Lethbridge Herald (Newspaper) - October 23, 1971, Lethbridge, Alberta
Book reviews White men should hang heads in shame "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee - An Indian History of the American West" by Dee Brown (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 487 pages, $13.25.). �|^HE United States of Ameri-' ca, between the years 1860 and 1890, came dangerously close to committing genocide against an entire race of people - the American Indian. These thirty years of bloody American history have been intensely researched and painstakingly recorded by Dee Brown in one of the most soul-searching books you'll ever read. The book is "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." Brown has penned 15 other books on western history and is currently head librarian at the University of Illinois. He takes the part of the "red man,,, Riving an insight into the Plains Indian that has never been put down in print before. Indians have always been stereotyped as ignorant savages, men. who went out and killed, raped and plundered. Then, only to return to their camps, to sit around making arrowheads and saying "ugh" a lot. Well, Brown lifts these people, lifts them to a level they have never attained before in literature. He shows them as they were - clever, deep-feeling individuals. The result is a story that no American can be proud of, unless, of course, he's an Indian. The book is one more black eye for the U.S. It's a magnificent piece of literature, surely destined for the bookshelves of every major school and university in North America. It is a must for every American history class. Brown sets the stage for his book by first dealing with the early European settler's barbaric treatment of their "red brothers." The Dutch handed out justice to the Raritans, slaughtering two entire villages and "running bayonets through men, women and children, hacking their bodies to pieces." One Indian chief, King Philip, was killed and his head exhibited at Plymouth for 20 years; another chief, Black Hawk, had his skelton hung on view in the Iowa Territory governor's office. Which ones deserve to be called the barbarians, and which ones the Christians? The book delves specifically into the history and troubles of the major tribes who made their homes on the vast western plains. One of the beautiful things put forward in the book is an insight into some of the great Indian leaders. Brown shows them to be human (a point not readily accepted in the 1800s), deep thinkers and deep-feeling lovers of their people and their land. One of the wisest chiefs was Sitting Bull. Always holding a special place in my mind, Sitting Bull is expanded by Brown into not only a great warrior and military strategist, but as a man with great insight into life itself. While in New York when touring with a wild west show, the great chief was always surrounded by kids, most of them from the slums. Sitting Bull was heard to observe, "The white man knows how to make everything, but he does not know how to distribute it." Of particular interest to the people of this area will be the chapter dealing with the battle of the Little Big Horn and Sitting Bull's eventual escape into Canada. Brown deals with the attack in a short, factual manner - I think you'll find more than a slight discrepancy from the white man's long-told story. I know which one I believe. I might also add that I didn't feel the least bit of remorse when Custer got his, es-pescially after reading of his "victory" at the Washita River. In what is really a book of broken promises, you'll follow the plight of such great men as Red Cloud, Cochise and Captain Jack. Captain Jack, after fighting for the rights of his Modoc people, was finally hung. But the thing the U.S. can be most "proud" of is the fact that Jack's body was then exhibited in the east as a carnival attraction - just 10 cents a look. A number of white soldiers are also quoted in the book. One of the most notable quotes was spewed from the lips of one General Sheridan: "the only good Indians I ever saw were dead." General Patrick E. Connor displayed a streak of "hu-manitarianism" when he ordered his men to, "attack and kill every male Indian over 12 years of age." Reservation - this was the word the Indians learned 13 despise. It was this word that caused most of the Indians' problems. The whites wanted the Indians on the reserve; the Indians didn't want to go. A poignant line referring to the land-hungry whites, which surely must touch even the hardest person, reads: "They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they kept but one; they promised to take our land, and they took it." The impression is that the reserves were nothing more than huge jails, where the Indians weren't even allowed to move freely from one part of the reserve to another. Geronimo didn't like the reserve and he chose to go down Into Mexico where he could move freely. The reserves were important to the white man; they wanted the Indians kept there. They wanted it so badly that they sent out 5,000 troops, 500 Indian scouts and thousands of militia just to return Geronimo and 24 of his Indians to the reserve. The missionaries were also there, bringing, among other things, the word of God. Chief Joseph of the Nez Perces argued with a commissioner, "No we do not want churches . . . They will teach us to quarrel with God." Think about it! For movie buffs. Little Big Man is mentioned in the book. His photo appears on page 309. (Its not Dustin Hoffman by a long shot). He also wasn't the character that