Interesting experience today: our local historical society featured a luncheon speaker, a hereditary chief of the Lenni Lenape or Delaware Indians, who were native to these my belovèd Northeastern woodlands. He is is living in diaspora as he said, in Oklahoma. There are only about 2500 Lenape in his community, but there are various others in the Western states, and in Ontario. According to Wiki, about 16,000 in all.
He was an engaging speaker and a handsome, charming man. The title of his speech was “We Are Still Here”, but the burden of it was “we want to come home,”—to the Pocono Mountains, to the Delaware Water Gap. The Delaware also want their ancient treaties honored, as to hunting and fishing rights. So this isn’t a matter of demanding special,privileges, but of honoring obligations. And he says they were also promised a seat in Congress, which they are working toward.
He warmly assured us his audience (which of course contained a couple of Progs who did all but bare their backsides asking him to whip’em) that we had nothing to apologize for, that we are stewards of the land, just as his people were. But he did suggest that maybe, some of us might want to give some of it back.
That struck a memory chord with me; it must have been some book I read, but when I was a child I always thought the Indians were still about in the woods here, we might see one any day just like we might see a deer or a bear.)
He invited questions, and I was dying to ask what the goals a Lenni Lenape Congressperson would be? Would he or she be limited to the land issue, maybe shading into reparations? What would the representative of the tribe think, f’rinstance, about the war in Ukraine? But I didn’t, Questions were more on the level of was he insulted by sports teams with names like Redskins and Braves? (No. But he does gently dislike what he called “redface” when whites don war bonnets and paint.)
He did seem to appreciate the “stolen lands acknowledgements” which are ubiquitous now.
What do you think dear polymaths? Would it be at ll relistic to try to resettle the Lenni Lenape here in NEPA? It occurred to me that he COULD just buy a house here, after all, if he wanted. And what about Congressional representation?
Very true. Then he could convert the house into a casino, become rich, and move to Hawaii.
The problem with “reparations” is where to stop? For example, lots of US citizens can trace their ancestry to Scottish Highlanders who were driven out of their country (not just off their land) following Bonnie Prince Charlie’s excellent adventure in 1745/46. Should they get their land in Scotland back? If so, would Scotland get representation in the US Congress?
As for the Congressional representation issue, we all know that (unfortunately) who gets “elected” to Congress does not make an iota of difference to us citizens; all it changes is which political hack gets an opportunity to become wealthy.
I try not to get too exercised about such things these days. Biden*'s coming nuclear war will render most such topics moot.
All true. I’ve written everywhere that will post me that this “stolen land” crap, no matter who propounds it, Indians, Arabs, etc.—is nonsense. It just depends how far back you wanna go. There’s no place on earth that has been inhabited by the same ethnic group since our consciousness of history began. So suck it up.
But the further I get from the lecture yesterday, the more bizarre whole thing w/ Indians seems. They really get a good deal from the govt. if they can get declared a “tribe” the members get free eduction for themselves and their descendants down to 1/16 blood. On the reservations, they get housing paid for or heavily subsidized. Pa doesn’t have any reservations, maybe that’s what this speaker was getting at. But he talked about how in Okla the LL get together with, like Comanche and do dances and ceremonies, even though they are from different ecologies. (reminded me of that scene in Avatar 2, where Sullly hasta go live with the water critters)
But: on the thousands -of-acres reservations further west, do the descendants of the Indians still hunt? Do they still believe in, and practice, the religious rituals of their remote ancestors?
Why DONT they just move, like all other American citizens can do, if they’re out in Okla pining for the Appalachians?
The whole reservation thing was a terrible mistake, just like it was in Australia. Sheesh, everybody bitches about the schools that children of the Indians were forced to attend in some parts of the country—but those were the LUCKY ones! Their descendants melted in with the European settlers and made their way to prosperity. I mean what do they want now: to live in tepees again? The whole thing looks picturesque from a distance, but up close it’s as spurious as that ol’fraud Nathan Phillips chanting gibberish while beating the skin drum in poor Nick Sandman’s face.
The truth of the matter is that in America we have grown well past any such rational considerations. We have had such a flood of immigrants that to find someone who can trace his lineage back to even Civil War times is hard. AND none of them today have either been slaves or owned slaves.
Same can be said for the Indians. They had a nomadic life way back when. That is gone. Resettlement by whites and more productive use of land has passed them by. Yes, some still have native practices. One of my bunkies from Basic School is a “tribal leader” of his small tribe. But it doesn’t keep him from. being a successful American (lawyer with his own law firm in Albaquerque) and a Christian. And even he notices the lack of any ambition in the Indian tribes. Young people who wish to go to college are offered a complete full ride - yet they mostly drop out in the second or third year of school. Hell of a way to run a railroad.