Members of the Coeur d’Alene, or Schitsu’umsh, Tribe on the Desmet Reservation in Idaho circa 1907. (Wikimedia Commons)
This knowledge seems rudimentary, and yet it’s not: The same ships that transported the “American dream” from 15th century Europe likewise delivered a nightmare to indigenous lands now known as America—a nightmare that would persist for centuries for millions of indigenous people, African slaves and their many descendants. But it was far beyond a nightmare. It all was callously and painfully real.
This knowledge also seems rudimentary, and yet it’s not: Indigenous communities today bear the stubborn scars and residual societal ills stemming directly from colonization: being dehumanized, disenfranchised and imprisoned in our own lands, confined to desolate reservations, and brutally ripped from the lifeways and teachings that sustained us for millennia.