Hello and welcome to Wordy Wednesday!
Today I have just one word that comes from a graphic novel anthology entitled This Place: 150 Years Retold, foreword by Alicia Elliott. Each chapter, with its own writer and artists, covers a period in history of Indigenous people in North America, primarily in what is now Canada, spanning from the 1800s to the final futuristic chapter in the 2300s.
In the foreword Elliott writes:
as Indigenous people, we all live in a post-apocalyptic world. The world as we knew it ended the moment colonialism started to creep across these lands. But we have continued to tell our stories; we have continued to adapt. Despite everything, we have survived.
I am not Indigenous. However, my interest in Indigenous people’s past and present increases with each Native author’s book I read. The fact of their survival astounds me as much as does the cruelty inflicted upon them.
I‘m disappointed that newcomers to America brought attitudes of greed, xenophobia, and domination. Not only disappointed, I’m incredulous. How could they not show humility and curiosity?
In college I took a class entitled History of Sexuality with a trans-man as a guest lecturer one week. To prepare, our reading had been from current websites, blogs and articles educating us on trans verbiage and etiquette (i.e. how and when to use gender-neutral pronouns) as well as critiquing cis-heteronormative culture. Besides the facts, I picked up anger from the voices of the writers. I asked the lecturer, where does that anger come from? Why is this information written so defensively?
He explained, because we’re sick of not being treated like human beings. Because people call us pedophiles and deviants. Because we are subject to violence just for existing. We have a lot of anger because we have a lot to be angry about.
I felt surprised to hear this. I couldn’t understand how anyone could treat a trans person as less than human. Having come from an affluent white Christian suburb, I couldn’t claim total naïveté to intolerance, but I thought it was only my hometown that was small-minded. Instead the university exemplified the exceptional perspective: I was so immersed in the open-minded and diverse world of academia that I was sheltered from the intolerant vitriol beyond.
As I read about Indigenous people, I learn about treatment toward them that could instigate anger for eternity. Nevertheless, repeatedly I find the anger to be tempered by hope, just as I do in Alicia Elliott’s words and in the chapters of this anthology.
If this is your first Wordy Wednesday, here’s how it works. I find a word that’s new to me from my reading. I cite the sentence in which I found it. I provide the definition, today from the New Oxford American Dictionary. Finally, I use the word in a sentence myself.
”The result is that Inuit retain specifics regarding their cosmogony and Shamanism” (110).
Definition: Noun, the branch of science that deals with the origin of the universe, especially the solar system.
I would like to know about religions that embrace cosmogony as a science in lieu of creation myths. Then again, must the two be mutually exclusive?