It seems that with history, misinformation can be common. Why is there lies in history? I don’t know, probably because whoever wrote it doesn’t want people to know the truth. But me, I always seek the truth in all things and it honestly disappoints me when I find I’ve been lied to about something, even if it’s history.
In the past few months I’ve come across two cases of misinformation. I’ll start with my most recent and this one actually involves a person, who I heard the misinformation from.
Not far from me is a Native American store. Native American crafts are sold there, which many are made by Natives. I went to the store before Christmas, as the owner was closing it down because she was retiring. It closed on December 29. So, I wanted to go one last time. When I went, there were about three other customers in there and the owner was talking to one of them.
In 2011, the owner went with her church to the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota. I knew about this, as I went into the store around that time in 2011 and her husband told me she was at the reservation. What I heard from her, I definitely wasn’t expecting and was honestly surprised.
She told the customer about the statistics of alcoholism are high for Natives, higher than it is for any other race. I knew this already. She went on to say that almost everyone in Pine Ridge drinks. I’ve heard this as well, but since I don’t live there, nor have I been there, I can’t speak on that. None of that surprised me
What surprised me is what she told the customer next. She told the woman that Indians were alcoholics long before the settlers ever came to America. She also said that Theodore Roosevelt declared that Natives had alcohol before the Europeans came to America and that there was already alcoholism among them, or something along those lines.
I was shocked. I had never heard any of this before and of course, when I came home, I started trying to research what she said.
I’ve read a lot of Native history and have never heard this before. I’ve never heard other Indians say anything of this either. So, when I did my own research, I wasn’t able to find anything to back up what she said. From my knowledge of history, it seems that she was misinformed and that makes me sad. Especially when she had a Native American store for years and has even been around Native Americans.
The only thing I was able to find was Natives had a type of alcohol but it was only used for rituals. However, this doesn’t support her saying there was already alcoholism. She made it seem as if alcoholism was already rapid among the Native populations.
I don’t know where she got her information from, but I find it unfortunate that she is telling others this incorrect information. Another thing is, since she has owned a Native American store for years and has even been around Indian people, people like her customers, will believe what she says because they will think she knows accurate history since she is involved with Native American in some way.
Another piece of misinformation has to do with the Salem Witch Trials. It has to do with Tituba, who was actually Indian and not African. I wrote about this before, in November, I believe.
I don’t know why history has lies in it, but I think it is important to know the truth. And when I posted this on Xanga, someone told me that truth is subjective. I won’t get into that right now, but I will say, I just like to share what I know or what I find out. There are lies in history and sometimes we have to search to find out the truth. And when I find the truth, I share it. As I always say, make sure to do your research and always seek the truth.
I will end this post with a Cherokee prayer I just found:
O’ Great Spirit, help me always to speak the truth quietly, to listen with an open mind when others speak and to remember that peace may always be found in silence.