On telling Native people to just "get over it" or why I teach about the Walking Dead in my Native Studies classes... *Spoiler Alert!*
So a friend of mine wrote me a message on Facebook that went a little like this:
how the heck do you get through to someone that thinks natives need to just get over it.
I started writing him back and then realized that on this day (a day where I should be grading and preparing for final exams) this question sparked something in me and suddenly I was writing him a blog entry. I decided I would both send him my somewhat epic response and also – post it here. Then I’ll start getting ready for finals. I swear!
Question: how the heck do you get through to someone that thinks natives need to just get over it.
Answer: Shake them? I never advocate shaking people, but maybe something is loose in there. Tell them to take a Native American Studies Course (it ain’t cheap, but it’s worth it).
But if I’m being honest, lately, when this comes up (and isn’t it telling that it comes up often enough that I can begin with “lately” instead of “well the last time, a long time ago, man I can barely remember that time”) I like to tell them about The Walking Dead.
I must take a moment here to tell you all *Spoiler Alert.* That’s right. I’m going to put it all out there. I’m going to tell you about all the nitty gritty of the Walking Dead that I can muster in one blog entry. It is ALL going to be one massive *Spoiler Alert* especially if you haven’t had the opportunity to watch all the past seasons on Netflix yet because you have a life and there is never the perfect moment to sit down and watch a slow moving, somewhat depressing, not always entertaining indictment of humanity in the midst of a zombie-apocalypse and the end of the world as we know it. *Spoiler Alert*
There is this one scene in this season of the Walking Dead where some of the characters are talking. Actually that’s most scenes, there is a WHOLE lot of talking in this show, but I digress. In this scene, we find out the “questions” that the leader of “the group” (Rick) asks to people when he meets them to determine if he can bring them in to their safe space and make them a part of the group.
How many walkers (zombies, for those who don’t watch the show) have you killed?
How many people have you killed?
But there is a fourth question that comes up a lot in the show that isn’t a part of this list. Rick asks it a few times in this season, and others in their own conversations are essentially asking it as well.
Do you think we can come back from this?
Will we be able to move on after we have had to live through and do horrible things? What happens to our humanity? It’s something that is explored throughout the season, especially by the “leader” (de facto, not always, sometimes farmer, often confused, very sweaty “leader”) Rick and in the end he makes a grand speech that yes, yes we can come back from this.
“We can come back,” he says. “We all can change.” (Season 4, Episode 8)
Right after that his friend is beheaded by the Governor, a guy who CANNOT change, an all out shooting war starts, a bunch of people die and run away and there is the possibility that Rick’s baby has been eaten by zombies. But you know… hope.
Anyway, Indians. When I started watching the Walking Dead I immediately thought about Indians. And when people tell me “Man, Indians, they are always going on and on about genocide and stuff and they should just get over it” I often pause and say “Well, consider the Walking Dead…”
Lawrence Gross (he’s a scholar and a Native person) talks about “Post Apocalypse Stress Syndrome” where he says that Native American people have “seen the end of our world” which has created “tremendous social stresses.”
California Indians often refer to the Mission System and the Gold Rush as “the end of the world.” What those who survived experienced was both the “apocalypse” and “post apocalypse.” It was nothing short of zombies running around trying to kill them.
Think about it. Miners (who were up in Northern California, where I am from) thought it was perfectly fine to have “Indian hunting days” or organize militias specifically to kill Indian people. These militias were paid. They were given 25 cents a scalp and $5 a head. (In 1851 and 1852 the state of California paid out close to $1 million for the killing of Indians…)
In effect, for a long time in California, if you were an Indian person walking around, something or someone might just try to kill you. They were hungry for your scalp and your head. They had no remorse. There was no reasoning with them. And there were more of them then there was of you. (Zombies. But even worse, living, breathing, people Zombies. Zombies who could look at you and talk to you and who were supposed to be human. Keep that in mind. The atrocities of genocide during this period of time, they were not committed by monsters -- they were committed by people. By neighbors. By fathers, sons, mothers, and daughters.)
In the Walking Dead the survivors resort to hiding. Sometimes they go in to town and barely survive an attack as they try to steal food or gather supplies. Sometimes they turn on each other. Sometimes they lose people they are close to. Sometimes they have to kill to stay alive. The world is in chaos. Everyone probably has high blood pressure. They probably don’t sleep much. They probably don’t get the proper nutrition. They probably get sick and die of the flu, because it’s hard to get medicine and rest and get better – when something is out there constantly coming after you, trying to kill you and everyone you care about. (Zombie-pocalypse sounds eerily similar to California Indian history...)
How long until you tell those zombie-pocalypse folks to just “get over it already?” How long until you tell them “it was a long time ago?” How long until you tell them “it’s not worth talking about. It doesn’t affect me! I wasn’t there.” How long until you pretend like it’s not still a part of future generations? How long until you try to erase that the zombie-pocalypse ever happened?
I asked someone this question once and they said “well, it’s never the same after that. That becomes a part of who everyone is. It doesn’t go away. I mean it’s the freaking end of the world. You can’t just pretend like that never happened.”
#2: I like to tell them about Carl’s great grandchildren.
Carl is Rick’s kid in the Walking Dead. At first I hated him because he’s dumb. He’s in a zombie-pocalypse and he’s all wandering off by himself and acting like he can just hang out and not be useful. But then he ends up becoming a bad ass who likes to make decisions, unlike his Dad, who really only makes the decision that he will no longer make any decisions. *Leadership*
Anyway, if you think about it -- Carl, who is living through the end of the world, which for him means loss, suffering, shooting some kid in the head because he came into his camp, having to kill his mother after she gave birth to his sister, watching his father go crazy for a period of time, getting shot, and having to watch his Dad kill his other father figure (stupid Shane), getting shot in the stomach, and finally thinking that his little baby sister has been eaten by zombies (I say thinking, because I’m convinced that somebody rescued her) – well Carl is my Great Grandfather.
