Taking Any Advantage, by Megan Noonan

It’s Monday morning and I am once again walking the path at White Clay Creek. The day is bright and sunny with a high of seventy-nine degrees and a low of fifty-seven. As October slowly creeps closer, the sun has begun to set earlier in the day and with the darkness brings the cold. Each step I take creates a small cloud of dirt that circles around my ankles. All around me I can hear the cicadas and crickets chirping. After only a short amount of time I became habituated to the noise. As I continued to walk I spotted many different types of wildlife such as different species of birds, insects, plants, and fungi. I was in awe of the beauty in the array of living creatures.

As a medical diagnostics student, it intrigues me to think about how these creatures evolved to be how they are today. I wonder what these same animals that I am observing now might have looked like when the Native Americans lived on this land. The topic of evolution has been discussed in every class of mine.  Exterminate All The Brutes Part 3, discusses the environmental mindset of the colonizers during the eighteenth century. The colonizers in the eighteenth century believed in, “A ready made universe where nothing could be added or subtracted from it” (Peck, 2021).

It wasn’t until Georges Cuvier found the remains of what we now know is a mammoth and speculated that the mammoth was its own species that had become extinct. Years later Charles Darwin published his theory on evolution. His findings were instrumental to the science community and changed the public’s thinking entirely. As discussed in the documentary, the white colonizers saw this new theory as advantageous to their racist agenda, “Genocide began to be regarded as inevitable byproduct of progress and predudice against alien peoples which had always existed was now given organized form and apparent scientific validation” (Peck, 2021).

The white settlers used the theory of evolution to “prove” their superiority and used it as a reason to continue to enslave and murder all people of color. Anyone who opposed this ideology was deemed as ignorant, “After darwin, it also became accepted to shrug your shoulders at genocide, if you were upset you were just showing your lack of education” (Peck, 2021). I take a deep breath and with the exhale try to release all of the frustration of reflecting on the past. I continue to walk further down the path. I find a small path leading down to the creek and decide to venture that way. The water below me is a murky dark blue color that hides the fish below the surface. As my eyes travel to the middle of the creek, I see a variety of soft colored rocks. The sound of the water gliding across the rocks could put me to sleep. The water doesn’t smell of fish as I would have expected it to have instead it smells of tree bark and fresh air.

I took out my phone to take some notes. As I am typing I remembered a quote from the documentary stating, “History starts when men start to write” (Peck, 2021). Whoever holds the pen to write also holds the power of how history is portrayed. The book, An Indigenous People’s History Of The United States provides another perspective to the history of the colonization of America. The reason that the true history of colonization which includes the pillaging, kidnapping, and genocide of native americans has not been taught is becasue the same people who are comitting those crimes are the ones writing the history. The “victors” will write history to their advantage and avoid documenting the disgusting practices they used to obtain the wealth and land they still currently hold. Words have power and this book has the power to change minds and bring light to the dark past. I am now walking back to my car and taking in all of my surroundings. The fresh air and the sweet smell of grass linger as I step into the driver’s seat. In one week I know I will find myself in this exact parking spot, walking the path I just left.

 

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