My patrilineal great-grandfather, Bah-se-nos, died in 1901, when he was in his eighties. Although millions of our people had died from the White man's diseases during the preceding three centuries, when Bah-se-nos was a young man in the early 19th century, the Ahnishinahbæótjibway Dodemian at Red Lake still had a comparatively intact community. At least ten of our thirty-two Dodems still survived. We lived our traditional life, and our permacultural subsistence base was unbroken. The wood buffalo, southern caribou, moose, deer, elk, bears, panthers, wolves, waterfowl and passenger pigeons abounded in our old-growth forests, swamps and meadows, and during the spawning seasons the rivers were so thick with fish that the water looked like it was boiling. Hunting and fishing have always been an integral part of Ahnishinahbæótjibway culture, and the carefully tended abundance of fish, game, and carnivores was a part of our traditional economic system.
Before the coming of the White man, the Ahnishinahbæótjibway saw our Aboriginal Indigenous land as beautiful, abundant, conveniently accessible from three major river systems and near the center of this Continent. From an Euro-American perspective, however, we were at the periphery: beyond the Mississippi River Basin, at the far reaches of the Hudson's Bay watershed on the north slope of the continental divide. From their point of view, our powerfully invigorating winters were brutal and bitterly cold, and the awakening and rebirth of our lush verdant summers were punctuated by hordes of ravenous black flies and mosquitoes. Hunting and fishing are not a part of traditional European or Euro-American mercantile culture, and the bountiful fish and game inherent in our permaculture were not coveted by the immigrant peoples as economically valuable. They were interested in other of our resources: fur and later timber, but these are not unique to Red Lake. From the White man's point of view, Red Lake was an unpleasant swampy backwater of the hinterland--this is why Ahnishinahbæótjibway have survived.
When my great-grandfather was young, the only Europeans within three days travel of Red Lake were several families of French and French Métis associated with the fur trade. During Bah-se-nos' lifetime, the United States Government gradually moved into the Ahnishinahbæótjibway Nation, using the French people who were here as intermediaries, and also as a justification for further Euro-American incursions. As a part of this process, the United States Government lumped both Ahnishinahbæótjibway and French Métis into the hypothetical category of "Chippewa Indians." By putting two entirely different groups of people into one abstractly homogeneous category, they hoped to make the Ahnishinahbæótjibway disappear. They used the French Métis Indians--European subject people with whom the Anglo-Americans had warred and won, as their rationale to occupy the Ahnishinahbæótjibway. Ahnishinahbæótjibway non-violence is one of the fundamental precepts of our Midé religion.
The United States Government followed classical Western European occupation tactics:[i] exploiting us economically, banning the use of our language, forcing us to change our names to English-language names, and outlawing our religion.
Bah-se-nos never gave up the Ahnishinahbæótjibway Midé religion, which was forced underground in the 1880's, and remains underground. He spoke powerfully in defense of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, and against the liquor which was being introduced into our community as a means of destroying our people. Bah-se-nos was an Aboriginal Indigenous person, not one of the Europeans' appointed Indian Chiefs. He is mentioned in Indian and White histories as an old "pagan" living in a "bark hut,"[ii] which was the historians' derogatory way of describing his traditional longhouse. My great-grandfather was knowledgeable about Ahnishinahbæótjibway medicines and herbs, but was inaccurately labeled by the Europeans as a "grand medicine man."[iii] Many of the things said and written about Bah-se-nos are not true, and were used to discredit him and other Ahnishinahbæótjibway.
Bah-se-nos was at the treaty negotiations of 1863, at the place called the Old Crossing on the French Pembina oxcart trail, between Thief River Falls and Red Lake. At that time, many Frenchmen were working as teamsters, hauling freight between the mostly French settlement at Pembina, North Dakota, and Minneapolis-St. Paul. The Old Crossing was a place where these people regularly stopped enroute, analogous to a truck stop. This junction of two rivers had also been used for many thousands of years by the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, as a gathering place for giving thanks, autumn celebrations and socializing with neighboring Aboriginal Indigenous people. The United States Government held the treaty negotiations in the fall to coincide with the time that Ahnishinahbæótjibway would already be there. Along with the other Ahnishinahbæótjibway men, Bah-se-nos could not and did not sign the so-called treaty between the French Métis, who the U.S. put into the persona of Chippewa Indians, and the English-Americans, purporting to sell Ahnishinahbæótjibway land.
