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Author Topic: Honoring Ancestors History Would Rather Forget.  (Read 1081 times)

Tegan

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Honoring Ancestors History Would Rather Forget.
« on: July 20, 2014, 07:20:43 am »
Figured I'd post this in a safe place.

I have an ancestor that when I think of him, it fills me with a sort of guilty sense of pride.  See, I have some Shawnee blood in me, but I also have the blood of a man famous for killing any Native he came across.  He was a hero to the local settlers, but today people think of him as a murderer.  How do I balance that?

Flame

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Re: Honoring Ancestors History Would Rather Forget.
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2014, 12:41:37 pm »
Quote from: Tegan;153399
Figured I'd post this in a safe place.

I have an ancestor that when I think of him, it fills me with a sort of guilty sense of pride.  See, I have some Shawnee blood in me, but I also have the blood of a man famous for killing any Native he came across.  He was a hero to the local settlers, but today people think of him as a murderer.  How do I balance that?

 
Alright, I'll just say it. Why would you feel ANY pride in being related to murder?

Redfaery

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Re: Honoring Ancestors History Would Rather Forget.
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2014, 03:04:30 pm »
Quote from: Tegan;153399
Figured I'd post this in a safe place.

I have an ancestor that when I think of him, it fills me with a sort of guilty sense of pride.  See, I have some Shawnee blood in me, but I also have the blood of a man famous for killing any Native he came across.  He was a hero to the local settlers, but today people think of him as a murderer.  How do I balance that?

 
I think I understand what you mean. You're related to someone who was seen as a hero by his community, even though today we can see that he did awful things, right? You're sort of proud to have someone who was seen as a hero in your bloodline, but you feel awful about what his "heroism" actually entailed. Is that what you're coming from? To be fair, I honestly can't say I'd feel any pride at all if I were you, but I think I *do* get what you're saying.

I think you want to understand that your community is not his community. Let's also think: most settlers didn't just kill every Native American they came across. It wasn't a very practical thing to do. It didn't really suit their purposes. You wanted the locals to like you, or at least just not think you were a threat. If you're settling in an area that already has people living there, why would you go around killing them? It's not a smart thing to do. Wouldn't it be better to get on their good side?

You say you have Shawnee ancestors. What do you know about them. Did he kill any Shawnee? Maybe that's what you should think about. It doesn't sound like your ancestors would've gotten along.
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Juniperberry

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Re: Honoring Ancestors History Would Rather Forget.
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2014, 03:20:20 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;153425

Let's also think: most settlers didn't just kill every Native American they came across. It wasn't a very practical thing to do. It didn't really suit their purposes. You wanted the locals to like you, or at least just not think you were a threat. If you're settling in an area that already has people living there, why would you go around killing them? It's not a smart thing to do. Wouldn't it be better to get on their good side?


From what I understand, the Native population was meant to be used as slave labor by white settlers. When that didn't work out well, the African slave trade began/became primary.

That's probably neither here nor there, but thought I'd mention it.

To Tegan, what about it feels you with pride? Is there a certain value you admire in this ancestor that you can separate from the man?
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Tegan

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Re: Honoring Ancestors History Would Rather Forget.
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2014, 03:52:49 pm »
Quote from: Redfaery;153425


You say you have Shawnee ancestors. What do you know about them. Did he kill any Shawnee? Maybe that's what you should think about. It doesn't sound like your ancestors would've gotten along.

I don't know the exact ancestors, but it's just something my family mentions about our heritage.  The ancestor in question is Lewis Wetzel.  He was kidnapped out of his family's corn field by Shawnee as a boy.  He escaped from them and vowed to get strong enough to avoid being captured again and avenge his family.  When he grew up, the Shawnee called him Death Wind.

But you do understand where I am coming from.  Your post described it very well.  I feel very torn when it comes to him.  Had he not been captued, maybe he wouldn't have had so much hate.

Tegan

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Re: Honoring Ancestors History Would Rather Forget.
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2014, 04:03:41 pm »
Quote from: Juniperberry;153426
To Tegan, what about it feels you with pride? Is there a certain value you admire in this ancestor that you can separate from the man?

 In Lewis Wetzel's case, he didn't start the fight.  His family lived on the Virginia side of the Ohio River, which was as far as the treaties of the times said settlers could go.  It was only after his capture/escape that he began hating Natives.  As much as I understand the horror Native Americans went through, I can also understand this man's individual vendetta.  He was just tending a field, then out of nowhere was shot and captured.  He escaped from a very hostile situation at age 13 with a bullet still in his leg!

BrighidsAura

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Re: Honoring Ancestors History Would Rather Forget.
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2014, 05:13:47 pm »
Quote from: Tegan;153399
Figured I'd post this in a safe place.

I have an ancestor that when I think of him, it fills me with a sort of guilty sense of pride.  See, I have some Shawnee blood in me, but I also have the blood of a man famous for killing any Native he came across.  He was a hero to the local settlers, but today people think of him as a murderer.  How do I balance that?

 
I think A LOT of people have conflicting sides in their genetics. I am Scottish, Northern Irish and German. My family from Germany were Hessen and spent a lot of time bullying the Cork Irish (my family is also from Cork) and the Scots and English occupied Northern Ireland which is where my other side is from. A lot of fighting all around.

I think I would simply look at them as opposites and understand that all of nature is made of opposites. Instead of looking at your ancestor as a murderer and as an evil man, consider him as someone who had motivations that, while we don't understand them, he felt were important. It is rare for someone to go on a killing spree for NO reason at all. Rather than be ashamed of him and hide him, see him as someone to learn a lesson from: He represents the darker opposite.

I have people in my family who kept African slaves. As ugly as it is, they were a product of a different time. Rather than saying I am ashamed of them and hiding them, I understand that they are different than me and had different views of what is ok and what isn't.

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