Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

September 2, 1992
[unpublished & uncompleted]

This is an excerpt taken from the Lake Mohonk Conference, “Friends of the Indian” policy-making sessions held annually in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  The focus of these conferences was putting together a strategy, and a publicly acceptable rationalization, about how they were going to destroy the Aboriginal Indigenous People, through the Indians.  The person who told this particular little story was Bishop Whipple.

A party of engineers was once lost during a survey of the North Pacific Railway.  Some of the men came to an Indian who was the head of a band.  He had very comfortable things about him, chickens and pigs, etc.,  They told the Indian that they were very hungry, that they had been lost three days, and had nothing to eat.  He asked his wife to get up the best dinner she could.  When the dinner was ready, the Indian sat down and ate, and left the white men hungry.  They were very angry; but what could they do?  After he had finished his meal, he asked his wife to prepare another.  Then he said solemnly: “I suppose you wonder why I do not have you eat with me.  I went to Washington once; and the Great Father said to me, ‘You must do exactly what the white men do if you want to be happy and go to the good place when you die.’  And I noticed that the white men never let poor men than themselves sit with them at the table.  I want to be happy in this world, and I would not like to lose my chance of going to the good place. You are poor, and so I would not let you eat with me.”

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