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Enduring Narcissism, Addictions, And Abuse In Silence To Avoid Appearing Ungrateful
by Diane England, Ph.D.
women endure their husbands’ narcissism, addictions, and abuse silently because they believe they have no right to complain.
They realize they are living lives that so many other women only dream about. Really, do they dare express any dissatisfaction
and thus come across as ungrateful?
But all that
glitters is not gold - or golden. There are women in upscale marriages surrounded by the best of everything who certainly
know that. And while they might live in beautiful homes in wealthy neighborhoods, drive luxury cars, wear designer clothes,
and have diamonds sparkling on their earlobes, necks, wrists, and fingers, they still might not feel wealthy.
That’s because all the real estate, bank accounts, and other investments might well be in
their husbands’ names only.
Within the Walls of the Narcissist’s McMansion,
Life Might Not be so Grand
If the men these women are married to are financially
successful, but nonetheless narcissistic, they undoubtedly have a certain image they want to uphold. In other words, they
want people to know they are as prosperous.
One way of demonstrating this is through
their wives’ attire.
Indeed, you can display you have a great deal of disposable
income through encasing your wife in the right clothing and gemstones. Encasing her in a top-of-the-line luxury car doesn’t
come cheaply, either.
So, it’s true the wives of these men might be zipping about town and walking
the aisles of stores such as Neiman Marcus looking like they have unlimited amounts of cash. And certainly, they might charge
up a storm. But that doesn’t mean that in their own names, these women have access to large sums of money.
They will look good and drive expensive cars only as long as their husbands keep paying the bills.
If these men get angry at their wives and refuse to pay for any reason whatsoever, something that could easily happen when
you are dealing with men who display unhealthy levels of narcissism, these women might quickly find themselves up a creek without a paddle.
is going on here? you ask.
Well, the narcissistic husbands are controlling their
Why would they do that? you wonder.
The Economic Abuse of the Successful Narcissist
I suppose each narcissistic
man has his own reasons for engaging in economic abuse. But of course, one is that this is a good way to keep his wife hooked
into him and suffering silently his narcissism, addictions, and abuse. He suspects she won’t want to give up the lovely
lifestyle. He impresses upon her that if she were to leave, he would see to it she became destitute.
How does that alternative sound to you? And indeed, can you understand how it might prove particularly unappealing
to a woman who has been living the supposed good life?
You might say fear, shame,
and a lack of faith in her own abilities to create a new life for herself, tend to keep her stuck and contending with his
narcissism, addictions, and abuse - no matter how painful they might be. While she might be demoralized by the fact he denies
her money for health care or makes her account for every penny she spends when she goes out to lunch with her friends - if
he even gives her money to do that - she might be so depressed that she seriously doubts she has the energy to start over,
So, by controlling the money, these financially successful narcissistic men are inclined to get
the type of behavior they desire from their wives. Yes indeed, these women will likely silently suffer things such as his
verbal abuse, emotional abuse, and sexual abuse because he is controlling those purse strings.
And yes, I do label this economic abuse even though to women looking in from the outside, it might seem hard
to accept this as such. After all, these women enjoy so many symbols of the affluent lifestyle, right?
But indeed for these same women, they are basically merely symbols. They are not, after all, comfortably entrenched
in the wealth. These women know that at any moment, their husbands could pull it all out from under them, and for basically
little or no reason, too.
His narcissism might compel him towards vindictiveness.
He might well want to show her the Golden Rule he lives by. While she believes that you should do unto others as you would
have them do unto you, both ns words and behavior profess what he believes instead, or that he who has the gold makes the
These women might well feel they live in gold cages. And because those looking
in from the outside only see the gold and won’t look beyond that mesmerizing shine, these women fear not only will people
not empathize with their plight, but they likely won’t be believed, either. So often these men whom their wives finally
realize are clothed in narcissism, addictions, and abuse, are so often seen by others as charming.
Will this Abused Woman Suffer Abuse Yet Again?
