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By Jesse Utz 

Our history and the future

 


When we look at the history of our nation, it is hard to get the facts straight unless you lived it. By now we know our history books in school are skewed and sanitized to vaguely cover one topic and dive deep into another. It all depends on the culture of the current legislation and education push at the time of print. What’s important to teach during this season can undermine the emotional and topical acceptance of what actually happened to this culture and that group of people. But history does have its place if we choose to read beyond the headlines and era summary and dive a little deeper into the topics that affect us most as a society. We need to start with the facts and then determine who and why they were deemed to be important.

I have a good friend. Hard to believe, I know. But nonetheless, he calls me a friend; and when he teaches on the Native Americans and what has happened to them over the years, he sets aside the textbook and teaches from the actual facts. The “In Time Memorial” legislation that was passed by Washington state recently is trying to do the same. It is meant to dig deeply into local history and culture and tell those stories. Relive those events that shape our area when it comes to our local tribes. The curriculum has been set and encouraged in many areas around the state. It is a powerful history lesson.

My opinion is it is not to try and change anything, but to make us aware of the plight and fight of local indigenous men and women of our area and other areas around the globe. To try and understand a perspective that is foreign to most of us. It is also a way to engrain proper history into those individuals who have remnants of that bloodline in their own DNA.

I also look at current situations around the globe and see history repeating itself, but this time it has a giant push from the right and the left, and from social media. Sometimes it’s skewed, but once again we may not be getting the real facts unless we dig deeper to find out what is really going on. It has become up to each of us as an individual to be our own investigator. We cannot just turn on a news network anymore and accept what they have told us as the facts. We must examine things as a crime scene investigator does and ask ourselves, “What happened?”

How does the future look? Some will say it is bleak. Others will say it’s promising. None of us has a crystal ball or some other way to predict what 10 or 20 years down the road may hold. One thing is for sure: it is up to us. More and more, all things fall on our shoulders. We, the average Joe and Jane, must decide some things for ourselves. We must decide whether to be led or to lead. There are some great things to be learned from the past to prepare us for the future. Our kids must be taught some very important lessons to prepare them for the next part of lives. The question is: “Who will teach them?” Because someone will, or they will discover things for themselves.

Sometimes those lessons can be painful, as we all know. So why sanitize? Why not tell them truths and prepare them? Let them hear the cold, dark and ugly truth or the glorious, powerful and saving truth. They will need them both to be prepared, so that we do not repeat some of the major consequences that afflict us all daily, whether we accept it or not. But there is the part we want to repeat. The good things, the glorious part.

We are America. There is no way around that. But we are here to make it what we want it to be. Learn from the past, really live in the now, and pave the way for the future. Like Dr. Martin Luther King said, “I have a dream.” We should still have those dreams and know what they look like and the proper way to get there. I’m just saying.

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