By the Ones We Left Behind

The Apache Indians are divided into six sub tribes. To one of these, the Be-don-ko-he, I belong.

Our tribe inhabited that region of [Arizona and New Mexico] mountainous country which lies west from the east line of Arizona, and south from the head waters of the Gila River.
East of us lived the Chi-hé-nné (Ojo Caliente), (Hot Springs) Apaches. Our tribe never had any difficulty with them. Victorio, their chief, was always a friend to me. He always helped our tribe when we asked him for help. He lost his life in the defense of the rights of his people. He was a good man and a brave warrior. His son Charlie now lives here in this reservation with us.
North of us lived the White Mountain Apaches. They were not always on the best of terms with our tribe, yet we seldom had any war with them. I knew their chief, Hash-ka-á-í-la, personally, and I considered him a good warrior. Their range was next to that of the Navajo Indians, who were not of the same blood as the Apaches. We held councils with all Apache tribes, but never with the Navajo Indians. However, we traded with them and sometimes visited them.
To the west of our country ranged the Chi-e-á-hen Apaches. They had two chiefs within my time, Co-si-to and Co-da-hoo-yah. They were friendly, but not intimate with our tribe.
South of us lived the Cho-kon-en (Chiricahua) Apaches, whose chief in the old days was Cochise and later his son, Naiche. This tribe was always on the most friendly terms with us. We were often in camp and on the trail together. Naiche, who was my companion in arms, is now my companion in bondage.
To the south and west of us lived the Ned-ní Apaches. Their chief was Whoa, called by the Mexicans Capitan Whoa. They were our firm friends. The land of this tribe lies partly in Old Mexico and partly in Arizona. Whoa and I often camped and fought side by side as brothers. My enemies were his enemies, my friends his friends. He is dead now, but his son Asa is interpreting this story for me.
Still the four tribes (Bedonkóhe, Chokónen, Chihénné, and Nední), who were fast friends in the days of freedom, cling together as they decrease in number. Only the destruction of all our people would dissolve our bonds of friendship.

We are vanishing from the earth, yet I cannot think we are useless or Ussen would not have created us. He created all tribes of men and certainly had a righteous purpose in creating each.
For each tribe of men Ussen created He also made a home. In the land created for any particular tribe. He placed whatever would be best for the welfare of that tribe.
When Ussen created the Apaches He also created their homes in the West. He gave to them such grain, fruits, and game as they needed to eat. To restore their health when disease attacked them. He made many different herbs to grow. He taught them where to find these herbs, and how to prepare them for medicine. He gave them a pleasant climate and all they needed for clothing and shelter was at hand.

Thus it was in the beginning: the Apaches and their homes each created for the other by Ussen himself. When they are taken from these homes they sicken and die. How long will it be until it is said, there are no Apaches?”

geronimo

Photograph by E. Rinehart, 1898

—by Chief Geronimo, as taken down by S.M. Barrett

 

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Enslaved and Marooned on Remote Tromlein Island for Fifteen Years, with Only Archaeology to Tell their Story

[On the night of July 31, 1761, Jean de Lafargue, captain of the French East India Company ship L’Utile (“Useful”), was likely thinking of riches. In the ship’s hold were approximately 160 slaves purchased in Madagascar just days before and bound for Île de France, known today as Mauritius. It had been 80 years since the dodo had gone extinct on that Indian Ocean island, and the thriving French colony had a plantation economy in need of labor. However, though slavery was legal at the time, de Lafargue was not authorized by colonial authorities to trade in slaves.

 

According to the detailed account of the ship’s écrivain, or purser, as L’Utile approached the vicinity of an islet then called Île des Sables, or Sandy Island, winds kicked up to 15 or 20 knots. The ship’s two maps did not agree on the small island’s precise location, and a more prudent captain probably would have slowed and waited for daylight. But de Lafargue was in a hurry to reap his bounty. That night L’Utile struck the reef off the islet’s north end, shattering the hull. Most of the slaves, trapped in the cargo holds, drowned, though some escaped as the ship broke apart. The next morning, 123 of the 140 members of the French crew and somewhere between 60 and 80 Malagasy slaves found themselves stranded on Île des Sables—shaken and injured, but alive.

