“The passing of every old man or woman means the passing of some tradition, some knowledge of sacred rites possessed by no other…Consequently the information that is to be gathered, for the benefit of future generations, respecting the mode of life of one of the great races of mankind, must be collected at once or the opportunity will be lost for all time.” Edward S. Curtis
Curtis has received international recognition for the volume of work he produced, much of it of historical archival significance.
The quote above is as truthful a statement as the images he captured – the passing of elders within a culturally intact society is one thing, it is something entirely different following decades, even centuries of attempts to disrupt and assimilate.
What each generation is born into becomes the norm, and all too often acceptable – that is the great truth of the “melting pot”.
As nations in today’s world we either accept or tolerate that which have would have been unconscionable in the past from both within and without our communities, I for one don’t believe that is progress.
As a people we are compelled to live in a world not of our own making, but nowhere is it written upon our spirits that we must surrender or dilute our traditions to embrace it.
Force didn’t accomplish that and we shouldn’t voluntarily facilitate the effort.
Grass continues to grow, rivers flow, and the land remains – so too should we in the manner in which we have always referred to ourselves regardless of nation or language…… the people.