Twitter Spat to Mary Rowlandson

@MaryRowlandson001 Upon reading your narrative, I must place a few things before you. It has been made known that you are a devout #Christian. Now, it must be clear to you that we are all but the same judged under God. If so, why then are the Indians given degradation through the course of the text? Is it right to hold and promote prejudices? I would ask you if you would like to be Algonquin, displaced by white men, and forced to welter out their days under starvation and fear, simply because they are not white. There are times when desperate people must make desperate choices, when they have been forced to by another force. Now let me ask you, Mrs. Rowlandson, did they not bring you into their wigwams and soothe your fears? King Phillip certainly outstretched a hand of kindness, which you later rebuked as sinful. Is it a disgrace to accept such a gift of #tobacco, when many a New Englander would consider this a gift? If it is such a disgrace, to accept kindness because of the color of the person gifting, then you must see this deep prejudice. Is there not an inconsistency in your principle? You see then this stark contrast, if you believe only the white man is made in the image of God, and all others must be treated with disdain. But, I must acknowledge that it was clever to use only Old Testament verse within your narrative. The cunning omission allows you to deceive the reader that we are all the same under God. Is this not the message our Father brought to us? I will ask one question more. Can you treat us the way in which God himself endured on the cross, as pariahs to be murdered, deprived of their lawful rights? And to the point, I look at the white skin, with all its crime, and see the crimes written upon it and see no difference between the Romans who lashed our Father. While we strive to conduct ourselves in a manner true to the Spirit’s principles, I must mention “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”, the second of the commandments. Pray the Lord will wash the black heart of prejudice anew in #HolyBaptism, and there will be peace in my heart, and in the nation.

-Sara Nuila-Chae

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My dear Mary,

My dear mary,

You aren’t very truthful in the words you speak about my fellow breatherans

How dare you shame yourself.

There is no one to blame.

The indians are not savages

I’m sure they use their strengths to pick cabbages.

I pity you

I feel sorry for you

It pains me the way you feel

I can’t believe it’s real.

My dear Mary, you aren’t very truthful in the words you speak

It is in my deepest regards that you are so bleak

How can I change my dear friends mind

Through space, through time?

This isn’t like you to only rely on the power of God

I understand his love for you is rather strong

But don’t blame the indians for their actions.

You think they do this for satisfaction.

My dear mary aren’t very truthful in the words you speak.

By: Maricruz Solano

What Would Jesus Do?

By: Carmen Ibarra

Dear Mary Rowlandson,

This is William Apess, writing to you based off your piece, The History of the Captivity. What I don’t seem to understand is the fact that you are being treated fairly by the Indians, yet you still decide to call them foul names because the color of their skin. I have a question for you. “Who are the children of God? Perhaps you may say, none but white. If so, The word of the Lord is not true.” (pg 1083) Did God not create us in his own image? If so, what makes a white person so special? What I am trying to say is, how can you claim to be a christian and follow the Lords ways when you can not even love your neighbor? Scripture says, “By this shall all men know that they are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13.35” (pg 1082) Rowlandson, if you were well-educated on what the scripture says, you would have already known this. We need to love one another equally, despite the color of our skins. I do understand the Indians had killed your family and friends, but take a look into their lives. They were not educated about the word of God nor did you want to teach them about it. Now let me ask, do you withhold all this information from them because the color of their skin is different from yours? I should say “Jesus Christ being a Jew, and those of his Apostles certainly were not whites-and did not he who com­pleted the plan of salvation complete it for the whites as well as for the Jews, and others? And were not the whites the most degraded people on the earth at that time? And none were more so, for they sacrificed their children to dumb idols!”And did not St. Paul labor more abundantly for building up a Christian nation among you than any of the Apostles? And you know as well as I that you are not indebted to a principle beneath a white skin for your religious services but to a colored one.” (pg 1082) Skin color should not affect the way we treat people. Besides, the do no know what is right and wrong so in a perspective it is sort of our fault for not educating them on the word of God. I hope you understand where I am coming from as a true christian and decide to take my advice on how to go about things as a true christian. Have a nice day.

Sincerely,

William Apess

Facebook After Hours: Apess Attempt to Educate

A Facebook Friend of William Apess posts on their  Facebook wall what they consider a highly intellectual post at 8:53pm on a Wednesday in response to today’s political climate. William Apess’ friend, (a colleague he had for a few classes at a pre-dominantly upper class university) Bob writes:

“May God instill the same strength and might in the young children locked in cages as He did in the brave Mary Rowlandson. Although their fights may be quite different, Mary Rowlandson is an outstanding image of what a survivor of captivity and maintainer of Grace looks like.
I pray they find peace in the same ways Mary was able to do so while still holding a respectable image of the Indian Peoples.”

