Americans often question or deny claims of genocide against indigenous peoples because they challenge our patriotic version of American history. We might have been upset if Chiitaanibah Johnson disrupted our classes. But we might have learned more about genocide and U.S. history.
The controversy surrounding the Washington football team name is in some ways a bellwether. Americans do not know enough about our shared history even to be properly offended at the lack of an inclusive narrative that illuminates the history of this continent in all of its complexity.
All the stories of road trips I've come to love and admire over the years seem to depict young people who leave home hoping to loosen the collar of institutional confines; driving away from the path through life expected of them by loved ones.
Even though the government tried to take the Lakota names away, they didn't completely succeed. People on the reservation today do carry last names, but names that belong to their ancestors: White Plume, Yellow Thunder, Takes War Bonnet.
Elbys Onea Naiche Hugar was the last of her breed. In her crackling sweet voice that commanded attention, she told me that she was the last of her generation. All of her close family members had passed away, so she was the only one left.
As we, the American public, hack through thickets of politically enhanced blogoshere-distributed demonstrations and debates about who we are, most of us overlook one factor: We started out as trespassers.