A quick glance at two recent Zapiro cartoons finds the brother saying more than most, as usual. The first cartoon on the VA Tech massacre appeared in the Mail & Guardian on 19/4 and the second on 20/4.
I have also been thinking about the curious claim in some of the media that the VA Tech massacre was the worst in American history. How could it be? Then I came across Kat Teraji's excellent questioning of the claim. See her article entitled "A Native Perspective on Virginia Tech Headlines" in the Gilroy Dispatch.
Joan Redfern, a Lakota Sioux quoted in Teraji's article, put the claim in rightful historical perspective by saying the following:
"To say the Virginia shooting is the worst in all of U.S. history is to pour salt on old wounds-it means erasing and forgetting all of our ancestors who were killed in the past, ... The use of hyperbole and lack of historical perspective seems all too ubiquitous in much of the current mainstream media, ... My intention is not to downplay the horror of what has happened this week in any way. But we have a 500-year history of mass shootings on American soil, and let's not forget it."
The picture above is of the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890 when more than 300 Dakota Sioux where gunned down by the US 7th Cavalry. See the Wounded Knee Museum for more information.
Black Elk said of the massacre: "I did not know then how much was ended. When I look back now from this high hill of my old age, I can still see the butchered women and children lying heaped and scattered all along the crooked gulch as plain as when I saw them with eyes still young. And I can see that something else died there in the bloody mud, and was buried in the blizzard. A people's dream died there. It was a beautiful dream ... the nation's hoop is broken and scattered. There is no center any longer, and the sacred tree is dead."
See Dee Brown's book "Bury my Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West" for a powerful discussion of the massacre and its place in American history.
We can't just forget the bodies that were thrown into this wagon after the Wounded Knee Massacre. We can't just forget the bodies dumped by US soldiers into this mass grave below.
And we definitely can't just forget the larger genocide that lies boiling beneath the surface ... the "worst" massacre in American history.
While we are not forgetting, take a moment to sign this petition to RESCIND WOUNDED KNEE 'MEDALS' NOW!
How shameful hey? The absolute brutality at Wounded Knee was rewarded with 20 'congressional medals of honor'.
See also the American Indian Movement website for more information.