Re: Off & On The Topic

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Posted by Beth on October 30, 2000 at 11:58:13:

In Reply to: Off & On The Topic posted by Rich/Mohican Press on October 29, 2000 at 07:27:33:

Beautiful cover, Rich-you folks really do a good job! If I did it, it would look like road kill. As for your commentary, everyone has their own opinions, drawn from their own circumstances and experiences. No need on this end to explain your beliefs-but it was cool to hear you explain them. The best part is that you like Crazy Horse, too! Any good books you would like to recommend for a budding student?

: Good Morning!

: Above is the propsed cover(s) for the upcoming "Mohicanlander's Companion Guide." More on that later ...

: Meanwhile, let's get meaty ...

: Political Forum: Practically since Day One, we have been criticized here at the Web Site, for just about everything under the sun. I guess that's good, for it means our Web Site must have substance. We've unintentionally caused people to think, stepped on some toes, said what we felt needed to be said. Rather than serve up a bland mix of baby pablum, we have strived to keep our Site at a thinking person's level. So, I suppose, it is to be expected that amidst the heaps of praise, we are also going to hear differences of opinion ... some little more than pot-shots. That's OK, but the more they come, the more determined we are to proceed in our prescribed manner.

: So ... let's get controversial for a moment. I don't believe in the death penalty. Yes, you heard correctly. I don't believe in the death penalty. I don't expect that to be the popular opinion here, for surely it is not the popular opinion in most places. But, it is MY belief. Why? Well, to a certain extent it is a religious belief, but even that aside, I just don't believe that we, as a Society, have the right to take away what is God-Given ... to sit in judgement of a man and take away that which cannot be given back ... his life. Oh, I've heard all the arguments to the contrary, but that's my opinion. So, you ask, what if someone killed someone dear to me? How would you feel then? Probably, I'd be in a rage. If I could, I'd probably kill the bastard. Contradiction? Hardly. The latter act would be based purely on emotions. Law, I believe, should not. Laws, I believe, should be well thought out, balanced, based on good values & common sense. So, to me, a law favoring the Death Penalty is little more than revenge; a pre-meditated murder of another human-being. I don't feel laws should BE based on emotion, purely. But this is not my point, and I'm not going to become embroiled here in a debate on the subject, so let it go ...

: If you can follow the transition ... I don't believe recounting HISTORY should be based on emotion, alone, either, History is so, so complex. To re-tell it by one's emotional feelings only, leads to one thing ... revisionism. History is a tapestry of different beliefs, ways, mores & customs ... perspectives. And, it's all connected. It is the story of Man. To view it emotionally, is to often times miss that complexity, the richness ... it is to overlook so much. Most of the criticism we receive here comes from the "Native American sympathizer." To hear their side of it, the White Man is evil incarnate & the world would be a better place if we had just killed off the first one. Case in point ... Christopher Columbus ...

: Let me tell you a bit, first, about myself (forgive repetition please! Over the years, I'm pretty sure I've recounted at least some of this) ... I'm the guy who read "Black Elk Speaks," and proceeded to go into the bathroom, to be alone, and sobbed like a baby for 15 minutes. Crazy Horse, the tainted, but great, Lakota leader, is one of my most respected historical figures. I have a love for the Plains Indian traditions and customs ... a deep respect for those people. Out in South Dakota are two of the dearest people I've been fortunate enough to been able to have touch my life ... and touch it they did, Selo Black Crow & Jake Little Thunder ... two full-blooded Lakota Sioux ... leaders, in their day ... spiritual leaders ... neither of whom, incidentally, has much use for Russell Means, even though they were a part of the FBI/Lakota battle at Wounded Knee in '73. We spent time with these men on the Pine Ridge Reservation and later had Selo as a house guest in New York for an extended period. We were originally introduced by a mutual friend, Cy Griffin, but still, Selo thought we were just like all the rest, passing through the Rez to steal a little & then move on. It wasn't until I refused a sweat that I think Selo really began to accept me as a friend. No one refused a sweat. He asked me why. I responded that it was part of his culture, his religion. To partake for fun, without fully understanding its spiritual meaning, would be to make a mockery of it. I think we bonded right there. He later took me to a Sun Dance. A real Sun Dance. It was sensory overload for me. One of the top moments in my life. (I know I described that here on the Board a long time back.) Selo shared that with me. This was no commercial Pow Wow ... it was the REAL deal. He also gave to me one of my treasured possessions ... a belt buckle from a dead 7th Cavalryman ... passed on to him through his family ... a relic from the Lakota's greatest military victory. I know I've recounted the story of Jake ... Back in NY, with Selo as a house guest, I got to watch as he got up from the dinner table to place a piece of meat outside in a tree as an offering of thanks; had him pray, with pipe, for my family and bless our house ... so much more ... Then there are the dearly departed Jimmy & Juanita Little Coyote of the Northern Cheyenne. Great folks, who invited us to their daughter's wedding ... The Scaticoke, of Mohican roots, practically our neighbor, Trudie, who was a great friend & part of the inspiration for our "Mohican Lands to Mohicanland" page ... More recently, and to a lesser extent, Mike Phillips, who totally opened up to us ... Oh, did I mention Kihew? :) In short, and at the risk of sounding hokey & corny, some of our best friends are Indian people ...

