February 26, 2007

South Dakota = Mississippi of the North

Tim Giago:  A view from South Dakota, the 'red' stateIn the turbulent 1960s and 1970s South Dakota was known amongst American Indians as the Mississippi of the North. Racial prejudice and discrimination was not only widespread but also inherent to a white culture still steaming over the demise of Custer and his 7th Cavalry at the Little Big Horn. Troopers sporting Seventh Cavalry banners still march in present-day parades.

White South Dakotans are still enamored of an editorial written in 1891 by L. Frank Baum in the Aberdeen Saturday (SD) newspaper calling for genocide against the remaining Sioux population after the massacre at Wounded Knee when he wrote, “perhaps we should wrong them one more time and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth.” He must have been thinking about that comment when we wrote the flying monkey scene is his book The Wizard of Oz 10 years later.

3 comments:

carole said...

Does Giago make some salient points? Absolutely. But he weakens his own argument when he says "White South Dakotans are still enamored of an editorial..." Anytime you make an emphatic statement about an entire group of people, you lose credibility. He really didn't need to do that to make his larger point about the prevailing cultural and political winds in South Dakota.

Rob said...

Yes, he probably should've inserted the word "some" or "many" in front of "white South Dakotans." But I think it's understood. When you generalize, you're referring to a group characteristic that applies to many but not all the people in the group. Generally speaking, that is.

writerfella said...

Writerfella here --
That is a danger when one discusses what is known as personal interpretations of a given area's response to Native problems. No one in this country is enamored of the fact that their existences are owed to what their ancestors did to establish these United States. It all took place...back there, back then, and none of those alive took part in the events expressed. BUT -- there is a debt involved that also is being denied: this country exists because an entire human population was destroyed so that the children and later descendants of their destructors could benefit from the nation of 'freedom' created on the blood, bones, and graves of those who were destroyed. "I had nothing to do with that," is the common response to history and so it is denied, much as "The Holocaust" now finds itself denied by modern Europeans and even some Americans. Let it be known that conquest of these two continents is not over. It will happen again, and those in denial will suffer the same consequences as the Native Americans know as their own past. It is not logical, but it most often is true...
All Best
Russ Bates
'writerfella'