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Opinion
S.E. Ruckman: Putting 'Great White Father' to rest


"Palm reading is not a sterling science.

I was once in Kansas City for a rock concert and came upon a street vendor who read palms. I was eager to know what future I literally carried in my hand. After a modest fee, she told me I would have many children and not with my (then) current spouse. I smirked at her and walked away. Since then, I have had only one child and with the spouse I had at the time. So my belief in palm readers is kind of shaky.

But now, as most tribal people leave Washington, D.C., breathless after our new president’s inauguration, we are now looking for signs to see what having a minority president really means. Someone suggested to me that our Great White Father was now Black. Now, that was a stunner. Time to lay to rest an archaic reference, I guess.

Calling the president of the United States “father” is centuries old. When newly formed delegations of recently revolutionary politicians sat down with tribal chiefs, the reference to the president was Great White Father. And we, (the tribes) his children. There are records of it dating back to at least 1827, when Andrew Jackson (an Indian fighter if there ever was one) was in the White House."

Get the Story:
S.E. Ruckman: The ‘Great White Father’ laid to rest (The Native American Times 1/29)

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