Monday, March 16, 2015

Today in American (Not Necessarily United States) History

Many American readers will have heard of the Native American called “Squanto” (Tisquantum – or the rage of manitou: an encompassing spiritual rage, something like “divine wrath”), but may not be able to tell any of his story. Fewer will know the name Samoset – and, possibly, fewer still may be familiar with Massaoit. Yet these three men make up a seminal part of the history of Native and European relations in our country, and the history is not always what we think.

On March 16, 1621, a lone man came unarmed into the village of the Europeans, and greeted them in their English language …

This piece is LONG, but it may be the most excellent *storytelling* link I have put up in ages. This is what makes history exciting, frustrating, beautiful and awful, and endlessly intriguing. Give it the time. It is worth the read, if only to learn what invasive species can do even beyond fell intent.

Side note … Even Smithsonian Magazine still can’t seem to bring ourselves to describe Native history in its own terms or on them (watch for anachronistic terms like “suburban” and, of course, New England, in the discussion of ancient settlement in the region), but the history is still tantalizing and should be considered, even if we’re still at it by faulty methods. (It does, for a while, call the region Dawnland, a translation for its natives’ name for their land, and includes good information about local lifestyle and politics, though still necessarily from European sources.) Side side note … there’s a bit about handkerchiefs I know my brother will appreciate. Heh.

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