Because those to whom
the harmed women might turn for support are seduced by the narcissist’s well crafted image, these women might unconsciously
fear further abuse at the hands of friends, family, and helping professionals. Will they hear time and time again: How dare
you of all women complain?
But they should be complaining because abuse in any form
hurts. Verbal abuse, emotional abuse, economic abuse, and sexual abuse - all forms of abuse the narcissist is likely to embrace
- are detrimental to one’s psychological and physical well being. No, none of it should be tolerated, and help should
Which leads me to another reason I suspect these wealthy abusive narcissists
control the money. Remember, when their wives can hardly put their hands on a dollar, these women are less apt to go to therapists
who might point out they are being abused, and to consider divesting themselves of their husbands and their marriages. When
you don’t have access to bank accounts, it also makes it difficult to pay the hefty retainers of powerful divorce attorneys
- the types who stand the best chance of getting wives pummeled by narcissism, addictions, and abuse some sizeable divorce
Are You Enduring his Narcissism, Addictions, and Abuse in Silence?
If you are one of these women, and you believe you have no choice but to tolerate your husband’s
narcissism, addictions, and abuse, please consider that you do have options. Yes, there are always other choices to be made.
Sometimes we think we won’t like the results we will be handed by making such a decision. Or, there is debilitating
fear of the great unknown that looms ahead if the marriage with its seemingly good life is left behind.
But how good a life is it really? How much pleasure are those material things giving you now? Do they make amends
for the results of his narcissism, addictions, and abuse you tolerate daily?
they don’t. And while you believe that you will be this poor lost person when stripped of all he provides you, you don’t
know that will be the case. Sure, you will undoubtedly go through some challenging times. Nonetheless, the day might come
when, because you gave yourself the opportunity to come to know and embrace your true self, you are experiencing new riches
of which you never dreamed.
Ladies, I can say this with confidence because I have
walked in similar shoes as you do now. I walked away from what probably looked like a good life to many. But you know, when
your sense of self and peace of mind is bombarded daily by the aftereffects of his narcissism, addictions, and abuse, you
don’t have the wherewithal to really enjoy the potential benefits of that lifestyle anyway.
You might live on a beautiful stage set. However, you have been stripped of what gives life meaning. Please,
don’t awaken to that reality when it is too late. Experience now the joy that can be yours in a lifestyle that might
be more ordinary, yet so much richer because it has not been eroded by another’s narcissism, addictions, and abuse.
How to Decline the Offer of Hospitality from In-laws Without Sounding Ungrateful
By Sophie, published Sep 18, 2008
Many couples who visit each other's parents choose to stay with them at their home. After all, this is a cost effective
way to go home for a visit without the added expense of a hotel room for the week. But staying with in-laws is not always
practical or convenient. How can you decline the offer of hospitality from your in-laws without sounding ungrateful? Three
Children, Two Cats and a Dog
When you receive the offer of hospitality from your mother-in-law she may only be
expecting to see you, your spouse
and the children. But if you plan to travel with two cats and a dog, then opting for a pet-friendly hotel room is often a
more practical solution. Let your mother-in-law know in advance that while you appreciate her generous offer, you cannot possibly
expect her to extend hospitality to your pets
as well and then leave it at that. If she still insists, ask your husband to speak to his mother to explain the situation.
Still on Honeymoon Period
If you and your spouse
have been married for a relatively short period of time, the last thing you may want is to stay with your in-laws when you
visit them. Staying in a hotel will allow you to have the privacy you need. Tactfully explain that while you appreciate the
offer of your in-laws' hospitality, that you would prefer to stay in a hotel this time. But make sure that you do not turn
down subsequent offers of hospitality or your in-laws might start to wonder whether you have personal issues against them
that are preventing you from staying with them.
Staying in a hotel from time to time, rather than in your in-laws' home, can give you some much needed privacy and time
along together after spending the day visiting them. But you must be careful in the way that you decline the offer of hospitality
for fear of offending or alienating your in-laws. Think of specific reasons why you are staying in a hotel and let your in-laws
know of your wishes well in advance, preferably after you have made your hotel reservation, so that you will not be pressured
to change your mind. Some in-laws only offer hospitality out of politeness and are secretly relieved when their hospitality
is declined. Staying in a hotel allows you to visit your in-laws, but without the added burden of sharing a bathroom each
morning and compromising on your privacy.
