Friday, February 22, 2008
History...Digging for the truth
I have always had a fascination with history. Having gone to Catholic schools most of my life, I still have quite a few of my old school books (we had to purchase them) and going through them now can be as startling as the story they try to sell. That's not a typo, I didn't mean tell...much of what lies within the covers has as much to do with History as to a book of Fables. I learned long ago through reading history that history was doing something astounding. It was changing. History lessons of the 50's and 60's have no resemblance to the history being taught today. It was as much hype as Hollywood's version of history. It makes me sad to know that in the 16 and 17 hundreds, we were no better than the governments we were trying to escape. In some cases, we were worse. We had little or no regard for the peoples of North America, taking their land with little or no recompense. I don't know why I didn't recognize that from the beginning. So anyway, I am addicted to the History Channel. I love The Naked Archaeologist, and wanted to be either an Archaeologist or a Teaching Sister (I did tell you I'm Catholic, right?) when I grew up. The other night we were watching the History Channel and the theme was Kit Carson. Now, I knew that Christopher Carson was a hero of Mac's and I also already knew some things about Colonel Carson that I knew for a fact Mac would find, shall we say, unsavory. It wasn't that he (Kit) was almost single handedly responsible for leading the way west, people would have found their way there eventually. It was for one thing and one thing only. It was for how he turned to killing and scalping the Indians he encountered who really were not that eager to leave their ancestral lands. I don't think he was the first soldier (yes, I said soldier, he was in the US Army, not through choice but by circumstance) to have used the old excuse "I was just following orders." Anyway, as the history of one of Mac's heroes kept unfolding, and the tale became more bleak, more agredious I noticed he was very uncomfortable. He finally got up and left the room. I went to see if he was okay and found him on the porch looking at the night sky. From the look on his face I knew that had he been five or six years old, he would now be throwing things and kicking chairs and having a tantrum. He told me that he had frankly not put any faith in the facts as I had presented them to him several years ago. He couldn't believe that someone he had been led to believe was a great American Hero was nothing more than a thug. Unfortunately thugs are everywhere to be found, no matter whose history you study. It's just funny that the ones who suffer the most always seem to be the ones we were told were at fault. My advice is to dig deep, exhumate the story, find the truth. And then tell it.