This is not the year!

2016 will not be the year that the population of the United States of America tilts from white—the year when adding up all the browns and blacks and anyone the U.S. Census counts as not-white becomes a bigger number than the number of those who check a box or are in one way or another counted as “white.” In fact, a quick Google search tells me that this cataclysmic change in demographics is about 30 years away, and if you count Hispanics as white, more than that!

Distribution of U.S. Population by Race/Ethnicity, 2010 and 2050

You wouldn’t know it by the talk of it. It permeates, is everywhere in politics and the media. The talk sets up the fear of it on the one side, and the reasoning of it on the other. Donald Trump stands and harps about Mexicans and Moslems and anyone else not white and (at least in a recent Iowa talk) not evangelical. More broadly, fear of it seems to fuel speeches and votes Read The Article

The passing of two friends

There is so much to say about my friend Ray Cook, the man who introduced me to Rupert Costo, the Jesuits, and Father Serra’s journey to sainthood. Ray passed away quietly in California, and, unfortunately, did not see the blog post he inspired—I think it would have made him smile, though the new Pope’s ignorance of California’s Indian genocide would only have disturbed him. Rest in Peace Ray. I am sure that the Indian woman you had to move to make way for a California highway long ago has forgiven you—and if not you built up a store of good deeds and left teachings on behalf of her brothers and sisters in your remaining years.

Ray reminded us that the peculiar relationship of Indians to land is fundamentally different from the notion that land is an “input” into economic equations, a “commodity” to be bought and sold. Being “of” the land is qualitatively different than being “from” a nation, state, Read The Article

Thomas King, G.A. Custer, Lois Riel, David Thompson…..


Years and years ago, novelist Thomas King came to Fishtrap. Alvin Josephy had met him at a Sun Valley conference and recommended him as a reader and conversationalist. 
King ran for office in Guelph
King, tall, handsome, wearing a good white Stetson as I recall, lived up to promise, and two of his novels, Medicine Riverand Green Grass Running Water, remain personal favorites. I kept meaning to invite him back to Fishtrap—but he kept getting further away, going from the University of Minnesota to the University of Guelph, in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, where he is a professor of English today. He also has a radio show, “The Dead Dog Cafe Hour,” on CBC, and has written extensively on Indian issues on both sides of the border.
King was born in California, and his ancestors were Cherokee, Greek, and German, but he has managed to absorb Indian history and culture
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What might have been

I was thinking about this blog post on my morning bike ride, and out of nowhere came a remark made by an old professor of mine about 50 years ago—“the United States has never been a melting pot, unless you think of it as all melting towards Anglo-American.” They are certainly not the exact words, but the sentiment is right, and it comes across strong as I read and reread AJ’s work.
For the past few weeks I have been concentrating on The Civil War in the American West in preparation for a talk at the Pacific Northwest History Conference in Tacoma last week. (Thanks, by the way, to good friends who came down from Seattle and over from Roslyn to fill chairs!) 
Again and again the idea that the westering thrust of US history is inevitable, and that Indians have had few choices in dealing with it comes through
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