Title

Beware Those Who Speak with Forked Tongues

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

7-7-2015

Abstract

In 1855 Native American chief Hinmuuttu-yalatlat (Old Joseph) was duped by the Government of the United States into signing a treaty which, he was led to believe, would allow the Nez Perce to keep millions of acres of their tribal lands in the Northwest. However, because of the mad gold rush in the Black Hills of Dakota Territory, in 1863 the same land-grabbing government shoved another treaty down the Nez Perce’s throats reducing their original ancestral lands to a pathetic miniscule fraction of what was originally agreed upon in the 1855 treaty. When, upon Old Joseph’s death, his son, Hinmatoowyalahtq’it ( Chief Joseph), attempted to reclaim his people’s lands by appealing to the Federal Government, the Perce Nez were hunted down, killed, and packed off to a reservation.

The precedent for this egregious breach began when the white mostly English European colonists began to settle the Northeast American Continent and has gone unabated, in one form or another, for the past 239 years.

Ironically, Old Joseph and Chief Joseph’s names were given to them by Christian missionaries who, no doubt, quoting the Holy Bible, justified the brutal actions of the white settlers to lay claim to Native American lands as a God-ordained- Promised-Land venture much like the Israelites and their descendents are justifying their theft of Palestinian lands between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. It is so easy to put words in God’s mouth. And, when God is on your side, you can do no wrong. “What we Say, goes!”

In a handful of 1960’s and 1970’s Western movies Native American tribal chiefs were oft quoted saying the following: “White man (sometimes paleface) speaks with forked tongue” or, infrequently, “Big White Father speaks with forked tongue.”

How true!

Publication Title

CounterPunch