It is one thing to repeat a question, to try and use it as a gateway to spark a conversation, but to answer it with another question means that you can never understand what to overall message that we are striving to denounce. We know that through history we have realized the atrocities indigenous people were forced to and yet the bias that exist tries to sugarcoat it the way Disney turns a tale of death and depression into a happy go lucky song number followed by true love’s kiss. But the purpose here is not to acknowledge the controversial history of Disney, it’s to acknowledge the dehumanization of indigenous people. When it comes to accounts like Mary Rowlandson, it is best to approach it with a grain of salt. There are always multiple sides to a story which is why the narrative does not just end at the massacre. Instead, her as a captive is shocking since the Europeans are the ones to always conquer, never to be the one that is overthrown. As much as it can be seen as a form of understanding to let Mary do her thing and practice her religion, it is that religion which fueled the unspoken genocide of the indigenous people.
While this piece can be seen as a way to engage the white audience and say “hey they aren’t all savages” that word savages will still be in connection to them, just another way to further that divide and dehumanize a human. One comment in discussion was made that tried to claim that it is in human nature that we segregate but it is the influence of religion that causes Mary to have a closeted perspective of her captors. It is not human nature, it is a social construct. So even if we were to flip the script, swap the roles to have the indigenous be the captive, the narrative would change and not for the better. We as humans are all different and have come to realize that race falls into that category but the reality of the world that we live in today would mean the actions of a flipped script would be overlooked. To put us all together in one category and say we are the savages is a lie as we are all individuals, but it pulls us all back into this never-ending cycle of placing the blame on everyone and not the ones who committed.
This is why specificity matters but the current dilemma we now face in our society washes over it. It can be said the worst thing to do is commit murder, but it is only because of the rules a society sets in place (if a serial killer didn’t know killing was a bad thing or just didn’t have remorse then they may never be able to fully understand the gravity of their actions because they just don’t know *cough cough* Gaston). So, while some may find peace in death due to their religious beliefs, it works to justify the action. But, the collective we do not all follow the same beliefs and would prefer life over death. For this, it doesn’t complicate because it is easy to dismiss by saying it is the oddity, the exception to the overall belief and thus still leading the unspoken indigenous people and leading to the plays that focus on a fabled romance about Cortez rather than the truth but at least here, there is more color to the truth.
Xotchitl Marisol Garibay