A Reader: “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann
As always, this is not a book report. Rather, it is an opportunity to discuss some ideas that stuck with me while reading “Killers of the Flower Moon” by David Grann.
Native Americans and My Home State
I grew up in a small town in the southwest corner of Oklahoma. In my family, we grew up revering Native American culture. In fact, my mom’s side of the family appears on Cherokee tribal rolls. Before I ever entered kindergarten, I knew Oklahoma meant “red people.” I knew about the Trail of Tears, Andrew Jackson, forced removal, and a war on the frontier. As I grew older, that war, for me, would come to mean the attempted mass genocide of a race of people. Reading this book was to read another chapter in the long story of heartbreak, betrayal, and killing of a once proud, but forever noble people.
The United States of America is not without a list of sins. In my mind, two of the greatest sins are those perpetrated against Africans in the form of enslavement and Natives in the form of forced removal, treaties that were never honored, and mass genocide. Even now, in 2018, we have never truly dealt with our original sins. Any social strife that exists today stems from the consistent and ever-present power dynamics cast by the majority upon the minority. This is true in race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability, and countless other iterations. America will never be able to be forgiven for original sins until we fully recognize what power does to others.
Small Town Dying
This book made something abundantly clear to me; something I have witnessed first hand and have been writing about for years. Small town America is dying. In Oklahoma, cities like Oklahoma City and Tulsa have exploded while towns like Frederick, where I grew up, have watched storefronts close, hospitals disappear, and industry move away. This leaves towns depressed and slowly swallowed up by the prairie. As a child of one of those small towns, this is painful to see but stands as another example of social evolution.
Down with Bullies
Bullies come in many forms. They can be found on the playground, in the boardroom, the halls of power, or around the corner. They seek to take from others for their own personal gain. They use almost any advantage available to take what isn’t their property. When I finished this book, I was left with a simple thought; down with bullies. Down with bullies in all forms. Down with those who belittle, trash, bruise, battle, fight, and bring us to the brink of war. The world doesn’t need you. In fact, it is you who is keeping us from progressing forward. As soon as we realize that we collectively outnumber you, this world can get about her business.
Be good to each other,
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