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Mohawk Ironworkers: People that build New York

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    Posted: 02 Jan 2011 at 23:59
Yes, the European and Euroamericans conquered the lands, designed and financed the buildings, but it is less known that many of the icons of New York cities were build by theirs ancient inhabitants: the Mohawk.




The Mohawk ironworkers

Only after the Twin Towers had been destroyed did I learn about the special role that Mohawk Indians played in constructing them.

For more than a century, Mohawk ironworkers have had a reputation for embracing the dangerous job of building bridges and skyscrapers.

They worked on the Empire State Building, the Sears Tower and the San Francisco Bay Bridge.

Five hundred Mohawk Indians walked the high steel during construction of the World Trade Center.

This being American Indian Heritage Month, why not take a minute and listen to one of these workers reminisce?


 
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Mohawk Ironworkers Have Been Building NYC for a Century

Today, American Indians are dispersed widely throughout the New York metro area, and can claim no ethnic enclaves along the lines of Chinatown or Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods. It wasn�t always like that, however, as there was a distinctly Mohawk community throughout much of the 20th Century, centered in what is now Boerum Hill in Brooklyn (formerly North Gowanus).

The community reached its zenith in the 1950s, when some 700 Mohawk men made their homes there with their families, mostly around Nevins Street. There was a bar in the area called the Wigwam. At a church on Pacific Street, the local pastor learned to speak Mohawk so he could better minister to his flock. It was in this church that a young Louis Mofsie (now in his seventies) practiced singing and dancing with his friends; that group would later become the celebrated Thunderbird American Indian Dancers, which still perform to rave reviews. Mofsie is Hopi and Winnebago.

The economic engine behind the Mohawk community in Brooklyn was steel. Over many decades, Mohawk ironworkers played key roles in constructing New York�s built environment, having helped raise the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, the Waldorf-Astoria, the Henry Hudson Parkway, the George Washington, Triborough and Verrazano-Narrows Bridges, and the World Trade Center, among many other structures.

More recently, Mohawks worked on the AOL Time Warner towers at Columbus Circle. Mohawks were also some of the first skilled workers to comb through the rubble when the Twin Towers came down in September 2001.

High-rise work has been a tradition among some Mohawk since the mid-1800s, particularly among men from the Kahnawake (pronounced ga-nuh-WAH-gay) reservation near Montreal in Canada. Observers have suggested that the dangerous, demanding labor is a natural extension of the Mohawk�s tradition of building 200-foot longhouses. Others have pointed out that when the Mohawk first entered the business, there weren�t many other jobs available to them. Over time, the high-stakes career was often passed from fathers to sons. In the building trades, Mohawk men earned a reputation as being sure-footed and excellent workers.

But then a building bust hit the Big Apple, lasting from 1985 until 1995. There weren�t enough high-rise jobs to keep the Mohawks employed, so most returned to Canada, or sought work west and south.

When the economy picked up in the late 1990s, some Mohawk ironworkers began returning to New York job sites, where they can make $100,000 a year. Sometimes the men stay in New York through the week, often in a boarding house or cheap apartment, then drive the 400 miles to Kahnawake every weekend.

�Most native ironworkers now are spread out throughout the city. There is no enclave any more,� said Stephanie Betancourt, the reference desk director at the resource room in the National Museum of the American Indian in NYC. Betancourt is Seneca and is originally from upstate New York. �They tend to bring their families with them, which live full time through the school year. In the summer, kids go back to the reservations to spend time with their grandparents and so forth,� explained Betancourt.     




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2011 at 00:31
Oh brother...

First it was the white man who built and made the country. Then when that got to be boring news, it was then proffered and propagandized that the country was actually built and made by the black man. Now that that ethno-feel-good-story seems to be slowly running down in it's course and becomes yesterdays news, then the new idea is that the country was actually built and made by some other group, a native indigenous group(s)?! After that gets to be old news, then it will be the turn of our Spanish speaking citizens in claiming they are the ones who actually made the country? Ah well, so much for human equality!

It should suffice that every culture, group, individual(s), has left an imprint on the country. But, oh no, we can't let the facts get in the way of fluffy pieces regarding each ethnic feelings, now can we?

At some point i hope the subject will become a closed issue when that is realized, rather than taking on the appearance of being open ended and perhaps even destructively cyclical!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2011 at 00:42
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Oh brother...

First it was the white man who built and made the country.


Interesting comment.  LOL
Certainly some people aren't willing to accept that Amerindians contributed to anything. Even more, after the fact many Mohawks aren't even U.S. Citizens but Canadians. Confused

Indeed, Africans picked theirs cotton, Chinese build theirs railways and German nazi scientist build theirs space program and German Jews the atomic program.... Sorry, White man. Too many foreigners participate in the building of that country. Just don't forget the Mohawks.

Let's continue with the topic.

The Mohawks Who Built Manhattan

For generations, Mohawk Indians have left their reservations in or near Canada to raise skyscrapers in the heart of New York City.
By: Renee Valois



High atop a New York University building one bright September day, Mohawk ironworkers were just setting some steel when the head of the crew heard a big rumble to the north. Suddenly a jet roared overhead, barely 50 feet from the crane they were using to set the steel girders in place. “I looked up and I could see the rivets on the plane, I could read the serial numbers it was so low, and I thought ‘What is he doing going down Broadway?’” recalls the crew’s leader, Dick Oddo. Crew members watched in disbelief as the plane crashed into one of the towers of the World Trade Center, just 10 blocks away.

At first, Oddo says, he thought it was pilot error. He got on his cell phone to report the crash to Mike Swamp, business manager of Ironworkers Local 440, but he began to wonder. Then another jet flew by. “When the plane hit the second tower, I knew it was all planned.”

Like Oddo, most of the Mohawk crews working in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, headed immediately to the site of the disaster. Because many of them had worked on the 110-story World Trade Center some three decades earlier, they were familiar with the buildings and hoped they could help people escape faster. Fires were raging in the towers and the ironworkers knew that steel weakens and eventually melts under extreme heat. They helped survivors escape from the threatened buildings, and when the towers came crashing down, they joined in the search for victims.

In the months that followed, many Mohawk ironworkers volunteered to help in the cleanup. There was a terrible irony in dismantling what they had helped to erect: Hundreds of Mohawks had worked on the World Trade Center from 1966 to 1974. The last girder was signed by Mohawk ironworkers, in keeping with ironworking tradition.

Walking the iron
Mohawks have been building skyscrapers for six generations. The first workers came from the Kahn­awake Reservation near Montreal, where in 1886 the Canadian Pacific Railroad sought to construct a cantilever bridge across the St. Lawrence River, landing on reservation property. In exchange for use of the Mohawks’ land, the railroad and its contractor, the Dominion Bridge Co., agreed to employ tribesmen during construction.

The builders had intended to use the Indians as laborers to unload supplies, but that didn’t satisfy the Mohawks. Members of the tribe would go out on the bridge during construction every chance they got, according to an unnamed  Dominion Bridge Co. official quoted in a 1949 New Yorker article by Joseph Mitchell (“The Mohawks in High Steel,” later collected in the 1960 book Apologies to the Iroquois, by Edmund Wilson). “It was quite impossible to keep them off,” the Dominion official said.

The official also claimed the Indians demonstrated no fear of heights. If they weren’t watched, he said, “they would climb up and onto the spans and walk around up there as cool and collected as the toughest of our riveters, most of whom at that period were old sailing-ship men especially picked for their experience in working aloft.”

Impressive perhaps, but Kahn­awake ironworker Don Angus explains that his ancestors back then were just teenagers daring each other to climb the 150-foot structure and “walk the iron.” Company workers tried to chase them off the bridge, Angus says. “I know that for a fact. They were getting in the way.”

The Indians were especially interested in riveting, one of the most dangerous jobs in construction and, then as now, one of the highest paid. Few men wanted to do it; fewer could do it well, and in good construction years there were sometimes too few riveters to meet construction demand, according to the New Yorker article. So the company decided to train a few of the persistent Mohawks. “It turned out that putting riveting tools in their hands was like putting ham with eggs,” the Dominion official declared. “In other words, they were natural-born bridge-men.” According to company lore, 12 young men—enough for three riveting gangs—were thus trained.

After the Canadian Pacific Bridge was completed, the young Mohawk ironworkers moved on to work on the Soo Bridge, which spanned the St. Mary’s River connecting Sault Ste. Marie, On­tario, and Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. Each riveting gang brought an apprentice from Kahn­awake to learn the trade on the job. When the first apprentice was trained, a new one came up from the reservation, and by 1907 more than 70 skilled structural ironworkers from the reservation were working on bridges.

Then tragedy struck. American structural engineer Theodore Cooper had designed the Quebec Bridge, a cantilevered truss bridge that would extend 3,220 feet across the St. Lawrence River above Quebec City. Because the Quebec Bridge Co. was strapped for cash, the company was eager to accept his design, which specified far less steel than was typical for a bridge of that size.

As the bridge grew, disturbing bends in the structure were explained away by Cooper and John Deans, chief engineer of Phoenix Bridge, the company building the bridge, as damage probably caused offsite before the beams were set in place. No one wanted to admit that the expensive bridge appeared increasingly unable to bear its own weight.

On Aug. 29, 1907, the bridge collapsed. Of the 75 men who died, 33 were Mohawks—about half of the tribe’s high-steel workers. But the tragedy didn’t turn Mohawks away from ironworking. According to an elderly Mohawk quoted in the 1949 New Yorker article, “It made high steel much more interesting to them. It made them take pride in themselves that they could do such dangerous work. After the disaster . . . they all wanted to go into high steel.” Less than 10 years later, the American Board of Indian Commissioners claimed that 587 of the 651 men in the tribe now belonged to the structural steel union.

But to ensure that so many tribesmen were never again killed in one accident, the Mohawk women insisted that the men split into smaller groups to work on a variety of building projects. That’s when they began booming out—tribal slang for scattering to find high-steel work away from home, in New York City and other distant places.

Gangs of New York
Although Mohawks had worked in New York City as early as 1901, it wasn’t until the 1920s that they came in large numbers, working in tight-knit four-man gangs to feed the demand for workers during a massive building boom, later stoked by Depression-era public works and then post-World War II prosperity. They came eventually not only from Kahnawake, but from other reservations as well, including Akwesasne (or Akwasasne) in upstate New York, near Canada.

Mohawk high-steel men worked on virtually every big construction project in New York City: the Empire State Building, the RCA Building, the Daily News Building, the Bank of Manhattan Building, the Chrysler Building, the United Nations, and Madison Square Garden. They also continued to build bridges, including the George Washington Bridge, the Bayonne Bridge, the Triborough Bridge, the Henry Hudson Bridge, the Hell’s Gate Bridge, the Bronx-Whitestone Bridge, and many more.

During the heady boom times of the first half of the 20th century, construction of steel structures required three types of work crews: raising gangs, fitting-up gangs, and riveting gangs.

The steel columns, beams, and girders arrived at the construction site already cut to size with holes for rivets, and code marks indicated where each was to be placed. The raising gang used a crane to lift the steel pieces and set them in place, loosely joining them with a few temporary bolts. The fitting-up gang tightened the pieces, ensuring that they were plumb, and inserted more temporary bolts. Then it was time for the four-man riveting gangs, where the Mohawks excelled. Because of the dangerous nature of the job, riveters preferred to work with partners they trusted; for Mohawks, this meant relatives and fellow tribesmen.

In the riveting gang, the heater fired the rivets in a portable, coal-burning forge until they were red-hot. With tongs he then tossed a rivet to the sticker-in, who caught it in a metal can as he stood with the other gang members on narrow scaffolding beside the steel. The bucker-up re­moved one of the temporary bolts and the sticker-in then shoved the hot rivet into the empty hole. The bucker-up braced the rivet with a dolly bar while the riveter used a pneumatic hammer to turn the hot and malleable stem of the rivet into a permanent head, securing the steel. The men took turns at the four tasks, making sure to give the riveter a regular break from his bone-jarring job.

Though ironworking technology has improved over the years, ironworkers still die on the job at a rate of 35 to 50 fatalities each year—75 percent of them from falls. Akwe­sasne ironworker Oddo lost his grandfather to a fatal fall from the high steel; his father died on his 25th anniversary in ironworking, driving home from a construction site. Many graves of fallen steelworkers at Kahnawake are marked by crosses made of steel girders.

The pay continues to bring the Mohawks back: Ironworkers today earn about $35 an hour plus benefits, which in busy times yields $65,000 to $70,000 a year.

The highs and lows of steel
In 1927 a federal court judge, citing the 150-year-old Jay Treaty, ruled that the Mohawks could pass freely between Canada and the United States since their territory had included portions of both nations. But because the drive from New York City to Kahnawake took almost 12 hours, many of the men instead moved their families to Brooklyn.

By 1960, around 800 Mohawks lived there. A Mohawk steelworker conclave had sprung up near Fourth Avenue and Atlantic Avenue, with grocery stores stocking their favored o-nen-sto cornmeal and churches offering services in their native language.

But just 10 years later, few Mo­hawks remained. The new Adiron­dack Northway had halved the time it took to drive between New York and Kahnawake, and along with a growing pride in Indian culture—and rising crime in New York City—the shorter commute convinced most of the Mohawk ironworkers that it was time to go home.

 Today most of the high-steel Mohawks still live in the city during the week, often sharing lodgings, and drive home to their families in Kahnawake and Akwesasne every weekend. But work has been slow since the collapse of the World Trade Center towers, and recent improvements in reinforced concrete have made it more attractive in some ways than steel: It goes up faster, requires less height for the same number of floors, is easier to modify during construction, and—most important in the wake of 9/11—it’s more resistant to heat.

On the other hand, steel is still considerably stronger than concrete, and steel-framed buildings are easier to modify to suit the needs of successive tenants. Because of that, many experts say that steel structures will never completely disappear.

That suits the Mohawks, who after six generations have made high steel a tribal tradition. “It makes you a better man,” says Swamp.

Renee Valois wrote about American mummies in the May/June issue of The History Channel Magazine.

A Mohawk Skywalking Tradition
Why would people with deep traditions centered in the earth embrace the trade of building skyscrapers in a city, high above it? Indeed, for decades anthropologists, construction company executives, and even the Mohawks themselves have debated why the tribesmen originally became skywalkers and why they remain high-steel workers today.

Probably the most controversial assertion originated with an official at the Dominion Bridge Co., which trained the first Mohawk ironworkers in 1886. He reportedly claimed that they had no fear of heights and even compared them to sure-footed mountain goats.

Others have suggested that the Indians’ tradition of walking one foot in front of the other on narrow logs over rivers suited them for walking the thin girders of a bridge or a skyscraper. This suggests that they have a natural balance and agility that is probably fictional: Mohawks don’t die in lower numbers than other ironworkers.

Anthropologist Morris Frielich suggests a cultural lure for  ironworking: He compares high-steel Mohawks to warriors who risked death and returned  with booty. Some anthropologists have also suggested that the risky work gave tribesmen a chance to test and display their courage.

While many Mohawk ironworkers admit to taking pride in doing a dangerous and important job, they dispute the idea that they’re not afraid of heights. Kahnawake ironworker Don Angus says Mohawks simply “have more respect for heights. You’ve got to watch it up there.”

On the other hand, some historians and some Mohawks cite the tribes’ ancient tradition of building longhouses as proof that building has always been in the blood. “It’s a hand-me-down trade, and it’s tradition,” says Angus. “My grandfather and his grandfather worked on iron.” Akwesasne ironworker Mike Swamp agrees: “My father was an ironworker. My son is an ironworker. It’s a family tradition.”






Edited by pinguin - 03 Jan 2011 at 00:49
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2011 at 00:52
Pinguin, i think you entirely missed the point! But, never mind. You will no doubt carry on...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2011 at 01:00
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:

Pinguin, i think you entirely missed the point! But, never mind. You will no doubt carry on...


I understood it perfectly. Of course the White man designed the buildings, financed them and brought the technology. I haven't said otherwise.

I just wanted to remember the workers that actually build those buildings. Not all them were Mohawks, because there were also poor European immigrants in those dangerous jobs. But then, why shouldn't we recognize the small but important contribution of a native nation to modernity, as workers in one of the most dangerous jobs available?

The Empire State, the Chrisler building, the WTC and many high rising buildings, bridges and other structures have been made by Mohawk workers, or mainly by them.

They deserved to be remembered as well. Besides the Mohawk are a part of the Iroquois confederation, a group that contributed in many ways to the development of the U.S.




Edited by pinguin - 03 Jan 2011 at 01:00
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2011 at 03:09
No, i don't think you did. I am not trying too say anything more than that any groups of people who have came to the shores of this country had contributed to the build up of it's society in one way or another, regardless of ethnicity. That is all i am boringly trying to say. No more and no less.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2011 at 12:02
So, do you agree Mohawks deserve theirs hardly won reputation as skywalkers?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2011 at 14:31
pinguin, why do you think this is news? I seem to remember reading about Mohawks working on skyscrapers when I was still at school, which makes it pretty old. And it's hardly surprising that most or many of them are Canadians since their tribal lands straddled the present US-Canada border.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2011 at 14:49

This is nothing new, I agree. But it is interesting, isn't?

After all, if we discuss about Romans why not about Mohawks?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Flipper Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2011 at 17:23
I remember I saw a documentary about it 15 years ago or something. It was unbelievable how fearless they were of heights.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2011 at 19:20
Sadly the reasons they were employed were that, in addition to not fearing heights, they didn't ask for much money, and they weren't unionised. At least, not to begin with.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Jan 2011 at 19:52
Let's talk about the plight of women farmers in Chile and how they are exploited by Santiago's agribusinesses! Let us have the real story about all of those bushels of unripe Chilean produce cluttering world markets!
 
 
Yes, the Chilean government does not care a poof about these oppressed and exploited females in the notoriously patriarchal Chilean society:
 
Originally posted by ipsnews ipsnews wrote:

The land where Guzman grows her family’s vegetables and a few crops for market is part of an inherited field that was divided between her and her three siblings. Her portion, where she grows mainly onions, potatoes and tomatoes, is 1,000 square metres in size. She is saving up to build a house with the aid of a government subsidy for rural housing.

"It’s not even big enough to raise some livestock. My siblings already have their homes. But since I don’t have mine yet, I’m taking full advantage of the land in the meantime, because when I build my house, the land area is really going to shrink," said Guzman.

Lack of access to land is especially a hurdle for women. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) stresses the urgent need to provide equal access to land in order to strengthen global food security.

Lack of security in terms of land tenure, ownership or use is one of the main obstacles to an increase in agricultural productivity and income for rural women, says the United Nations agency, whose regional office is based in Santiago.

The National Association of Rural and Indigenous Women (ANAMURI), which groups around 10,000 women farmers, says the Chilean state has yet to respond fully to their demand for equal access to land and for solutions to the specific social and economic problems they face.

"Very little land is in the hands of small farmers, because they were driven under during 17 years of dictatorship," the president of ANAMURI, Alicia Munoz, told IPS.




Edited by drgonzaga - 03 Jan 2011 at 19:54
Honi soit qui mal y pense
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jan 2011 at 00:43
Originally posted by Flipper Flipper wrote:

I remember I saw a documentary about it 15 years ago or something. It was unbelievable how fearless they were of heights.


They were, and are, a coragious people. I bet they wanted to show theirs courage and they did.
Most of the rest of common people would chicken out with that job.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jan 2011 at 00:45
Are you the mod, gcle2003? If so, please say something to Drgonzaga that, as usually, keeps trolling. Thanks.

Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Sadly the reasons they were employed were that, in addition to not fearing heights, they didn't ask for much money, and they weren't unionised. At least, not to begin with.


Well, they accepted those conditions for money, of course, but I bet they wanted to show the rest the fiber of which the Mohawks are made.

I admire these people, of course, and I bet that only a twisted mind can't recognize theirs courage.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jan 2011 at 06:07
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:


So, do you agree Mohawks deserve theirs hardly won reputation as skywalkers?


I don't think you understand. I always tip my hat with a nod of recognition and respect towards the many who had made their contributions to this country,. I feel there is no need in singling out any particular ethnicity or nationality for special highlight each month. If i were to play into this ridiculous charade of monthly ethnic favoritism, i feel i would be insulting everyone of them much more so than i would be in honoring them. Suffice it too say, their story has been told, like all the rest who have contributed and i feel it is up to others in making up their own minds as too whether they accept, ignore or reject the contributions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jan 2011 at 12:04
Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:


I don't think you understand. I always tip my hat with a nod of recognition and respect towards the many who had made their contributions to this country,. I feel there is no need in singling out any particular ethnicity or nationality for special highlight each month. If i were to play into this ridiculous charade of monthly ethnic favoritism, i feel i would be insulting everyone of them much more so than i would be in honoring them. Suffice it too say, their story has been told, like all the rest who have contributed and i feel it is up to others in making up their own minds as too whether they accept, ignore or reject the contributions.


I think it is you who doesn't understand.

Your country consistently ignores American Indians, while venerate other groups. Most American indians in the U.S. live on welfare and in the misery in its own land.

Why shouldn't I remark the case of the Mohawks for a change?

And with respect to the other yankees, Whites and Blacks, they show on TV over and over again all the days of the year in a global scale, in a narcisist monopoly of who shows more on TV. It is time to change the topic, don't you think?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jan 2011 at 13:42
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Are you the mod, gcle2003? If so, please say something to Drgonzaga that, as usually, keeps trolling. Thanks.
 
You sir are the troll that forever tries the patience of all with your incessant snipes and snides that to put it bluntly have now become little more than insults to people in the United States. As Panther underscored the information has been there for anyone to read for quite a long time and as for the "building of New York" much the same can be said of any laborer in the urban environment of any ethnic community you desire. Given other gratuitous comments that are uttered solely to disparage the United States and its residents, of which there are several instances here alone and repeated even after I parodied both your content and style, please be advised that at each and every turn you pursue such nonsense I will be there to call you to account. It is about time that the pedestrianisms of pompous pissants be shown the door. You have been purposely antagonizing at each and every turn with threads such as this one so as to give you an opportunity to repeat the same tiring tirades that usually end in bashing something about the United States. I for one am fully tired of such trolling. And if you do not understand that you will be called to account each and every time you undertake such actions, simply suffer the consequences.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jan 2011 at 14:24
Pardon me? You Sir is the trol, because you can't stand anything else that your narrow view of the world.
If you don't like a topic, don't post in that thread, as simply as that. What you do is trolling.


Edited by pinguin - 04 Jan 2011 at 14:38
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jan 2011 at 15:34
No, what you do is stereotyping and this time it is the Mohawks who are suffering from your misguided attentions. As others have underscored, the story is old but better evidence of such is contrasting what you wrote here--
 
They were, and are, a coragious people. I bet they wanted to show theirs courage and they did.
Most of the rest of common people would chicken out with that job.
... I bet they wanted to show the rest the fiber of which the Mohawks are made.

 
--with reality. An Amerind, much more a scholar of the Amerindian experience, would be appalled by this type of patronizing. Which specifically with the Mohawks was underscored long ago--which also underscores why there is no novelty in these subjects you claim to discover: Excerpt from "Reflections on Native American Identities" by Alison Crane (The Edwardsville Journal of Sociology, v.1) on-line--
 

Sometimes sterotypes are useful to people who use them because they offer a simpler, more orderly analysis of a minority group.  But for some groups this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.  For example, some Mohawk Indians were referred to as "skywalkers" because of their supposed innate fearlessness of heights.  In their book, Oswalt and Neely examine why Mohawk men were such successful high - beam steel workers, constructing bridges and skyscrapers under extremely dangerous working conditions.  It was suggested that at least some Mohawk men did not fear heights and that because the work was dangerous, it became an attractive type of employment for them.  In this same book, Morris Freilich confers that Mohawk skywalkers repressed their real fear in order to "behave as warriors and prove their courage" (1958).  One can glean how the "brave warrior" stereotype is at the root of Freilichs assertions.  He simplifies and reduces their emotions, or lack thereof, to an exaggerated belief that Mohawks engage in bravado as part of their cultural heritage.  One can see how the "skywalker" stereotype gets perpetuated.

          Furthermore, Oswalt and Neely (1999) state that "some outsiders have suggested that an absence of a fear or heights was inborn but it seems more likely that the trait was learned.".  I believe that the trait was learned out of necessity.  For example, when the skywalkers were competing with other minority groups for these relatively high-paying construction jobs, to be timid could mean unemployment so Mohawk men learned how to cope with fear.  On the other hand, the employer gains by filling undesirable, hazardous positions with groups who are isolated from the mainstream labor markets thereby ensuring the employer of a steady supply of labor.  Two cycles appear to be at work here, the Mohawk need the high salaried work, so they display "no fear" in order to be hired and dangerous jobs need to be filled so "expendable" groups are hired.

 

 



Edited by drgonzaga - 04 Jan 2011 at 15:35
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jan 2011 at 15:51
Anyways. I just wanted to open a thread on the Mohawks.
It is curious how badly are these threads received.


Edited by pinguin - 04 Jan 2011 at 15:54
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote King John Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Jan 2011 at 23:58
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Originally posted by Panther Panther wrote:


I don't think you understand. I always tip my hat with a nod of recognition and respect towards the many who had made their contributions to this country,. I feel there is no need in singling out any particular ethnicity or nationality for special highlight each month. If i were to play into this ridiculous charade of monthly ethnic favoritism, i feel i would be insulting everyone of them much more so than i would be in honoring them. Suffice it too say, their story has been told, like all the rest who have contributed and i feel it is up to others in making up their own minds as too whether they accept, ignore or reject the contributions.


I think it is you who doesn't understand.

Your country consistently ignores American Indians, while venerate other groups. Most American indians in the U.S. live on welfare and in the misery in its own land.
False, just false; I have shown you in many threads how Americans admire, venerate, or otherwise embrace the Native American (Indian) history of the nation.  If you refuse to understand this then there is nothing anybody can do.  Many Latinos, blacks and whites live in abject poverty so the plight of living in misery and poverty in their own land is not a reason for veneration or embracing of a certain ethnic group.

Quote Why shouldn't I remark the case of the Mohawks for a change?

And with respect to the other yankees, Whites and Blacks, they show on TV over and over again all the days of the year in a global scale, in a narcisist monopoly of who shows more on TV. It is time to change the topic, don't you think?
Clearly you haven't been watching PBS lately, and you also didn't see the movie Avatar (anybody who says that that movie is not about the plight of the Native American needs to go back to school and read about the plight of the Native Americans).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2011 at 00:17
True. I don't receive PBS in my country. I have to stand History Channel, only. Perhaps that has distorted my view of the United States, indeed. Certainly.

For instance, History Channel just shown a series about the History of the United States.... but it didn't include the American Indians in the history... It just started the series with Daniel Boone... gosh!

In any case, I opened this thread to discuss the story of the Mohawk and the curious way they integrate to modernity. I though it was worth to talk about it. I am surprised this thread generated so much opposition.

Come on, they were the workers that build the infrastructure of New York! That shouldn't be shocking at all, but some people has seen a double intention in this thread.


Edited by pinguin - 05 Jan 2011 at 00:20
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2011 at 00:20
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:


Anyways. I just wanted to open a thread on the Mohawks.
It is curious how badly are these threads received.


It's not the thread subject that is the problem. I believe it is in how it's approached?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Jan 2011 at 00:21
Could you elaborate on that, please.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote King John Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jan 2011 at 01:39
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

True. I don't receive PBS in my country. I have to stand History Channel, only. Perhaps that has distorted my view of the United States, indeed. Certainly.

For instance, History Channel just shown a series about the History of the United States.... but it didn't include the American Indians in the history... It just started the series with Daniel Boone... gosh!

