Sunday, March 01, 2009

"Rubbed the wrong way"

In an interview she gave to Vermont Public Radio, Beth Kanell was asked about criticism of her book, Darkness Under the Water. She characterized the people who are critical of her inaccurate, melodramatic, sensationalized presentation of the Vermont Eugenics Project and its effects on the Abenaki people of Vermont as being "rubbed the wrong way" by what she did.

We are, in fact, talking about a genocidal program that she used as a backdrop for a murder mystery. We object to what she did because her melodrama has the effect of negating the truth of what actually happened.

Characterizing us as being "rubbed the wrong way" is another indicator that she lacks the depth and insight to understand that history, Native peoples, and our voices and work. She says she's bringing attention to this history, but she's only hurting the people she apparently wants to help.

We don't need her kind of help.

With this book she adds to the body of misinformation about who American Indians are---the sort of misinformation my students have to unlearn. With this book, she miseducates, and so do teachers who use the book in their classrooms.

Taxpayers reading this post.... some of your tax dollars are going towards undoing the sorts of things students "learn" in school.

Teachers reading this post... when your students take college classes in American Indian Studies, they feel betrayed by what you gave them, and they put what they learned from you in that "lies my teacher told me" framework laid out by James Loewen.

Those who listen to Vermont Public Radio... Ask the station to invite Doris Seale, or Judy Dow, or the author of the book Kanell cites as her primary source of information, Nancy Gallagher, to be interviewed on the station.

NOT bringing their perspective to the program is a lot like repeating what was done with the Eugenics Project itself. Ignoring and silencing the voices of Native people.

[Note: This book has been discussed here several times. Scroll down to the very bottom of this page and see the set of links there.]

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