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Touch the Earth, A self-portrait of Indian existence by TC McLuhan

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1472 words
1472 words
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Touch the Earth, A self-portrait of Indian existence by TC McLuhan

This book is meant to describe the experience of the North American Indian as their way of life was altered by the intrusion of white man upon this continent. The writings are composed of selections taken from letters and orations by Indians primarily from the eighteenth century until the mid-twentieth century. This historical perspective of their experience with nature is not necessarily a well-known account as far as popular literature goes but if it were to become more of a lesson, in general population education it may serve to broaden the understanding of the Indian’s way of life now and is it was then. There has been very little documentation that has brought such insight into mainstream culture.

This book was chosen because it was written though an indigenous cultural and spiritual perspective. It is written in anecdotal form. While there has been growing support within the last fifty plus year to understand other peoples introduced to this land, such as African Americans, Asian Americans, and much documentation to support European American, comparatively little has been mainstreamed regarding Native Americans. While many of the above-mentioned groups of people have under went oppression, cultural devastation, even destruction and slavery, many areas where historically accurate representation of culture and spirituality still exist, this cannot be as strongly stated with regard to the Indian. Even today, there is a division between those who want to find out about their past, their cultural ancestry and those who just want to find the white man’s American Dream (Joe Bear, Catawba Tribe, 2001).

One statement in the beginning of the book was especially poignant to any one who studies Indian culture, It is easy for us to feel a vicarious rage, a misery on behalf of these people, but Indians, dead and alive would only receive such feelings with pity or contempt; it is too easy to feel sympathy for a people who culture was wrecked..

Pride would breed contempt for sympathy, a strong people do not want sympathy. Pity, because the ancestors knew of destruction, they watched, unable to stop as so much of what was so bountiful was destroyed. This scraping of the land is still continuing while the land is still raw from past abuses. Rather than living as one with nature all manner of developed countries devastate that which has brought us riches, yet some leave a much larger footprint then others.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how touch the earth describes the experience of the north american indian as their way of life was altered by the intrusion of white man upon this continent.
  • Opines that the book was chosen because it was written through an indigenous cultural and spiritual perspective.
  • Opines that indians, dead and alive, would only receive such feelings with pity or contempt; it is too easy to feel sympathy for a culture that was wrecked.
  • Opines that pity breeds contempt for sympathy, because the ancestors knew of destruction, they watched, unable to stop as so much of what was so bountiful was destroyed.
  • Opines that we are all responsible for the actions of man; it's not the other countries, other people. pity is for lack of responsibility and courage.
  • Opines that it takes more effort to make things work in one area than to move to a more suitable habitat.
  • Opines that it is amusing to make reservations when one wants to go out to dinner, get a plane ride, go to hotel or something special, while if one were to visit these "special" places, they would see poverty, row houses, beat up cars, and beat down people.
  • Explains how american can continue to ignore the devastating effects of its forefathers on the true america. while there is a growing global awareness of other such ignored cultures, america's backyard seems dimly illuminated.
  • Explains that light chases away the demons of the night, the indian is not afraid of dark, and the wind in the woods. mother nature exerts her will to extinguish the light.
  • Explains that man's heart away from nature becomes hard, and he kept his youth close to its softening influence.
  • Explains that their understanding of indians' ways seems prepossessed because they grew up not on a reservation but lived near an indian village. they had blond hair and blue eyes.
  • Describes how they were not considered white as a child by their classmates or their families, but the community was responsible for the raising of that child.
  • Narrates how sitting bull refused to submit to reservation life, saying god made him an indian, but not a reservation indian. he fled to canada where he lived at one with canadian authorities.
  • Explains that the balance of nature still exists in remote areas of the globe. the push of development has existed for over three hundred years and it is still going on.
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