Haunted America by Patricia Nelson

1324 Words5 Pages
Why acknowledge history? The solution is because we essentially must to achieve access to the laboratory of human involvement. In the essay “Haunted America”, Patricia Nelson takes a truly various and remarkably gallant stance on United States history. Through the recounting of the White/Modoc war in “Haunted America,” she brings to light the complexity and confusion of the White/Indian conflicts that is often missing in much of the history we read. Her account of the war, with the faults of both Whites and Indians revealed, is an unusual alternative to the stereotypical “Whites were good; Indians were bad” or the reverse stand point that “Indians were good; Whites were bad” conclusions that many historians reach. Limerick argues that a very brutal and bloody era has been simplified and romanticized, reducing the lives and deaths of hundreds to the telling of an uncomplicated story of “Good Guys” and “Bad Guys”. Additionally, Limerick lays forth a challenge to the “cheerful remarks about how the understanding of history will help us to understand ourselves and to cope with the dilemmas we have inherited from the past” (412); this challenge is to find out what. By remembering these stories in their full intensity and completeness, what do we gain besides a revival and restoration of the misery? The following paragraphs will clarify what is missing in much of our history and why it is a problem; they will also address the challenge put forth of what we can possibly learn

More about Haunted America by Patricia Nelson

Open Document