It is obvious that Native Americans, their traditions and their lives and numbers have been vastly underestimated, in not downright neglected in the past. And nothing now is really being done to even the playing field.
The fact that, at the outset, there was a harmonious feeling because of trading opportunities does not excuse the latter-day ill treatment and simply not understanding who the Native Americans are and their right to a life in a land they inhabited well before Columbus and his ilk arrived. ôàan unprovoked (and from the Indian viewpoint incomprehensible) display of European arrogance or aggression causing a sudden slide into conflictö (Wilson 1998 39).
After September 11, we now see literally a ôforcedö patriotism on the American people. Yet, we still decried tribal loyalties of Native Americans, and their rituals. Do their festivals have meaning to our more or less WASP society today? Thanksgiving, Labor Day, Memorial Day, Arbor Day are no more symbolic than Indian rituals like the Green Corn Dance ôheld in later summer to celebrated the harvestö (140). Monotheistic though Americans are, the Indians are far from alone in worshipping a number of Gods, mostly tied to agriculture of the Earth and Sky. Are we so biased as to consider them ôpagansö?
In 1986 the Onandaga traditional chief, Oren Lyons, told a conference: ôIt is a fact that a small group of people in the Northeast have survived an onslaught for some 490 years." (427). Trying to ômake amendsö as the State of New York has attempted to do comes late, and certainly not in sufficient recognition- either of history of economic deprivation.
Too many ôaverageö Americans now see the Indians as getting rich, thanks to gambling casinos, the sale of tax-free cigarettes and other merchandise. Yes, in some instances, as Wilson points out (426) there is a local ôrenaissance...