That’s right. That’s how close it is. My Great-Grandfather was living through the genocide of California Native peoples. My Great-Grandfather had to hide from Russian Soldiers who were coming for him. He tells stories about using reeds to breathe under a sand pit so that people wouldn’t find him. He was taken to Boarding School, he ran away and spent months in jail as a kid. He was hunted by bounty hunters. His Uncle was shot several times, people in his tribe were killed. Lot’s of people’s Grandparents and Great-Grandparents have stories like this. We are not that far away from when Native people were being massacred, in the name of our “great state” because “it was the only Christian thing to do.”
Also – did you know they recently completed a study which showed that your ancestors experiences leave an epigenetic mark on your genes? Or as Dan Hurley from Discover Magazine put it: Your ancestors' lousy childhoods or excellent adventures might change your personality, bequeathing anxiety or resilience by altering the epigenetic expressions of genes in the brain.
#3: I like to tell them that I agree with them.
And I just nod. “Yep, I agree. We should get over it. In fact, I am over it.”
Well I’m over it. I don’t like to speak for all Native people in the universe because that’s not fair, and we’ve never been able to come to a consensus at the meetings we have where we decide how all Native people feel about things. (We do not have these meetings, by the way, there are lots of Native people, we are very different from each other, that meeting would be huge, I would probably go because there would be lots of good food and laughter.)
But I am over it. I am over the federal government trying to pass policy and laws that sanction and legalize genocide, slavery and removal of Indian people. I am over the legalized attempts to seize land and rights from Native peoples through racist, flawed, discriminatory, and frankly imaginary legal doctrines like the Doctrine of Discovery. I am over the Doctrine of Discovery. I am over plenary power. I am over the taking of Indian children away from their families and placing them in ‘good homes’ which implies that Indian homes are not good enough. I am over the fact that at most colleges Native students are less than 1% of the population but in certain states Native peoples are between 4-6% of the prison population. I am over that Native women are more likely to be raped than any other group in the United States. I am over that close to 90% of the population of Native people in California were killed during this historical time period and yet we do not have a monument or requirement to learn about this in schools. We do however have a monument and requirement to learn about Father Junipero Serra, who liked to beat and starve Native people. I am over models dressed like Indian women on runways while sticking out their tongues. I am over t-shirts that portray Native people as permissive of drug use and music videos that promote Native women as permissive of being oogled over while tied up to a wall. I am over policies that keep Native people from practicing their religion and keep Native people from tending to and being responsible for the land. I am over trying to find a benign/objective way to say slavery, genocide, holocaust, murder, massacre, slaughter, rape, abuse, violence and pain because people don't like to hear about the true California history. I am over the vanishing Indian. I am over the same old story that gets told, the one where we would rather be dead, the one where we were fading away, the one where we have bigger problems than history, the one where the past is the past. I am over that telling me to "get over it" asks me to pretend that these things are not still happening. I am over pretending that Native people aren't still dealing with many issues that have their roots in genocide, especially in California. I am over erasing the past at the behest of people who would rather ignore it, then have to also accept and "get over it."
I am over it. That’s why I won’t stop talking about it. That's why I CAN talk about it. That's why I have to talk about it. Ask yourself what it means to be "over it." Because to me, this does not mean "never ever mention it" again. To me this means, now we can really talk about it, all of it. And we should.
When we stop talking, when we stop remembering, when we stop honoring that past, we become ignorant of how that past is the present, is the future. We cannot be complicit in erasing the past by “getting over it.” In these words, when we speak to our survival, we are sending strength to those who fought, bled, died, and refused to “get over” what was happening to them. We also refuse to accept that it can, should, or will happen to us. We stand up. We fight.
We owe it to them to continue to fight just as hard as they did. Our ancestors will feel it “back then” like we feel it now. They will know “back then” that we are here because we didn’t just “get over it.”
They must have known of us, their future. They must have thought of us, their grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. Some Native people say they think of Seven Generations when they do things. When our ancestors were sitting together, talking, trying to figure out how to survive this “end of the world” they must have said to each other “Do you think we can come back from this?”
And they must have thought about the future generations (like us). Perhaps they saw in the fire a group of us laughing together, perhaps they dreamed about us, singing together, dancing together and they knew the answer… “yes, we will."
Now it is up to us to help our next seven generations to remember. We can all "get over it" but we will never forget.
12/11/2013 12:52:45 pm
I could read your writing and close my eyes and hear my grand father telling me stories about that time in his life how true your words are . They want us to forget the pass , I cant my great grandparent lived through this that is why I am here and that is why they told me their stories , not to forget what they went through. I hope you will have your paper published .
12/27/2013 09:37:36 pm
my people too , we are alive despite ... we are going to live despite , they need to know we where created to be survivers , people that live with our mother not against her , when all those that would harm her are gone
12/11/2013 02:13:24 pm
Now I know why I love the walking dead so much
12/11/2013 02:46:42 pm
Thank you for expressing your feelings so well and helping to explain your point of view (and perhaps that of some/most/all Native people). I know culturally there are many differences. My father participated in something very unpleasant as a young man and he rarely, almost never spoke of it. His culture told him that to speak of it only perpetuated the unpleasantness and would not make it easy to move forward toward the hope that is in the future (the future is unknown to all of us, but we have what we have today to create the future that we hope to have!). I am glad that you are over it and are able to speak so freely about it. I have had similar healing in some areas of my painful experiences, but I am not comfortable speaking about it all the time, or trying to make other feel guilty or bad because of my experience. If someone is truly interested in understanding I can share privately, and perhaps help them see a way to hope through forgiveness of the past and the perpetrators. One native acquaintance told me that her grandmother taught her to "Never forgive, never forget, for that's what makes us strong." My cultural response to that is that frame of mind is what keeps people hurting and stuck in the past, and not open to potential culture-bridging friendships. I doubt there is anyone alive who has not had something deeply painful to deal with. All of us are living in realities that are not what we expected, mostly not due to our own choosing. I do hope we can learn to understand and appreciate each others' pain and past, as well as celebrate the futures that we can envision and build. I just think if the message is constantly negative then there is no progress forward. For instance, my dad did not constantly harp on the reasons why he was unable to go to college (negative message where he is the victim of circumstances), but instead his message was always "You are going to college because an education can never be taken away from you", and growing up with that constant *positive* message builds the bridge to the future and gave me that goal in life. I hope my perspective can help explain some of why you keep hearing "just get over it" from cultures who are traditionally forward thinkers where "the past is in the past. Let it go and move on" is the typical mantra.