William Apess sees the post nearly minutes after his distant Facebook friend debuts his words. He is unable to simply look past it and keep scrolling. For a moment he is triggered, and decides to “quickly” respond in a respectable yet firm manner, here is what he writes:

Comment by William Apess at 12:02am

“Hello dear “friend” of mine, if that is even what you could still call yourself after the disgusting, ridiculous comparison you have made of a colonizer to innocent indigenous children to this land. While it is not my job to educate you on the history of this country, as the good person I am, I find it in my heart to pose a few learning questions for you today, in hopes you will re-evaluate the nature of your post. Is context not the most important thing to consider when making such bold posts? When discussing the “fight” of Rowlandson, should you not also discuss the fight of countless indigenous peoples who died, suffered at the hands of starvation, and whose women were raped and abandoned all because of a Puritan religion in which justified colonizers acts in doing so?

I pray to God too. I pray that in an era of foreseeable revolution, privileged men on Facebook will look to other revolutionary figures to inspire change, rather than a woman who was most notable for not detailing indigenous people as drunks.

If you have any questions, please feel free to not message me as it is not my job to educate people on their failure to acknowledge the ways in which they continue to disrespect the history and lives of the indigenous people of this land.”

 

-Angelica Costilla-Mancha

Better Than One Might Believe

To Lady Mary Rowlandson,

While many may be able to sympathize with you regarding the terrible loss of your family, I find your descriptions of the Indians to be continuously unwarranted and unbecoming of any good Christian throughout your narrative. I can see why it may be difficult for even a pious Christian such as yourself to initially forgive the Indians, but even as your story continues, even as you appear to grow more understanding of the Indians and their lifestyle, and even when they begin to show you kindness and welcome you into their homes, you still choose to think of them as little more than devils sent by God to tempt you with their lifestyle. I would kindly like to ask a well-educated Christian such as yourself where in the scriptures does our Lord say that the Indian is a devil and the lifestyle he lives is unfit for a Christian? If tomorrow every Indian chose to convert to Christianity and live a puritanical lifestyle such as yourself, do you believe that the conflicts would stop and a peaceful resolution would be found? I find such an occurrence difficult to believe, as even in your writing, you appear to group those Indians who have converted to our faith while dressing and acting like us into the same group as those who hold onto their old faith and reject everything about our lifestyle. I could hardly call one such as you a proper Christian when you are so quick to label any Indian, regardless of their faith, a devil.

Were the whites not at one time living a lifestyle arguably more degrading than the one they live now? Red skin does not prevent one from accepting the teachings of God, nor does red skin take away their right to own and protect their land. As one who has also lived among the Indians and personally seen the lifestyle they live, or in some cases, the lifestyle they have been forced into, I would ask you to reconsider your view of the Indians. Perhaps you chose to think of yourself and do truly believe that they are equal to us in the eyes of God, but there can be no changing the damage that your narrative can do to reinforcing the ideas of others that the Indians are devils and could never be equal to whites, not because of their faith, but because of their skin.

May God keep you safe.

Sincerely,

William Apess

-Ryan Bucher

99.9 Apess Radio – transcript –

 Apess Radio, where we talk about cultural differences, the morals behind sharing historical narratives, and which perspectives matter most. Episode 19 features very special guest, American author Mary Rowlandson,  best known for “Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mary Rowlandson” 

Transcribed by: Leena Beddawi

Apess: Hello and welcome to today’s episode of Apess radio! I just want to let our audience know that Mary Rowlandson is here, so we’re going to be asking a few questions and then continue with our regularly scheduled program. Hello Mrs. Rowlandson, how are you today?

Rowlandson: Please, call me Mary, and I’m doing quite well thank you!, I hope all is okay here as well!

Apess: Yes! We’re excited to have you on the show, and if you’re a new listener you’d probably benefit from knowing that both Mary and I have been in the public eye recently for reasons quite similar to each other, wouldn’t you say, Mary?

Rowlandson: Yes, context wise our stories are completely different, but the important parts are similar.

Apess: and what are the “important parts”, to you?

R: To me, what we have in common and what is most similar between us was the need to be understood, and the drive to write our respective histories down in order to one day be understood. I think I speak for any historical author in saying that we hope to one day be discussed in a classroom, perhaps even side-by-side, creating a discourse about what stories are worth telling and retelling.

Apess: do you find our stories to be of the same value or importance? You mentioned one day our stories could create discourse in a classroom, I’d appreciate your examination of that. I already know my stance and what I’d imagine would happen in a setting you’ve just described, but I’m curious to hear your take.

R: well, I have given it much thought, and being the author that I am, and if our stories were to be taken side by side, I believe the class of spectators would side with your piece being the most valuable, the story which deserves more readers.

Apess: I appreciate you saying that, I can’t say I disagree. I bring up questions for white colonists, like “Can you charge the Indians with robbing a nation almost of their whole continent, and murdering their women and children, and then depriving the remainder of their lawful rights, that nature and God require them to have?” Does a question like that make you uncomfortable?

