I just gave up on Matthiesen’s In the Spirit of Crazy Horse after over 100 pages. For some reason I could not focus. So while I won’t write about the book b/c didn’t finish it, I did want to pass along the brief knowledge that I gleaned. Most of this is probably well known, but was fresh to me:
* Occupy-Alcatraz (1969-1971): the island was chosen as a location because it represented qualities found on a reservation: isolation, no running water, non-arable land. $24 to buy the island was offered, payable in glass beads and red cloth, alluding to the sale and transfer of Manhattan Island 300 years earlier.
* AIM was infiltrated by FBI, treated like any other rebel group of the era.
* We’ve treated natives incredibly poorly over the history of the nation. I’ve driven through reservations in the west; they are depressing and dreary, lacking life or hope.
I blame my inability to focus on the creep of technology. On that note, I have a new piece out about distraction subtraction. Excerpt:
We all know this deficit of attention is a real problem. My life has been broken into two-second increments. Sometimes I’ll forget what it is that I just left the table to do, and frantically look for the browser back button in my head to return to the previous thought.