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Unformatted text preview: 1 CONTACT WITH WHITE STRANGERS Lucy Thompson is a full-blooded member of the Klamath River woman, and was born of highest birth, according to her tribe’s laws of marriage. She is known as a Talth to her people, who was given the responsibility to learn all of their mysteries, laws, and myths. In her novel, To the American Indian , she aims to give an accurate retelling of all of the ways of her people. In the following statement, Thompson talks of the tragedy her people experienced of losing their way of life because they were inferior to a new race of people who arrived unwelcome, and were responsible for the largest holocaust in human history. “Truly our tribes were not bloodthirsty, for the love of blood or the lust of glory, but instead were compelled to yield to a superior race; and our noblest men sleep in narrow graves with the best, the proudest of the race, dead around them: exterminated rather than educated, until the noblest of our race are gone. And out of the miserable remnant comes a feeble cry today that for nearly four centuries the Redman has merely existed, without a country. Love for the child-race of a bygone age, tears for the infant race, in all its infancy a type of primitive manhood, reserved and poised, courageous, enduring, master of self and above all self-controlled, a proud, vanishing figure in a nation of unrest. Love for the adult race saddened with regrets hanging heavy and the stain of blood on their hands from the infant tears for the superior race, for who can tell what this child race might have been when they were full grown and educated. Tears and love, love and tears, sweetly mingled when infant and adult meet in one great broth- erhood of forgiveness. Always thus, since time began, someone might die a martyr for the beginning of every cause; and it has been thus, since the dawn of history, among all races and nations: the heathen, the barbarian and the civilized nations of the world.” 1 1 SOURCE: Thompson, Lucy, To the American Indian . Heyday Book, 1916. Page 132. 2 During the 1900s the majority of the tribes that occupied Northern California were plagued by government indifference, and oppression from the landowners who took over their lands. Once the Indians began to be forced into reservations, and sent to boarding schools in hopes of imposing American culture upon them, they were afraid that their ways of life as they knew it were disappearing. The following quote was given by Florence Shaughnessy, a Yurok, in 1978 in Thomas Buckley’s book Standing Ground . “Once I saw a bunch of red currants that were just so perfect I couldn’t pick them. That’s when I first began to see all of my jewelry, for those red currants are rubies and I leave them all for my children....
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This note was uploaded on 12/07/2009 for the course ECON 203 at USC.
- The American, Native Americans in the United States, Northern California, Thomas Buckley