By James Giago Davies, Native Sun News Today Correspondent
There are times when any tribe needs to be skeptical: “Stay warm this winter with these smallpox infected blankets.”
When people come to you with big stories and generous offerings, be kind, be gracious, but be very skeptical: “Sign this cool treaty. You get a bunch of great stuff, plus you can keep the Black Hills forever. That’s a great deal, Chiefs! You got nothing to lose—sign!”
Problem is, the tribes weren’t skeptical. They took those blankets. They signed those treaties. Can’t list the things they lost, or this column would be a million words long. Let’s just say it turned out to be a not-so-great deal.
One thing I have noticed about people who refuse to be skeptical when it matters most, is they tend to believe anything you tell them, except the truth: “Don’t touch those blankets! They are infested with tiny animals that will get inside you and make you sick!” “Crazy talk. You been into that fire water again?” “Wait! Don’t sign. What’s to stop these guys from getting off the train in Chicago and changing critical language in the treaty so they take our land?” “It’s a great deal! You do what you want, but we’re signing!”
Truth is, had the tribes done just the opposite of most everything they did back then, we’d be way better off today. Not that tribes aren’t skeptical, they are very skeptical. Just at the wrong time about all the wrong things: “Don’t take my picture with that camera, it will steal my spirit. Eee-zah! Who drank my case of Budweiser?” “Okay! Maybe them Ghost Dance shirts didn’t turn away bullets, but—next time!”
So, the white man comes to tribes with science, the same science that gave you your car, your cell phone, free shipping from an Amazon Prime order, the privacy setting to hide your porn search, and that science is accepted without question. But when evolutionary biologists tell you men were not created, that they evolved in Africa and spread across the planet: “We don’t believe in the white man’s science! We walked up out of Wind Cave!”
When scientists tell tribes the horse evolved in North America, spread to Asia, went extinct in North America, and were brought back by the Spanish: “We always had the horse! He walked up out of Wind Cave right behind us!”
Tribes are very skeptical, just at the wrong time about all the wrong things. Not that the white man doesn’t do same, he can get fairly ridiculous at times.
December 6, 1941: “The Japanese could attack Pearl Harbor tomorrow!” “Shut up, you knucklehead. I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and he would have told me if that was going to happen.”
September 8, 2001: “Terrorists could fly passenger planes into the Twin Towers and the Pentagon tomorrow!” “You’re gonna spread something crazy like that but won’t accept the moon landings were faked despite all the slam dunk evidence? Get out of here!”
The time to be skeptical is now, about things the white man has conditioned you to never question. When the white man uses the military to murder millions and terrorize the resource rich Third World, tribes got no problem signing up to serve in his military. The same military we scuffled with for a hundred years. The same military that shot us dead at Wounded Knee. You can’t see they are doing the same thing to the people in the Middle East and for the same reasons?
This just in: if you wait for Santa to put the presents under the Christmas tree, there aren’t going to be any presents come Christmas. Tribes need to educate themselves, and trust the smart people who can reason, not the loud, stupid people who still believe magic shirts can turn away bullets.