12/21/2013 03:46:18 pm
In a culture with different perceptions of universal values, it can hard to explain a difference in mindset. Even speaking across generations may be difficult. I actually think the grandmother may have been trying to convey the same sentiment as Holocaust survivors when they adopted the motto, "Never Again." Most Indigenous peoples are proud to have maintained their various cultures and religions. The concept of not forgiving or forgetting is difficult to understand without the teachings of the cultures Indigenous people have. A person would have to know how to think and speak as an Indigenous person. With boarding schools after the removals some tribes lost this way of thinking. Here is what I would assume the grandmother meant. As human beings, we must be humble. For forgiveness to belong to us, it would mean to place ourselves in a position higher than other people. Forgiveness does not belong to us but to the Creator. This philosophy is one that I have found true for many Nation (tribes). If it was not meant or interpreted correctly, that is terrible for that Nation. They have lost a lot of their beliefs.
12/22/2013 04:35:27 am
"I hope my perspective can help explain some of why you keep hearing "just get over it" from cultures who are traditionally forward thinkers where "the past is in the past. Let it go and move on" is the typical mantra."
12/22/2013 10:32:32 pm
Broken Arrow, that was the nicest version of "get over it" I've ever read. It's good to hear "from cultures who are traditionally forward thinkers," because we Indigenous people so rarely get a chance to experience any perspective of the kind. We're too busy wallowing in our nostalgia: nostalgia for healthy ecosystems, nostalgia for equitable economic systems, nostalgia for our own laws, our own languages, our own family structures, our own stories. When Indigenous people grieve, we don't just grieve over the destruction our own families and our own bodies have suffered, we grieve for the destruction of an entire planet. This is, in fact, ongoing; most of us are "forward thinkers" panicked about what will happen to our shared mother Earth in the next decades as she deteriorates (a condition which will put a bit of a damper on the pursuits of dominant, non-Indigenous cultures, too).
12/23/2013 02:43:41 pm
Broken Arrow, Thank you for a very wise guidance you give us all. We all, as humans, have painful experiences, some more than others. I believe we should not forget our histories, but learn from life and be better an wiser. Everything is about learning. Forever. Forgiving the ignorance, and trying to teach ourselves and others to do better.
12/23/2013 08:57:32 pm
You have missed the point. The point is that this is not the "past." It is ongoing. Native peoples continue to have their presence erased, legally and socially. Your attempt to explain why white Americans keep saying natives--because you're more "forward thinking"?- - should get over it is just one more example of how non-natives avoid confronting the reality of the ongoing erasure of natives. PS - - white people have been calling their culture more "forward thinking" (advanced, civilized, etc) than those of people color for centuries. It's part of what justified colonialism in the first place. If you really are forward thinking, you should reconsider your impulse to describe your "culture" as more advanced/forgiving /progressive than another.
4/7/2015 03:23:09 am
@broken arrow....affirming and validating indigenous peoples' experiences as apocalypse survivors is not "constantly harping on" about it. you seem to have missed the point of the article completely.
9/3/2015 08:32:58 pm
@nehi While I was rereading the article and the comments to my original comment, I got the feeling that sharing histories is not a two-way street. Your response has confirmed that. If you "just got over it" a little bit, maybe you'd be able to care about someone else's history, which is just as valid to him/her as yours is to you. As the author so respectfully replied to me, humility is called for, not superiority. We're all on the same planet trying to figure out how to get along. I've apologized for the sins of the past, tho I took no personal part in them, and as far as I know, neither did any of my forefathers. I live in a very vital Native American county and have told my Native friends that as far as it depends on me, such tragedies will never happen again. Have any of them treated me likewise and asked to hear my stories? Tragically, no... Maybe if you read my original reply again with a more open mind we might find common ground. The constantly harping comment was in reference to my father's choice to not speak of what most hurt him. Different paths for different people. For one person to speak of it is not helpful, for another it appears as being lost in an endless cycle of past atrocities to the point of being blinded to the opportunities ahead.
Melany L Johnson
12/12/2013 12:44:27 am
Cutcha, what a superbly written piece. Thank you!
12/13/2013 06:00:17 pm
This has been a great piece to read. 7 generations truly is where this needs to be read and understood. I will do my part, and your memorable written work will be my start. Thank you
12/18/2013 02:07:14 am
How is someone supposed to get over something that happens in their own life continually day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year? Granted not always they same things but all with the same intention - if they can't kill you/destroy you they will try to change you or your kids through indoctrination etc. When I was growing up it was illegal to speak my own language it was still that way until the late 1990's when my oldest son hit middle school. I have cousins who were given hysterectomies without their consent. Who treat my kids like gods gift to the planet earth and spoil them rotten because they can't have their own. My kids and I carry CDIB cards so we can see a Doctor or so they can receive a proper education. I had one grandmother who looked white enough that she could pass as white and is ashamed of being Indian and she wonders why I didn't let the kids hang out with her if I wasn't there too. Every time I turn around there's some battle over subsistence rights where are we supposed to grow food on the ice? Oh yeah global warming will take care of that in a couple of years after Fukashima, oil spills and plastic in the ocean has killed off all the whales, walruses, salmon and seals. Oh and let's not forget Frankinfish. In the meantime eating processed food has killed my father with diabetes, cancer, and heart problems. There are some medicines my kids and I can't take because I'm only 2nd generation "civilized/westernized" on my Mom's side and those medicines react differently in us or not at all. But are they even trying to find medicines that won't eff us up? Heck no we're a minority so small we aren't worth the financial cost of a study or two. At school my boys were constantly being pushed into Special Ed classes so now we homeschool because they aren't mentally handicapped and I got sick and tired of the B.S. All my children hear about when they go into town to do some shopping with me are ignorant comments about Drunk Nates. Stupid Nates, Dirty Nates, Druggy Nates blah blah blah why in the heck would I want them around all that negativity. I don't want them to grow up ashamed of who they are because of ignorant verbal bullies. Yeah I'll get over it when it stops happening.
12/29/2013 12:55:19 pm
I agree, and appreciate it must be easier to "get over it" when you feel you are safer from the effects of racism on your life, and I do mean in a way where getting raped is not a statistic, etc.
