When we think of California today, we do not, for the most part, teach about American Indians who were there prior to it becoming "California." When we teach about the Gold Rush, we do it in a celebratory or adventurous fashion, and we fail to teach students that those miners (amongst others) committed horrific crimes against Native people. When we teach about the Missions, we gloss over the treatment of Native people at those missions, and we ignore the legacy the Missions had on the lives of Native people. Some Native people embraced Christianity; some imported elements of Christianity to their existing systems of worship; others rejected it.
Here's Deborah's bio, from her page:
I am a member of the Ohlone-Costanoan Esselen Nation of the Greater Monterey Bay area in California. Currently I am an Associate Professor in the English Department at Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia. I teach Composition, Native American Literatures, American Ethnic Literatures, Women's Literatures, Creative Writing (Poetry and Memoir), among other courses. My first book of poetry, Indian Cartography, was published by Greenfield Review Press in 1999 and won the First Book Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas. The Zen of La Llorona, my second collection, was published by Salt Press in 2004.
We can do better, if we are open to revisiting what we were taught. Bookmark her site!
- If you're a teacher, use it to develop your lesson plans.
- If you're a writer, use it to do research.
- If you're an editor or reviewer, use it to fact check manuscripts and books.