Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Context Meditation / Indigenous Vitality

The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee by David Treuer

“An ambitious, gripping, and elegantly written synthesis that is much more than the sum of its excellent parts—which include a rich array of Native lives, Treuer’s own family and tribe among them–The Heartbeat of Wounded Knee brings a recognition of indigenous vitality and futurity to a century of modern Indian history.” 
— Philip J. Deloria, Professor of History, Harvard University 

Above is the Covington Catholic High School Mascot, The Colonel.  As far as I can tell, this mascot gets its name from Leonard Covington who served as a Captain in the Northwest Indian War (1785-1795) and later became a Colonel.  He was a United States Army Brigadier General and a member of the United States House of Representatives. I'm struck by the resemblance to one of the students of Covington Catholic High School:

A few days ago, I listened to Nicholas Sandmann speaking on the Today Show.  He did not look like the same young man the whole world saw in the photo above.  To me, he looked drugged as he stared fixedly and spoke in a monotone voice.  Although he relaxed somewhat as the interview progressed, he appeared to me to be someone in profound shock.

The closest he came to an apology was when he said, "...  I respect him.  I'd like to talk to him.  I mean, in hindsight, I wish we would have walked away and avoided the whole thing ..."

My dream remains that a conversation will take place between Nathan Phillips and Nicholas Sandmann.  If anyone could help Nicholas Sandmann open his heart, it would be Nathan Phillips.

My perception remains that Nathan Phillips lives by principle and has much to teach all who care to listen.  I keep wondering if Pope Francis will have anything to say to Nicholas Sandmann.  Who knows what the long-term results will be of the unexpected meeting of Nathan Phillips and Nicholas Sandmann on January 18, 2019?

"Actions often ripple far beyond the immediate objective and remembering this is a reason to live by principle and act in the hope that what you do matters, even when results are unlikely to be immediate or obvious."  
-- Rebecca Solnit, from the essay, "In Praise of Indirect Consequences," from Call Them by Their True Names, page 173)

When our local library buys a copy of David Treuer's book, I hope to be first in line to read it and learn more about the historical context in which Nathan Phillips and Nicholas Sandmann looked into each other's eyes in a historical moment.

"Until the US accounts for its history at every level of society, this scenario will play out relentlessly, in endless configurations."


Sabine said...

Look here:


am said...

Thank you, Sabine!