12/18/2013 03:45:16 am
Some of my friends refer to me as you people.
12/19/2013 12:36:19 am
Brilliant! I've never seen Walking Dead but I still get it. And I'm over it! Am sharing far & wide.
12/19/2013 02:22:35 am
There is hardly a civilization in the world that wuz not conquered and wronged by some else at one time. "Getting over it" is necessary and proves to the people that wronged you that you can never be truly defeated. So I say get over it!
4/7/2015 03:25:48 am
there a thousands of civilizations who did not engage in colonialism and who were not colonized. and certainly amongst those who were engaged in it, did not do it in quite the same way that europeans did to indigenous groups across the world.
12/19/2013 04:30:37 am
My Total Respect to Cutchabaldy and all First Nations peoples. As a Human spirit I am with you by your side and will stand with you all as one! The flag I carry is the flag of Mother Earth and her only will I serve!
12/19/2013 06:02:47 am
So well written Cutcha. I'd like to see people telling the Jews to get over the Holocaust. We certainly don't expect that. And we portray it in many history classes and it's certainly a part of every Jewish person's identity still. The epigenetics things is so interesting too. Of course the things that impacted your ancestors will impact you (and your line) for decades to come. So great to read your story (and what a great analogy!).
12/19/2013 06:22:20 am
Thank you Cutcha, for giving sharing the humour that we do all share, over the tragedies that we have experienced through generations! I don't watch Walking Dead, but maybe I should.?
12/19/2013 07:49:41 am
Thank you! Gitchi Miigwech for you insight and sharing.
12/19/2013 08:52:52 pm
I enjoyed reading this post immensely, I got the comparison immediately You are a great teller of stories, I can picture your Grandfather's times and strength thank you for sharing your thoughts and 'being over' so many things i am also a bit tired of the oppression in this country. i am tired of the government telling me and my family what to do and not do, how to teach my children and grandchildren, and that it isn't good enough,, good enough for who? for what ? the standards they (the government) sets is below our standards,,, God Bless you and your story may it continue to inspire.
12/19/2013 09:29:29 pm
I had made a comment to a friend during a conversation somewhat similar to what you just wrote. "No, we cannot change the past, so just leave it, it is the future we have to think about just like our ancestors did. So think about what we can do for children and their children's future, that means keep fighting for What you think is right".
12/19/2013 11:01:59 pm
I work in a non native environment and often hear racial slurs, one day I decided to poke fun at the "White person(s)" using the term White Man" in my little comments, much to their surprise they were speechless that I made such comments but I thought hey if you can do It so can I. Its funny when you give the "White person(s)" a taste of their own medicine, the racial slurs come to an abrupt halt,
DEAN C WOLFE
12/20/2013 12:40:58 am
I Would Like To Tell You ,, That It's No Different, Here In The Canada's, WE Suffer, From, All The Same, Trouble's, Nd Problem's That Can Be Thought Of'' It Start's As Soon, As Were Born''..We The People, Need To Develop, The Way' To Overcome, Whatever, The Fed's/ Pov's,, Come Up With'' To Control Us'' Which Is Still The Main Focus ,, Here In Oil Country,, When All This OiL,, Is Pumped Out'' Nd The Land Is Dead,, Water Is Dead,, There Will No Longer Be A Reason '' To Be the Keeper's Of The lands,, So This Problem,, Is Everyone's,, Lets, Find A Way'' To Overcome , This'' Nd Live In Harmony' With Our Mother' Nd Her Children,, HAI-HAI, For The Insight'..
12/20/2013 01:09:44 am
Thank you! I love the way you use a popular current program to bridge the gap of understanding. You are so right! I cry at the image of your suffering grandparents looking into the campfire and seeing their grandchildren and great grandchildren laughing and free. I think that is the point! Never to forget. And, yes, you are right about the genetic memory being passed down. But there must be a way forward. Yes! The truth must be told and known, but you have moved forward. Look at you! You are awesome! I think of Rwanda--neighbors, school friends killing friends. What a slaughter! And yet now this former killing field is a prosperous country--thru forgiveness and reconciliation! The Jews still suffer from painful memories, but they are some of the most successful people in the world. Use the pain for wisdom, not to stay stuck. Live up to what your great grandparents saw in you in that fire. Don't just get over it. Let that fire ignite the will to overcome the obstructionist policies present even today. Be healed. Stand up, and let the strong wisdom of your ancestors inform you today in the light of renewal. You are the sons and daughters of Great Creator! May you be empowered and make your grandparents hold up their heads with pride for what you are doing and becoming. While there is still a long ways to go, the road is shorter than before and many are walking with pride in what the are accomplishing. Blessings! Aho!
12/20/2013 01:30:59 am
I cannot begin to tell you how moved I am by what you have written. I am a white woman with mixed-race (First Nations) children and have always been on the side of the people.
12/20/2013 01:50:41 am
That is some great comparative writing. We also do some great projects with our traditional Cree teachings and languages here in Northern Alberta. Keep up the good work.
12/20/2013 06:09:32 am
From one Native American Studies professor and Walking Dead fan to another, chi-miigwech (many thanks)!
12/20/2013 06:51:13 am
Thank you for this. I'm sharing it all over the place.
12/21/2013 02:13:05 am
I understand. This is a great explanation on how to talk to the ignorant in this nation. My grandmother was sent to a boarding school and although she had told me that much, she never told the whole story. I don't know exactly know what went on then but I do know she didn't want to talk about it. My dad recalls walking main street with my grandpa and hearing the white people call my grandpa " chief " & saying "the only good indian is a dead indian." But my dad also told me about the day he stood for himself, proclaiming " I was born indian and I will die indian" he told me to be proud of who i am. So when people say get over it, sometimes I become enraged but for the most part I inform them of who I am and who my ancestors. I tell them that we do not dismiss our ancestors as readily as they dismiss their own.
12/21/2013 03:59:38 am
Great perspective on this issue. Key is you can't be selective on the history you want to recall...doing that is kind of like telling a lie to future generations. We celebrate July 4th like clockwork...shall we get over that? Columbus Day....why remember that? What it comes to is those in power using propaganda to create a version of history in which they're always the good guys.
