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500 Years of Indigenous Resistance on Razorcake

By Steve Hart
Razorcake
November 22, 2011

The story of smallpox being introduced to Native Americans and the decimation of the First Nation people has been well-documented, but there was always something about that story that didn’t sit well with me. I’ve sat in classes with Native Americans and Hawaiians and watched them squirm in discomfort while the smallpox story makes them sound weak and unable to defend themselves. By the succumbing to smallpox, my friends felt embarrassed for their ancestors, like there was something wrong with them. This history, of course, doesn’t take into account the absolute filth the European occupiers lived in. It doesn’t mention the bizarre quasi-religious superstitions the Europeans believed in (Queen Elizabeth of England rarely bathed throughout her life)—instead, history condemns indigenous people as collateral damage.

500 Years of Indigenous Resistance is an attempt to rectify this history. From 1492 to present day, indigenous people have resisted the European onslaught. Gord Hill details battles between the indigenous people and the colonizers. While civilization (in the European sense) was seen as mutually beneficial, 500 Years points out how European hegemony has been, and still is, resisted against by indigenous people from South America, Central America, and North America despite going against the machinations of civilization. I’d like to see this book used in history classes as a supplement or a contrary point of view from what is normally taught.

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