I made this blog two years ago out of frustration at the lack of American Indian history in circulation/ lack of Native news in the mainstream media. I was instructed in my writing class to write a paper on a “modern day” topic. American Indian reservations was something that I was curious about, so I started to do some research online and at the local university’s library. It was overwhelming, to say the least. I was overwhelmed by everything I didn’t know. Everything that happened then and still happens today.
This coincided with a man speaking about the genocide of American Indians at my local college. Afterwards, I talked to the speaker and then to the man standing next to him. The man next to him was named Tom and told me that he was apart of the Confederated Tribes of Grande Ronde. In my ignorance, I asked him about his “spiritual/ native” name and he graciously answered my questions about how he got it, etc. It wasn’t until later that I learned this is rightly considered inappropriate and disrespectful. He was very kind to me. I mentioned the paper I was going to write and I briefly said something like, “I wasn’t aware of how the oppression from so long ago still affects what happens today,” to which he replied, “Yes, that’s what people don’t understand. The oppression. Write about it, talk about it. People need to know.”
Something about the way he said it has stuck with me these past two years. It encourages me that 357 people are reading these posts.