Yesterday I was browsing through a literary portal, casually perusing magazines and journals open for submissions, some of which I pass along if they sound interesting or unique. I came across Reed Magazine, which proudly bills itself as the oldest such “west of the Mississippi”. After I read more about their “history”, the inevitable appeared, although I’d been hoping it wouldn’t. This all reminded me of a meme that’s been heavily circulated the past week, and what Decolonization movements are about:
Thus, the US has achieved parts of the original plan to eliminate or assimilate any remaining “Indians”, and this is just one more example that since they can’t or don’t publicly make statements like Roosevelt, Plecker, Lincoln and Jackson anymore, entities like Reed Magazine reinforce though ignorance and erasure. That probably didn’t even cross their minds when they wrote their “About” page, but the “built-in” systematic privilege they’ve had since birth is what allows such to be created.
Such privilege has and continues to support those who says things like: “Get over it!” “That was hundreds of years ago” in response to any presentation of information outside the warped narratives they prefer. A rather: “Why can’t you be like us,” mentality, “we all have the same opportunities, the same chance to achieve ‘the American Dream!'” It’s how they even treat indigenous remains and sacred items with disrespect. Whether its at sites such as San Nicholas Island, the contemporary auction/selling of items collected after killing natives in the US, or selling sacred items and/or refusing repatriation of human remains in Europe.
Erasure is also how so many European people on both sides of the Atlantic concoct profit making schemes off fascination with natives (principally based on past tense stereotypes), using and taking from native cultures and identities with the same mentality Europeans of the past used to invade indigenous lands around the world. They may condemn the methods used, but they still have the same mentality now: take whatever they want irregardless of indigenous objections, and rationalize it away.
Get over what ? History is in the past, no doubt about that, but you tell me what we need to Get Over since you’re still benefiting today from what your ancestors did and we’re still suffering from. We’re not asking for an apology, which is a Band-aid to a stomach wound, yet a psychologically crucial first step for some. In my opinion apologies are worthless without definite steps to change the society wide psychopath’s reasoning that allows for blithely ignoring contrary facts or aggressive defense of their version of “American history”.
We must not only fight our inherited and/or individual trauma but also these acts of erasure, casually benign or derisively yelled. If we do not, it is only more cultural and spiritual death for us, and their “Mission complete.” Don’t be surprised or annoyed when some of us, native and non-native alike, won’t let that happen. We’re going to break the cycle of genocide, and erasure is one of its components.