We Are Still Here: American Indians in the Twentieth Century

By Peter Iverson | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIX
“We Are All Indians,” 1981–1997

A young Shoshone-Bannock man glanced through the old newspapers. Reading through the pages of Tevope (or paper, in the Shoshone language) from Fort Hall, Idaho, he encountered the words of editor Ralph Dixey, published in 1939: “Friends, we are all Indians no matter how white or dark you are. It does not make any difference where you are, what you are doing, or how much money you are making. We are all Indians…. Our chiefs call us half-breeds and no good and we call them darn fools. Now, who is right? We are both wrong,” Dixey concluded. “We are all Indians.” For Mark Trahant, a “mixed blood” enrolled member of Fort Hall, the words had particular meaning. He thought about who he was and who he might become; he began to realize that being an Indian today, as it always had, included the incorporation of change. He started to understand more fully, as he later wrote, that Indian peoples had “always made alliances, intermarried, and borrowed ideas and technology from other people.” “Indian history didn't end in the 1800s,” Trahant added. “Indian cultures aren't some sort of museum piece, that are frozen in time, preserved under glass. They evolve, grow, and continually try to renew themselves.”

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