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American encounters

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American encounters

Who Speaks The Voice Of History

The facts of history in the eyes of Americans have been viewed in many lights. The Smithsonian exhibit entitled, ?American Encounters? is no exception. This multimedia exhibit focuses on American Indians, Hispanics and Anglo-Americans in New Mexico. Although the exhibit contains many noteworthy facts about the culture and lifestyle of the Indians, in my opinion, many other aspects of Native American history were left in the shadows. The Smithsonian did not clearly illuminate the struggle and oppression which the Indians endured during the European settlement. This obscured information raises the issue of which historical facts are selected as notable. E.H. Carr, an historian, explains this argument with a very prominent quote from the first chapter of his book What is History. The quote states, ?The facts speak only when the historian calls on them: it is he who decides to which facts to give the floor and in what order or context? (Carr 9).

As stated above, Carr believes that ?facts only speak when the historian calls on them. . .? (Carr 9). In the ?American Encounters? exhibit, the facts concerning Indian tribulation and European domination could not be heard. By all means I believe that their situation was more than just an encounter. From the statement on the plaque, one could interpret that the Europeans were given the land, or that the Europeans established forts, trading posts, and colonies to live as one with the Indeginous peoples; however, that was not the case.

Consequently, Carr's statement holds true. The authors of the exhibit choose how to present this portion of history. They decide in what context to display the facts. Obviously the authors feel that a blurb on the wall is enough to express years of struggle and strife. If visitors to the Smithsonian had no previous knowledge about the conflict between Native Americans and the Spaniards, does this excerpt explain ...

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Keywords: american encounters/global interactions, american stone encounters, native american encounters with european explorers, native american encounters lewis and clark, american stone encounters wadsworth ohio, native american encounters, american places encounters with history, native american encounters with conquistadors

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