[url=http://www.truthdig.com/arts_culture/item/20071005_the_great_forgetting/]The Great Forgetting
The Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, located on the Mall in Washington, D.C., is a monument to historical amnesia. The blond limestone building, surrounded by indigenous crops of corn, tobacco and squash, invites visitors on a guilt-free, theme park tour of Native American history, where acknowledgment of the American genocide is in extremely bad taste
It is on the fourth floor that the expunging of history begins.
A video installation, “The Storm: Guns, Bibles and Governments,” is featured prominently in the center of the fourth-floor gallery on native history. Tall, curving fiberglass panels enclose the viewing space, backlit in shifting shades of blue and gray. Television screens are set into the panels.
Rapidly scudding clouds appear on the screens, tidal waves, palm trees lashed by typhoons, the debris of cars and houses in floods. Howling wind, shrill flutes and ominous music are heard as a voice intones:
The hurricane. A turbulence. A steady pressure. Unpredictable. Uncertain. It brings death and life. It creates and destroys.
The video tells us, in oblique, lyrical terms, why guns, Christianity and foreign governments are both bad and good things. Of Christianity, the narrator says:
We all know Jesus. He has been with us for a very long time. Christianity, a weapon of forced conversion, slavery and oppression. A weapon of liberation and social justice, salvation and eternal life. Today, many of us are Christians and many are not.
The video closes:
The storm is powerful and unceasing. It creates and destroys. It offers life and death, hope and despair. It is never simply one thing. The storm is an opportunity. The storm teaches. We have learned much.
“The Storm” turns the American Indian genocide into a faceless, mindless natural disaster with a silver lining.