The way you teach it, America started from some ships that came to Massachusetts and Virginia. […] It was like this place was empty, and history is the story of how you filled it up and what happened while you were filling it up. […] For us, this was a big land where people lived everywhere. Then some people came and landed on the shores in the east while others came up from the south. They started pushing us. […] Pretty soon they set up a government way back somewhere in the east and said this all was their land. Not just where they lived, but everywhere they had been or even where they had heard of. If they could get one man to go to a place and put a flag in the ground, they said they owned everything between where they started and that flag. […] We got pushed into little ponds of land. We were like fish who had been swimming in the sea who were sent into little ponds. See, to us, American history is how the big sea became little ponds and whether those are going to be taken from us or not. It doesn’t have anything to do with thirteen colonies and some covered wagons going west. Our land was taken from us from every direction. But you build your history on words like ‘frontier’ and ‘civilization’, and those words are just your ideas put into little shapes that you can use in sentences. The big ideas behind them are weapons that take our past from us.
Neither Wolf Nor Dog, Kent Nerburn (via the-starlight-hotel)
I think I blogged about this once before, but I really enjoy Nerburn’s books.