Destruction of Generosity

One of the lesser-known stories of the North American experience is the systematic destruction of generosity by the new colonial powers known as Canada and the United States. As part of the broader federal policies to annihilate the indigenous conservation cultures, the outlawing of the Potlatch — an institutionalized indigenous ceremony of gift-giving — both weakened tribal bonds, as well as spared settler societies the embarrassment of being exposed for the ruthless, greedy bastards they were. After all, generosity as public relations — a.k.a. philanthropy — is a significant element of colonial hypocrisy; contrasted with the authentic item, it isn’t hard to distinguish the phony from the real thing.

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~ by Jay Taber on March 30, 2009.

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