How to Deal with Ungrateful People
Step One: English Translation
Quran 55:13 Then which of the blessings of your Lord will you both(jinns and men) deny?
Step Two: KJV Bible Romans
1:21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations,
and their foolish heart was darkened.
Step Three: Expect ingratitude.
People at large are not grateful to their Creator; henceforth how could they possibly be
grateful to someone who has bestowed upon them a small favor. In addition, unfortunately the predominant society of today
projects ungratefulness to parents. Mothers and Fathers awake all hours of the night for
their children and toil all day in order that they could eat and dress their children, only to have their children abandon
them in their, what should be called "Golden Years." Disobedience to parents is rampant, due to lack of authority forced upon
families due to government laws, that's another big article.
Step Four: Be Patient. Have
you ever did something for someone and they just seemed to be oblivious to the good thing that you did for them? Isn't that
annoying. Well, there is good news and bad news.
Step Five: Here is the good
news. Did you do the good deed for earthy reward alone or did you do the good deed for the Creator and earthy gain? The good
news is that if you did it for both, you may have earthy gain, but you will defiantly have gain in the hereafter. The bad
news is that if your good deed was merely to gain the praise of others or for earthy gain, you may not get either. Since people
are generally ungrateful, your deed may be ignored, concealed from others and maybe even
claimed by others. As a person prepared for ungratefulness, you would know that, this life
is short and someday you will be rewarded by your Creator even if there is no benefit in this life. In regards to the ungrateful
recipient, you may find yourself boiling in anger because the person simply ignores the favor or simply may say something
such as, "Well, I didn't ask you to do it." Trust me, been there, done that. The great thing is that when you do something
for Allah, you don't need a "Thank You", because you know He will reward you, either in this life or the next.
Step Six: Belief in the
Day of Judgment. Every good deed will be rewarded and bad deeds will be punished, at God's discretion of course. Those deeds
that harm another person, will be forgiven if the person harmed chooses to forgive the offender.
- Don't forget PATIENCE
- Don't ever be discouraged by someone who does not say, "Thank You." It's their loss.
source site: click here
Why Give to the Ungrateful?
Learning to follow Jesus' model of generosity.
work in the church has given me a new appreciation for the story of Jesus' healing the ten lepers (Luke 17:11-19). As you
remember, only one of the ten bothered to thank him. This passage often becomes the basis for sermons and lessons on the importance
of gratitude. That's a true interpretation, of course, but it's not necessarily the whole story.
Those of us who
are active in church ministry can learn something else from the model Jesus provides. When we give of ourselves, what do we
expect in return? When we offer cups of cold water in Christ's name, what response do we foresee? Quenched recipients smiling
shyly at us, their eyes shining with gratitude?
Jesus told his
disciples, "Freely you have received, freely give" (Matt. 10:8). But he also said, "I am sending you out like sheep among
wolves" (Matt. 10:16) and "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first" (John 15:18). Do we expect a higher
thankfulness ratio than Christ received?The hard realities
A couple of years
ago, a friend and I transported some used living room furniture to a local woman who had no income. As we hauled it out of
my pickup truck and set it up in her home, she stood silently, watching us. Eventually she asked, "Could you get me a footstool,
too? That way my guests won't put their feet on the coffee table."
Several times in
the ensuing months she phoned me, inquiring about the footstool, which never materialized. One day she called and announced,
"I need some new furniture." When I asked why, she explained, "I moved to a different house. I left that furniture in the
other place. It was old, and besides, the couch had a broken leg."
I wanted to scream.
Another time, a
woman telephoned our church in a panic, saying her food stamps were delayed and she was going hungry. As emergency needs liaisons
for our church, my friend and I filled several grocery bags with food from our own pantries and delivered them to her. Accepting
the food, she asked, "Can you find me a roll-away bed? I've got nowhere to sleep but the floor."
