Download PDF by C. B Colby: Arms of our Fighting Men

By C. B Colby

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I began working with her words at a time when I was particularly in need of hearing them. After the loss of my first child in 2006, I struggled to find motivation to do much of anything. Yet when Elsie invited me to help, I agreed without hesitation. I had known that she wanted to produce such a work for many years and I had always been enthusiastic about its potential significance. It was difficult but ultimately profound to spend so much time with her teachings around grief and her stories about the loss of two daughters.

The cedar tree’s no better than the other trees out there, or the alder tree is no better than any other tree. Every one of those serves a purpose. And you compare that to people. That’s what we are. We’re a mixed bag of people. But one should not overtake the other. There may be more bad weeds, I don’t know! [laughs]” Chi-chia’s direct experience of these colonial attacks on her practice, belief, and history fed her desire to write a book. As she explained to Janet, she wanted to offer her grandchildren a counternarrative to these negative colonial stereotypes: “I’ve always wanted to write this – to document the history as I remember it.

What kind of food did they have? Where did they go to school? All those things. That’s their history. There are generations of them now, there. ” The deceptively simple statement that ɬaʔamɩn people have a history constitutes Elsie’s refusal to accept the stigma cast by generations of colonizers. She makes the powerful assertion that ɬaʔamɩn people’s lives and stories are not worth less than those of settlers. ” In making this claim, she challenges the priests, schoolteachers, and Indian Affairs employees whom she encountered throughout her life, men and women who, though they did not understand ɬaʔamɩn ways, pronounced upon them nonetheless.

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Arms of our Fighting Men by C. B Colby


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