The unilateral Western European treaty of 1863 was not used by the Euro-Americans to claim eminent domain over Ahnishinahbæótjibway land. That claim had been made in 1481 by Pope Sixtus the 4th, in the Papal Bull of Æterni Regis, which unilaterally granted dominion of Christian nation-states over all land not owned by Christian Kings and Princes; and was reasserted in reference to this Continent in 1496 by the King of England, 241 years before Red Lake was mapped by any Europeans;[iv] and was reaffirmed by the United States Supreme Court in 1823:[v]
[T]he rights of the original inhabitants were ... to a considerable extent, impaired. Their rights to complete sovereignty, as independent nations, were necessarily diminished, ... denied by the original fundamental principle, that discovery gave exclusive title to those [European Christians] who made it.
While the different nations of Europe respected the rights of the natives, as occupants, they asserted the ultimate dominion to be in themselves; and claimed and exercised, as a consequence of their ultimate dominion, a power to grant the soil, while yet in possession of the Indian right of occupancy. ... So early as the year 1496, her [England's] monarch granted a commission to the Cabots, to discover countries then unknown to Christian people, and to take possession of them in the name of England. Two years afterwards, Cabot proceeded on this voyage, and discovered the continent of North America, along which he sailed as far south as Virginia. To this discovery the English trace their title. ...
Thus has our whole country been granted by the crown while in the occupation of the Indians. These grants purport to convey the soil as well as the right of dominion to the grantees...
From an Ahnishinahbæótjibway perspective, neither the King of England nor any other Christian sovereign had right or reason to do this anywhere in the world. The Europeans have never had any business stealing others' land. Although both Jewish rabbinical law and the Christian Bible exhort the faithful, "Thou Shalt Not Steal," this "was not intended to apply outside the community of the faithful."[vi] Many Euro-Americans have told me, "that all happened a long time ago. I'm not responsible for what my ancestors did." This may be so, but these people are still living here in disharmony, and they continue to define themselves, and their relationship to this land and to Aboriginal Indigenous people in terms of this obsolete European medieval bigotry.
The foundation of the Indian treaties was explained by legal scholar Felix S. Cohen in 1942:[vii]
[O]ur Indian Law originated, and can still be most closely grasped, as a branch of International law, and ... in the field of international law the basic concepts of modern doctrine were all hammered out by the Spanish theological jurists of the 16th and 17th centuries ...
The Western Europeans' ethnocentric understanding of property was not explained to the Ahnishinahbæótjibway at the Old Crossing. The United States used their unilateral Indian treaty to claim fee patent to our Ahnishinahbæótjibway land, opening most of it to White settlement as so-called public domain, and claiming the balance as being under their jurisdiction as an Indian Reservation, which was synonymous with P.O.W. camp. When Bah-se-nos was in his forties, and his son--my grandfather Bah-wah-we-nind--was young, the United States Army began forcing both French Métis and Ahnishinahbæótjibway onto the Reservations at gunpoint, killing those who remained outside the boundaries unilaterally established by the U.S.A. At that time, the State of Minnesota paid a bounty on what they called Indian scalps.
Bah-se-nos was about seventy when the Minnesota Chippewa Commission held meetings in July, 1889 at Red Lake. He listened to the Commissioner's presentation of the U.S. Congress' Act of January 14, 1889, also known as the Nelson Act. This unilateral United States statute mandated dividing up Ahnishinahbæótjibway land, selling most of it to White settlers, and breaking up the rest by issuing parcels of land to French Indians as allotments under U.S. trusteeship. Bah-se-nos told the Commissioners that the Ahnishinahbæótjibway could not and would not sell our land,[viii] but the Chippewa Creole in which the meetings were being interpreted was a hierarchical trade pidgin in which it was impossible to communicate Ahnishinahbæótjibway concepts. Grandmother Earth, and Grandfather Midé are our identity: where we come from, who we are, where we go back to, our philosophy, everything that relates to us, connected together in harmony. We cannot sell our philosophy or our religion, our identity or our relations who share the Earth with us. We cannot sell land; the idea was sacrilegious then and it still is now.
The Commissioners for the Minnesota Chippewa Commission wrote Bah-se-nos' name on the Signature Rolls, forged his "X" mark, and recorded their Métis interpreters' mistranslation of his name as "Brushing Off Flies."