When I returned
a week later, having found a bed, she watched from her window as I single-handedly carted the bed across the street in rush-hour
traffic. She waited while I assembled it for her and then flatly stated, "The food you brought me was poison. I was so sick
I almost died." Stunned, I asked whether she had perhaps contracted the flu, which was going around at the time. She insisted
we had poisoned her.
A man living in
a shack needed bunk beds for his two sons, who had no bed at all. He couldn't say anything when we brought the furniture,
because he lay drunk and unconscious on the floor the whole time we were there.
A woman newly arrived
in the United States borrowed some of my clothes till she could find a job. Then she left town, taking my clothes with her.
invited to a wedding, complained that our church's Clothes Closet, which offered free clothes to anyone in need, had nothing
suitable. I invited her to my house to borrow one of my dressier outfits, but she never showed up. When, at her request, I
took her some bags of my clothes as a gift, she handed them back to me. "These aren't what I had in mind" was all the thanks
A family who visited
the Clothes Closet while I was there decided the free clothes weren't enough. They stole my purse.
That's six, and
I could easily give you three more to represent the nine lepers who received thanklessly. But what about the tenth?
The tenth was a
woman, a frequent clothing recipient. One Christmas, she handed me carefully wrapped packages containing four pairs of hand-crocheted
booties, a pair for each person in my family. They were colorful and toasty warm.
I was touched,
but I shouldn't have been surprised. This was the same woman who, whenever her children outgrew donated clothes, returned
them to the church for other needy people to use.Do we give to be thanked?
Clearly, cups of
cold water are not always graciously accepted. The question is, so what? I can't find any verses where Jesus promised his
followers little gold stars to paste on their foreheads each time they cleansed a leper. Certainly Jesus didn't walk around
with gold stars all over his face. Thorn scrapes and spit and slap marks and tears, yes. But no gold stars.
asking myself, Why do I feel the need to be thanked, anyway? No doubt, part of it is pride: How dare you not
appreciate my efforts! Part of it may be my sense of decorum: Don't you understand common courtesy?
we feel disgust: You act as if the world owes you this aid! Or fear: If I were in crisis, would I be grateful
for people's support or mortified by my own dependency?
When victims say
thank you, our inner turmoil at seeing their helplessness is assuaged a little. Ah, we think, we have done the
right thing. We have made a difference. When they're unresponsive, we feel impotent: So the gift didn't count!
Of course, we can't always know whether our offerings matter to the recipients or not.
But when Jesus
said, "Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me," he never promised that the brothers
would care. The fact that some are (or seem) ungrateful
can be unexpected compensations for giving without expecting thanks.
My 7-year-old daughter
had a boy in her first-grade schoolroom who trailed far behind the class in his reading progress. Trina gathered her own set
of two dozen beginning-reader books, which she was long beyond, and took them to class so the struggling boy would have a
wider variety of easy books to read. Another time, she eagerly selected half of her collection of stuffed animals and declared
them a gift for the children of Clothes Closet visitors.
brother, Sean, has been known to remove money from his piggy bank and slip it into the church collection plate without informing
anyone of his intentions. And he has decided the most exciting part about Christmas morning is watching the expressions on
people's faces as they open their gifts.
Somehow, as these
children grew, as they rode in the pickup truck delivering furniture, as they watched the freezer being diminished to feed
strangers, as they colored pictures at the Clothes Closet while waiting for their mom - somehow these children got the message.
They realize they have freely received; they are learning to freely give.
So, we are back
to the story of the lepers. Yes, Jesus is reminding us to be grateful to him, to not take his presence in our lives for granted.
But he also says, "See what happened to me? See the callousness with which they receive?" Then he turns right around and gives
all over again (Matt. 18:35-43).
When we touch people
in need, some may say thank you, to our great pleasure. But if no one says thanks, Jesus is still our model. Even when we
receive a tepid response, the clear, cold water must still be freely given.
