Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Russel Means on Being American Indian

"It takes a strong effort on the part of each American Indian not to become Europeanized. The strength for this effort can only come from the traditional ways, the traditional values that our elders retain. It must come from the hoop, the four directions, the relations: it cannot come from the pages of a book or a thousand books. No European can ever teach a Lakota to be Lakota, a Hopi to be Hopi. A master’s degree in “Indian Studies” or in “education” or in anything else cannot make a person into a human being or provide knowledge into traditional ways. It can only make you into a mental European, an outsider."

Read Russel Means' 1980 speech from which the above extract is taken.

For more information on Means and his struggles see the Republic of Lakota website.


Picture Credit Unknown


Eugene said...

There is no "only way." There are many ways. There are many different peoples. There is much diversity within the Indian community. To exclude Indians for becoming "Europeanized" would be to excuse himself as Indian as well. Now is not a good time to be divisive, and most of the stuff I've heard him say about Indians is offensive and divisive.

Ridwan said...

I hear you Eugene. There is no point in essentializing what is Indian and what is not.

Point taken.