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By Jesse Utz 

Polishing history

Jess Shut Up


My favorite subject in school is and was history. I loved learning of our country’s and state’s past triumphs and struggles. I still today loves hearing of people’s journeys — where they came from, their ancestry and what events reshaped their views of the world.

Take our local area, for example. We always start with pioneers and homesteaders. Then the great Grand Coulee Dam and its erecting, B Street activities, patriarchs and world leaders who paved the way for everything we see now. We love our history, but sometimes we leave out a very important population.

Genocide is a brutal word. When we hear it, we often think of the Jewish population that Hitler tried to wipe out. Maybe we think of the atrocities that happened in Africa. We can certainly think of the global current situation of terrorists targeting Christians and removing their heads. But there is a genocide that almost took place right here many years ago that sometimes we like to blow off when we tell our nation’s history.

What our forefathers did to the Native American population is a monstrosity and must be told as it was and is. It is a part of the history of the world and is still affecting generations of our friends and neighbors. It is a root cause of the current struggles we see around us and yet we still don’t tell the truth in the classroom. We try and gloss it over and say it is time to move on.

Our state Legislature recently passed a bill that requires that each school teach local tribal history according to real events relating to their sovereignty and government creation. It is supposed to be a joint effort with local educators and tribal government. Look into it. It is a great step for our local natives and the realization of their true history and discovering who they are as a people.

I, for one, am excited to see this law has been enacted and to learn more about our neighbors’ history and stories told by elders and leaders. It is time for us to tell history like it is, to polish it up and be real. We may not like what our ancestors did, but regardless it happened and it is important to tell.

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