12/21/2013 05:10:37 am
That could have been waaaaay shorter. I think more people would have read it. Humans have been conquering one another since humans first developed agriculture. I think people say get over it because there is nothing we can really do to fix it. None of us knew the people it happened to or the people who did it.
Ronald loyal whitney
12/21/2013 06:33:05 am
So vary true not just down on the south but up here in canada as well
Kimberly S. McLaughlin
12/21/2013 07:54:23 am
No you do not just get over it, with that attitude and bad advise you permit wrong to happen, without even putting up a fight, and it perpetuates more harm in the present and the future
12/21/2013 11:41:39 am
Your blog is brilliant and you are right. Thank you for helping me be a better ally.
12/21/2013 12:49:59 pm
i would first like to start of by saying their are two types of American Indians, ones that work and ones that create trouble and free load. Which one are you? One waiting for the paycheck every month for you doing nothing? Or the one that uses that money that you get for free? Yes the whites took over your land and all of the other stuff. But here is the thing. that was over 500 years ago. so yes GET OVER IT. where I'm from I see more native on native violence then what i see on The Walking Dead. I mean come on lets blame everyone else then what the learn at home!!!
bonnie maria bill
1/16/2014 08:12:49 am
1/16/2014 08:29:06 am
UHMM,, LIQUID,,SURLEY YA REALLY DON'T UNDERSTAND WHAT HAPPENED IN CANADIAN HISTORY,,NOT COOL TO SAY GET OVER IT,,,,THERE TOO MUCH IGNORANCE ABOUT CANADIAN HISTORY,,,,THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN FIRST NATIONS/WHITE PEOPLE,,,,THERE SO MANY NICE PEOPLE ON BOTH SIDES,,,,DRUNKS,,WACK-JOBS,,RACISM ON BOTH SIDES,,,THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT WHAT CANADA AND CHURCHES HAVE DONE WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN,,,BECAUSE IT ALL CREATED SO MUCH TROUBLE IN OUR LIVES,,,TOO BAD AYE!! THATS UNFORTUNATE,,,WHAT IS A GOOD IDEA,, IS TO INFORM YOUR SELF,,EDUCATION IS POWERFUL RIGHT!! ,,, YES THE WHITE PEOPLE TOOK OVER THE LAND,,NOW,,,OUR PEOPLE ARE GOING INTO REEPAIRE-MODE BEFORE ITS REALLY TOOO LATE,,,OUR MOTHER EARTH IS BEING GOUGED; DRILLED,,FRACKED-CRACKED,,INJECTED WITH POISONS,,AND THATS WHY FIRST NATIONS PEOPLE ARE STANDING UP,,AND DEFENDING THE EARTH,,,MOTHER EARTH,,, WE ARE ALL CONNECTED,,,RELATIONSHIPS,,AND WORKING TOGETHER IS IMPORTANT,,WHAT WILL BE LEFY FOR THENEXT GENERATION?? WE WONT SEE THE FUTURE, BUT THEY WILL, AND ITS ALL OF OUR JOBS TO HELP THEM MSAKE SOMETHING OF IT!! LOVE IS LOUDER!! PEACE!
12/21/2013 12:53:19 pm
This was an excellent read and a great analogy. It would have been useful when I TA'd for Native American Studies. If I'm in that position again, I will certainly use the analogy and direct students to your blog.
12/21/2013 03:29:20 pm
perhaps for an answer to how do natives get over something..we all should remember what the Jews experienced and seem to have gone on and rebuilt and stayed strong. it is not a common sight to see Jewish people staggering around or being homeless and their children in foster care. Yes I am native, and Yes natives should get over it.
1/16/2014 08:39:14 am
12/21/2013 04:57:11 pm
This is an impressive read. I happened upon it after a recommendation from a friend, who posted it on the same day I had spent many hours contemplating this very subject. I am not registered anywhere, but my brother and I are Half Hopi and Navajo, and half white [with some Cherokee way back]. I grew up in the South East. In Georgia. I won't pretend to understand what my Native brothers and sisters in the West have gone through in recent decades, or what my East Coast ancestors survived. I can only relate to the occasional slight--being called a 'wetback' because no one could conceive of the possibility of a living breathing Native here, hearing whispers as a child of the 'white woman with the taco kids'--but I have always deeply felt the impact of the loss and suffering all of my ancestors must have suffered. Every new detail I learn is a new blow to my heart. And as I've made my way through the Walking Dead series, I have found myself often contemplating what they must have endured. I mutter to my British Husband that in a real world end times scenario he'd be dead within a week and I'd be the last man standing. It's in my genes. At least 60% of my ancestors survived plague and genocide. Recently. He thinks I'm crazy, but I know I'm right. I've dreamed it many times and ever since I was a little girl, and even though I did not grow up in my culture, I have always felt that anxiety, that power of making it through another day. The more I learn, the more I realize that just as hoping for the future and planning for the next 7 generations can and will make the future brighter, looking at the past and never EVER 'getting over it' will help remind us of how not to proceed. I will not lay down and forget. I will learn more, and teach my little girls about their ancestors. They might be white skinned, but they will know Native blood runs through their veins. Almost 30% is no small amount, and the power they have inherited is 100%. Thank you so much for writing this. I will share it broadly and cherish these words as I move forward in my understanding.
12/21/2013 09:00:41 pm
Beautifully stated. As a wasichu, but friend of the Native American Way, I believe what had to be silenced THEN now needs to be spoken about as you just did! We are at the beginning of the NEW TIME and YOUR WISDOM must emerge once again! Thank you BRAVE ONES for standing up, speaking out and teaching endurance, compassion and now the TEACHINGS OF THE GREAT SPIRIT! I, for one, look forward to YOUR EMERGENCE once again! Mitakaye Oyasin (we are all related!)
12/21/2013 09:05:04 pm
My tears fall gently for all who have been shamed, beaten, and even killed by the inhumane! I will NEVER be a torturer but a torch! Thank you.