Suzanne Werkema was emergency needs liaison for Ferry
Memorial Reformed Church in Montague, Michigan.
source site: click here
An Ungrateful Nation
by George McColm
While working as an agricultural
expert for the Bureau of Indian Affairs after WW II, the author co-wrote a report that revealed the desperate plight of the
Navajo people who lived on the brink of starvation in the American Southwest.
"Inanition," a word unfamiliar
to most people, was listed as the cause of death on many of the death certificates completed in 1947 by Navajo Service doctors
who tended the residents of the Navajo Indian reservation in the Southwest United States. The word sounded better than its
more descriptive meaning - "slow death by starvation" - to the federal agencies that since the Treaty of 1868 had been responsible
for the care of the Navajo Nation.
The euphemism's use helped
to mask the sorry state of affairs that existed on the reservation at the end of World War II, a conflict in which many Navajos
gallantly served the Allied cause [See "Code Talkers" in the January/February 1997 issue of American History].
As a United States naval officer
in World War II, I had been in charge of the Joint Chiefs of Staff's agricultural planning for the post-war occupation
of Japan. In the fall of 1946, I was hired by the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and sent to Window Rock, Arizona - capital
of the Navajo Nation - to direct the soil conservation program on the Navajo reservation, where living conditions were well
below the national poverty level.
I reported to Reservation
Superintendent James Stewart and soon became his confidential advisor on a number of problems that he encountered. It shocked
me to learn that no members of the Navajo Nation were being asked to participate in any of the decisions being made "for their
good" by the BIA officials at Window Rock or in Washington, D.C.
In the late spring of 1947,
when the BIA sent Elizabeth Chief to Window Rock to conduct a study and prepare a report on the welfare needs of the Navajo
people, Stewart saw an opportunity "to convince Washington that we really have a lot of starving Indians out here." He told
me to work closely with Elizabeth, a wonderful person who put her heart and soul into gathering detailed information for the
Unfortunately, it soon became
apparent to her that all of her training had failed to prepare her emotionally for what she experienced on the reservation.
Although it was an undertaking far beyond the requirements of official duty, Elizabeth and I dedicated ourselves to the
task of writing the "Navajo Welfare Report of 1947"; we wanted the government to know what was really happening to these people.
Certainly, other means of
getting the message back to the nation's capital had so far proved fruitless. When Secretary of the Interior Julius Krug toured
the reservation in the fall of 1946 - the first high ranking government official to do so since the land was allocated to
the Navajos in 1868 - Superintendent Stewart and tribal leaders impressed upon him the necessity of immediate funds to stave
off widespread starvation on the reservation.
They also pleaded for job-creation
projects, such as the building of schools, hospitals, and housing, to provide much needed income to the Indians. By May 1947,
however, the $50,000 in relief money allotted annually to the Navajo Welfare Agency had been spent, and no additional funds
were forthcoming. It seemed that Secretary Krug had not reported to President Harry Truman on what he had seen the previous
fall. Elizabeth and I hoped that our report would serve as a reminder.
Between the signing of the
1868 treaty and the turn of the century, members of the tribe had been very happy to be left alone by the BIA, choosing to
overlook repeated treaty violations. To subsist during those years, they cultivated small plots of land and made good use
of native plants and herds of wild game; in addition, they earned income through sheep raising and the sale of wool, rugs,
But by 1920, the population
of both the Navajo people and their sheep herds had increased dramatically, making it apparent that the reservation's resources
could not support the growing numbers.
In response to the situation,
the BIA increased government welfare, health, and medical services for Navajos during the 1920s, and in the '30s, the agency
participated in New Deal projects on the reservation that generated a significant amount of income for its residents. Access
to this income temporarily prevented a crisis on the reservation in 1933, when a BIA initiative threatened the food supply
of many Navajos by cutting them off from a traditional source of meat.
