Written by Michael Kickingbear...
I am always wary when I come across stories about tribes that are NOT written by a member of the tribe discussed. For as long as I can remember, novels have been written by a white author's perception of American history. And within their writings, periodically the subject of Native American's comes into play.
The common ones would be countless books written about Lewis and Clark, or writings about the Trail of tears. most of these publications are always written from a colonialistic point of view. Always when it comes to writing about Native America, these authors mention native people of the time as a people of the past, who are now gone, or less intelligent, and in most cases where the "great white father" comes in to "save the Indian" from themselves. Or in the case of examples of "How the west was won" settlers traveling westward who encountered tribes, wrote these glorified stories of "civilizing the natives".
Here on the east coast, we have the same stories of such encounters... all from the white colonial perspective. Modern day Authors of articles and books glorified writings based on resources such as found in the Yale Indian Papers, a collection of old documents and transcripts of the foundation of many of the towns and states in the New England area of the United States. Many of the states here were formed before the rest of the country.
The Yale Indian Papers Project writings have been transcribed from old English (Using software) for researchers to easily read and (presumably) interpret what was happening "back in the day". All one has to do is search for the name of an Indian Tribe, to see how the English referred to and spoke about our Native ancestors. It does not take long to see how belittled Indigenous people of this area were.
To give you a quick example of this, here is a result that I found just searching for simply the name of my people, "Pequot" which turns up many related articles. One that I found was entitled "An act to protect the wood on the lands of the Pequot Tribe of Indians"
Legislative action was taken by the early State of Connecticut dated May 28, 1835.
In the action it states:
"that every person, who shall take, or draw any wood from the land of the Pequot Tribe of Indians, in the Town of Groton, in New London County, or from the land of any Indian, or Indians belonging to said tribe, without the permission of the overseer, or overseers of said tribe, shall forfeit the sum of five dollars for every load of wood so taken or drawn from said land"
You can clearly see the phrase "without the permission of the overseer". My ancestors (Pequots) were basically slaves to the English that that time. we had to ask for permission to use our traditional lands from an English overseer. An absolutely subservient way of life for my people. You don't see it stating "ask the Pequots for permission" you see the direction stating that people need to get permission from the overseer.
So, as I opened this article, and hopefully I have established for you a healthy concern of skepticism of non-natives writing books and articles ABOUT native people, This past Sunday, I caught a broadcast of a story On CBS this morning that pertained to the Osage tribal nation of Oklahoma. It was a story that I have never heard about. The Author, David Grann, who is non-native is the author of a new book that he has published called "Killers of the Flower Moon…. The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI”
I sat up in my chair. Mainstream media does not often do stories about Native Americans. If they do, they are usually filler pieces, when it's a slow news day or something. Rarely (Only until recently with the human rights violations that occurred and the drama that occurred at the Dakota Access Pipeline,) do Native interest stories ever get played.
But this one did. Now, one thing that I ALWAYS look for is a motive. WHY is a native story being run? again, as I outlined, I always get skeptical. and In this case, a non-native is promoting a book.... yeah..... ok....making money off native stories again.....what else is new?
But as I said, I honestly had never heard about this story. It pertains to Osage Lands, which at one point were oil rich in the 1920's. As you will hear in the video piece that follows, White greed motivated the theft of profits as well as numerous murders of the Osage people.
As presented by CBS this morning
Interview with Author David Grann with National Public Radio
Historical trauma perpetrated on Native people in the United States does piss me off to no end when you research the depth of organized manipulation and crimes committed by non-native people of the past right through the current day. Take the EPA, who did not tell the Trump Administration "No" when they were ordered to kill an environmental impact study which was ordered by the prior Obama Administration regarding the drill site by the Missouri river at Standing Rock. It is widely believed that study would have easily shown the extreme risks to the water supply that so many rely on by allowing a pipeline built under it. Corporate greed manipulated the system to put profits over people.
The story of the Osage is just another example of America's true history of abuse to indigenous people. And while Mr. Gann's book does a good job portraying the complete injustices by greedy settler thieves, and that this Osage case was the basis for starting America's Federal Bureau of Investigation...I still have to wonder.... why does a non-native writer get treated with solid endorsements from major media for covering the Osage story? What if an Osage tribal member wrote this story about his/her own people? Wouldn't their credibility to tell their own story out weigh that of Mr Gann? Would they be invited on CBS, NPR, and other media outlets to share and promote their own story?