE FACT THAT PEOPLE LIKE JOY HARJO AND OTHERS, ARE TO BE INCLUDED IN THE "CELEBRATION" IS A SOURCE OF HOPE THAT AT LEAST SOME ASPECTS OF THE CENTENNIAL WILL BE AN ATTEMPT AT PRESENTING TRUTH.

WHITEHORSE

Geek with Wings said...

I remember as a very small child at a school in Oklahoma where I grew up, they had us dress up like pioneers and reenact the land run. I am Choctaw and Cherokee, but was too young to really understand how bizarre and wrong that was. My mother was so furious, she pulled me out of school and homeschooled me.