I am a full-blooded American Indian from the Lumbee Nation. I am proud of my ancestry. I am also disgusted by a common misconception that continues to be perpetuated in our schools.
All American-Indians did not live in tee-pees, many didn’t. American-Indians on the Great Plains lived in tee-pees because they were easy to set up and take down while in pursuit of bison. Woodland Indians of the Eastern United States lived in permanent housing and farmed.
November was National American Indian Heritage Month — as is every year, a fact that gets lost among the feasts and young children dressed in racist costumes in school plays. If you want to teach true American Indian history offer an in-depth complete view. The massacres at Wounded Knee and Sand Creek. The courage of Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce, Henry Berry Lowry of the Lumbee right here in North Carolina and Chief Crazy Horse of the Oglala Sioux.
Or ask an American Indian to give firsthand knowledge of his tribe. Tell stories of a proud, courageous people trying to cling to their land and culture, but sadly were overran by sheer numbers of Europeans. This is the true but tragic history of a People long forgotten, romanticized, stereotyped and treated like a relic from the past.
Joel M. Rogers