In 1492, Columbus landed in the Bahamas and set off a race among the superpowers of the day – Spain, France, and Britain – to seize as much land as possible for themselves. It was assumed that the inhabitants would acknowledge their superiors and convert to whatever religion was imposed and work under slave-like conditions to make their conquerors rich.
In 1620, a weary group of colonialists arrived on the eastern shore of North America seeking religious freedom. They found the Nauset tribe of the Wampanoag Nation on the lands that they wanted. In the beginning, there were touching acts of friendship and charity – because the pilgrims needed help. But once the pilgrims gained a position of strength, there was a constant push to remove the Indians farther away. The Indians died from European diseases to which they had no immunity, in addition to being killed in countless battles and massacres. Eventually, the Indians were destroyed or moved from their lands.
In the early 1900s, oil was pumped out of the ground in Osage County, Oklahoma. This was the home of the Osage Indians, also known as the Flower Moon people, who once occupied millions of acres of land that were thought to include parts of Ohio and Tennessee. What happens to the Osage Indians when oil is found?
Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann addresses that question. This absorbing story begs to be told and discussed. In addition, Killers of the Flower Moon is being released as a major motion picture on October 20th. It stars Robert DeNiro and Leonardo DiCaprio, with American Indian actors as the Osage Indians. Martin Scorsese directs and it should be a most fascinating film.
After reading the book and/or seeing the movie, come and join in a discussion hosted by the Racial Justice Initiative and led by Sally Van Meter on Sunday, November 5 at 9:30 a.m. in Palmer Hall.
-Written by Sally Van Meter
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