[As recorded for the Final Straw radio show broadcast on 21Jan18]
I have a serious proposal to run past you, for a project that really has to happen. I’ve already gotten a pledge for the land and buildings to make it happen. My idea is called the Treaty of Greenville Museum and Historical Park. It would be located right here in Ohio and its purpose would be to educate the world on the real history of Ohio’s colonization and statehood.
It would be a kind of interactive experience with Ohio history. Let me walk you through my vision of how it would go:
As you enter the historical park, you would be greeted by a First Nations person who would ask you a few questions about your ancestry. Those people who identify as being white or descending from Europeans would be handed a gift bag and would be provided a lovely, woven blanket.
Nobody else gets these amenities but the white people.
You are then led into the museum where you enter the display entitled, “Famous White War Criminals.” Here, a guide explains how colonizers streamed into the area called Ohio and how their encroachment drove off the game on which the tribal owners of the land subsisted, so that, as the number of settlers increased, the children of the tribal people faced the real possibility of starvation. The guide will then describe the military excursions undertaken to decimate the native land-owners.
It is my hope that the guide can walk you from display to display. The first would have the actual remains of General Josiah Harmar, his bones wired together and dressed in the military gear of his time, seated on a horse, his sword covered in blood.
To put him on display like that, we’d have to dig up his grave the way white people routinely dig up First Nations’ graves. Historically, even the Smithsonian has treated Native American remains as exhibits. So, it would be okay, I think, to drape General Josiah Harmar’s carcass over the back of a plastic horse… you know, for history.
The next display, if we’re lucky, would have the remains of General “Mad Anthony” Wayne, for whom Ft. Wayne, Indiana, is named. Mad Anthony Wayne slaughtered First Nations people and forced the survivors to sign the Treaty of Greenville. So, in my vision, we wire up his bones and put them in a uniform and prop him up in a chair in front of a desk, with a quill in his hand as he signs the treaty, surrounded by plastic victims.
Again, putting corpses on display isn’t vulgar. White folks do it all the time.
Each display will have some general statistics, like estimates of how many people each white war criminal slaughtered.
Then, you step out into a make-shift village re-enactment. In the first village you encounter, there’s seemingly not much happening… mostly folks just laying around, sweaty and delirious. This is the smallpox village designed to show you how hundreds of thousands died as a consequence of smallpox-infected blankets, the first documented use of biological warfare to commit deliberate genocide.
When it comes to biological warfare to commit genocide, Ohio was number one.
At the edge of this village, beyond the residential spaces, you’ll encounter a pile of what appears to be corpses– women, the elderly, babies… and to make them seem real, we can pile the fake corpses over pig blood and organs to draw flies and contribute to the intolerable stench.
As you leave the smallpox village and take a path through the woods, you arrive at a second village that represents the Treaty of Greenville era. You see peaceful tribal people playing with their children, fixing food, caring for one another. Then, you hear the hooves of the horses and the peaceful tribal people run to their shelters while some grab weapons… and then the soldiers come and overwhelm the village, hacking folks to death. Soldiers leap from their horses and chase down some of the women, pounding them in the face and enlisting other soldiers to hold the women down as they climb on top of them, the women screaming. Here and there, you see soldiers running about with what appear to be babies skewered on their fixed bayonets, fake sausage intestines flapping in the breeze, smoke rising from the living spaces.
In the midst of this, the tour guide will explain that this is how Ohio was settled.
We might even have a display on the Ohio Statehouse and how it was built with prisoner slave labor, and how the justice system was used to frame up carpenters, brick-layers, and folks from the skilled vocations, to get the Statehouse built.
By my vision, at the exit, a First Nations person will present a bowl to all of the white folks who accepted gift bags and will ask them to put their keys in the bowl. The First Nations person will explain that, by accepting the gift bag of beads, those white folks agreed to turn over their cars and homes. So, they put their keys in the bowl.
Then, as everyone is led to the parking lot, the First Nations person explains how, in our current culture, we no longer innoculate for smallpox… so those blankets handed to all the white people is the First Nations “paying them back.” They can buy t-shirts from the gift shop on the way out: ‘I went to the Treaty of Greenville Museum and all I got was a smallpox-infected blanket…’
My thinking is, we can sell the cars and homes to keep the museum open. Given the mortality rate of smallpox, most of those folks won’t be using them anyway. So, not only is this an effective plan for teaching Ohioans their true history, it really becomes a tool for reversing that history.
This is Anarchist Prisoner Sean Swain from Warren Corruptional in unceded Indian Territory. If you’re handing smallpox blankets back to the colonizer, you ARE the resistance…
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Categories: Sean Swain