Dear Rick,

You keep writing as if I had ever suggested that "we" should impose the 
retention of ancient culture often, as you note and of course I know, derived 
from previous conquerors.  I never said anything like that.  I spoke against 
the forcible and brutal imposition of one language to displace another and 
the genocide of one group by another.  I stand by what I wrote.  Since none 
of what you say has anything to do with that, and since I have never 
suggested what you are arguing against, I don't know what you want me to 
understand or acknowledge.  For one thing, it is not "we" who have any 
right to decide, whoever "we" are.

Date sent:      	Thu, 22 Mar 2001 09:22:19 -0700
Send reply to:  	[log in to unmask]
From:           	"Richard Seddon" <[log in to unmask]>
To:             	<[log in to unmask]>
Subject:        	Re: Dans le Restaurant and the Commedia


The Navajo prior to Spanish colonization were a stone age nomadic people.
At what point in their absorbtion of the greater cultures technology do
you think we should protect their folk ways?  45 years ago when I lived on
the Navajo reservation,  the reservation Navajo was just beginning to
adopt the truck as a mode of transportation.  Most Navajo women walked or
rode in horse drawn wagons.  The men walked or rode horseback. 
Horse/wagon technology  came  from the Spanish.  They were semi-
using 3 homes in a cycle throughout the year as they grazed their sheep. 
A technology and folk way that they also got from the Spanish.  The cradle
board was an essential technology to that economy but was carried over
from the ancient culture.  The point is that the Navajo that I remember
with fondness and nostalgia as "The Real Navajo" was a corrupted culture
that had been corrupted in the 16th and 17th century by Spanish
colonialism and it is the most ancient of technologies that you would like
to abolish.  The young Navajo woman I spoke of has Aunts who live in
Denetah (the reservation) but she is uncomfortable around them.  They do
not approve of much of what she believes concerning a woman's role and
since she speaks no Navajo find it difficult to express their folkways to
her.  Navajo does not translate well into English.  The time sense is
totally wrong.   The folkways she is learning is of another mostly
artifical culture,  that of the cigar strore Indian, the Indian of
Hollywood and AIM (the American Indian Movement).  She is a Christian, 
her Aunts are not.  She has used a Christian medicine man (her words)  for
counselling and feels uncomfortable with her Aunts who practice the
Rainbow Bridge religion.  I would hazard a guess that her Aunts would be
ecstatic to teach her Navajo and no one from the greater culture ever
interfered with that happening.  It is her choice and continues to be her
choice.  She could even attend classes at UNM, her alma mata, and learn it
without moral lectures from her Aunts.

What points of this culture do you propose to capture?   The ancient
Navajo was a warlike raider of sedentary people.  They were every bit as
violent as the Apache and were feared more than the Apache by the Pueblos.
 That Navajo was not a sedentary agriculturalist.  As part of their
economy they would plant a crop and then leave it returning only for
harvest if there was one. They were hunter/gatherers who basically might
gathered a crop of their own or Puebloan.  The Puebloans were their
favorite prey for food and slaves. Since the greater American culture is
one of law and order I don't think the ancient Navajo folkways would fare

BTW,  instead of a cradle board the young Navajo woman would use a modern
portable carseat.  If she wanted to carry her child herself she would use
a modern belly pack instead of a blanket wrapped into a tote.   A further
BTW, the beautiful Navajo jewelry which is so valuable today was a
technology given to the Navajo by the Spanish in an attempt to provide the
Navajo with some other economy beside war raiding of the Puebloans who the
Spanish (dare I say Hispanics or Latinos)  were trying to exploit in a
much different way.

Rick Seddon
McIntosh, NM, USA
-----Original Message-----
From: Nancy Gish <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask] <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wednesday, March 21, 2001 9:51 PM
Subject: Re: Dans le Restaurant and the Commedia

Dear Rick,

I agree with your main conclusion, which was, I think, my main point
originally.  And although I have not at all studied the situation of the
Acadians in the same way, I live in Maine, where the largest minority
except native Americans is Franco-American.  Many of my students grew up
in French speaking homes and were forced to give it up.  I had one who
told me in deep distress that she knew no French anymore but her dreams
were in French, and asleep, she could understand.  I was not saying
everyone else was angelic, only that the glorious triumphalism of the
English language was pretty problematic.  So the fact that others also did
horrible things is not at odds with what I said.  I also do not think that
the elimination of fleas and cradle boards logically entails the
concomitant elimination of identity, language, culture, etc.,etc.  They
really might be separable.

Unfortunately I don't think lack of sensitivity is limited to the 17th and
18th century.  The 20th was about as brutal and insensitive as one could
get and had better guns. Nancy

Date sent:      Wed, 21 Mar 2001 12:03:49 EST Send reply to:
[log in to unmask] From:           [log in to unmask] To:
[log in to unmask] Subject:        Re: Dans le Restaurant and the

In a message dated 3/21/01 9:31:42 AM Eastern Standard Time,
[log in to unmask] writes:

> "The Story of English" was extremely well done, and I assume the facts
> were pretty accurate, but the thesis it promoted was, in my view, very
> problematic.  The only section I could really evaluate was on Scots (and
> to some extent Gaelic), and I found it infuriating in its assumptions
> about the wonderful way English supplanted them.  It simply did not
> happen that way nor was its priviliging welcomed.
The world seems to be moving towards an "international" culture or
monoculture, which is good in some ways and bad in others. I hope we'll be
able to do this and still retain the best of each "minority" culture being
supplanted. I think, however, that it might be misleading to politicize
this or paint it as a form of oppression.

One has to allow people in any part of the world to live their individual
lives in the way they want. If a Mayan Indian wants to go to Bahrain and
become a petrochemical engineer, that's the person's right, even though it
might remove him or her from the mainstream of Mayan culture. If people in
Russia or China like fast food, and are willing to stand in line at a
McDonald's restaurant, that's their right, even though I'm sure there are
other people in China and Russia (and plenty of Americans) who hate the
idea of fast food.

There's no alternative to this kind of dissemination that isn't oppressive
in itself, besides being completely unworkable. The UN can't just order
everyone in the world to live in the "traditional" way their ancestors
did, and speak the ancestral language. A significant number of people want
to make other choices, and it's been quite a while since most people in
the West seriously followed the ancestral ways. Sure there are peasants in
Turkey still baking bread in stone ovens. But there are also people in
Istanbul living much as one might live in any large city anywhere.  And we
don't need to necessarily see the city dwellers as traitors to any
nationalist or ethnic cause.

English seems to be becoming, so to speak, the lingua franca of the
Internet. The advantage of a worldwide language (remember Esperanto!) is
that it fosters communication. Certainly one can find unfairness in
whatever language it happens to be, just as one can find unfairness in
modern businesses all over the world having to use such untraditional
tools as computers, telephones, and cash registers. But I do think it's an
unstoppable trend, and the world in the end forgets the unfairness. The
trend is judged by its results. I'm not saying this is right or wrong.
Just that I don't see any way of addressing what you perceive as
oppression without instituting a greater oppression--the tyranny of the
group.  That's the "stay with your own kind" (and preserve the culture)
theory which has already been tried, and not everyone liked the results.