On Thursday morning, Frank Couvares, gave a first lecture explaining HOW THE American system WORKS, and why it worked in the beginning. A few influential factors he mentioned are:
1st – good fortune, because when the colonists arrived to this country that has a lot of natural resources, such as space, (so that if there’s something you don’t like here you can move to somewhere else), water and wood.
A 2nd factor was that there was no army to oppose to. The native indians didn’t have a proper army and they were many different tribes …………………….
And 3rd, It was decisive that the colonists were ruled and guided by people like Jefferson or James Madison, that knew the art of compromising very well, the art of making deals and forming coalitions, what we can call political “horse trading”. Madison wrote the federal papers in favour of the constitution. Like the federal paper n. 10.
The second part of the day was a lecture by Jean S. Forward, from the University of Massachusetts (they are just going to start with a Native American Institute).
She told us about the Native American Indians, that is, the people who lived in “Turtle Island” (that was the name Indians called North America). Traditional education in this culture was given by the “elders” (not necessarily the oldest but the most knowledgeable). She explained some characteristics of the Indian society: cyclical thinking (in contrast to our lineal thinking), landed on sharing and extended family. Though the presentation was a bit messy -partly because I did not get “the big picture” from the beginning and did not have enough background about this topic, and partly because all the names were strange to me and the lecturer talked too fast for me-, I got the main ideas. Here are some of the links to go on with the topic:
– Most of the indians in Boston are Mikmaq.
– The North American Indian Center of Boston (NAICOB) is an organization located in Massachusetts which provides assistance to American Indians, Native Canadians and other and other indigenous peoples of North America. She also talked about the Aquinnah and the Abenaki. Iroquois have a confederacy at nation level in which there are 5 nations. She went on talking about what has happened in the education level with these Indians and referred to the period in which the children were taken away from their families to Education boarding school. In present days she commented about the The Dine college experience.
Deer Island is connected to the indian history because during the winter of 1675-76 some 500 American Indians were held there and, without adequate food or shelter, many of them died. At the end she recommended a book called the People’s history of America by Howard Zinn and a children story Malian’s song by Marge Bruchac.
To finish that day we visited The Memorial Hall Museum in Old Deerfield, where you can see many objects that in fact are not too old, but for a nation with a short history they are old enough to keep in a museum. There belonged some to the newcomers and some to the indians. This is a curious picture of the daughter of the Reverend Williams. She was taken captive in 1704, on the raid of Deerfield and was adopted into a Kanienkehaka (Mohawk) family, where she remained for the rest of her life.