Native American Voices Know the Definition of Native American

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Many school children celebrate a cliché Thanksgiving tradition in class where they play Indians and Pilgrims, and some children engage in the play of Cowboys vs. Indians. It is known that some died when colonization occurred, that some fought the United States government, and that they can be boiled down to just another school mascot. This is what many people understand of the original inhabitants of America. Historical knowledge of these people has been shallow and stereotyped. The past 150 years has given birth to a literate people now able to record their past, present, and future. Native American literature, as it evolves, defines the Native American culture and its status in the world, as an evolving people, more so than any …show more content…
Cochise has shown that he comes from a proud people who know their circumstance, and just want to survive and be left alone. Another speech that was translated to English, made in 1876 in response to a proposed tax on Indians, was called [He has filled graves with our bones.] The orator was Charlot, a chief of a band of Flathead Indians. His words here are a testament to his belief that the white man is a liar and a thief. His use of ironic vision shows his wisdom, wit, and grief. This speech carries a tone of disgust and appallment. He sums up what he thinks about the whites when he says “To take and to lie should be burnt on his forehead, as he burns the sides of my stolen horses with his own name” (1464). The Indians were propagated to be savage beasts, and Charlot knew this. What is often untold is how the Whites treated the Indians. “Yet, they say we are not good. Will he tell his own crimes? No, no; his crimes to us are left untold” (1466). His final thought of the speech is in metaphor and tells of his thoughts of the future comparing white men to a thieving wolverine who will keep stealing as long as he remains alive. Another aspect of Indian life was the oral tradition of songs and chants that have been passed down from generation to generation. As the ones that were not lost have been translated into written language, a varied and absolutely

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