Friday, December 19, 2008


The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is NOT a 'national monument to genocide'

... as a dear friend of mine declared to me today.

When I regain speech ability, I will comment.

In the meantime, y'all feel free to peruse the website of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Center and comment as you see fit.


Yeeks. That's kind of harsh, don't you think?
On a totally unrelated note, I would like your opinion on this comment, and one particular turn of phrase toward the end. Your opinion is important to me, so let me know, OK?
My guess is that the curated museum does not glorify genocide in their exhibits. They exhibit a way of life that included violence and a clash of "races," as well as ingenuity and culture. Manifest Destiny should have apologies honestly offered - and acts of repentance. But to exhibit the culture of Cowboys, Westerners, and the clash/coexistence with Indians is exactly the task of a museum for public viewing and free opinion forming.

Now if they displayed a case of indian scalps, I would change my opinion.
Well, I agree with you. As far asd the phrasing, it's great rhetoric -- and I mean that in admiration, for rhtetoric is an art that not all are able to master. Now, the "baby factory" bit was sampling a little from those who regularly draw from a shallow well. A fetus on a cross is potentially incredibly offensive imagery but, in my view, is fair, condidering the extremes of the anti-choice people.

Feodor, while I like the guy -- hey, Feodor! -- sometimes gets his tangue tongled up, as Mama used to day, writingwise, and I don't know what he's trying to say. Said in response to his response to your comment.
BTW, Geoffrey, some people would be mortified to see me apply this in this case, but in response to your comment over there, may I say, "That'll preach."

That thought came to mind as I was reading it to Dr. ER and she said, "Amen" in response to anti-abortionism being about social control and not about babies.

Now, back to the Cowboy museum.
I'm confused. Who's kissing whose ass here?
It's a 69 thing, dude.
No, it looks more like an hour glass.

Geoffrey asked me a question, and I answered it. And I made a side remark about your occasional thinking-writing style, Feodor. Sorry about that.
Honestly, ER, I don't know what the dude's issues are. I lost my cool a tad just now in a comment further down, but I left my response in, because, well, I was just being honest.

Anyway, about the whole museum comment . . .

I admire rhetoric, too. Not everyone is good at it, and some people just suck at it. I guess I just think that's a tad over the top, you know? As someone who aims and even hits "over the top" on occasion, I suppose that sounds like sour cheese or something. I guess this is a line I just would not cross.
Well, my main gripe about the genocide remark is that the one who made it inadvertently committed a sin she sees readily in others -- and that is seeing how others are slow to view, and give agency to, others!

There is an underlying narrative of conquest in the experience of European-Native American contact, absolutely.

But to claim it as "genocide" so succinctly treats the natives of this continent as ONE other, when they are many, and ignores the fact that many of them, for various reasons, allied with other natives, as well as the various non-native peoples, for their own selfish aims!

Pisses me off to see anyone take such complex experience and turn it into yet another ^&%$%^ false dichotomy.
But it's easy. And fun. And, let's not forget, the American government has, since the Trail of Tears and even before, pretty much made a hash of our relations with the Indian population.

Not sure what this has to do with a museum about the cowboy and our western heritage. There's a lot more to the story than our conflicts with the original inhabitants.
But se, this is the deal: " the Indian population." There is no such thing. There are Indian peoples, and populations. And I know you know that; I'm still rubbing down my sore spot that got poked.
OK, I'll grant you that, to an extent. At the same time, I think "original inhabitants" is OK, because it is neutral on the issue.

Obviously the various Indian nations, peoples, tribal groupings, etc. were as varied as can be. Who'd argue that?

I see your point, though. Someone did argue that, implicitly if not explicitly.
My sister-in-law refused to visit the Western Heritage Center (you know if they stopped changing their dang name in order to find the perfect PC sound it would help)on one of her visits from California because "Western" art demeaned women.

Never did get to a place where she actually explained to me how that was so at this museum which she has never seen.

Actually there is no effective argument against anyone who beholds the Westward expansion of the European United States as "genocide". Jefferson's Indian Policy was isolation or assimilation. Of course in Jefferson's day the weapons of warfare held by Indians and Euros were almost even Steven. War was much more a mutually assured destruction than it was in later times.