Rowlandson: I can’t say I know what I would answer, because even being white, I had nothing to do with the torture my male counterparts put you through.

Apess: but yet you benefit from it.

R: Excuse me? Benefit from what?

Apess: your white privilege, the very skin God granted you and I, the hue is very important to your male counterparts.

R: ah yes, you’ve got that right. Especially when it comes to you folk,

A: us folk?

R: yes, I mean, Indians. Natives. The barbarians who captured me, for example, were dark as well, this is something they’d take into consideration.

A: the color or “hue” has nothing to do with anything, though. This is a where the discrimination began, with color being seen as a direct connection to worth. I also don’t want to ignore the fact that you just called your captors barbarians…

R: you know I went through too much, they were barbaric in the way they treated me

A: yet near the end, you were friends with some of these “barbarians”, thinking of them fondly.

R: that was the brainwashing, they prepared me all that time, to enjoy and sometimes even long for their company.

A: I see, wouldn’t you think, however, that all of this could have been solved if we were communicative instead of all the destruction and bloodshed?

R: yes of course! I think all of this could have been solved with some conversations akin to the one we’re having right now.

A: your story, our stories, do you think they should be taught side by side?

R: why not? It gives students both perspectives while also allowing Both valid and honest stories to be told.

A: thank you for joining us, Mary. It was a pleasure having you on the show with us.

R: thank you for having me.

May I speak to the Mrs. Rowlandson

To Mrs. Mary Rowlandson,

Now I must say, when I came upon your work I prayed that it would be to speak on behalf of them. The disdainful words I found describing them, appalled me. I acknowledge that you suffered from the loss of your child and from seeing much bloodshed, I however do not excuse your ignorance. They took you, yes, but your conditions were no different than those that have been imposed unto them, or are they not? What makes you better than the native women? Your skin color? The absence of color at all? Well let me tell you it does not. I will repeat what I wrote in “An Indian’s Looking Glass for the White Man” if you were disenfranchised from all your rights simply because you were white and for nothing else, how would you like that? I ventured to say that those who claimed the skin color to be such a barrier would be those you would first cry out “Injustice! Awful injustice!”(1081). I strayed not far from the truth, you sat there day after day not crying out against the injustice done to those with red skin, but the moment you were afflicted, the unfairness was intolerable. You Mrs. Rowlandson prayed to God about saving you, but never realized that in your captivity, you found salvation, only to throw it away with every single insult. He tried to save you from yourself, from your ignorance, and from your narrow minded upbringing, but it was all fruitless. God created each and every one as equal, and in his image, so why I’m disrespecting a fellow being, you could not see the assault being done to him, your savior? He created an array of colored people and only one of whites and how disgraceful would it be to have them be disrespected and treated as less, as something as superficial as skin. You ate from their plates, you sat with them, you shared lives with the Indians for 11 weeks and dishonored them with your narrative. But I know that you lied, you enjoyed their presence, you in reality know who they are underneath their skin color. You were able to only write something that was skin-deep and for that the Lord will not reward you, he will treat you accordingly to how you have treated the Indians, and anyone different from you.

Sincerely, William Apess

Sabrina Vazquez

An Email to the Author

Mrs. Mary Rowlandson

Re: Her Narrative of Captivity and Restoration

Mrs. Rowlandson,

Upon viewing your narrative, I am much aggrieved to encounter many of the statements which are oft used to degrade my brethren, the Indians. Abounding from the start are those terms “savage” and “barbarian,” which despite their common usage, contain no truth-telling, and, most fortunately, fail to have any such fruition that their meanings infer in your further writing. Those of my brethren which you have described in this most unfortunate of circumstances, in which you came to know them, appear to be fleeing for their very lives, the likes of which we have seen far too many a time in Massachusetts and elsewhere throughout the Union. It is common practice it seems, that a white man, or woman such as yourself, shall come into contact with an Indian only to see nothing more than they have expected from the very beginning. Indeed, for a portion of your narrative, it is plain to see your own prejudice and lack of principle regarding my brethren; whereupon meeting the esteemed King Philip you begin to settle in among those you had named “heathens.” Such an unworthy term this is, for in your own mission to convert the Indians, you put them to shame with unfeeling insults; you pronounce them unworthy of the faith we share in God, and provide only more distance between yourself and them. Now you having seen the honest and generous nature of my brethren, the Indians, I implore you to do them no more disservice in the spreading of your narrative. For your capture and safe return, though harrowing they are, have shown you further the mercy and favor of Christ, our savior. A friend you may find in an Indian, and an honest man in one of color, but the white man has condemned him, has forced him to do to you as was done to him. He practices not to “love your neighbor as yourself,” for the gesture of the white man is to put him in shackles and put him until his bones may break and his spirit may fail. No longer should you condemn the Indians for their skin color, for it is of your own that they have become what you have seen. Repressed is their generosity, which you yourself have yet seen, and out the mania of King Philip’s War has come, though in no way to match that of the slaughter of my brethren. Peace, that the Lord has promised, is at hand; Mrs. Rowlandson you may yet redeem your people, all of our people, in their hatred and greed. No longer shall the Indians be exploited and discriminated and pushed down, for you can lift them up with your words, you can bring to the light of day to fruition in the equality of all people. For your narrative shows the world the home of Indians, daily becoming smaller and smaller, the struggle of the Indian people to find food, to fight for justice in the court of the white man. Make known the goodness of King Philip, of your master, and any such squaw who took pity upon you-for your reward shall be great through the grace of God.

