Thursday, July 03, 2008

America and The Way of The Gun : More Frontiers to Conquer From Daniel Boone to Indiana Jones

Depiction of Pioneer Hannah Duston As She Escapes Her Captors . She kills a number of Native Americans and Scalps(See below) them . Hanna is not some helpless female victim. But her story gets changed in various ways. She decides to scalp the Indians in order to collect the bounty or alternately she scalps the Indians to have proof of what she did. Either way it shows a cold bloodedness on her part which would be just as atrocious if it had been done by a man.
D. W. Griffiths 'Birth of A Nation' in 1915 gave new life to the KKK who in the film are depicted as the saviours of The South and if permitted could be the saviours of traditional American values. For the most part the film is merely a propaganda piece for White Supremacy and American Exceptionalism . The Klan was revived after the film was released and by the mid 1930s over five million Americans were registered as members of the KKK. This is Americas real history as opposed to the myth that America was the land of the free and home of the brave well only if you were white and male. Under Ronald Reagen and George W. Bush many racists feel embolden as they use various means to prevent large numbers of African-Americans and other minorities from voting or discriminating against Blacks and others in the workplace or on University Campuses etc.
Painting of the Iconic Manly Man of The West Daniel Boone. His real story is a lot less romantic . In fact he was not the heroic , ' Injun Killer' he was made out to be and in many ways was a failure who was constantly struggling with financial debts. But don't let that get in the way of a precious myth or legend or fable. It sometimes seems Americans can not tell the difference between a ' tall tale' and the truth . In any case they prefer the myth or fable over truth and reality. It is no wonder that so many Americans are against any form of serious and honest education whereby individuals are taught to be critical thinkers in dealing with history or science as opposed to passive consumers of traditional conservative myths in which one does not questions society's basic core beliefs no matter how irrational or untrue.

The face of America Today is not much different than it was a hundred years ago.
And so I shall continue to examine America's history and its contemporary face and myths and fantasies as depicted for instance by Susan Faludi in her book 'Terror Dream'. She characterizes America in terms of its over-arching myths such as those found in its earliest history and including the era in which the West was conquered and settled . But the myth gets extended as new horizons are reached as in the oil industry,or Industrialism and achievements such as the assembly line or advanced technology as in the Silicon Valley or in conquering Outer Space by exploration and the development of Better Weapons in Space or taking the Moon or Mars as being future American colonies .

Americans who still hold and insist upon the Wild West Image and Fantasy as defining America in their view that is as a positive attribute. Whereas the rest of the world is befuddled by such an attitude.

Even when it comes to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan Americans speak about these wars as if they were out to tame the Wild West and to wipe out the savages who live there and /or convert them to Christianity and American life-style where the rich get richer while the poor are ignored.

Every decent man or woman should the American Conservatives claim should be permitted to carry hand guns or whatever to protect themselves from the Barbaric hordes of Savages especially all those evil illegal immigrants or other uncouth minorities . The Pro-Gun supporters often sound like they were still living in the Wild West.

The Real News Network
Gun Laws Washington
Hand Guns now legal ( to protect hearth & home against the' Barbaric hordes ' and 'Savages' ).

The myth making did not end once the Native Americans had been neutralized through genocide and keeping a small percentage alive in detention centres referred to as Reservation which were and are not much better than the Bantu lands under South African Apartheid.

Native Americans were Stereotyped BY Racist Hollywood & Mainstream America.
The reality is that American Whites massacred more Native Americans than Native Americans Massacred White Americans. Yet thousands of films portray thousands of massacres and rapes, and torture carried out by the Celluloid Indians.