The Métis people referred to themselves until recently as French Canadians, or sometimes as Chippewa Indians. Most of these people came into Ahnishinahbæótjibway country during the time of the French fur trade, some as fur company employees and some as refugees from European violence.
Some Métis were employed by the United States Government as scouts and interpreters, although they only understood French, broken English, and the pidgin Creole[ix] language called Chippewa. The Métis interpreters called Bah-se-nos a "Blanket-Ass Indian," which they considered a derogatory term, but now these Métis' grandchildren are trying to steal my grandfather as their own.[x] In part because of the ethnocentric way in which the Euro-Americans claimed eminent domain and land title on this Continent, the United States Government wanted the Ahnishinahbæótjibway to assimilate into the European culture--as Indians, and they also wanted the Métis to assimilate into the Indian culture which the Europeans had created. Many of the leading French Métis families have been paid for a century by the U.S. Government to be Indians, and have accepted this personally damaging duplicity rather than being who they really are.
The United States Government built a log house for my great-grandfather Bah-se-nos, saying that this was to civilize him. They cut down the forests which were a part of his religion, in order to build the log house. They told him, "be civilized like us ... assimilate," but they invited neither the Ahnishinahbæótjibway nor the White man's blood relatives, the Chippewa Indians, into their social class. The missionaries of civilization have not explained what they really mean by assimilation, and the Euro-Americans have never clearly defined what they mean by their designation, Indian.[xi] Ahnishinahbæótjibway saw what the Whites were advocating as pure nonsense, foolishness motivated by greed.
Bah-se-nos lived in his birchbark longhouse his whole life. When he died the U.S. Government burned his longhouse. Bah-se-nos died in the 1901 smallpox epidemic at Red Lake (the Europeans developed a vaccine for smallpox in 1792, and were immunizing many of their own people). The Catholic Priest, Father Thomas, claimed to have "baptized the old Pagan"[xii] as he lay dying in his longhouse, which is false. Bah-se-nos was buried in the Bear Dodem family graveyard by my grandfather's house in Be-kwa-kwan. If my great-grandfather had been an Indian, and had not the Midé as his source of identity and strength, the Christians would have been able to baptize him, and they would have buried him in the Catholic cemetery. The Catholics told me, "you have to be baptized a Catholic to be buried in this hallowed ground," although they had stolen Ahnishinahbæótjibway sacred land to make their cemetery. We see the irony of such contradictions, from an Ahnishinahbæótjibway perspective. The Catholics misrepresented the date and cause of his death,[xiii] in part because Bah-se-nos is alleged to have signed an 1902 land cession document after he was already dead.
My grandfather, Bah-wah-we-nind, lived during the most invasive phase of Euro-American occupation of Ahnishinahbæótjibway land, from the mid-nineteenth century into the 1930's. Bah-wah-we-nind was also alleged to have put an "X" on the 1889 Minnesota Chippewa Commission documents, in the same individual's Spenserian handwriting as that asserted to be his father's, with his name spelled as Paw-waw-we-nind, an incorrect age, and the mistranslation of "The One that is Mentioned." I spent my formative years with my grandfather, and remember these years in Ahnishinahbæótjibway rather than English. Despite what he had experienced in living through more than a half a century of genocide committed against our people and our Dodemian, Bah-wah-we-nind was a serene, kind, gentle and strong man. I write of his house as an island of love and harmony, for lack of English words which translate the deeper meanings in Ahnishinahbæótjibway. Much of this book is the legacy of my grandfather, and is written in his honor. Bah-wah-we-nind is my enduring role model. The people I hope to emulate are my grandfather, and my great-grandfather Bah-se-nos, and Om-be-geshig, my great-uncle. It takes a good man to fill their moccasins.
Ahnishinahbæótjibway names are religious, given through the Midé. Chippewa Indian people have Christian names, European surnames, and genealogies traceable on their patrilines back to Eurasia and North Africa. Because of their White fathers, the Métis and other Chippewas do not have an Ahnishinahbæótjibway Dodem, and they do not have an Ahnishinahbæótjibway name, although they were often listed in the United States Bureau of Indian Affairs (B.I.A.) records under Indian pseudonyms. The White man forced European names on the Ahnishinahbæótjibway. Their Indians, who already had White names, took Indian aliases.[xiv] The Indian names used by the Chippewa Indian people come from several sources: some of them were stolen, like our language and pieces of our religion, assuming that the Aboriginal Indigenous peoples' objections would never be heard. Some of the Chippewa Indians at Red Lake have told me, "you're right, but--who's going to believe you?"
