'Squaw' and mindless parroting of bad science

  Dear HCN,


I have been amused for the past 30 years each time someone takes umbrage at the use of the word squaw while making the assertion that it is a vulgar term invented by white man to demean Native American women. We did encourage and abet the destruction of the early inhabitants by means inexorable, foul and deadly. We, like so many of those who swept out of Africa lo these many millennia, did sweep outward and eventually westward to supplant any we could conquer. We engorged or destroyed cultures and generally won the argument that whatever we have is ours because we stole it fair and square. One thing we did not do was invent or adapt the word squaw as a term for Native American women.


The fact that the argument was started in the early '70s in an assertion by an Indian Rights activist who was overstating his point of cultural iconclasm has been ignored almost from the get go. Also, the fact that the word squaw does not nor did it ever indicate anything other than a general description of a female and that the word's etymology is Eastern Native American has never held sway with those who are quick to be offended. Anti-intellectual, emotional and just plain prissy idiots are, for the rest of time, I suppose, going to try to perpetuate this fallacy, this canard, this wonderful and imaginative justification of proof that the European conquerors did no good and nothing but harm.


I hope you at HCN are proud of the obnoxious presentation of rank stupidity in your latest edition (HCN, 4/23/01: Heard around the West) by Betsy Marston. I do have to say that I am still trying to decide whether my 8-year-old will be allowed to read this edition as his bedtime story. Parenthetically, my son and I together have been reading this paper for two years now and he does understand more than some and, fortunately, less than others what is written. I think Marston can do better. I think she could, if she would get off her high horse, go through the whole of the literature and discover that this particular argument is mindless, misdirected, misanthropic and wrong and woefully supported by unthinking ejaculations of commiserative pettings. What is normally a great chance to find thoughtful and honest writings and expositions has been misused by Ms. Marston and I am disappointed in you for allowing it to happen.


Tom M. Theobald
Peoria, Arizona


High Country News Classifieds
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    ORGANIZATIONAL BACKGROUND Colorado Canyons Association (CCA) fosters community stewardship, education and awareness of our National Conservation Lands with a focus on Dominguez-Escalante, Gunnison Gorge and...
  • WYOMING STATE DIRECTOR
    Save the World ... or at least a piece of it! Join The Nature Conservancy and make a tangible and lasting impact by creating a...
  • PROGRAM DIRECTOR FOR AN ENVIRONMENTAL ADVOCACY NON-PROFIT NEAR YOSEMITE
    Demanding, but rewarding, advocacy work on forest, water, wildland, and wildlife issues. Applicants should have experience dealing with land management planning, public speaking, grassroots organizing,...
  • NEW AGRARIAN APPRENTICESHIP
    Quivira Coalition's 2020 New Agrarian Apprenticeships in Regenerative Ranching and Farming -Apprenticeships run 4/20 - 11/20 Applications accepted 10/15/19 - 12/1/19 NAP partners with skilled...
  • PHILANTHROPY DIRECTOR
    Wilderness Workshop seeks a full time Philanthropy Director to raise funds for our team. Learn more: www.wildernessworkshop.org
  • EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT WITH WESTERN RESOURCE ADVOCATES
    Western Resource Advocates (WRA) seeks an enthusiastic and organized problem solver to join our growing team as an Executive Assistant. The Executive Assistant is instrumental...
  • WYOMING OUTDOOR COUNCIL
    Two positions: Development Director OR Development Writer, Communications Director. Full job descriptions at https://wyomingoutdoorcouncil.org/careers.
  • CONSERVATION PROJECT MANAGER
    Great Land Trust seeks to hire a Conservation Project Manager. Position is full-time, based in Anchorage, Alaska. First review of applications will be on October...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Eagle Valley Land Trust Executive Director Position Description Summary of Position: The Executive Director, working with and reporting to the Board of Directors, has overall...
  • FINANCE & LOGISTICS COORDINATOR
    The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, founded in 1928 as an independent nonprofit organization, is a biological field station located near Crested Butte, Colorado. Our primary...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    See Full Job Description
  • DEVELOPMENT COORDINATOR
    Position: Development Coordinator Responsible to: Executive Director Time Commitment: 15-20 hours per week, or as otherwise agreed upon General Description: The Development Coordinator assists the...
  • EDUCATION CENTER MANAGER
    Friends of Cedar Mesa seeks a full-time Education Manager for the Bears Ears Education Center to provide day to day operational and administrative oversight. See...
  • TROUT UNLIMITED SCP SOUTHWEST REGIONAL DIRECTOR
    Seeking to hire an experienced advocate/manager to oversee the organization's sportsmen/women-driven advocacy in Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. Open until filled
  • PROGRAM MANAGER
    for northern AZ collaborative conservation ranchlands group
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    Partners are seeking an experienced and energetic Executive Director who is excited about the opportunity to lead our growing organization! A full description of the...
  • EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
    High Country News Seeks an Executive Director to advance its mission, grow its audience and influence, and strategically and sustainably guide the organization through a...
  • 2 PROPERTIES ON THE WESTERN EDGE OF THE GILA WILDERNESS
    Organic farm, hot springs, San Francisco River runs through both. [email protected]
  • CHUCK BURR'S CULTUREQUAKE.COM BLOG
    Change will happen when we see a new way of living. Thinking to save the world.
  • SOCIETY FOR WILDERNESS STEWARDSHIP BOARD MEMBER
    Join the SWS board and help us broaden, diversify, and engage the wilderness community.