The problem of vanishing Indians at the territories of the North America does not lose its urgent character and remains to be one of the most controversial questions in relation to the concepts of settler colonialism and decolonization.
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To analyze the situation from the modern perspective and relate to the historical context, it is necessary to concentrate on the poem “The Onondaga Madonna” by Duncan Campbell Scott written in 1898 and on the research article “Settler Colonialism and Decolonization” by Lorenzo Veracini written in 2007.
These two works are helpful to discuss the issue of vanishing Indians in North America from several points of view. In spite of the fact the poem and the article provide contrasting approaches to discussing the question related to different periods of time, these works are important to conclude about the current situation and complex picture regarding the issue.
In his poem “The Onondaga Madonna”, Scott presents the image of the Onondaga woman who is described according to the widespread opinions on the Indians. Thus, this woman is “of a weird and waning race” who has the “tragic savage” in her face, and she behaves according to “her pagan passion” (Scott).
Portraying the woman as belonging to the rebellion and violent nation, Scott stresses on the opposition between the civilized and religious Christian world of the Westerners and the pagan and violent world of the Indians. From this point, the usage of the image of Madonna is rather ironical and draws the audience’s attention to the opposition between these two worlds.
Following the structure of the Italian sonnet, Scott also describes the image of Madonna’s child. The Onondaga woman’s child is “paler than she” (Scott). Moreover, living at their “nation’s doom”, the child “will not rest” in the future (Scott). These details help understand Scott’s message that the nation of Onondaga people declines because of the assimilation processes, and children of the Onondaga women are paler than their parents.
There can also be further protests of the Indians against the situation because of their violent and “pagan” nature (Scott). Thus, according to Scott, assimilation and the process of vanishing the nation can be the only way for the Indians. This position is correlated with the situation in 1898.
The phenomenon of assimilation on which Scott hints in his poem is the characteristic feature of settler colonialism. Foreign nations settle at the territories of the native people to create mixed families and make the native people live according to the foreign nations’ laws. This process is also common for the North American territories and for the situation with the Indians.
Although settler colonialism and the process of decolonization are characterized for the second part of the nineteenth century and first part of the twentieth century, the consequences of these processes can be observed even today.
According to Veracini, settler colonialism and decolonization should be discussed and analyzed in their mutual connection. However, it is important to note that Veracini in his article pays more attention to the trends in discussing the problem in the literature than to the problem itself (Veracini).
Settler colonialism is the reflection of the idea that the definite nation is weird and lower in its position than the other developed nations, and it should be vanished with the help of assimilation. Decolonization is the process of rejecting the principles of settler colonialism.
Veracini states that these two processes are equally traumatic for the native people, and his vision is supported with references to the historiographical data (Veracini).
It is rather difficult to decolonize “settler colonial forms” that is why it is possible to suggest that even modern societies of the native people, including the North American territories, suffer from the misbalanced combination of definite “settler colonial forms”, consequences of decolonization, and accentuation of the native traditions in organization and development (Veracini).
The author pays attention to the fact that the processes of decolonization were not really stopped because settler polities were not replaced effectively, and it is necessary to return to the certain approaches used by the colonizers during the period of intensive settler colonialism (Veracini).
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Today, the North American territories are the home for the Canadians, Americans, and Indians. However, during a long period of time the Indians, belonging to different communities, were discussed as the pagan nation which should be assimilated by force in order to be civilized.
These visions are reflected in the poem written by Duncan Campbell Scott. In spite of the fact the era of colonization was ceased, it is possible to refer to the definite examples of colonization today. In his article, Lorenzo Veracini explains this fact with references to the idea of connection between the concepts of settler colonialism and decolonization.
These processes depend on each other significantly, preventing the territories from the complete decolonization. Veracini uses the evidences in relation to different nations, but his conclusions are also relevant for the discussion of the current situation in the North America where the outcomes of the processes are observed nowadays.
Scott, Duncan Campbell. The Onondaga Madonna. n.d. Web.
Veracini, Lorenzo. Settler Colonialism and Decolonization. 2007. Web.