Friday, December 15, 2006
Land of my Fathers
Over in SeniorNet there is a hot discussion going on about racial discrimination. It mostly revolves around the treatment of aborigines by early settlers in the US and in New Zealand. Before you hurry over to join the fight, let me tell you a story I personally have an interest in. I came into possession of a genealogy of my father’s family that was written probably a century ago. Until my father’s generation, his family had lived in Vermont for years. The genealogy mixed the usual who married whom, where and when, and when they died; with a historical narrative of the times. It told for instance, of the great raid by Indian tribes led by King Philip in which all the settlers farms and houses in an area were destroyed “except those of Samuel Leonard, who was a friend of King Philip.” Several paragraphs later the wedding of Samuel Leonard’s son was recounted. He married Sara, daughter of Philip King. I suppose the authors thought they were getting away with something, but if they had seen a picture of my grandfather they would have known better. And I used to tell my father that he should have been proud to have had his portrait on the Indian nickel.