1/16/2014 01:15:05 pm
My tears fall gently too,!!!! especially when people understand, want to help , and be a tor!ch,,wonderful,,pass it on,,peace
12/21/2013 11:49:00 pm
This last school semester, I found myself referencing the walking dead more than once when talking over American history with my two sons. They became obsessed with the series and I can't help but think all those stories we've been telling them about their great grandparents made the series more real for them. Thanks for this! Glad we're not the only Natives out there that see the colonial face in a walker.
12/22/2013 04:19:18 am
Thanks for writing this piece for several reasons.
12/22/2013 04:48:11 am
Though I was born and raised in Northern California (of parents who immigrated from the Midwest) I never learned much history of my region except for what was taught in museums, which seemed to be all about the Gold Rush. I apologize for my ignorance, and your post has prompted me to learn about the people who were here first. Thank you for being "over it" enough to talk about it.
12/22/2013 05:17:15 am
Must I remind you that Jewish people suffered a genocide just as bad if not worse than anything Natives endured. It was also only 50 years ago compared to 150 years ago. Yet you do not hear them complaining about it or asking for hand outs from their governments, they picked up the pieces and moved on. As should native peoples, yes they have suffered great hard ship in the past but so has every major group of peoples in the history of this earth. The only thing you can do is move on because if you're always looking backwards you can never move forwards. Thank you
1/4/2014 12:56:15 am
Would the Palestinians agree?
12/22/2013 12:04:05 pm
Thank you for being so eloquent, so clear and so strong: no-one will be truly free until the heteronomy is dissolved. I love the analogy, it makes things absolutely clear.
12/23/2013 12:39:38 am
Thank you for sharing your personal experiences in your blog, you are a beautiful writer. It still amazes me that this part of history is not shared or taught in the school systems. Please keep spreading the word - "lest we forget".
12/23/2013 01:23:51 am
This is so gut-wrenching that I had to take a break from reading. When anyone knows Native languages they know that we come from a completely different place. Many Native languages contain no words that degrade women, parts of the human body, or others different from ourselves who we might give funny names to, in a jovial manner, but not to destroy as our people have been destroyed inside. The "Zombies" were from Christian-based cultures, which makes it more confusing, and hypocritical, especially when we consider the many slaughters during the Holy Season. Our modern world understands the sufferings of veterans, with their many suicides, but really cannot comprehend how Native Americans still suffer across generations. Approximately one out of every four Americans has some sort of mental health issue. We are not told to "get over" the Holocaust of WWII, or the Christian mythology. And, we will never be a healthy nation without memorials to those we took this land from, whose cultural values were positive and healthy by comparison.
12/23/2013 01:50:44 am
I knew you would grow into a woman with grace, eloquence, and dedication to the purpose of positive change, when you were my fourteen year old English/language arts student. I knew you would be a dynamic, effective catalyst changing ignorance into insight, apathy into empathy, and intellectual lethargy into intellectual evolution. I am so proud of you, and honored to have known you when you were not yet the full-bloomed flower you are, but rather a perfectly formed bud. Your spirit was, even at fourteen, one of extraordinary wisdom and promise. You go girl!
12/23/2013 03:36:41 am
In our tradition, we are required to retell the Passover story every year 'as if it had happened to us'...so that we will continue to live it, not just remember it. And, although people tell us to 'get over' the Holocaust (just 70 years ago), we too will "never forget!"...some thing MUST never be forgotten. As Bob Marley says: "If you know your history,then you would know where you coming from,Then you wouldn't have to ask me, who the heck do I think I am."
thats some powerful thoughts,,cpmparing zombies and genocide of first nations,,i learned about residential schools from mom,,,others who survived,,,,,i was so shocked lil children were brutalized... behind those walls,,and its startling that people would
12/23/2013 05:29:29 am
peace and working together is better than hate!!
12/23/2013 08:17:11 am
well to get over it is to forget life! if you are human! you dont get over it! you put it aside and work on it! work on it on into the future! you deal with it! but most of all you have to live with it!! there is no magic pill!! to forget your past is to forget who you are! wont forget my past for any one for i am! and i will always be who i am until the end of time! ill try to get over it when the government honers those 400 treatys they broke! you will feel better and so will i! but you cannot erase the past! you just have to learn to live with it and move forward! correct the things that you can! work on the things that you cant change! over night anyway! now if they sent him back across the ocean to europe! could that person get over that! well that answer is no! no he would not get over that!! for id say he needs hlp with his past! guilt is a terrible thing to live with!! you work on it! or it works on you!! you cant change the past! but you can change the future and try to make a right!! yeah!!
12/23/2013 02:18:25 pm
Thank you for your beautiful statements. I have a mixed background and that's always been a problem. My elders have always told me that we are Apache, but none of us has our CDIB. I've always felt like I was in limbo. I've been rejected and discriminated against by everyone. I go to powwows and I see people there with blonde hair, blue eyes and skin like snow and they're out there with full regalia dancing like they're full-bloods, and I'm not allowed to dance because I don't have a piece of paper that says I'm "Indian." In some of my old school pictures I looked darker than some of the Mexicans. All of a sudden it's "cool" to be Indian. I'm told that my great-grandmother was a full-blood. She moved to California in the late 20's or early 30's, probably to blend in with the Mexicans because it was dangerous to be "Indian." Some of my own Native friends don't believe me when I tell them how nearly complete the genocide was, and that's why the Native population in the U.S. is only 1%. They killed Natives the same way cattle are killed nowadays. Anyway, thank you for your comments. I wish we could have a gathering of all Nations. Maybe some day we will.
P Kulstad Gonzalez
12/23/2013 08:36:20 pm
Great analysis - especially when you consider that the first Native American genocide happened on Hispaniola, currently occupied by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, and the zombie myth comes from Haiti.
12/23/2013 11:08:08 pm
12/24/2013 07:13:31 pm
So I saw these two questions and decided to put in my two cents.
12/26/2013 10:07:33 am
Thank you. I hope it is ok to print this out. I just had this conversation today and it is hard for me to make people understand who refuse to do a little digging. Thank you for helping me.
12/27/2013 12:50:20 am
I love how you use The Walking Dead as a "teachable moment". It is very clever. Props to you for writing something that the younger end of the generation (and All TWD fans) can relate to. Good job!
