Lies My Teacher Told Me- James W. Loewen


Chapter 4- Red Eyes

Historically, American Indians have been the most lied-about subset of our population. (93) Do you agree or disagree?
How have "white eyes" affected the portrayal of Natives Americans, in America?


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Acculturation- the process of adopting the cultural traits or social patterns of another group. A cculturation- the process of adoptingultural traits or social patterns of another group.

What do think were the major reasons why acculturation did not work with the Indians?

  • The overall story line most American history books tell about American Indians is this: We tried to Europe anize them; they would'nt or couldn't do it; so we disposed of them.
  • The problem was not Native failure to acculturate. In reality, many European Americans did not really want Indians to acculturate.
  • No matter how thoroughly Native Americans acculturated, they could not succeed in white society. Whites would not let them.

"Indians were always regarded as aliens, and were rarely allowed to live within the white society except on its periphery." (129)



Do you agree with Loewen, should we be learning History through red eyes?


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What does the portrayal of the Native American reveal?


  • The "Five Civilized Tribes"- Choctaws, Chickasaws, Cherokees, Creeks, and Seminoles acculturated successfully, but were exiled to Oklahoma anyway. Forgetting how whites forced Natives to roam, forgetting just who taught the Pilgrims to farm, our culture and the textbooks still stereotype Native Americans as roaming primitive hunting folk.
  • Indian History is the antidote to the pious ethnocentrism of American exceptional ism, the notion that European American's are God's chosen people. "The study of our contact with Indians, the envisioning of our dark American selves, can instill such a strengthening doubt." History through red eyes offer a deeper understanding than comes from encountering the past as a story of inevitable triumph by the good guys.
//www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/weshallremain/