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Stereotype of the Month Entry
(6/12/01)


Another Stereotype of the Month entry:

From the Detroit Free Press:

Indian history is ignored at tricentennial

June 12, 2001
BY KAY GIVENS-McGOWAN

Denying Native Americans their ancient past in their traditional homeland weakens the link between the people and the place. Michigan's Native people have suffered dispossession, oppression and marginalization. Now must they suffer the insult of a rewrite of history?

A long connection to Detroit

Failure to appreciate the importance and the contributions of Michigan's Native people before the coming of Cadillac contributes to the disenfranchisement of Michigan's first peoples. Native people have their own story to tell fully formulated conceptions of their place on this land.

To deny this rich heritage in exchange for an official "300" history is in fact a continual erosion of the truth. To minimize Native history as maybe occurring so long ago that it is irrelevant is disrespectful and insensitive to say the least.

Native people have the longest historical, cultural, spiritual, physical, social and economic connection to Detroit. The fact that Native history has been overlooked in the big "300" celebration tells us that interaction and discussion are still taking place on the dominant society's terms. The graves of our ancestors document the truth.

Comment:  The stereotype here is that "real" history begins when the white man says it does. A clever anniversary committee might've put together a special event to recognize the Native history of the Detroit site. It might even have celebrated dual anniversaries: 300 years of white occupation and 10,000 years of Indian occupation.


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