 

De Lafargue had some kind of nervous breakdown, according to the écrivain. First officer Barthélémy Castellan du Vernet took over, and rallied the crew to salvage food, tools, and timber from the wreck and build separate camps for the crew and the slaves. Under the first officer’s guidance, a well was dug, an oven and furnace built, and work on a new boat begun. Within two months, the makeshift vessel La Providence emerged from the remains of L’Utile. Du Vernet, before he sailed away with the crew, promised the Malagasy people that a ship would return for them. And so they waited. The few that survived waited a very long time.]

Read the full story | ARCHAEOLOGY

MAALAGASI

The Deafening Silence that Scents the Air Under our Noses

Organic synergy: Ute Prayer Trees.

Monument, CO. One site out of several in the state.

 

Generic Signifiers of Why Some Lives Still Don’t Matter That Much | King Leopold’s Soliloquy

LEO

[Mark Twain wrote a satire about Leopold called “King Leopold’s Soliloquy; A Defense of His Congo Rule”, where he mocked the King’s defense of his reign of terror, largely through Leopold’s own words. It’s an easy read at 49 pages and Mark Twain is a popular author in American public schools. But like most political authors, we will often read some of their least political writings or read them without learning why the author wrote them in the first place. Orwell’s Animal Farm, for example, serves to reinforce American anti-socialist propaganda about how egalitarian societies are doomed to turn into their dystopian opposites. But Orwell was an anti-capitalist revolutionary of a different kind—a supporter of working class democracy from below—and that is never pointed out. We can read about Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer, but “King Leopold’s Soliloquy” isn’t on the reading list. This isn’t by accident. Reading lists are created by boards of education in order to prepare students to follow orders and endure boredom. From the point of view of the Department of Education, Africans have no history.]

When You Kill Ten Million Africans You Aren’t Called ‘Hitler’

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Survivorship Bias | The Curious Story of the Applied Mathematics Panel

The Misconception: You should focus on the successful if you wish to become successful.

The Truth: When failure becomes invisible, the difference between failure and success may also become invisible.

[In New York City, in an apartment a dozen blocks west of Harlem, above trees reaching out over sidewalks and dogs pulling at leashes and conversations cut short to avoid parking tickets, a group of professional thinkers once gathered and completed equations that would both snuff and spare several hundred thousand human lives.

Carry The One POSTER

Illustration by Brad Clark at http://www.plus3video.com

People walking by the apartment at the time had no idea that four stories above them some of the most important work in applied mathematics was tilting the scales of a global conflict as secret agents of the United States armed forces, arithmetical soldiers, engaged in statistical combat. Nor could people today know as they open umbrellas and twist heels on cigarettes, that nearby, in an apartment overlooking Morningside Heights, one of those soldiers once effortlessly prevented the United States military from doing something incredibly stupid, something that could have changed the flags now flying in capitals around the world had he not caught it, something you do every day.

These masters of math moved their families across the country, some across an ocean, so they could work together. As they unpacked, the theaters in their new hometowns replaced posters for Citizen Kane with those for Casablanca, and the newspapers they unwrapped from photo frames and plates featured stories still unraveling the events at Pearl Harbor. Many still held positions at universities. Others left those sorts of jobs to think deeply in one of the many groups that worked for the armed forces, free of any other obligations aside from checking in on their families at night and feeding their brains during the day. All paused their careers and rushed to enlist so they could help crush Hitler, not with guns and brawn, but with integers and exponents.

The official name for the people inside the apartment was the Statistical Research Group, a cabal of geniuses assembled at the request of the White House and made up of people who would go on to compete for and win Nobel Prizes. The SRG was an extension of Columbia University, and they dealt mainly with statistical analysis. The Philadelphia Computing Section, another group made up entirely of women mathematicians, worked six days a week at the University of Pennsylvania on ballistics tables. Other groups with different specialties were tied to Harvard, Princeton, Brown and others, 11 in all, each a leaf at the end of a new branch of the government created to help defeat the Axis – the Department of War Math.

Actually…no. They were never officially known by such a deliciously sexy title. They were instead called the Applied Mathematics Panel, but they operated as if they were a department of war math…….]