The weapons of guile, deception, and shifting alliances with tribes and their enemy tribes was much more practical, than open warfare.

The Jeffersonian Indian Policy has been carried down into the 20th century. However, the Sac & Fox case before the SCOTUS a few decades back reversed the power in the Euro/Indian wars.

The first modern scalping (skinning) knife was the automobile tag, then cigarettes were use to attack, and finally slot machines and decks of cards. The tide has turned.

"But se, this is the deal: " the Indian population." There is no such thing."

Well for certain there is no such thing as ONE Indian population.
But there are "Nations" under law with which the U.S. Government has made treaties and those Nations do have populations. I have decide to call them CINCs (Certified Indian Nation Citizen). Neat thing is you can be a 100% United States citizen and a CINC too.

Complex, convoluted, confounding, and sometimes criminal, history shunted aside, will repeat itself and do those things all over again.

RE: George W. Bush
The category, the American Indian "people," to the extent that it exists is described as a people by their singularly common experience of Manifest Destiny.

The contemporary phenomenon of the Pow Wow communicates this.

There are all kinds of ways that Indians are not A people. But in the history of conquest, there is deep commonality with local and temporal differentiations.

Just as there is a largely common Cowboy/Western "experience" which encompasses Scots-Irish, English, German, Italian, Poles, Russians, Czechs, French, Scottish, Irish, Norwegian, Swede, etc.
Mandans? Genocide. Virtually all of the tribes in California? Genocide. Some of the bands now known collectively as the Muskogee Creek? Genocide.

Others tribes I'm not familiar with, too.

But as a whole, to call the results of the European-native encounter "genocide" is overstating it.
I think I'll reserve judgement until I hear what the ostensible genocide victims have to say. If they see the museum as a characterization of a "way of life that included violence and a clash of 'races,'" as opposed to a full-on, systematic extermination of people and their cultures, then I'm ready to agree.

Thing is, we did lots of nasty things to the Indians of the Southwest. Remember the Long Walk? Is that characterized fairly in the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum? I'll probably go visit it someday while traveling through Oklahoma, but may view it in the same spirit as I viewed the Enola Gay exhibit at the Smithsonian so many years ago--as a one-sided take on a national tragedy.
Well, I think anyone should reserve such judgment until he or she has actually studied the museum, it's exhibits, and its mission. And, while I'd give great weight to the view of the ostensible genocide victims, the complexities involved would keep me from insisting theirs is the only voice deserving to be heard.
Re, "full-on, systematic extermination of people and their cultures ..."

I don't see that in our history. And for every Mandan tragedy, there's a Iroquois treaty with the Colonists against the Crown, or vice versa, or a Creek band siding with Jackson against the Seminole, or the Cherokees siding with settlers against the Osage, or the Crow scouting for Custer.

Systematic extermination of people and their cultures? Sporadic actions and reactions and attempts to take land and get the natives off it one way or another, official policy of assimilation, itself embraced by some of the tribes. Absolutely.

But then: the Indian New Deal, recent amends, more recent economic successes among many of the tribes -- European-native history isn't over.
The Cowboy Hall of Fame (original name) is mainly an "Art" museum. It has evolved over the decades from a museum about cows, cowboys, and ranchers to include several areas on the American Indian, Rodeo, Commercial Hunting, and military and Indian conflicts.

When Gene Autry was on the board he came close to turning it into the Drug Store Cowboy Hall of Fame.

At one point my old boss was acting director of it after a very intense scandle. In one afternoon he fired 2/3 rds of the staff, change all the locks and had the Oklahoma Highway Patrol guarding it. In all I can count five interations of its character over time.

The tribes of Oklahoma are in the process of building an inter-tribal museum at the intersection of I-40 and I-35. It will take another two years till completion. I'm sure my tribal friends will have a lot to say about history within its exibits.

However, I really can't imagine the Pawnee and Cheyenne, or the Kiowa and Osage, The Deleware and everybody else,or...well, hell, real history is seldom in our books or museums.
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Thanks, Dr. Bill, and y'all, too!
What *is* it with the self-censorin' today? :-(
well it aint today anymore...but I blame it on Feodor and his repentin of his wrongdoins... its got me doin all kinda self censorizing and puttin them little ****'s over my salty words...and I blame bigfoot(free speech denying b**tard!)
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