- Dr. Ted Klontz
Denver has a unique beautiful performance venue nestled into gigantic red rocks, at the base of the Rocky Mountains. Thus, the name, Red Rocks. I was there for the first time for a performance by a friend of mine. During the intermission between the opening act and the featured performance, a slide show appeared including advertisements for upcoming events at the venue, things to eat, drink, and the “rules”. There was one slide that talked about how this venue came into being. AND there was one slide that simply stated that this venue, had once “belonged” to the Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and Ute peoples. The information further suggested that there were some forty-eight indigenous peoples who had been a part of and frequented this area. Such places for the indigenous were sacred places.
Knowing exactly what “had once belonged” means in terms of our American History, I was caught by surprise that the next slide encouraged us to buy beer. Not a “Gee Whiz, we are so sorry our ancestors stole it from all of you and that we continue to exploit your sacred area for our benefit, and here is what we are doing to make amends” kind of message. There were no apologies, no acknowledgment of what had happened to the peoples who were moved out of here to allow all of us attending to be sitting there now. Next slide.
I guess that my believing there might be any such message or acknowledgment, or apology from an area of the world that is proud of its progressiveness and enlightenment reputation might be the biggest shocker and testament to my naiveté.
There were 60,000,000 people who inhabited this part of the world when colonialization of what we now call America began. 60 Million. There are now 5,200,000. What happened to the 87% who vanished? Quite bluntly, we killed them. Exterminated them and took over all they possessed as it suited us, regardless of what we promised them.
The sources of the information I shared in the last paragraph are from the very people who did the exterminating. Read primary source material produced by politicians, clergy, settlers, military, and other members of our culture of that time. If this is news to you, check it out. There are many great books, written by members of the dominant culture detailing, sometimes in gritty and gross terms about what happened.
If this sounds eerily familiar, we need look only to Germany in the 1930’s and 40’s. If you examine closely the rhetorical, philosophical, political, religious, economic and distorted private citizenry thinking of the time, the European Holocaust is predictable. Same here.
This very same thinking allowed the American Holocaust (15,000,000 victims) to take place. The one difference is that here in America, it could be argued that the holocaust continues. Continuing to permit such things. And to be fair, Germany, is not the only, the worst, or even the most recent example. Empires are built on the very same colonialization principles and strategies listed above.
After the Red Rock night, I drove to Pine Ridge, South Dakota. That is next month’s story. For now, I have a question. What do you do when you run across an awareness and information such as this. What do you when you run into individuals who are victimized by the system that is America?