My father had an Ahnishinahbæótjibway name, but the United States Government made him use the name Francis Blake. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway men of my father's generation were the ones against whom the United States Government's most concentrated efforts at "Annihilation, Assimilation, and Termination" of Aboriginal Indigenous people were directed. "Pulverize the Tribal Masses"[xv] was the U.S. policy advocated by President Theodore Roosevelt. Aboriginal Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their parents and placed in boarding schools. The purpose of the boarding schools was explicitly stated in U.S. Government documents: to destroy Aboriginal Indigenous culture. They were run on a military basis, and discipline was brutal and sometimes lethal.[xvi]
Both the United States Government and the Church-run boarding schools forced the Christian religion and the English language onto the Aboriginal Indigenous children. As a child in the boarding school, I was appalled at the violence in Christianity as it was told to us: crowning with thorns, whipping and scourging, nailing Jesus to a cross and then putting a spear into his heart, all of the gory details. These are terrible things to tell a little child. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway religion is non-violent. The beating, killing and crucifixion of Jesus Christ traumatized me and gave me nightmares.
The threads of violence are interwoven throughout Western European civilization, inseparable from both their Judeo-Christianity and their science. The clear-cutting of our forests is plundering our Cathedral, violently desecrating Ahnishinahbæótjibway hallowed ground. Darwin and Spencer's theory, "survival of the fittest," speaks of each species that goes extinct in a dog-eat-dog world. The Lislakhs[xvii] do not see the totality in the Circle of life. When you heedlessly destroy species around you, which are all inter-connected, when does it become your turn for extinction? You need those other species to survive.
Of the nearly eight thousand people presently defined by the United States Government as members of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, only about two hundred are Ahnishinahbæótjibway. The rest are White and Métis people trapped by the Indian identity. Indians are a mythology created by the White man, who controls the definitions and stereotypes attributed to Indians. Many of the people externally defined as Indians live out the stereotypes and vicious labels of "drunken Indian," "lazy Indian," "dirty Indian," "stupid Indian," "violent savage." The United States Government has not taken responsibility for the damage they have caused to people by defining them as Indians.
The community in Red Lake was in chaos in the early 1900's. The United States Government deliberately brought in, and tacitly condoned, Métis bootleggers. The word was, "have a drink, Nii-jii, or you're no friend of mine." Drugs are still used in the same way both at Red Lake and in the urban "red ghettos." Drugs and alcohol keep people in a condition of bare survival and destabilize the community. As long as there is a chaotic community, people are so distracted by the struggles of day-to-day life they don't have a chance to organize, or to address root problems. Euro-American chemical dependency sub-culture implicitly promotes substance abuse among the oppressed and dispossessed, and encourages those who take this deadly bait to blame themselves both for their addictions, and for the socially engineered conditions which engendered them.
In the 1920's and 1930's, much of life on the Reservation was an endless binge of bootlegging, home-brew and despair. Young children grew up believing that being an adult meant getting drunk. How many people got killed in the continual car wrecks; how many people died of other kinds of suicide? There were very few sober role models for the children, and there still aren't many good Indian role models. My father was brainwashed, tortured in school, and was caught up in the Indian stereotype. Although he was Ahnishinahbæótjibway, he was traumatized into being an Indian. The same kind of brainwashing was still done in the schools when I was compelled to go into boarding school in 1937. I struggled for years with the Indian identity. When I walked away from the artificial persona of Indian and reclaimed my real identity as Ahnishinahbæótjibway, it was a rebirth and homecoming. I had always known that there was something wrong with the Indian identity, but I couldn't put my finger on it. When I did the research and understood what had been done, I formally notified the Honorable Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court that I am not an Indian, and sent Justice Marshall my Federal Indian identification papers. An enormous weight lifted.
My mother was a Métis woman from White Earth, Delia Lufkins. Her father, John Lufkins, was one of the Bureau of Indian Affairs' White Indian Chiefs, whose photograph was prominently displayed in the Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, Historical Society in 1981. Although she was a Métis, my mother married into the Bear Dodem when she married my father. She left her Indian identity, and became Ahnishinahbæótjibway, in accordance with our traditions. Even though our traditional infrastructure was being torn apart, our Aboriginal Indigenous values remained. They are still here today. I had an older half brother, whom I met once (when my mother died), and a younger half brother, also my mother's son. My mother died of tuberculosis when I was very young, in 1932.
