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Colonial enslavement of Native Americans, An image from 1595 depicting conflict between Native Americans in Mexico and Spanish colonists led by Francisco de Montejo. Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University
Colonial enslavement of Native Americans,
An image from 1595 depicting conflict between Native Americans in Mexico and Spanish colonists led by Francisco de Montejo. Courtesy of the John Carter Brown Library at Brown University
I just now read an article that states: Native American slavery “is a piece of the history of slavery that has been glossed over,” says Linford D. Fisher, associate professor of history at Brown University. “Between 1492 and 1880, between 2 and 5.5 million Native Americans were enslaved in the Americas in addition to 12.5 million African slaves.”  From Colonial enslavement of Native Americans included those who surrendered, too.

When I was five years old, my sister was six and my brother was four. My parents drove us to the Six Nations Indian Museum and asked a Native American there, Ray Fadden, whether he would spend the next hour and a half to educate their well behaved children (us) while they (my parents) grocery shopped in Saranac Lake.

He said, “Sure.” They also left him some money for the museum’s operations. Then they left.

I wasn’t sure about what to expect, but Ray told us Native American children’s tales, explained Native history in such a way that it was compelling, showed us rare artifacts and brought them to life in his descriptions of them. In short, he thrilled me!

It was one of the best afternoons of my life ever … since I expanded so much in a short period of time. Indeed, he was starting to train me to be my best self using his own model as a human of the best ilk as he reached out to improve life around himself.

Over the years since I would be brought to him at least once every summer. During that time, I grew to love and trust him. He made me feel the way that a mother does when she pats your head just before bedtime and with sincerity and tenderness asks about the way that your day went. He was like the grandfather who joyously lifts you into his lap and gives you a great big bear hug after not having seen you for a half of a year. What joy!

Yes, Ray always made you feel wanted and loved. He was magic. So I have a hard time imagining him as a Native American slave, such as was described in the Brown University study.

Instead, I prefer my real-life vision of him as someone whom I physically leaned up against as he told me in ways appropriate for my age at the time about the best ways to be my best self — a best human, a best girl.

On account, he was instrumental in my understanding so much that I would, partly because of his influence, become. For example, I asked him about corporeal punishment — i.e., spanking of children — when I was around ten years old.

He taught me that shunning works better to help a child rather than fear of pain administered to the buttocks. … He never told me about what to do. He always used a story and his shunning story was this:

A child is told that his behavior brings shame to the tribe since it is unacceptable. So he is now to be removed for a while from the tribe. … Oh-oh. No dinner plate is set for him at meal time. Nobody tells him that it is bedtime. No one asks that he brushes his teeth and climb into bed. Instead, he is simply ignored until his behavior re-corrects itself. (I bet that that kid won’t bite his little sister again on the arm or roughly yank on her hair.)

He, thus, learns to conform to the values and ethics expected of him. He simply learns goodness without pain on his flanks to get him to obey. He, instead of fear of physical hurt, learned a new standard from his own self-motivation to be a good tribal member.

I was a bit rueful upon hearing the account, especially since I’d been hauled across my father’s lap in front of my grandparents (such shame in my mind since I wanted them to like me) when I wore my patent leather shoes outside at the grandparents’ house upon seeing the first snowfall of the season. Put another way, my glee at the event with beautiful falling flakes that I’d wanted to experience was quickly replaced by guilt and a desire to go hide in a corner for being so bad a girl.

Through the years, I could always talk with Ray about anything that upset me. So when I was around fifteen, I told him that I couldn’t take anymore the fact that brutality drives our lives forward. I reminded him of the food on our meal plates, the clothes on our backs, the material (formerly living entities) from which our homes are made, the mail made from dead forests that comes into my house each day and so on.

He was accustomed to me by then — over the ten years that we’d known each other. So he suggested that I heal myself by repeating an Algonquin prayer every time that I feel disturbed by the slaughter that keeps me and others alive.

It went something like this: Oh poor deer, I’m so sorry that I had to kill you. I’m sorry for you and your kin, who will miss your presence.

However, I have children crying at home, who are hungry. So I had no choice and I honor your life with theirs, and I respect you for your helpfulness. Indeed I will honor you forever for keeping life forward for us.

