Saturday, November 22, 2008
The "Great Death"
"No one man or one person or anything like that is going to come to save us.I think it’s clear to us that if we as a Native people are to be saved, we’re going to just have to do it ourselves."
Do you know what the "Great Death" was? Do you know what had occurred during those times? It was completely horrible what happened to Alaskan Native people. It all really started with European contact, mostly the Russians though. There were a series of events that has caused the Alaskan Natives to be the way they are today. They seemed lost and confused in their own world. They don't know who they are as an individual, their parents, their children, or even their own people. If they are lost for too long, they will lose their traditions. If they lose their traditions they will lose their languages, religion, and culture. How would you feel if you had nothing left to show who you are ethnically? I know i would be depressed, well that is what was happened to the native peoples, they be came very depressed. They also didn't talk about any of their problems at all, which eventually turned their depression into a something more serious, they developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. This disease, inevitably, has been passed down from generation to generation, causing a barrier between parents and children. It has been a horrible repeating cycle that needs to stop.
Mowat, F. (1988). What the Commission Found. Retrieved November 22, 2008, from Alaska Natives' Loss of Social & Cultural Integrity Web site: http://www.alaskool.org/resources/anc/anc01.htm
The Russians caused so much damage to the population of the indigenous native of Alaska, by 1910 the population had dropped to 25,331, which is only about one-third of the population before European contact. That is such a drastic difference, so many people died! There were a few different factors that took place in the death of so many Alaskan Natives, one factor was disease and illnesses. With the Alaskan Natives never being exposed to such diseases, their bodies' had to defense against the illnesses. A few of the diseases that destroyed the population of Natives Alaskans were smallpox, influenza, measles, diphtheria, pneumonia, polio, and tuberculosis. Also the Alaskan Natives were enslaved, abused, and even isolated from their friends and family. The young children were taken from their homes and put into boarding schools, where more physical, mental,and sexual abuse occurred. These events broke the spirit of the native people, and eventually they stopped believing in their culture and religion. Since they broke, they turned to the missionaries for help and guidance. But the missionaries took advantage of the people, and told them that their beliefs were satanic, and that all of their relatives and ancestors were in hell! They made the children speak English only, if they spoke their native tongue they were punished. They people were being punished for being different, which is wrong!