English is not my native language, and the structure, vocabulary, and thoughts of my Ahnishinahbæótjibway language are very different from English. The real world described in egalitarian Aboriginal Indigenous terms is very different from the abstract and idealized understanding inherent in hierarchical Lislakh languages such as English. I have never seen a book, other than this one, which accurately describes the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, in part because of the difficulties in translating between these two world-views. The Indian books written by Chippewa Indians, of which there are more than a few, are written from the Lislakh perspective of their White or Métis authors.[xviii] Similarly, the anthropological works about the Chippewa are written by Europeans from their own point of view, and have nothing to do with Aboriginal Indigenous people.
In the Boarding School, all of us Ahnishinahbæótjibway children were violently punished for speaking our native language, even mentioning our relatives' names. We were forced to speak a very limited version of English. I was told I had to quit school after the eighth grade. The nun told me, "eighth grade was good enough for my father. It should be good enough for you." I could barely understand English, and couldn't read a page without turning to the dictionary several times. In the years since I left school, I have taught myself to speak and understand the language which our elders called forked tongue speaking, and is now known as crooked English. I still use the dictionary, but now I can use those ten-dollar words right back on the professors. They can't hide behind fancy language any longer--I and other Ahnishinahbæótjibway have learned enough English so that we can follow their thoughts anywhere, even into their linguistic abstract.
If I had an European father, I would not be writing this book. I would be a part of the European subject peoples. I would not have the understanding, which my grandfather gave me, of what it is to be Ahnishinahbæótjibway and of what life means from an Ahnishinahbæótjibway perspective.
I am Sovereign. I have a Clan and a Dodem. I am Ahnishinahbæótjibway. We, the People, still survive, and we have a right to exist as a Sovereign Nation on our own land. Our roots grow deep on this land. That is why this book is written.This book has been painful to research and to write. The genocide of which I am writing is the genocide of my own people: my aunts and my uncles and my first cousins. Whole families of my relatives were killed, while the Métis and other Chippewa Indians, who are not from Red Lake and are not indigenous to this Continent, have multiplied like rabbits to replace us. It's profound, and it really hurts, and writing this book has, over and over again, drained away all of my energy. What is written in this book has to be brought out into the open, it has to be dealt with, and I am one of the few people surviving who can write it.
[i].Description of what constitutes treatment "as a subject people," in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, January 16, 1994, State Edition, page 24A. These tactics of colonial occupation were described with specificity in the context of Japanese occupation of Korea during World War II--but the Imperial Japanese were using Western European colonial strategy during World War II.
[ii].For example, A Century of Missionary Work among the Chippewa Indians, 1858-1958, Rev. Alban Fruth, O.S.B., St. Mary's Mission, Red Lake, Minnesota, 1958, pages 48-49.
[iv].In 1737, a map containing "New Western" discoveries in Canada is contained in an October 14 letter of Mr. deBeauharnois, in which he points out that the source of the Mississippi is shown south of "Lac Rouge" (Red Lake), according to Erwin F. Mittleholtz, Historical Review of the Red Lake Indian Reservation, Centennial Souvenir Commemorating A Century of Progress, published by the General Council of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians and the Beltrami County Historical Society, Leader-Record Press, Gonvick and Clearbrook, Minnesota, August, 1957; page 15.
[v].Johnson v. M'Intosh, 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, 5 L.Ed. 681 (U.S. Sup. Ct. 1823), opinion delivered by Mr. Chief Justice Marshall, as quoted in Indian Tribes as Sovereign Governments, a Sourcebook on Federal-Tribal History, Law, and Policy, American Indian Lawyer Training Program Press, Oakland, 1988, pages 103-104 (emphasis theirs).
[vi].The professor of religion who explained this asked not to be quoted by name, "or you will have a lawsuit on your hands."
[vii].As quoted in Indian Tribes as Sovereign Governments, page 4, Op. cit.
[viii].National Archives, RG 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Irregularly shaped papers, Item 104, Report of the Chippewa Commission, 1889-90. These records, RG 75, Item 104, also contain the "signature rolls" of Chippewa assent to what many Indians call the "Rice Treaty." My grandfather and great-grandfather's names were listed by the B.I.A. on these records, as are the names of many other Ahnishinahbæótjibway. The "X" marks next to their names were all written by one person.