Yes, it went something like that. However, I’ve now replaced it with another statement. It goes something like: I hate this slaughter, but can’t help it since I was born into a pattern in which I must destroy life to stay alive. It would not be my choice to harm or kill you if I had the choice. So I’m not to blame. Look elsewhere for that since I’m simply a tool and not the agent that runs evolution via survival of the fittest.

I wish that Ray were still around so I could run such a perspective through him. However, he’s not, but I still have him anyway. … Check it out if you want to see his condition as a person. If I were to believe in saints being superior, I’d put him in that category.

They Lied to You in School with Ray Fadden; The http://www …

Apr 22, 2009 – Uploaded by WoodstockMuseum

They Lied to You in School with Ray Fadden; The http://www.WoodstockMuseum.com/ray_fadden.html.

Tehanetorens – Ray Fadden | Native Voices Books

Ray Fadden was a teacher and influential figure among the Mohawks of Akwesasne. He passed away in November 2008, at the age of 98. In 1930, Ray Fadden …

The pictographs were produced by the elder Fadden, and the graphics … 700-plus pieces of black & white drawings reflecting Native culture produced by John Fadden are … 1462 County Route 60 • Onchiota, NY 12989 • 518-891-2299

 

Now I want to contrast Ray’s views with Mary LeCochon. How appropriate that her last name is, in actuality, a French word that may refer to …  “Slang meaning dirty pig, swine, contemptible person; see Cultural references to pigs. (
Cochon – Wikipedia).

Okay. Mary would start my daughter’s third grade scout meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance. The words go like this … something about under God and with liberty and justice for all. Oh yeah? … Ask the slaves — natives, Blacks and others, about liberty and justice for all.

From Pledge of Allegiance Has Become a Nightmare for Many Kids … :


The American Humanist Association’s boycott of the Pledge of Allegiance has revealed some very troubling information: extensive reports showing that students who opt out of the Pledge exercise are often subjected to harsh mistreatment from their teachers and school administrators. …
 

Here’s small sampling of what kids are reporting to the AHA: From Pennsylvania: “My teacher yelled at me in front of everyone. ‘What are you doing? Stand up! Say the Pledge! Have some respect!’ This happened every day for a week. Finally he gave up and left me alone. I didn’t give up, because it’s extremely unfair to pledge allegiance to my country under the name of a god I don’t believe in.”

California: “I refused to say the pledge, was immediately sent to principal’s office and threatened with expulsion.”

Emboldened, Mary got a little more frisky in December. She stated, “Raise your hand if you are not a Christian.” No one did despite that a Hindu and a Jewish child were part of the troop.

Her response was, “Good. Now we don’t have to sing any of those stupid non-Christian songs this season of joy over Jesus’s birth.”

The mothers of the Hindu and Jewish girl promptly removed their children from the troop that month. How not?

The best is yet to come from the Cochon’s mouth (with no denigration from me intended towards real pigs, themselves).

So the scout girls are all having a sleep-out at a scout camp. The Nitmuk (Native American) girl brought blankets and a pillow instead of a sleeping bag, which propelled the Pig into stating:

“Indians are all poor and they’re dirty. They don’t like to bathe. They’re lazy and don’t apply themselves in work. They like to pee and poop outdoors rather than use indoor plumbing. They are wild savages and like to run away from school …” and on and on, she spouted idiocy from a high horse.

People sat around her nodding. I have no idea about what their behavior meant. Was it to confirm listening or sympathetic agreement?

I almost confronted her, but then decided that it would wake the girls nestled all around us because it would get all out between her and me. So I instead opted to go out into the cool silent starry night and watch all of the twinkling bright specks of light in the pitch black sky. Doing so calmed me as did my daughter leaving that troop at the end of her third grade school year.

Yes, good-bye and good riddance, Mary LeCochon, the antithesis of Ray Fadden. The likes of you are responsible for the slavery discussed at the beginning of this article.

So who do you think are the real sub-humans? Who are the vermin? Jews and Hindus that don’t know Christian Christmas songs? Native Americans like Ray Fadden?

Please keep your ugliness contained instead of spouting it out, Mrs. Cochon. Keep it contained to, as a dire sickness, only fester in yourself. Yes, good-bye.

Sally Dugman is a writer located in the USA

One Comment

  1. K SHESHU BABU says:

    The article aptly reflects slavery conditions