Native Americans still seeking Justice and Equal Rights in America and in Canada

And here's some profound words from imprisoned African-American Abu-Jamal on the fate of Native Americans.
American Indian Genocide, Mumia Abu-Jamal
added January 30, 2008


Charlene Teters, Spokane

On the verge
of the millennium, Indian people are still involved in what Michael Haney has
described as the longest undeclared war against the American Indian, here in our
own homeland. This war, no longer on battlefields is now being fought in the
courtrooms, corporation boardrooms, and classrooms over the appropriation of
Native American names, spiritual and cultural symbols by professional sports,
Hollywood, schools, and universities. The issue for us is the right to self
identification and self determination this is the fight of the National
Coalition on Racism in Sports and the Media

Anyway here's some food for thought about Stephen Spielberg and how he portrays indigenous peoples in his films.
So people will claim " But it's just a movie " If that were so should we dismiss Spielberg's greatest film Schindler's List' as merely a movie.
So would Spielberg object if African-Americans wre stereotyped as all being ' lazy ', ' stupid ' or as ' murderers ' 'thieves ' and 'rapists '.
Or would Spielberg object to characterizing all Jewish people as 'Greedy' , 'penny pinchers ' as 'enemies of Christianity' or as " Christ-Killers' as found in many western works of literature and art.
see: Mel Gibson's 'The Passion of Christ 'or Charles Dickens 'Oliver Twist'.
or Jewish People as forming a secret Cabal to to rule the world from behind the scenes as in the infamous anti-semitic forgery " The Protocols of the Elders of Zion" which has been used as Propaganda by various anti-semites from the Russian emperor to Adolph Hitler to the KKK and present day Neo-nazi skinheads etc.

"Indian Killer Jones"
May 15, 2008
Spielberg once again insults the Nican Tlaca (Indigenous) people of this continent, by looting our culture for his own personal gain, while at the same time portraying us as the "savage." A long tradition of Hollywood.

* Scalping :

as for scalping the practice was brought to America by the Europeans:
The history of Indian and European scalping

The history of the savage practice of scalping victims.

How did the Indians start scalping their victims? One theory is that they learned it from the European settlers. A few Indian tribes had practiced scalping to a very limited extent before the Europeans arrived.

More often than not, scalping was practiced as a response in kind. The Eurpoeans had taught them, first hand, the horror of viewing the mutilated remains of their families and friends after an attack by white settlers. By inflicting the same mutilation on their enemies they had hoped to stem the onslaught of these white settlers that were invading their land. To some Indians,if the attacks could not stop the whites, at least it would send the message that they were prepared to be as unscrupulous as the Europeans. The Iroquois in particular, used scalping to this purpose.
In the 11th century, the Earl of Wessex scalped his enemies. When the English and the Dutch came to the new world they brought the custom with them. This activity was brought not so much as an official method of warfare, but as a bounty to ease the anger of the frontiersmen.
The western border of the colonies was being populated with settlers that were comprised of a dubious lot. They were outlaws and runaways. With them they brought disease and alcohol. The frontier was a breeding ground for conflict with the Indian population. Initially the frontiersmen turned on the Indians in an attempt to move them off the land. When the Indians retaliated, the settlers turned to the government for help. The settlers demanded retribution for the Indian reprisals. The Dutch, and soon after the English, government created the scalp bounty as a means to pacify the settlers. Simply, they paid a fee for each scalp that was delivered to the locally appointed magistrate.

Although the army was accomplishing the task of displacing the Indians, the bounty encouraged settlers to mount attacks on the Indians whenever they could. In 1703, Massachusetts paid 12 pounds for an Indian scalp. By 1723 the price had soared to 100 pounds. To the frontiersmen, it did not matter if the scalp came from an Indian or a white man. All that mattered was the bonus. The practice eventually became widespread. The French used the bounty on scalps to eradicate a peaceful tribe in Newfoundland. During the French and Indian Wars, the English offered their troops a bounty of 200 pounds for the scalp of the chief of the Delaware tribe, Shinngass. This was 25 times the price that they offered their Indian allies for the scalp of a French soldier. This practice of paying a bounty for Indian scalps continued into the 19th century before the public put an end to the practice.

This practice of paying a scalp bounty inspired a widespread retaliation from the Indians. White frontiersmen would scalp not only the warriors but also the women and the children. In many cases the scalp was not even taken from an Indian. The government could not tell the difference. However, the Indians were blamed for initiating the practice, because no European would stoop so low as to take a scalp. It should also be noted that only the Indians were held accountable for the practice.

and so it goes,

No comments: