History of the counterculture in the US: The Other America
What is the Other America? Is it correct to talk about the “Other America”? Who are the “other Americans”? Indians, “Nigros”, workers, immigrants (emigrants?) can all be accounted for that role. But why are they called “others”? Others to whom? Isn't it correct to say that the Other America actually is the real America?
History first. When did this phenomenon start?
The date that most recognise as the beginning of the Other America is the December 29th, 1890. That day at least 150 Lakota had been killed and 50 wounded in the Wounded Knee massacre. Why?
The “Americans” were willing to conquer all the American land, but first they had to destroy Indian culture even by killing thousands of natives. First the Indians were confined into reservations that didn't allow them to free-roam as they had always been used to. They had to stay into defined borders, they couldn't travel around anymore, they couldn't hunt their food anymore, they could just hand down their traditions to they youngsters and hope for a brighter future. It didn't happen. The once proud Indians found their nomadic life destroyed, the buffalos gone, themselves confined to reservations dependent on Indian Agents for their existence. In a desperate attempt to return to the days of their glory, many sought salvation in a new mysticism. The preacher of this movement was a man called Wovoka, who considered himself the Messiah and prophesied that the dead would soon join the living in a world in which the Indians could live in the old way surrounded by plentiful game. A tidal wave of new soil would cover the earth, bury the whites, and restore the prairie. To hasten the event, the Indians were to dance the Ghost Dance. During the fall of 1890, the Ghost Dance spread through the Sioux villages of the Dakota reservations, revitalizing the Indians and bringing fear to the whites. A desperate Indian Agent at Pine Ridge wired his superiors in Washington, "Indians are dancing in the snow and are wild and crazy....We need protection and we need it now. The leaders should be arrested and confined at some military post until the matter is quieted, and this should be done now." The order went out to arrest Chief Sitting Bull at the Standing Rock Reservation. Sitting Bull was killed in the attempt on December 15. Chief Big Foot was next on the list. When he heard of Sitting Bull's death, Big Foot led his people south to seek protection at the Pine Ridge Reservation. The army intercepted the band on December 28 and brought them to the edge of the Wounded Knee to camp. The next morning the chief, racked with pneumonia and dying, sat among his warriors and powwowed with the army officers. Suddenly the sound of a shot pierced the early morning gloom. Within seconds the charged atmosphere erupted as Indian braves scurried to retrieve their discarded rifles and troopers fired volley after volley into the Sioux camp. From the heights above, the army's Hotchkiss guns raked the Indian teepees with grapeshot. Clouds of gun smoke filled the air as men, women and children scrambled for their lives. Many ran for a ravine next to the camp only to be cut down in a withering cross fire. When the smoke cleared and the shooting stopped, approximately 300 Sioux were dead, Big Foot among them. Twenty-five soldiers lost their lives. As the remaining troopers began the grim task of removing the dead, a blizzard swept in from the North. A few days later they returned to complete the job. Scattered fighting continued, but the massacre at Wounded Knee effectively squelched the Ghost Dance movement and ended the Indian Wars.
“The year of the massacre at Wounded Knee, 1890, it was officially declared by the Bureau of the Census that the internal frontier was closed. The profit system, with its natural tendency for expansion, had already begun to look overseas. The severe...