Blood of the Land: The Government and Corporate War Against First Nations
Contains Photos, Maps, Bibliography, Index
Jean Manore is a policy assistant at the Department of Native Affairs.
The quincentenary of Columbus’s voyage of exploration is the catalyst
for this book. Weyler, a founder of Greenpeace, details the malignant
aspects of First Nations’ relations with the European newcomers and
their descendants. His interpretation of this relationship focuses on
the American Indian Movement (AIM) and its involvement at Wounded Knee
in the 1970s. A backdrop to these events is the American avarice for
energy resources on reservation lands and the Hopi teachings of an
alternative lifestyle that precludes resource exploitation. The book is
really an indictment of “European industrial culture,” and, for
Weyler, a realization that First Nations, not the Euro-Americans, have
the answers to the world’s ills.
Chapters 1 through 6 detail the history of AIM, from its beginnings in
Minnesota to its climax at Wounded Knee and its decline as a result of
FBI harassment. Weyler does not allow much character development in this
exposé. Generally, whites are bad, as are those “progressive”
Indians who follow the white system, while traditionalists—those
Indians who remain faithful to their ancient ways—are good.
In the following chapters, the book goes beyond the struggle at Wounded
Knee. One chapter highlights the testimonies—both touching and
terrifying—offered by First Nations representatives to the United
Nations. Another chapter is devoted to the history of First
Nations/Euro-Canadian relations; like much of the rest of the book, this
account is a sweeping generalization, and one that contains some
inaccuracies. (Also, here and elsewhere, Weyler hopscotches over time
and geography in a confusing fashion.) Finally, the epilogue provides a
useful sketch of the Hopi prophecies.
This book is jam-packed with information (much of it from Native
sources, both oral and written), and the author has effectively placed
the AIM motivations and struggles within the context of the Western
world’s energy demands, on the one hand, and the Hopi prophecies on
the other. Unfortunately, the work is a polemic and becomes tiresome
because the arguments are too one-sided.