Portland, Maine (Associated Press)-Most Americans know that Native Americans suffered atrocities after the arrival of European settlers: war, disease, stolen land.
But it is far uglier than that.
Members of the Penobscot Nation in Maine have produced an educational film about how European settlers scalped—killed—indigenous people during the British colonial era. With the support of the Jinhe government.
“This is genocide,” said Dawn Neptune Adams, one of the three Penobscot members who appeared in the movie “Bounty.”
She said that the purpose of the effort is not to make any American feel defensive or blamed. The filmmakers say they just want to ensure that this history is not whitewashed by promoting a more comprehensive understanding of the country’s past.
At the heart of the project is the chilling statement made by Spencer Phips, the Deputy Governor of Massachusetts Bay.
It was issued in November 1755, granting “Your Majesty’s subjects” permission to kill the Penobscots “for the entire month.” In today’s U.S. dollars, the salary for a male scalp is about $12,000, and the salary for a female scalp is half. The number of one child is slightly less. Settlers who kill indigenous people sometimes receive rewards other than land and money, thereby expanding the range of settlers while removing tribes from their ancestors’ lands.
Many Penobscots are familiar with this statement because the tribal office in Indian Island, Maine displayed a copy of the document.
“If every American understands the entire history of this country, even the dark and uncomfortable parts, it will help us get along better and understand each other better,” the co-director of the film with Neptune Adams Mauri Andana said.
The filmmakers said that Europeans and Native Americans were both engaged in scalping, but when the government approved this behavior in a bounty way, the British colonists greatly expanded the practice.
The first known colonial scalping order was from 1675. It was just a few decades after the first Thanksgiving in 1621, when pilgrims and Wampanoag people gathered to celebrate the harvest. Chris Newell said he was Passamaquoddy and wrote “If you live Thanksgiving during Plymouth.”
Research by filmmakers found that there were more than 70 reward announcements encouraging white colonists to kill tribal members in what is now New England, and 50 government-approved announcements elsewhere in the country. They said that between 1675 and 1760, the state and colonial governments paid at least 375 bonuses to the natives of New England.
Salem State University professor Emerson Baker, who specializes in New England history, called tribal education efforts “a powerful curriculum revision.”
“Most people are aware that Native Americans came here first, and the colonists did their best to remove them from this land. They just didn’t know the extreme measures it took,” Baker said. “Almost all Native American men, women or children are sometimes considered fair games, sometimes even the government.”
In collaboration with the Upstander Project in Massachusetts, the filmmakers released a “bounty” during the National Native American Tradition Month in November.
Neptune Adams and Dana, as well as Tim Shea and their family, were all filmed in the Old State Capitol in Boston. This is the same place where Lieutenant Phips’ scalping order was signed.
In the “Bounty”, three participants described the nightmare of Penobscots being chased in the woods, and discussed the dehumanization and slaughter of their people.
“When you understand a person’s human nature, it affects the way you treat my children, how you vote on public policy, how you view my people,” Dana said.
Accompanying the short video is a 200-page study guide for teachers. Several school districts, including Portland Public Schools in Maine’s largest city, are purchasing licenses for the video and plan to use study guides to aid teaching.
Fiona Hopper, head of social studies faculty, said that in Portland, scalp bounties will be used as an element of the curriculum to bring the school district into compliance with a 2001 law that requires students to study Wabanaki, which focuses on the Native Americans of Maine. Research. Wabanaki Research Coordinator.
“Students and teachers will see the continued patience and resistance of Penobscot national citizens in the’bounty’,” Hopper said.
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