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Blue Jacket was a Shawnee chief and it is not really important whether he was adopted or native--any more than it makes a difference whether one of his wives was white, which Van Trees does not dispute. According to the information on Carlyle Hinshaw's website, Hinshaw called for a "crusade," using his word, to protest and suppress the republication of Eckert's The Frontiersmen. Thereafter, Eckert's publisher was bombarded with letters and phone calls from the dozen or so people involved. Letters were sent and some were posted on the site. Several people wrote Allan Eckert directly.
When asked for comment, Eckert said that some of the letters he received in this "crusade" were actually hate mail, personally attacking him and calling him names. Pointless harassment. I should point out that none of the responsible Shawnee scholars--neither Randy Noe nor John Sugden--would join in this disgraceful display of lynch-mob mentality.
I was given Hinshaw's web address by another Shawnee researcher. Hinshaw's website at first favorably impressed me, but after I came upon a page of protests led by Van Trees‘s article entitled "Bluejacket and Swearingen Families Declare War on Eckert," I was taken aback. "Declare War," he says, in such strong language that makes you think of terroristic attacks, some kind of crazy holy war for, in his words, our "honored dead." This strikes me as unfair and bizarrely un-American, like shouting down the opposition.
This is, after all, a simple and rather silly academic issue. If someone--Rev. Jesse Jackson, say--should write a book claiming that Blue Jacket was actually black and that historians had been wrong in their account of him all these years, would there be a similar protest? I hardly think so. Why not just write your own book and let the other fellow write his?
When I asked Mr. Van Trees about this, he said that the tirade against Eckert was justified and by US Mail he sent copies of the rabid hate mail that Robert Denton Bluejacket and others had sent to Eckert--as if that explained everything.
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Richard L. Pangburn said: This is now Hinshaw's "crusade," but you're the one who called the dogs on this, and hence the one responsible. How can you associate with people who deal in hate mail, who infer that a book showing Blue Jacket to have been white is "racist?" The story is certainly not racist, and that irresponsible charge is racist in itself. To charge that Eckert was racist is to charge that Chief Charles Bluejacket was racist, for he believed in this story wholeheartedly. Eckert heard it from Shawnees as well as Swearingen descendants. How can you associate with people who send hate mail and go around irresponsibly yelling racist?.
Robert Van Trees replied: "I applaud Robert Denton Bluejacket and Gaylord Carlyle Hinshaw's efforts. . .I have no idea where you were from 1941 to 1946 but I, along with a lot of others, were pretty busy supporting the objectives of our country and do not appreciate anyone referring to my thoughts and actions as 'un-American."
Richard L. Pangburn said: There is no use trying to wrap yourself in the American flag and calling yourself righteous. That is both insulting and irrelevant. My father was in the landing on Iwo Jima. I served four years during Viet Nam Whatever else you have done, here you are Un-American: You adhere to the same lynch-mob mentality of intolerant holier-than-thou fanatics everywhere.
Eckert's attitude was: "I don't see it that way; go write your books, plays, reviews, newspaper articles, etc., and I will write mine." Review his books with venom. Or write more of your own denouncing his views. But don't send publishers and authors hate mail, harass their wives, or intimidate them with irresponsible charges of racism in order to suppress their books.
As with the Taliban, just having your own freedom of expression is not enough--you want to stamp out all opposing views too, to stop all plays and books that do not conform to your holier-than-thou brand of political correctness---your own flawed opinions.
In America, we live and let live. In America, we still have freedom of speech--you can write your own version of history, and you even have the right not to conform to consensus. History is arguable, and no one family nor cult owns it---it belongs to us all. The Van Trees/Hinshaw fanatical war to shout down any other account of your vainglorious historical obsession is at the expense of your own character.
The DNA evidence is hardly conclusive, and you know it. I still have your E-mails on this matter, as when I asked for your own research on the Blue Jacket lineage--and I have your replies. You also know that John Sugden left out some of the primary evidence in his biography of Blue Jacket, as he has admitted to me, and when everything is looked at by someone without an alternate agenda, a picture of different Shawees named Blue Jacket emerges. The self-righteousness of this crusade is not only blind to freedom of speech, it is basing its historical argument upon highly subjective premises.
This haggling over an academic argument is merely silly, but the suppression of freedom of speech is a serious matter. I hope Eckert sues for damages. For whatever the final estimate of the historical data, Allan Eckert's freedom of expression in the present is not trumped by your own self-righteous version of the past. A crusade that advances by intimidating publishers and bombarding them with letters and phone calls in order to stamp out opposing views is un-American and I'm saying so.