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.