Saturday, February 28, 2009

Worker bee writer girl

Today I am hard at work on the Hunts Point book. I'm making progress, and I've had some flow today - though I can feel my brain frying at this time, because I've been at it since about 9am and haven't taken a break.

I am a writer. I will write. Contributing to my family's bottom line is excellent, too...

In any case, I digress.

I've spent some time looking at the early history of Hunts Point, which of course begins with the local Native American tribes. The tribe that owned the land of Hunts Point was the Sammamish, which was then more or less assimilated into the Duwamish tribe as white settlers swept in and claimed ownership of the land that the United States Government granted them.

It's an awfully sad story, and one that has been told before.

What I wasn't expecting, as I played historian, was this passage:
Some Duwamishes did settle on the Muckleshoot [reservation]. In 1893 a large group, avoiding confinement, gathered on Ballast Island in Seattle after whites had burned them out of their homes in west Seattle.
A Guide to the Indian Tribes of the Pacific Northwest, Robert H. Ruby and John A. Brown, University of Oklahoma Press, c. 1992, p. 72

I love West Seattle. I love my home here. I am white.

I had nothing to do with the burnings mentioned, but as I read that passage, I felt deeply ashamed.

I do not understand the world we live in.

I am humbled by this passage, somehow. I am determined to live my life in a way somehow absolutely opposite of that passage.

No, the guilt does not belong to me - I wasn't born, and my ancestors weren't even involved (in that year, some were in Germany, and some were in England, and some were in Canada) in the remotest way to that passage.

I think that my shame is for the human race, that we allow such things to happen.

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