Sunday, March 24, 2013

An Old Cherokee Man and Some Wolves

I'd like to tell you a story and see if any of you know what I'm talking about.

"An old Cherokee man was teaching his grandson about life.  'A fight is going on inside of me,' he said to the boy. 'It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil - he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self pity...The other is good - he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness...and faith. The same fight is going on inside of you - and every other person too.' The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, 'which wolf will win?' The old chief simply replied, 'The one you feed.'"

Don't even pretend with me you haven't heard or read this story, reader. But I have something really crazy to tell you. That's not a Native American legend and has no Native origins whatsoever. Wanna know where it came from? All sources point to Billy Graham and his book from 1978 entitled "The Holy Spirit: Activating God's Power in Your Life". The story was originally used to show the importance of being born again, so it was obviously deeply rooted in Christianity and featured an Eskimo man. It is important to note that Eskimos are racially distinct from Native Americans.

After this it appeared in a 1997 book, again of Christian nature but featured a Native American elder.

Do I approve of this change? No. Why? Because whoever decided it should be changed, and I think that the blame falls to Eliot Rosen and Ellen Burstyn who wrote the 1997 book, did something that I qualify as racist. What did they do? They made the story teller a Native American just because there were implications of earthy type knowledge. However, they did something inconsistent with Native American storytelling. They fed the audience the moral of the story.

There are other things I disagree with about this story, like the fact that as always, black represents evil and white represents all that is good, but mostly because forcing something to be a part of a culture when it isn't is almost as bad as taking away a major part of a culture and then using it for a costume.

If you don't get anything from this post except for the fact that the "Two Wolves" story isn't a Native American legend, I will be happy.

The more you know, kids. The more you know.


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