Native American Activism
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The current paper compares and describes the experiences of Mary Crow Dog with those of Geronimo and/or Mankiller as well as their attitude to the sacred traditions.
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Mary Crow Dog’s experience about Native American activism is not different from that of Geronimo. In both scenarios, the characters face numerous challenges growing up as Indians. The activists had a rough time growing up in reservations and camps. According to Brave & Erdoes (2011), Mary Crow suffered brutality, poverty and racism in her endeavor to find liberation of her people. The case was the same for Geronimo, who had spent a lot of time in prison and reservation. The two had to fight against the mighty and powerful who were inclined to destabilize and hurt their families. For instance, Geronimo lost his wife, mother and children at the height of his activism against Mexican soldiers. On the other hand, Mary engaged in fights and alcoholism after she could not contend with constant beatings from nuns at the school. Although both had a difficult time fighting against the oppression of Indians, they did not lose hope but fought to the end and died as celebrities.
There are some major differences between Mary Crow’s Native American activism and that of Geronimo. For instance, Mary Crow engaged in violent street protests. She found new spirit and meaning of beng Indian in many confrontations with police. Furthermore, she came face to face with the wrath of police gunfire that lasted for long periods. Besides, Mary witnessed the signing of several treaties to rescue the Indian community from oppression. Moreover, her activism involved mass murders of her comrades, arising from the reprisals from rival groups and the police. On the contrary, Geronimo had a few street confrontations with authorities. Instead, he was instrumental in planning escapes from the reservations and camps. These his activities provoked the military chiefs and politicians as his flight brought terror to Anglo-Americans and the Mexicans (Barret, 2011).
Mary places a lot of emphasis on the explaining the sacred traditions. Born of a white man and an Indian woman, she finds it difficult to live in an environment where her mother tries to fit into a white man's environment. Consequently, she fathoms that the only way out is to embrace the old traditions and Indian religious activities. According to Mary Crow Dog, adopting religious activities is the only way to free her people from the ills of a white man. Learning about the traditional sacred rules was tantamount to giving spiritual power to people treated as things in the community. Moreover, emphasizing on tradition and religious activities was imperative for creating harmony and unity of the Indian community, which can fight its way to freedomm. Mary Crow Dog lays stress on adopting traditions, as it was the only way of restoring women voices and bringing them back to the tribal councils.
Geronimo and Mankiller do not place such an emphasis on sacred traditions as Mary does. For instance, Geronimo believed that bringing terror and carrying out planned killings of the Mexicans and Anglo-Americans is the way for the Apaches to restore their community. Mankiller, on the other hand, believed that Indian sacred traditions do not count where freedom is at stake. Accordingly, self-determination and fighting for freedom is the way to achieve exemption (Mankiller &Wallis, 2000). The difference in the emphasis placed on the sacred traditions could arise from the fact that Mary Crow Dog had to deal with two different societies – the Indian and the American, which, in most cases, were conflicting. Therefore, the sacred traditions, according to her, were the only way to unify her Indian community and protect it from assimilation by other tribes. In addition, sacred traditions would ensure that her tribesmen do not have down times trying to conform to a society that does not value their identity.
In conclusion, Mary Crow Dog, Geronimo and Mankiller had some differences in their values and approaches to activism. However, all of them made a great contribution to preserving Indian communities and their culture.
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