Rights Remembered: A Salish Grandmother Speaks on American Indian History and the Future

Rights Remembered: A Salish Grandmother Speaks on American Indian History and the Future

Rights Remembered: A Salish Grandmother Speaks on American Indian History and the Future

Rights Remembered: A Salish Grandmother Speaks on American Indian History and the Future

Synopsis

Rights Remembered is a remarkable historical narrative and autobiography written by esteemed Lummi elder and culture bearer Pauline Hillaire, Scälla-Of the Killer Whale. A direct descendant of the immediate postcontact generation of Coast Salish in Washington State, Hillaire combines in her narrative life experiences, Lummi oral tradition spreserved and passed on to her, and the written record ofrelationships between the United States and the indigenous peoples of the Northwest Coast to tell the story of settlers, government officials,treaties, and reservations, and the colonial relationship between Coast Salish and the white newcomers. Hillaire's autobiography, although written out of frustration with thestatus of Native peoples in America, is not an expression of anger but rather represents, in her own words, her hope "for greater justice for Indian people in America, and for reconciliation between Indian and non-Indian Americans, based on recognition of the truths of history."Addressed to Indigenous and non-Native peoples alike, this is a thoughtful call for understanding and mutual respect between cultures.

Excerpt

As I wrote this book, I truly followed a desperate trail. Alone, I would never have made it. With the help of my sister, Mary Ellen Hillaire, my father, Joseph R. Hillaire, my grandfather, Frank Hillaire, my mother, and all my brothers and sisters, I remain encouraged, even at the end. You see, my entire family was with me, spiritually. Their words did not haunt me; they helped me. the Great Spirit played the most important role in this enormous task. There were times when I thought, no; this should not be done. But the messages began to sound better and better, so I continued. Friends and relatives in this world encouraged me. Never disregard heartfelt encouragement. It seems to clear the littered pathway to your goal as if by pure magic.

With this book, I reach out to those strong, healthy, and curious future generations and encourage them to never give up. the strength of our ancestors remains with us. All we have to do is discover it and continue to the end of the trail. My focus remains on our Indian youth: children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren. I see amongst them very talented people, surging forward with sacred curiosity. They have the qualities that our ancestors saw in earlier generations. Hope will help carry you, and persistence pays off—not that you will get richer and richer, but that your hearts maintain a steady path forward.

As you read my book, keep my message clear in your mind. My prayer is for more land and for the rights of Indian people across America. Please . . .

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