[ix].Pidgin and Creole are technical linguistic terms describing a particular kind of language. There are a number of such languages in the U.S.--hierarchically structured languages which have taken some Aboriginal Indigenous words, and changed the meaning and context. For example, there is a word in Chippewa, shi-nabbe, or shi-nob, which, the Chippewa Indians have repeatedly said to me, means "Indian." Although this word was taken from our word Ahnishinahbæótjibway, it means something entirely different in the Chippewa language.
[x].Privately published genealogies of Roger Jourdain, Dan Needham, and Harry Johnson. When I confronted Roger Jourdain about this, he said that he didn't know who his grandfather was, because he was trying to deny his French Pembina patriline through "Shorty" Jourdain. I said to him, "you're claiming to be a Real Red Lake Chippewa Indian leader, and you don't know who your own grandfather was? No wonder you Chippewas are wandering around like the lost tribe, without any sense of who you are or where you're going."
[xi].In July of 1993, after being asked by a reader of my newspaper column what an Indian really was, I called the Department of the Interior, which controls the Indian identity through the Bureau of Indian Affairs. I asked them to explain just how they define Indians. Carl Caine, in the Solicitor's Office in Washington, said that the United States had no comprehensive definition for an Indian; that the U.S. Government uses an ad hoc definition of Indians, crafted according to the vagaries of the particular statute in which Indians are defined. He added, in response to a question about stereotypes, that the word "Indian" was like the word, "uh, ... negro" (which is a Spanish word with Latin roots meaning "black", so African-American people also have been inflicted with an European identity). When asked how the Bureau of Indian Affairs could manage the affairs of Indians when they couldn't define them, the Solicitor suggested using a computerized data-base search of legal definitions in Title 25, United States Codes.
Indian is a word with a circular definition: the longer one looks, the less meaning one finds, finally ending up where one started, without any real meaning at all.
I also asked about the meaning of the term Native American, and the Solicitor's office agreed that "technically, it means anybody born on this Continent." In other words, Native American is an euphemism for European, because Aboriginal Indigenous people do not define this Continent by the foreign European name of America.
When pressed for more details about the meaning of the word Indian, Solicitor Caine said, "call the American Indian Movement." We called A.I.M., and talked to a woman who identified herself as the "financial officer" and Treasurer of the American Indian Movement. She couldn't define the words Indian or Tribe, and said, "I can't answer those questions." Most of the people involved with the American Indian Movement, including those leaders who are highly visible in the media, are not Aboriginal Indigenous people of these Continents.
[xii].Furth, Op. cit. Father Thomas' statement that he baptized "Bassinas" and gave him Communion and Extreme Unction is untrue, and probably was made because of the pressure, by his boss, about my great-grandfather.
[xiv].Red Lake Genealogical database, Op. cit., with particular reference to information from the National Archives, Record Group 75, Microfilm Series M-595, Rolls 243-245, 418-424 and 649-654: B.I.A. Indian Enrollments, 1885-1938.
[xv].As quoted in Felix Cohen's Handbook of Federal Indian Law.
[xvi].Many of the death records which the Bureau of Indian Affairs kept prior to 1930 were destroyed by Congressional Order. State of Minnesota death records are fragmentary before 1925.
[xvii].We thank linguist Roger Wescott for the word Lislakh, which refers to the heirs of Western Civilization on both sides of the Mediterranean; to both the Indo-European and Semitic (including Arabic) speaking peoples. Despite the millennia of wars of conquest, imperial expansion and collapse, and consequent population dislocation and admixture, these people share critical common elements of culture and values, linguistic structure and ancestry. The unity of what are usually presented as disparate groups was hidden by the absence of a word in English--along with many other facets of their past and present which become inaccessible to the speakers of the Lislakh languages because of linguistic voids. I acknowledge linguist Carleton Hodge's bringing the extremely useful word, Lislakh, into the English language.
authors who had some access to an Ahnishinahbæótjibway
world-view have been heavily edited to make their writing conform to
Euro-American definitions of literature and Indians.
For example, Métis story-teller Ignatia Broker based her
Flying Woman (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1983), on oral
from her grandmother, as well as on extensive research.
She told me that she felt that much of the
meaning and multi-dimensionality in her book had been edited out to
make it conform
to the publisher's idea of what an Indian book was supposed to be.