Your most humble friend,

William Apess

-Meredith Leonardo

Tumblr: Where Real Talk Gets Posted

will_isnt_apressed

Call Out Post: Religion Doesn’t Equal Racism

So recently I came across a post by @Rowlandson_Girl_ and I have to say that I had to write this post to talk about it. We as a tumblr community are very susceptible to misinformation especially when it regards other people. Given how we want to be an inclusive space for POCs, people of color for those who don’t know the term, we actually really need to talk about her post on captivity. Her post portrays Native Americans in a really negative light that also seems to justify her racist perspective because we need to be clear that her story is racist. We can’t mince words because that is the truth. Now something that I really want to touch upon is her use of her faith because I too am religious but I really can’t come to terms with using religion as justification for racism. I’m about to get a little preachy, so please bear with me, but looking back on history we need to understand that Jesus himself was a POC. A quote from a English Lit class reading that sticks with me is this: “Now, if the Lord Jesus Christ, who is counted by all to be a Jew–and it is well known that the Jews are a colored people, especially those living in the East, where Christ was born–and if he should appear among us, would he not be shut out of doors by many, very quickly? And by those too who profess religion?” because it is incredibly honest. It’s from William Apess’s An Indian’s Looking-Glass For The White Man and it drives home the point I’m trying to make which is that religion cannot serve as a justification for racism. It goes against some of the very principles that you are meant to uphold and believe in as someone practicing Christianity. A core principle of Christianity is that anyone can be saved if they are willing to repent and ask for forgiveness. There’s no special requirement that you have to be white or colored in order to obtain forgiveness. So what @Rowlandson_Girl_ is saying is totally at odds with this core principle. She paints Native Americans as barbarians and making the jump from there to the idea that they are undeserving of practicing Christianity is not hard to make if you believe in that rhetoric.

So for anyone who read her post and immediately sympathized with her story I would like you to consider this perspective. Feel free to come at me with your opinions in a reblog or a comment, and I will respond because I feel like this is a frank discussion that needs to be had here, if it can’t be had on a national scale. There is always going to be a divide between POCs and non-POCs if we never have a discussion to try and come up with actual efforts to combat the imbalance and injustice people of color have had to and continue to deal with on a regular basis.

 

By Diana Lara

Questions Answered For Mary

Dear A Magazine For the Empowerment of Indigenous People,

I would like for my response to go right next to Mary Rowlandson’s “Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson.” My response goes as follows:

Mary, I wish you were alive so I could get the chance to ask you these things face to face, because your reaction would be everything. You were captured by Indians and were immediately scared to be in their care; was it because of the idea that you’d been sold that they were savages and not human enough? Or was it because you felt like it was proper violent retaliation for the invasion that your own people were responsible for? Maybe you had heard stories that you would often ignore (since you had no reason to care, living the lavish life you described losing while in captivity) and now were extremely relevant because you realized it was your turn to feel some of the same pain. At least you weren’t left to be one of their prostitutes, that would’ve been terrible, but not unfamiliar as that was in your people’s style. And I know, towards the end you believed it to be some sort of divine journey to help you appreciate your wifely duties that sometimes you’d complain about, or the peace that these savages you say, stole from you. But, you see; that’s where I’d have to disagree. God loves me and it has nothing to do with my skin, or the fact that I am mixed, but because of my principles. And I’m also sure, since God is omniscient, he knows that these principles didn’t come from the Indians who captured you. They started from your people and this was just a fight back. And I know that at some point you realized they weren’t the savages you described them to be, and for your own benefit you decided to keep them as savages incapable of doing what your holy body could do. And you were right, they were incapable of robbing a nation almost of their whole Continent, and murdering their women and children, and then depriving them of their rights…even ’till this day. And in the end, there is one success story here and I am an example. My ancestors didn’t have the common education your people did, but we had principles and heart and because of that, I am now able to clearly tell you that you were wrong. You and all your people, were wrong.

Sincerely,

William Apess

 

– Ruth Serrano