I’m going to throw some words out there, some ridiculously anecdotal statistics, despite my having been trained better. I do this mostly to 1. get these thoughts out of my head where they do little good and 2. to put them in your head, and your head and your head, so that hopefully, together, we can do some good.
98% of non-Indigenous people know NOTHING to very little about the truth of Native history on this continent (this is a global phenomenon but for right now, we will just stay on this continent). 98% don’t know anything. Or they know enough to make them dangerous. Literally.
Another 1% know the truth about Indigenous history, but they spend their time trying to disparage, minimize or outright refute the historical records and experiences of millions of people.
Another 1% know the truth, and do what they can to speak the truth to those who will hear. To allow the winds to blow away the clouded history and to shed light in the dark recesses where the truth of Native history exists. (a little melodrama for good measure).
Why am I writing this? I see that truth is coming to light. More people are speaking up. The light is getting brighter. The winds are getting stronger. Truth is coming out. I have a word of caution, though. Once you know the truth, you can’t un-know it. Once you have seen things in the light, you cannot run back to the shadows. You have a responsibility to the truth.
i’m wondering if we are doing right by the truth? Not that I think we should drop the reins and stop. I’m beginning to see that truth is like water. Water is a precious more-than-human relative. It is the lifeblood of our existence on this planet. We have a responsibility to truth like we have a responsibility to water. Water can be a powerful transformer, it can re-shape landscapes. How water (truth) re-shapes and transforms landscapes has everything to do with how we honor and work with it.
We need the truth. It’s no cliche that the truth will set you free. I look around and see the illness that lying and deception has created over the generations. We talk about healing and being safe….truth is where we will get our healing.
If 98% of the people don’t know the truth of Native history on this continent, probably a good 50% of them don’t CARE to know the truth. So where is the wisdom in trying to tell them something that they wouldn’t know how to handle or process to begin with? It’s comparable, in my mind, to casting your pearls before swine. If 48% of them care to know, but they are what I call lazy-thinkers (make easy deductions and stay away from thought patterns that cause them grief) I would venture to say that they are probably relying on that 1% of people who know the truth and do everything in their power to refute the truth.
There is the potentially fertile ground where the truth can be sown and where we might harvest the fruits of our work. (is it just me, or did this get all sermon-y? ahem) Honestly….we have a responsibility to tell the truth. We have a responsibility to tell the truth where it can be received. We have a responsibility to apply it lovingly, fiercely and with wisdom.
Now, how do we know where and to whom the truth should be told? I dunno. Not that I haven’t thought about it. I just don’t know. But maybe you do. Or you. Or all of us together. Maybe we can figure it out.
We can’t not try.