Read the full story:

Survivorship Bias

As Orlando Menes Once Wrote, “idyllic memories are a jeweled noose.” | The Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Detrimental Kitsch

WASHINGTON, DC – APRIL 17:
Visitors to the United States Holocaust Museum, which is about to celebrate its’ 20th anniversary, pass beneath a cast taken from the original entrance to the Auschwitz death camp, inscribed with the phrase Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Makes One Free), on April, 17, 2013 in Washington, DC.
(Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

[…. the Cuban exile community in the United States to which Menes belongs provides a textbook case of the way nostalgia and self-absorption (the other cardinal vice of the exiled and the scorned), however understandable a community’s resorting to them may be, also often serve as a prophylactic against common sense, political or otherwise.

But Cuban Americans are hardly alone in their self- imposed predicament; at various points in their history, the Irish, the Armenians, and the Tamils have been equally trapped in their own particular versions of what the writer Svetlana Boym has called “the dictatorship of nostalgia.” And Washington’s Holocaust Memorial Museum testifies that American Jews are no less immune to nostalgia’s temptations.]

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The historian Tony Judt once recalled that during a visit to Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, he saw “bored schoolchildren on an obligatory outing [playing] hide-and-seek among the stones.” He argued, “When we ransack the past for political profit — selecting the bits that can serve our purposes and recruiting history to teach opportunistic moral lessons — we get bad morality and bad history.” To which one should add: We also get kitsch.

Even when done well, commemoration almost always skates precariously close to kitsch. One might wish that the Holocaust were an exception in this regard, and that it will always, in Leon Wieseltier’s phrase, “press upon the souls of all who learn of it.” But it is not, much as we might wish otherwise.

This is a distinct problem, not to be confused with the fact that since 1945 the Shoah has regularly been employed to serve political agendas, the most obvious, as Judt emphasized, being to justify more or less any policy of the State of Israel with regard to its neighbors or to its Arab minority. But even when the remembrance of the Shoah is innocent of such subtexts, it has still been smothered in kitsch as Milan Kundera once defined it: all answers being “given in advance and [precluding] any questions.” Again, it is understandable to hope that people will be moved by an act of collective remembrance. And it is often, though not always, right to insist that they have a moral duty to remember. Where such acts become kitsch is when people take the fact that they are moved as a reason to think better of themselves.

It is unfortunate that a prime example of the instauration of this kind of kitsch remembrance is the U.S. National Holocaust Museum itself — the largest and best-known memorial to the Shoah in the world other than the Yad Vashem Memorial Museum and Center in Israel. To be sure, much of what is in the museum is as heartbreakingly far from kitsch as it is possible to get — above all, what Wieseltier called “the objects, the stuff, the things of the persecutions and the murders,” when he rightly described the Holocaust Museum as “a kind of reliquary.”

But these exhibits and films, photographs, and documents are bracketed by two extraordinarily kitschy pieces of set dressing.

As one first enters the museum and before one has seen a single image or artifact of either Nazi atrocity or Jewish martyrdom, one must first walk by the serried battle flags of the U.S. Army divisions that liberated some of the concentration camps (there are no British or Russian standards, even though a great many of the museum’s exhibits concern Bergen-Belsen, liberated by the British, and Auschwitz, liberated by the Soviets). And as one leaves the last room of the museum, the final exhibit one sees contains a series of images of David Ben-Gurion proclaiming the independence of the State of Israel, and, beyond them at the exit, a column of tan sandstone that is simply identified as having come from Jerusalem.

One can only hope that in addition to the American triumphalism and what even by the most generous of interpretations is a highly partisan pro-Israeli view of the creation of the state as the existential remediation of the Nazis’ war of extermination against the Jews, the intention here was to palliate what, apart from the part of the exhibit devoted to the Danes’ rescue of most of their country’s Jewish population, is the pure horror of what the museum contains by beginning and ending on an uplifting note.

The impulse is an understandable one. But it is also both a historical and a moral solecism that perfectly illustrates Judt’s admonition that the result is both bad history and bad morality.

Read the full story here: The United States Museum of Holocaust Kitsch

Because Memory is a Tricky Little Thing | Large Companies with Nazi Roots