Sunday, January 06, 2008
Caution: Keep Away from Open Flame-
I was browsing my bookshelves yesterday and came upon "We Talk, You Listen", by Lakota Indian activist Vine Deloria, Jr. He died in 2005, and his most famous book was "Custer Died for Your Sins". "We Talk, You Listen" was published back in 1970, and although Deloria himself later took on a few wacky views, such as a belief in an Indian version of Creationism, he also very often had a knack for hitting the nail on the head.
In the Foreword he relates-
"Every now and then I am impressed with the thinking of the non-Indian. I was in Cleveland last year and got to talking with a non-Indian about American history. He said that he was really sorry about what had happened to Indians, but that there was good reason for it. The continent had to be developed and he felt that Indians had stood in the way and thus had to be removed. ‘After all,’ he remarked, ‘what did you do with the land when you had it?’ I didn’t understand him until later when I discovered that the Cuyahoga River running through Cleveland is inflammable. So many combustible pollutants are dumped into the river that the inhabitants have to take special precautions during the summer to avoid accidentally setting it on fire. After reviewing the argument of my non-Indian friend I decided that he was probably correct. Whites had made better use of the land. How many Indians could have thought of creating an inflammable river?"