Hoffman was in the movie. It was Little Big Man and another Indian who held Crazy Horse by the arms while he was bayoneted in the back by a soldier. It was the massacre of 300 of Big Foot's unarmed followers at Wounded Knee Creek that gave this book its name. It's rather odd isn't it, that no great movie ever came from this victory over "hostile" Indians? One of the fascinating aspects of the Indian culture is the names they give their people. Tiiey roll from the tongue, strike up visions in one's mind and, sometimes are just plain beautiful. Names like: Big Eagle, Black Kettle, Buffalo-Oa/lf-Road-Woman, Catch-the-Bear, Chief-Comes-in-S i g h t, Dull Knife, Hairy Bear, Kicking Bird, Looking Glass, Morning Star, Old-Man-Afraid-of-His - Horses, Rain-in-4the-Face, Sorrel Horse, Two Moon, Red Tomahawk, Woman's Heart. Atrocities attributed to the Indians are many, most of them untrue, being fabrications of the money-hungry, Ir � grabbing whites. It is little wonder however, that they committed brutal murder against the white man. But can the whites cry brutality, barbarianism - hardly. The whites are the ones who hung 28 Santee Sioux in a crowded public square, committing "America's greatest mass execution." They are of the same white race who cut off Mangus Colorados' head, after scalping him, and then boiled away the flesh from the head so they could sell the skull. This is a great book, an honest book. It is a brutal, blunt book. It will make you squirm, it will make you angry and frustrated. The book is the best all-out defence of the Indians ever compiled. Dee Brown is a brilliant writer and must surely be a patient, scrupulous man, having taken years to put the book together. If you're white, hang your head - if you're Indian, hold your head high and proud, for your story has finally been brilliantly told. GARRY ALLISON. Patterns to rival Picasso -Photo by Bryan Wilson A treat for archaeology enthusiasts "The First American: A Story of North American Archaeology" by C. W. Ceram (Harcourt Brace Jo-vanovich, 357 pages, $12.50, distributed by Longman Canada Limited). GO successful has C. W. Ceram been in previous popularizations of archaeology, it will not surprise readers that he has produced another pleasing book. This one purports to deal with North American archaeology but concentrates largely on two regions of the United States and completely ignores Canada and Mexico. There is so much of interest in what is covered that few readers will complain. Familiar as I am with much of the story of North American archaeology, I discovered that there were gaps in my knowledge. Somehow I missed reading about the stone towers in the Gallina Canyon in northern New Mexico even though it was published in 1944 in The Saturday Evening Post. I had never before encountered the story of the fake "antediluvian giant" known as the Cardiff Giant, either. Although the story of Ishi, the last North American Stone Age man, may not be an archaeological subject, it seems appropriate to end the book with it. This is a very moving account of the last survivor of the Yahi tribe whose territory was near Mill Creek in California. A mere handful of survivors of the genocide practised by white settlers in the 1880s lived secretively until in 1911 Ishi appeared outside the town of Oroville and was taken into the custody of anthropologists at the University of California. Ceram is at his best in the handling of this story. Many of the myths that continue to inhabit the minds of people are commented upon by Ceram. The notion that the making of arrowheads was a difficult and time-consuming task has been shown to be quite wrong. They could be- and can be-made easily and in a short time. Ceram also doesn't think much of the myth of the healthy life of primitives. Disease was rampant and life expectancy short. That earlier inhabitants of the continent were devout conservationists is also to be doubted. The likelihood is that their hunting techniques, resulting in mass slaughter, is the explanation for the extinction of many kinds of animals. None of these things are meant to denigrate the Indian people. The total impact of this book is the evocation of profound respect for them. Their accomplishments were remarkable. In the realm of botany, the development of maize is an astonishing achievment. Some of their achievements in architecture and the crafts deserve high praise. The organization required to build the mounds proliferating on the landscape from Wisconsin to the Gulf of Mexico and from Mississippi to the Appalachians staggers the imagination - the expenditure of labor went far beyond the Egyptian achievement in erecting the pyramids. Ceram certainly cannot be accused of being scornful of the Indians. He doesn't have much respect, however, for people today who cling to mythical notions about the Indians. One of his chapters is titled, Wild Theories from Atlan- tis to Mu, In which he briefly reviews some of the theories concerning the origins of the pre-Columbian inhabitants of North America. The Mormons will be relieved to know their revelation on this subject only gets 18 lines. In that space of writing, the common error that the Mormons believe the ten lost tribes of Israel migrated to America is corrected but a new mistake <* introduced. Ceram states that the mythical Nephites died out by 324 B.C. but the Book of Mormon gives the date as 421 A.D. The organization of the book is somewhat puzzling. It is ar- ranged roughly chronologically a c c o r d ing to archaeological study beginning with Thomas Jefferson in 