In any case, I opened this thread to discuss the story of the Mohawk and the curious way they integrate to modernity. I though it was worth to talk about it. I am surprised this thread generated so much opposition.

Come on, they were the workers that build the infrastructure of New York! That shouldn't be shocking at all, but some people has seen a double intention in this thread.
1. The History Channel is crap, just look at their programming (Ice Road Truckers, Axemen, Ancient Aliens, et al.). Using the History Channel as a basis for what US History is perceived as in the US is possibly the most ridiculous thing you could do.
 
2. Opposition to this topic, if there is any, has more to do with your modus operendi than anything else.  You routinely make these topics and expound on things about which you do not know and often times end up being a way to bash European Americans (whites) and others.  I don't have time to go through your previous posts to highlight examples, but often times bashing Americans is what appears to be your main goal.  Yes Amerindians contributed a lot to US History (as code speakers during WWII, introducing and helping the first Europeans to foods and agricultural methods optimal for the new world), but they are not the only ones to contribute and often times not on the same level as other groups.  We all wish that different ethnic groups were/are discussed at greater length in history class but for a number of reasons that doesn't happen; that doesn't diminish the contributions of those ethnicities. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Jan 2011 at 02:26
Bashing Americans is not my goal at all. It is only that, as a man born in the Americas, feel identified with the Natives of the Western Hemisphere. That's all.
With respect to the other groups in the U.S., I am interesting in the early British, French and Spanish settlers. The trappers and frontiermen fascinates me. I am not much interested for the rest of immigrants, actually, to be sincere.
And with respect to the Mohawks, it is interesting that a minority that has suffered quite a bit of downplaying -historically, at least-, contributed to build some of the symbols of the United States, such as the Empire State and Chrisler buildings.


Edited by pinguin - 06 Jan 2011 at 02:29
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Panther Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jan 2011 at 01:19
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:

Could you elaborate on that, please.


Sorry for the delay in my reply. I am rather sick with the nastiest cold i have experienced in quite a while! So i don't know if this post will make any sense?
 
Bear in mind, these are just my opinion in response to your plea for me too further clarify my thoughts.

A few immediate things spring from my mind. For starters, offering your own original thoughts and interpretations to your topic starting thread, and allowing yourself no cutting and pasting short cuts, would be nice. Also supplying links in further backing up your posts, including the topic starting post and most especially... in protecting yourself from charges of plagiarism, would help you a lot as well. One other thing. As what has been already pointed out, I wouldn't always automatically assume that the rest of us here on the forums haven't a clue as to what has occurred in indigenous history. True, some could care less about it, even though they have always known about it since grade school, while others do have a more keen interest in it, especially some of us locals who have direct ties. I mean, this is history forum. Give us a little more credit.

Further. i  guess it's just really a matter of whether people can be interestingly enticed enough into learning about Indigenous history; Heck... what am i saying!? We are even having a problem in keeping everybody else in this country... in staying interested in the History of the US for that matter!Angry Rather this is not some case of it being some grand conspiracy in keeping the history of the indigenous natives down, i suppose? I guess what i am really trying to say in regards to the latter point and to be a little more blunt about it.... is that instead of actually connecting with the rest of us in discussing their history, which you are indeed correct in saying that it is fascinating, you just may be unintentionally coming across in a condescending manner, or like a  teacher-to-a-stupid-pupil... sort of way; If you catch my meaning? I am only trying too help after all.

And incidentally, i've taken this from another thread, but as far as Hollywood movies are concerned, believe me, if Hollywood could figure out a way too profitably market more Indigenous history movies to the rest of the American public in a much less preachy way, then they would do it heart beat!!! But, they can't because they currently have their heads so far up their butts too even be bothered listen to newer ideas that are not their own!Censored

Enough for now, my head is killing me.....


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 07 Jan 2011 at 01:40
I see. I hope you recover soon. And I wish you could open a thread about what you know of the U.S. indigenous people. I would appreciate that. And if you know more details about the Iroquois, about Hiawatta, the wampum, and other fascinating stuff -at least for me-, I encourage you, you do.

Get well soon.
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