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Aiden Williams
Aiden Williams

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And that brings up questions that many people in these politically correct times are afraid to ask. Anton Treuer has written about this very subject in his latest book "Everything You Wanted to Know About Indians But Were Afraid to Ask." He is a professor of Objiwe at Bemidji State University in Minnesota and he's with us now to talk about Columbus Day as well as some of the other questions that, as the book puts it, you wanted to know but were afraid to ask.

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MARTIN: I did want to get your perspective on Columbus Day, which is observed in a lot of places today, but before we do, I did want to ask about the inspiration for writing this book. Now, you tell one crazy story about this encounter you had with this woman in the forest one day, but I wanted to ask, was that the encounter that led to the book or were there a series of things like that?

TREUER: You know, there were a lot of things that really led to it. I grew up in Bemidji, Minnesota, which is located right in between the three largest reservations in the state. And I guess like many, you know, children in a small rural area, you know, simply wanted to go any place that had a zip code with a higher population density than the one I came from.

But I also wanted to escape the sometimes tangled borderland of racial misunderstandings and thought I'd escape from it all. And when I ended up at Princeton University, I thought, you know, these kids are some of the best educated in the country. They'll know a lot more about all kinds of diversity issues.

And you know, part of me wanted to laugh. Part of me wanted to run away. Part of me wanted to be angry. I opened the car door and was immediately folded into a tight embrace by one of these completely naked strangers who started saying I'm so sorry for what my people did to your people. And of course the urge to be angry or to run away only escalated after that.

I knew I wanted to be a nurse when I was a sophomore in high school, realizing that I wanted a selfless, professional career that is rewarding for both the caregiver and patient. I realized that I wanted to be able to efficiently care for and advise loved ones (family and friends) with educational knowledge and experience, since several of them have some sort of medical condition.

If you tried out for a play and you didn't get the part you were hoping for, it can be really disappointing. If you wanted a lead but you were casted in the ensemble, or if you wanted to be the quirky comic relief and you were placed as a villager, it doesn't feel great. Here's how to cope if that happens to you. 041b061a72


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