At my church, I’m participating in a group reading and discussion of Neither Wolf Nor Dog by Kent Nerburn. (READ IT. So good.) As a part of this group discussion, last week we talked about how many Americans and other non-natives often view Indians as a group of people from “back then” rather than a modern, still-active group that still exists today. One of our group co-leaders, our pastor who is a member of the Mohican Nation, commented that lots of non-natives act as though all Indians and tribes ceased to exist after 1890, when the Wounded Knee Massacre took place — that many of us have trapped Indians in the 19th century in our heads.
Well, this, of course, got my attention, since my current project is slated to end exactly then — at Wounded Knee. So I sat and thought about what I should do.
Then this week while on vacation in California, Daniel and I saw a really cool exhibit at a local museum about the various arts and handicrafts practiced by “native Californians.” (I’m not sure which tribe. I think it started with an A… Tried to look it up but there are a lot!!) Anyway, we got to the end of this exhibit and… It just stopped. I looked around for a minute, then turned and said to Daniel, “What happened to them??”
And I still don’t know!
So, in an effort to treat these Indian nations like people whose stories we actually care about (which I do, and I assume you do because you’re reading along), from now on I will be incorporating a short “Where are they now?” section into each post that focuses on a particular tribe.
Since I’ve already read and written about the Navajos (here), I’ve included their modern snippet below.
Thanks for reading along with me as I learn.
The Navajo: Where Are They Now?
Today the Navajo, also called the Diné in their language, are the largest Tribe that is recognized by the United States government. Their more than 300,000 enrolled members reside primarily in Arizona, New Mexico, and the Navajo Nation (reservation), which is home to over 170,000 Navajos. Though the modern day Navajo Nation now covers only a portion of the lands originally inhabited by Navajos, it is the largest reservation in the U.S. Some Navajos also served in WWII as code-talkers by communicating information in their language. Check out Wikipedia as a starting place to learn more about Navajos past and present.