Re: Well, since you asked...

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Posted by Elaine on January 25, 1999 at 22:11:39:

In Reply to: Well, since you asked... posted by Janis on January 25, 1999 at 20:33:54:

Hi Janis,

" Russel Means sounds like an educated, thoughtful person. Very aggressive, insightful, and opinionated."

I believe you've got a good picture of him. He is definitely educated and apparently very attentive. Opinionated? You think? :)

" I found the interview entertaining, but why oh why do so many American Indians insist that no violence was ever perpetrated until the "white man" arrived?? No history of Indians torturing anyone? He's kidding, right?"

Thank you, Janis. This is one of those little statements we found to be ...... uhmmm .... incorrect. As for the denial of torture ... I have yet to discover the existence of ANY people who didn't utilize some means of torture. There are none. Nada. All people (culturally speaking) have engaged in some degree of torture. The challenge for 20th century people (yes, armchair moralists we are) is not to deny what has occurred, but to understand why. It is both a dark side of humanity & a means to an end. Sometimes it is senseless; other times it has/had a purpose.

"In Lake George, not far from the reconstructed Fort William Henry, There is a statue of Father Isaac Jogues, a Catholic missionary who, along with converts, was tortured as a guest of the Mohawks (including having his fingers bitten off, and YES, parts of his body burned!). He was decapitated some years later."

Yes, this is certainly true. It happened & no amount of denial will change that. The best we can do is understand why the Mohawk did what they did. It wasn't motivated by cruelty. It was far more complex than that. A threat was perceived. The threat was dealt with. And Father Jogues himself knew this. He chose to return years later ... and he expected to die.

Not to seem too Machievellian,but ... we may cringe at times when reading accounts of "cruelties" of yesteryear, but there were reasons for these actions. Look at Charlemagne. With one verdict he ordered the death of 6,000 (?) Saxons. He wasn't a psychopath. He was a ruler & a patriot. A threat was perceived and again it was dealt with.

"To celebrate the full scope of Indians as fellow humans, Mr. Means has to admit that they love, hate, and kill, just like everybody else."

Well said.

" You guys did a good job staying focused."

We thank you for that.


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