12/27/2013 04:45:53 am
Let it be known that the famous President "Lincoln", who freed the slaves, at the same time tried to have every man, woman, and child who was "Indian" annihilated. You don't see that in the history books in school. As well as a senator of North Dakota who tried to have a law passed to do the same exact thing. Just get over it is not so undemanding as it sounds. Great piece, so great that the typical mantra is smothered by the forte of all who endured.
12/27/2013 08:04:09 pm
Interesting how most of your comments are coming from Natives. Guess they just don't or won't get over it. Great analogy by the way. Hope this goes viral.
Thank you for this beautiful piece of writing and your excellent expression of the 'get over it' crap. The new thing I am hearing since 'Idle no More' began is also from non indigenous folks (like me) goes like this. "I am tired of our past here being described as all bad" or "We weren't all bad, you know" As if the fact that some folks acted as real human beings, is enough to erase acceptance and healing from genocide. Both settlers and indigenous people need to heal from this past so that we can behave differently together. So, as much as I find this a frustrating response to the newness of 'talking about it' I must hold it up in the light of change. For this 'defensive' response shows movement. Shows change. Shows 'hope'. (Walking Dead 'hope') but still hope. I am a settler descendant, who also wonders why...when.. we (the collective white 'we') will want 'our part of the treaty agreements honoured...want to ensure our 'lousy experiences' stop clouding our future generations ('our' meaning all people!) If my ancestors acted badly, I want to ensure change for the dna memory for my children, grandchildren, etc. 'I am over' ...so over...hearing people telling indigenous people to 'get over it'. So I talk about it. Mostly to deaf ears, but some glimmers of 'hope' are there from time to time. Thank you again for your words.
12/28/2013 01:07:20 pm
This is such a beautiful written piece of history that affects all indigeneous/Native peoples/ across the continents.."I am over it" too, and that is why I speak up at any given time that I see fit. I will never give up or give in and allow anyone to break my Spirit. Hiy, hiy
12/30/2013 01:08:47 am
What a brilliant comparison! I am Mi'kmaq and it was only 1 generation ago that the last aboriginal people were forced into residential schools where their language, culture and innocents was lost. I know this because my mom was one of the children that were sent off away from family, where atrocities no person would or could imagine took place against children, aboriginal children. I have had "friends" post it's time for those Indians to stop whining about what happened in the past. This is where I find a chance to educate rather than perpetuate hate and ignorance. This blog I will now happily refer people to ......taho....
12/30/2013 07:52:44 am
Beautifully, powerfully written. Thank you for your words.
12/31/2013 02:29:09 am
Mahalo nui loa for this.
1/1/2014 08:21:13 am
Wow. Thank you. I am from Oklahoma and then New Mexico so I have always been well aware of this history that I call the American Holocaust, but this piece has deepened and broadened that awareness to a new level. Post apocalyptic. Of course, absolutely, of course.
1/1/2014 04:51:42 pm
A well written truth, as I journey this life, trying to bring back the knowledge, that was taken away when my GreatGrandmother lost her rights and was told never to speak of her ways. The one blessing is that our Ancestors speak to us when we are willing to listen and teach us the old ways.
KATHIE ROMAINE RISING FAWN JOHNSON
1/1/2014 07:15:31 pm
i have read what every one has written. when u wrote get over it and u wrote that now u are over it now u can talk about all the things that happened to our ancestors and what is still happening to our people..i felt proud that some one finally can speak of all the horror our people have been going thru all these years... i can remember some of the stories my fathers mother told me when i was little about having to hide in the forest when whitemen came into her village she said parents had to hide their children so the white man didnt steal them ..she didnt talk much about her child hood because she was afrade of making my father mad at her..she did say she was a star on the broadway stage she was called billy the indian princess... that is where she met my grand father and they were married some time around 1918 i am not really shure of the date and year . my granny was a tiny woman about 4'9'' in hight, had tiny feet so tiny she had to buy little girls shoes... which she told me she hated store bought shoes they always hurt her feet..just give her a pair of moccasins and she was happy she also taught me how to make some when i was 7 or 8 when we lived in folsom cal she also taught me how to bead i think that was the happiest i ever was was when my granny was living with us...when dad found out granny told me of when the white man came into her and grandpas village on the reservation in iowa and stole all 19 of her children and put them all in state home...she told me how she went after the men with a knife ahe tried to stab them trying to get her kids back she told of being arrested and put in a stockade with other mothers who were fighting to keep their children...of the 19 children my granny got back only 6 the others either died or were adopted into white homes...she did not kno which town or state her babies were moved to....my father didnt want us kids to know about that horror nor did he want us to kno that him and his other surviving brothers and sisters were abused raped many times in the care of those so called catholic homes/schools and those schools i think exist even today granny said my father and his 5 remaining siblings ran away from the government schools....all the children in those schools were abused in every way u can imagine they were broken children the tribe prayed over the returning children but some were so damaged that the elders and medicine men could not help them these children learned to hide the damaged minds for a long time and then some thing happens and they would break one by one until they started doing to others what was done to them....no wonder my father didnt wane us to kno of what happened to him, his brothers and sisters he wanted to forget...but something so horrible as what happened to them and alot of their friends ...no wonder they wanted to forget but i found the worst things to happen to a child can never be forgotten that hurt and pain and memory stays for ever and never can be erased. when dad found his mother told us all the good and bad stuff of his childhood my father sent her away and told her to never darken his door ever again... the last time i saw granny was in 1972, she joined her ancestors in 1999 ma 19 she was 110 yrs young.
1/2/2014 04:01:05 am
We have a great web series produced here in Alberta, where men and women share their experiences within the Residential School system.
1/3/2014 02:43:01 am
I see.... My grand father, my mother were also placed in the same situation.
1/3/2014 03:41:49 am
I mentioned your blog in my Indian Country Today article. I also read this aloud to my 13-year old daughter. Beautifully put!
1/4/2014 02:27:18 am
Thank you for your wonderful blog. I wish for you and all native peoples that the past could be changed. That you could all have peace in your lives and in your hearts. That your peoples never had to go through that dreadful period of time. What the people did then to native human beings was awful. Black people were treated badly as well. Please do not put all the blame on white "people". Remember, the ruling government and religions had a great influence over all people and many non-white were the target. I am a visible white but I was never taught to be racist. I mean no ill-will towards any of my brothers and sisters. I have always had a great respect for the native culture. I find it quite facinating. Bless you all!