1781 and ending with Louis S. B. Leakey in 1958. But part way through the book there is an interruption to discuss the nature of archaeology and the three methods of dating: stratigraphy, radiocarbon testing, dendrochronology (tree-ring dating). This attractive book has 45 pages of photographs (some in color) and numerous drawings, as well as 50 pages of bibliography, notes and index. It will delight archaeology buffs. DOUG WALKER. Weak ideas on sex "The Prisoner of Sex" by Norman Mailer (Little, Brown and Company Ltd., 240 pages, $6.75). VORMAN MAILER is a prisoner of sex. He may even be "the" prisoner of sex but that would be difficult to assess among the multitudes who seem to have an obsession for that aspect of existence. Not only is Norman Mailer a prisoner of sex, he is also bound up by his ego. That is the only explanation of why he would give over the introduction of this book to the irrelevancy (given the theme of the book) of the rumor that he might be the winner of a Nobel prize. He was provoked into writing in answer to Kate Millett, a leading Women's Liberation-ist. In a book she lias written, Henry Miller, D. H. Lawrence and Norman Mailer are held up as exploiters of wom- en. Mr. Mailer takes her to task for quoting out of context. Although he scores rather heavily on the quoting out of context bit, he doesn't really come to grips with the objection to reducing women to sexual instruments. He only seems to append the idea that men are sexual instruments, too - which surely adds up to a depressing view of human beings. Religious naturalists will be dismayed to find they have an ally in Norman Mailer. He is opposed to contraceptive devices because of a mystic view that better specimens of people are produced in sexual abandon.' There is no doubt that Norman Mailer has exceptional writing ability. It shows up even when dealing with such weak ideas as appear in this book. DOUG WALKER. Focus on the University - By J. W. FISHBOURNE At least "J" like senates COME of you may have noticed, in the press, a recent report that the Senate of the University of Calgary has been looking into this business of academic tenure, and appears to have been somewhat less than enchanted with the arrangement. Both Canadian Press and Canadian University Press carried this story; it is a sort of man-bites-dog thing when a university senate in this province has the audacity to cast an enquiring eye at anything affecting the professionals. It is to be expected, then, that we will shortly start hearing the regular rumors from Edmonton that consideration is being given to the abolition of university senates. Rumors to this effect come from time to time anyway, and are likely to be precipitated by any evidence of senatorial activity, particularly when it seems to concern matters that the full-time members of the university community regard as their own special concerns. For that matter, I suspect there would be quite a number of dry eyes among the administration and faculty of Alberta universities if the elimination of the university senates should come to pass. This is not because of amy particular malice or bias on the part of academics generally, but simply a normal, human reaction; none of us like the idea that someone else can call us to account, and it is the university senate in mis province that has the unique right to require an accounting of anyone officially connected with the university, and, while senates do not have authority to act on what they are able to discover about the university operation, they have clear and direct channels to those who have. It is this curious property of a university senate that I believe could be of great significance to the entire system of education in this province, although I must admit, with a certain amount of regret, that this has not proved to be the case as yet. Nevertheless, I cannot help believing that whatever hope there is for education in this province-and it is little enough-lies with our universities, and especially with their senates. I reason this way. Whether through wisdom, Divine guidance or simple suspicion, the architects of Alberta's university system saw a need for an agency that, while intimately connected with the university (there was only one in those days), would still represent the public at large. Accordingly, they devised the senate, which is composed of a number of individuals who are employed full-time by the university, representatives of various university-connected agencies and organisations, but with a majority of members elected from the general public. To this body it gave a curious power to require-mark that word-a report "... on any matter from any faculty or school council and student's council and any member of the academic staff of the university ..." That, gentle reader, is a very significant power which, properly used, could exert tremendous influence on the universities. The universities in turn, could be-and perhaps are-the greatest single influence 00 the business of education, in this or any other province. Educational theory is derived from university research, and educational practice is the business of university-trained teachers. Accordingly, it is my belief that, if the universities were to determine that there should be changes in the educational system, they would occur. If would take time, of course, because of the enormous size of the system and the nature of universities, but they would occur. And that is why I believe university senates are important. Left to their own devices, as they have been