Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Farm House.

In the 1940's, a farm magazine had a contest for a 100 word analysis of a photo of a deserted farmhouse in a badly gullied feild. This was 1st prize:
Picture show white man crazy. Cut down trees, make big teepee. Plough hill. Water mash. Wind blow soil. Grass gone. Door gone. Whole place gone. Money gone. Papoose gone. Squaw too. No chuckaway. No pigs. No cow. No plough. No hay. No pony. Indian no plough land. Keep grass. Buffalo eat grass. Indian eat buffalo. Hides make teepee. Make moccasin. Indian no make terrace. No make dam. All time eat. No hunt job. No hitch hike. No ask relief. No shoot pig. Great spirit make grass. Indian no waste anything. Indian no work. White man crazy.


Red said...

Wow, I'm surprised that as far back as the 1940s some people recognized the madness of man's excessive exploitation of the earth's resources. And what have we been doing since then? More of the same... now, the white man *IS* crazy!

* (asterisk) said...

I love this essay/analysis. Excellent.

ldbug said...

In the 12th and 13th centuries one of the worst droughts hit the southwest. It wasn't the first, nor would it be the last. However, this particular drought destroyed a people, cast them into chaos, divided their world, trade dropped to nothing, and the "barbarians" of their world took over.

The people whose culture fell were the Anasazi. They lived in large apartments, now known primarily as Pueblos. They irrigated their cornfields, clear-cut forests for their fields and for their fuel. By the peak of their empire, they traded with the northern clans for their meat as they'd hunted their lands out.

When the 100-year drought began in roughly the beginning of A.D. 1200, these people were already doomed. Their lands were over farmed, clear-cut, and dying. By the mid 1300's, they were at war with each other and the invading clans. By the time Columbus landed, they were essentially gone.

The Native American history is much like the rest of the world. There are beautiful cultures, but there is also the same humanity at odds with the land they live on.

And the word "squaw" means "cunt" it is not a term used by Native Americans to refer to their own women.

Minerva Jane said...

hilarious. and chilling at the same time, actually.

Candy Minx said...

Red and *, yes I thought this was a pretty funny ditty. Reminded me of Dave Cahpelle somehow.

ldbug, hi great to see you! Thanks for your thoughtful comments. Yes, Anasazi were people who made the tragic mistake of farming. When the Spainards brought horses to North America...they returned to their economy of hunting and gathering.

Um, look sorry, that's kind of an urban myth about the word "cunt". Besides, I don't have a problem with the word cunt. But for goodness sakes, um, squaw does not mean cunt. I'd be very curious to know where you heard that. Having lived near Algonquin society for decades...I can assure you it does not mean cunt or any sexual part of a womans body. It does have a dubious history though, I will give you that. Here check this out:

Squaw is not an English word. It is a phonetic rendering of an Algonkian word, or morpheme, but it does not translate to mean any particular part of a woman's anatomy. Within the entire Algonkian family of languages, the root or morpheme, variously spelled "squa", "skwa", "esqua", "kwe", "squeh", "kw" etc. is used to indicate "female", not "female reproductive parts." Variants of the word are still in widespread use among northeastern peoples. Native speakers of Wabanaki languages use "nidobaskwa", to indicate a female friend, or "awassokwa", to refer to a female bear; Nipmuc and Narragansett elders use the English form "squaw" in telling traditional stories about women's activities or medicinal plants; when Abenaki people sing the "Birth Song", they address "nuncksquassis", the "little woman baby." The Wampanoag people, who are in the midst of an extensive language reclamation project, affirm that there is no insult, and no implication of a definition referring to female anatomy, in any of the original Algonkian forms of the word.

During the contact period, the word "squaw", just like the indigenous words wigwam, sachem, powwow, moose, and thousands of others, was adopted into the English language. In combination with other words or phrases, in both Algonkian and English usage, it carried no derogatory overtones. Squaw Sachem or Suncksuqa was the designated title of female chiefs like Awashonks, Weetamoo, Magnus, and one woman leader from Concord, Mass., who is only known to history by her title, "Squaw Sachem." Squaw vine, - root, -berry, etc. indicated medicinal plants that were efficacious remedies for women. In most historical contexts where the word was used by the English to name a plant or a place, or applied as an adjective, i.e.: "squaw boots", it was used to reflect Native American usage, knowledge and/or history, and not intended as an insult. (One notable excepting is the phrase "squaw man", which denoted a white man who had married into a tribe and was therefore subservient to his Native wife.)

Despite popular modern myths, the word did not come from the Kanienkehake (Mohawk) word "otsikwa", or "otsioskwa", which translates to "cornmeal mush." It does not translate to "whore" in any original indigenous language, despite modern misuse and misunderstandings. But who gets to decide, today, right now, what our original Native words mean? Who gave Euro-Americans the rights to redefine indigenous languages? And how did the word "squaw" end up at the center of a controversy over appropriate usage of words?

This is just one site quote from

And I could find you dozens more in case my experience is not valuable for you.

I would reconsider where someone told you that squaw means cunt and you'll probably find a person who has trouble with research, women and native canadians.

Minerva Jane, thanks for popping by, I think this was a very funny poem too. so simple, humorous and yet carrying some truth.

Candy Minx said...

An afterthought:

The source of this poem and author although I am familiar with it for years and years...I don't know the authors name. I think it might have been anonymous.

But as a poem, we don't need to know what kind of person wrote it we can decifer the "narrator" of the poem with clues. The poem tells the story of looking back and that white man is crazy, perhaps we have the feeling that a native narrator wrote this...or the speaker of the poem is at least respectful of the economy of Native Americans.

I wonder if this might be rather more disturbing...if some people have taken the word squaw to mean cunt...which it only menas that to white people...and probably because it was used as an insult for name it perhaps even more disturbing that a while person who would misunderstand the meaning of "squaw" reading this has their bristles up because an indian has called their female/mother a cunt? (according to the white person ignorance of the meaning of squaw)

cappy said...


thats all. cool.

nuff said.

Tanya said...

That's brilliant!!!! Oh that just tickled me this morning!

* (asterisk) said...

The "squaw meaning cunt" thing has been disproved apparently. See this Wiki article.

BlueKat said...

I love this! Hope you don't mind if I link to it, with attribution, of course.

Underground Baker said...

Hee hee hee,
all very good and funny in such a tragic way.

This is the umpteenth time I have tried to post a comment!

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celestialpainter said...

Candy- this is awesome! Unfortunately today more than ever.... White man still crazy!