: So, when we get stupid E-Mail, as we do, like this one entitled "Huh?" and asking, "i was wondering if you are aware of the existence of the 'Mohican' Indians, now located in Wisconsin?" we shrug, or laugh, and feel pity for their narrow-sightedness. They miss SO much in their rush to condemn.

: We recently got an E-Mail from someone we like ... but its message was disturbing. It involved Christopher Columbus, and was, I would think, a response to Elaine's Columbus Day message. The E-Mail was impersonal ... no message, just a forwarded essay on Columbus, readily found on the Internet, basically claiming he was nothing more than a lost sailor, fed by greed, who discovered nothing and was directly responsible for the destruction of the Eden he accidently bumped into here in the New World. Oh brother! THIS is HISTORY? I feel sorry for those who think like this, for there is so much they miss. All the New World's troubles are due to Columbus, even though, he didn't DISCOVER it? Others did. Does anyone hear the contradiction in there?

: Like it or not, ours is a Eurocentric history. Our society, though it has blended over the years with many cultures, was rooted and developed by Europeans. So, rightfully, its history would be told from that point of view. From that point of view, Columbus did discover the New World. There is nothing inherently wrong is saying so. Oh, but what of the Vikings you ask? It wasn't until relatively recently that was conclusively determined. That that took place centuries before Columbus, was lost knowledge and so irrelevant in the year 1492. Though some did believe the world was round, and there were intellectuals who "proved" as much in theory, it was Columbus, in a little wooden cork of a ship, who bobbed out into the dark & forboding, vast & unknown, ocean and made it KNOWN to all. No radar, no computers, just him & the stars. He opened the door for the rest of the great explorers. As for the rest ... one might be led to believe that Columbus was the slaveMASTER of all time. Has anyone read about the Aztecs? The Zulus? Has anyone ever asked the Hurons how they felt about the Iroquois? Or, the Arikara the Sioux? Slavery, expansionism ... the New World's story was just the lastest wave in one of the biggest themes of Mankind's continuing saga. Europeans, by virtue of more technology at an earlier stage, were merely the winners, able to outgrab everyone else. Aggression was everywhere. Even here, in the "Garden of Eden," long before Columbus.

: The story of the American Indian, in regard to their dealings with European culture, is a tragic one. One of MANY tragic stories in the history of Man. One I am fascinated with, as I know many of you are. But, to blindly condemn everything else is to miss the colorful sagas of so much more ...

: Ah well, what the heck ...

: Back To The Topic: ... I had fully planned on having sound bites from our Interviews up this week, but failed miserably due to a variety of reasons, not the least of which was that Elaine was HOGGING her computer (only kidding, Lainey), the one with the capture device. Maybe next week. We did update the 2001 Gathering Page, complete with the results of our first little survey. Plus, we added a new page of photos from the 2000 Gathering ... these courtesy of Jo. Do check them out. I'm getting excited!

: And WHY was Elaine hogging her computer? Because she's been busy designing book covers for the various titles Rose Publishing is beginning to offer. Great stuff, too, I might add. Thanks, Vita, for starting all this! Thanks, Elaine & Bea for keeping her going! My personal favorite? Why the "Mohicanlander's Companion Guide," of course! Yes, cover designed by Lainey. Still subject to a bit of change, which is why the back is slightly off-center ... room for a blurb. I am very glad we put off the impending release of the "Companion Guide," for many good ideas have since come along to make it that much better of a book. It is now scheduled for a Spring 2001 release, and we plan to stick to that self-imposed deadline this time! Still plan on at least 300 pages covering updates & additions to the original "On The Trail ..." guide booklet, plus a wealth of stuff on the movie, and a deep look into this Web Site (ala the above), including contributions from some of you. The two will be packaged together, offering a comprehensive LOTM-related Guide. If you already have the guide booklet, you will be able to purchase the new book at a discount.

: There is a link to Rose Publishing on top of the Board ... The Mohicanland Printing Press ... check out Lainey's other cover work and the titles themselves. Have something worthy of publication? Contact Rose Publishing!

: OK ... that's it for this time ... had to get all that off my chest, and though I only touched on the topic, I hope you got my point(s) ...

: Oh, thanks to the very many who have responded to our second Gathering Survey!!! Appreciate, very much, the feedback. Some great comments in there!!! By the way, that's how we're building our mailing list this year ... if you respond to the survey(s) we figure you're interested and put your name on the E-Mail list for updates. At some point, as we did last year, we'll whittle the list down to those who actually sign up to attend ... but that's down the road ...

: And, did you set your clocks back?

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