up until now, universities are not likely to regard the elementary and high school systems as the major focus of their attention. I think they should, and I know of no agency better equipped than the senate to persuade them to this point of view. How? Quite simple-just by persistently asking the question, "Why isn't the education of the young people your most important consideration?" It will prove to be a remarkably hard question to answer. The Voice Of One -By DR. FRANK S. MORLEY Atheism is a life-style MARXIST writers never weary of re-peatxng that a Communist must be an atheist; a Communist must be a materialist; and atheism, communism, and materialism are inseparably linked together as an unholy trinity. On the exact contrary the physicist Sir Arthur Eddim*ton writes, "The stuff of the world is the stuff of the spirit." Such a statement demands the faith that God is spirit. Thus we have two life-styles as different as day from night. This does not mean to say that all who believe in God are angels or all who deny God's existence are demons. Nor does it concur in the Communist claim that social conditions create the religion of a people. It means that one can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God by intellectual or metaphysical arguments. Faith comes from personal experience and all argument for or against becomes irrelevant. Also atheism and faith in God create their own peculiar life-styles and derive from their different life-styles. There is a retroactive relationship between faith and life. Nietzsche boasted, "We have killed God. We are God's assassins." This only leads directly to Hitler and the Nazis. Jean-Paul Sartre, who has bad such profound effect on this generation, was boastfully atheistic and ended in complete despair with a callous cynicism regarding man, "This obscene and empty existence is bestowed upon him in vain." Gabriel Marcel describes Sartre's faith as "A philosophy of nothingness." It is ironic that Marxism opposed religion as a useful ally of the despotic state, but Marxism has led to the most inhuman and bestial state of oppression. "God must be denied in order that the Kingdom of God may come on earth," declared the Communists, but the world has seen nothing more inhuman than the Communist state. In the West a secular, technological age goes band in band with "The death of God theology." Thomas J. Altizer with his blasphemous, The Gospel of Christian Atheism, John A. T. Robinson, and William Hamilton led an assault on traditional Christian faith. These men have profound idealism but it is impossible not to see a relationship between the death of God theology and the violence, pornography, drug addiction, homicide, and all that vast increase in the abnormal bestiality of our times. In France and Germany atheist existentialism has deep roots and men like the tragic Albert Camus and the late Andrew Malraux have deeply penetrated the consciousness of youth. Poor Malraux told friends one day, "I see no other life for humanity than that offered by Christianity, but, unhappily, it is impossible for me to believe in it." It is significant that a play by the unbelieving, tragic Thomas Hardy is about to be given on television. Most of Sunday on television is dedicated to the mindless stupidity of football games with not a single service of high worship. The words of the psalmist (Psalms 14 and 53) are all too true, "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doetb good." Note the words "said in his heart," not merely in his mind. The fool to the Hebrew was not a foolish thinker so much as foolish in his behavior. Thus the psalmist is saying that faith both creates and reflects a certain life style. Changes are necessary '"THIS is not the frontier of a century ago when the nation believed it had an inexhaustible supply of natural resources, Gov. Forrest Anderson said in a statement submitted in Billings at a Senate Interior Subcommittee hearing on mining practices. Another fallacy of a hundred years ago, the governor observed, was that the environment was capable of absorbing all the abuses attendant to the extraction of these resburces. Since our resources are not inexhaus-table, Forbes magazine points out in similar vein, the consumer is going to find himself paying more and more for less and less as time goes on. He is going to have to pay the rising cost of cleaning up the pollution his consumption has created, and pay for having squandered for decades both physical and capital resources. Imagine for example, having to pay 80 to 90 cents a gallon for gasoline. Or seeing the heating bill go as high as $800 a The Great Falls Tribune year. At the same time, the price of electricity will jump. In fact, things may be so tight we will think twice about air-conditioning the new house, and spend a lot of time barking at the kids to shut off the lights and keep the thermostat down. There may be very few of those big cars any more, because they cost so much to make and are so costly to operate. These are just a few of the more obvious changes that deterioration of America's resource position could bring in the next decade. People will start living "closer to the chest," pinching dollars if not pennies, and making do with things a little longer. Bicycles could become more than just a faddish form of exercise. Compact houses, as well as compact cans, could become necessary to conserve raw materials. In short, concludes Forbes, to preserve the good life we're probably going to have to change some of our ideas of what the good life consists of.