1/4/2014 05:37:38 am
I have read every comment and have learned so much. Thank you for all the contributions to our greater understanding of one another. I am truly sorry for the painful pasts of each one who still lives with acute pain to themselves, their relatives, their tribe, and/or other indigenous people. Like I said, we have all lived through painful things. One comment challenged the validity of one's painful experience over another's. I do not believe that strategy is productive (at least from my cultural bent), but I understand deeply painful wounds that are resistant to healing and they hurt like the worst of the worst from any vantage point.
1/6/2014 04:19:52 am
Oh the horrible truths. Even as a white person, my heart breaks for you and your families. No child should have had to experience what many of you and/or your relatives had to experience. Please, please, don't hate all white people. It was the government and the church that had these ill regards for native people. Not all white people felt this way towards native people. Just like not all natives are alcoholics or abusers, or all blacks are gang members. Yes, there is racism in all groups, but not all the people are racist. The governments and church even did some nasty things to the white people just not as severly as done to the native people. What they did disgusts and angers me. Remember to love those who are kind and good to you no matter what race. That is what is important. If only true love for all mankind could rule the world. Power, greed, control, and supremacy, should not be tolerated! Love to you all. May your broken hearts be healed and your pain relinguished. May love surround you like a blanket! May you all find peace!!!!!
1/6/2014 04:42:02 am
While I can appreciate that cultural trauma causes deep rooted and long lasting effects I disagree with the concept that First Nations people should stay stuck in this role of victimization. Who does it serve? Who does it help?
1/9/2014 11:56:56 am
It is a wonderful article. I am truly tired of being a DNE -- does not exist. Don't talk about it and it will disappear. That's what is wanted don't talk and don't remember. It cannot be allowed what was done was wrong, what continues to be done is even wronger. It seems they will not be happy until we have all gone the way of the dinosaur. WE CANNOT LET IT CONTINUE. Speak on!
1/17/2014 07:29:19 pm
I am from Europe and I have never been to the US. Beautiful article, thanks for educating me.
1/20/2014 01:02:44 pm
I was extremely pleased to find this website. I wanted to thank you for ones time just for this wonderful read!! I definitely loved every bit of it and I have you saved as a favorite to look at new things on your blog.
1/28/2014 01:31:17 am
I like this article all native people at one time or another go through this analogy. My father always use to talk about how Navajos where treated in past especially the Long Walk or how things where back then. He was often told to "Get Over It"
1/31/2014 01:01:30 am
I love the analogy. I am a science teacher and have used walking dead analogies to help explain important science concepts. I knew that FN people were once hunted for scalps but never actually thought about what it would be like to literally run for your life and that is our great-grandfathers generation, THAT JUST BLOWS MY MIND. Thank you so much for this perspective :) I will be happy to use your words to enlighten my students here in Saskatchewan.
10/22/2014 06:07:19 am
First of all very inspiring and I appreciate the Walking Dead analogies. I also appreciate the sense of humor. I really hadn’t ever thought of the Walking Dead in this light before. When I do watch Walking Dead I imagine myself in their position and how I would react but I always think of this as some incredibly parallel universe where the world could actually go this wrong. I feel almost somewhat annoyed of myself for not even thinking of how many people in this world and in history have had to fight for their own lives so intensely, minus the zombies. That there are people in this world who are not safe and cannot lead the life I live.
Your writing, your words, your emotions were so moving...I've been looking for the words to explain how it was time to heal, not forget, not get over, but heal so the problems can be fixed for so long and you did just that. And I am so grateful...I hail from an amazingly strong great grandmother, who was kicked off of her reservation because of her love of an Irish man and never accepted on any side. Raped, beaten and mocked by the white man, hated and turned on by the Native man, never having a place to truly feel safe. But she was so loving, so forgiving, that she took children in like strays, black, yellow, pink, white, didn't matter. She loved everyone equally, and from her we have learned to love equally and respect everyone- from their personal beliefs to their cultural beliefs...I am proud to say that even though it may be very little, I have her strong Native blood coursing through my veins, and deep love in my heart. I stand for whats right and will never, no matter what ethnicity or belief, let others be wronged if I can help it. And I'm elated to know that there are others, like you who can articulate those ideas and get the word out to everyone! Thank You.
2/3/2015 02:28:03 pm
Omg, what a brilliant post. Thank you. Thank you. Sadly this is exactly the story in Australia with our First Nations people's. So well explained. Sharing on in every way I can.
1/19/2016 03:17:05 pm
When i began reading this entry, I was shocked to think that us, Natives, should just "get over it." But it also pushed to read further for justification, which i am glad I did. I love the analogy between the dispute in the Native American community and the Walking Dead. It has created a new insight for me. So, thank you for writing this. It was quite entertaining and very thoughtful.
2/15/2016 11:46:42 am
Ajachemon and Yaqui here, my mother's family is from Capistrano. I was so happy to read this essay, as a California native and a scifi nerd. Out here in the North East, the general thought seems to be "Indians happened 100's of years ago, how can you still be talking about this?" I often counter that with the same thing you just did, that my great grandmother and father lived through this time in California. Then I show them the picture of my great grandmother holding me at age 2, and explain that she isn't a historical figure or mythology, that she was a real live person who survived great adversity to be able to hold me. Thanks for your great analogy and thoughts!
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Cutcha Risling Baldy is an Associate Professor and Department Chair of Native American Studies at Humboldt State University. She received her PhD in Native American Studies from the University of California, Davis. She is also a writer, mother, volunteer Executive Director for the Native Women's Collective and is currently re-watching My Name is Earl...
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On telling Native people to just "get over it" or why I teach about the Walking Dead in my Native Studies classes... *Spoiler Alert!*
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In which we establish that there was a genocide against Native Americans, yes there was, it was genocide, yes or this is why I teach Native Studies part 3 million
5 Reasons I Wear "Indian" Jewelry or Hupas...we been bling-blingin' since Year 1
Pope Francis decides to make Father Junipero Serra a saint or In Which I Tell Pope Francis he needs to take a Native Studies class like stat
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A few that I read...