I’ve Read Red Cloud and Yet

I was trying to find videos on YouTube in Chinese about the treatment of Native Americans by the US government and I stumbled across this TedTalk with Chinese subtitles.

(Edit: video no longer available)

I’ve read about Red Cloud; nothing that Aaron Huey said in the video came as a surprise, and yet my heart still hurts.  It doesn’t do well to dwell in the past, to think about the actions not of my ancestors, but as I sit here about to blow-dry my hair, I have no choice but to think about the consequences of the actions and decisions made by individuals who have created an infrastructure that has enabled me to sit here about to blow-dry my hair.

To all the history buffs, to all the ethnographers, to anyone who’s listened to stories passed down from grandparents, great-grandparents, or happen to catch a documentary on PBS, BBC, or a university sponsored seminar, is this a stupid question:

Out of all of the civilizations that conquered neighboring clans or peoples afar, are there any aggressors that left the least cruel, least arse-hole-ish, least hypocritical, least soul-crushing trail? Reading about certain events in American history that one doesn’t learn in school is filling my nucleic acid with sad clowns and furious cherubs. Can I really chalk it up to cycles of life/death/life? Is it just human nature?  We aren’t trying to eat each other to survive…well, given the state of mother earth, we probably will be before the century is over.  And, it will be a fight to the death for water or shade…not for a greater profit margin.

J’ai mal au coeur.  我的心痛.

2 thoughts on “I’ve Read Red Cloud and Yet

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