It’s Martin Luther King Day

So take courage!

Friends here in Northeast Oregon are upset with the goings on in neighboring Burns. One group “occupied” a local Oregon Wildlife Refuge one evening with binoculars and beer. Most of “my” friends would like to see the government stand up and oust the anti-government gaggle; they’d like the Paiutes to have the biggest say in their ancestral lands. But I understand that some of my neighbors are sending food to the occupiers as well.

In America today, divisiveness is everywhere and hate sells. I needn’t list the shootings and the rancor over guns, the suspicion and hate over color, language and faith; the police conflicts, border walls, the hate speeches of Donald Trump, and the hatred of government that brings wronged ranchers, anti-Semites, anti-Islamists, and other antis swaggering with guns to a bird refuge in Oregon to state their cases and causes.

Many things are discouraging today. In the Middle East, where I lived and worked 50 Read The Article

MLK and the Indians

I remember Alvin Josephy saying many times that the white liberals who had joined the Civil Rights Movement and Dr. King did not understand the Indian situation. To paraphrase him, “As the Civil Rights movement gained strength and won some victories, white liberals thought they could just transfer ideas and tactics over to Indian affairs. But there was a fundamental difference. Indians didn’t want their ‘civil’ rights, but their ‘sovereignty,’ the treaty rights and at least some of the land that had been stolen from them.”

Another constant theme of Alvin’s: “From the beginning Indians had three choices: become white—assimilation; move, across the Mississippi, further west, to reservations—removal; or extermination.” From the beginning, Euro-Americans who wanted to treat Indians fairly often thought the best way to do so was to assimilate them. Their assumption was that Indians had lost the continent, white civilization was on the march, and Indians were obliged to join the parade.

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Martin Luther King Day, 2013: embracing the dream


George Fletcher, Pendleton  Roundup

In 1968, fresh back from my Peace Corps stint in Turkey, I got involved with the Poor People’s Campaign in Washington D.C. I was a bit player, a soldier carrying cautionary words—the Campaign would go on and would not be violent—to suburban churches and returning with food from them to mostly old Black citizens in the city isolated by the riots that followed Martin Luther King’s assassination. The campaign did go on, and my indelible memory is a service in a black church with Coretta Scott King, Ralph Abernathy, Hosea Williams, and one heavy set white woman at the podium and a mostly black audience linking arms and singing “We Shall Overcome.”
Like most Americans, I had grown up away from conscious racial conflict, unconscious of the role and meaning of race in America. Diversity meant six Lutheran churches in one small Minnesota town, a California high school
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