For at least fifty years,
Navajos with large flocks of sheep had been sharing with the poorest members of the tribe. But now, in order to halt soil
erosion on the watershed of Lake Meade - a result of overgrazing of the reservation land - the number of Navajo-owned sheep
was sharply cut from 1.5 million to 350,000. No longer would there be a surplus with which to feed the less fortunate residents
of the reservation. This Stock Reduction Program destroyed the Navajos' way of life, making them more dependent on the federal
During World War II, more
than 3,600 Navajos served in the U.S. military; approximately 10,000 Navajos left the reservation to work in war plants, and
another 2,000 were employed by the railroads. The most obvious source of money flowing into the reservation during the war
years was the allotments for families of military personnel.
As I recall, our studies
indicated that each Navajo serviceman was sending home nearly $2,000 per year, far more than the average World War II soldier.
The final discharge of servicemen in 1947, however, brought an end to this source of income.
At the same time, the various
New Deal economic and social programs that had been established years before were being discontinued, with no new work opportunities
taking their places. And, a prolonged drought, coupled with a ruling in both New Mexico and Arizona that Navajos were not
eligible for social security benefits, made reservation life almost unendurable for Navajo families.
Elizabeth Chief had been trained
to examine medical records in order to assess welfare needs, and she soon noticed a disturbing trend. We had been told that
many children had died on the reservation in the spring of 1947. Subsequent examination of death certificates confirmed that
there had been an increasing number of deaths due to inanition, or starvation. The majority of the victims were among the
elderly or very young; most of the children had died at the Indian Bureau hospitals.
When our report was finished,
Jim Stewart read it carefully and agreed to my suggestion that we make copies for the entire staff. We were certain that every
Division Chief in Window Rock would send a copy to his boss in the Washington office. Their doing so, we felt, would make
a greater impression than a single report. Elizabeth then returned to Washington, very much concerned, I am sure, about
how the report would be received and what would be done to help the Navajos.
When the Gallup, New Mexico,
Independent somehow obtained a copy of our report in August 1947, it published a wire service story about the starving Navajos
that almost immediately attracted more than two hundred reporters to the reservation. I took the noted radio personality
Will Rogers, Jr., himself part Native-American, on a two-day, picture-taking tour of the area, while two Chicago Tribune reporters
made a trip across the reservation with George Bowra, editor of the Aztec, New Mexico, Independent Review.
The scribes told George that
they had toured South America, Mexico, India, and China, and nowhere had they witnessed people trying to live in such squalor.
The Denver Post subsequently published 89 articles and 4 editorials about the starving Navajos, while other prominent papers,
including The Los Angeles Examiner and the Arizona Republic, featured the Navajos' story in juxtaposition to President Truman's
plan to aid post-war Europe.
Politicians began to condemn
the Indian Bureau for neglecting the Navajos, and the Bureau of the Budget for reducing the amount of money Congress had appropriated
for Native Americans. Wisconsin Representative William H. Stevenson pointed out that "50% of Navajo children die before they
reach the age of five years . . . ," adding that "After 80 years of BIA management, 90% of the Navajo Nation cannot speak
or understand English; and schools are available for only 25% of the Navajo children."
North Dakota Senator William
Langer assailed the president and his colleagues in The Congressional Record. "The Indian veteran returns home," he stated,
"to find deplorable conditions among his people. Because of the lack of resources, there is no opportunity to establish his
home. He cannot get a GI loan for his home, because the United States holds title to his land, and therefore the bank will
not give him a loan. He cannot go into the sheep or cattle business, because he cannot get a permit from the government to
run more livestock on an already depleted range. There is no farm land or capital available to him . . . ."
"So, Mr. President," Langer
asked scornfully, "can we say that a group of American citizens in which the tuberculosis rate is five times that of the entire
United States, is getting a square deal? Are Indian mothers, who went down into the shadow of death to bear the very sons
who have gone out and made this marvelous record I have cited, getting a square deal when infant mortality among the
Indians is five times greater than the rest of the country?
Are the people who have been
dispossessed of nearly 90,000,000 acres of land within the last 50 years getting a square deal? Do senators know that Indian
tribes in many states are now expressly prohibited by an act of Congress from purchasing additional land? Even with their
own money, they cannot buy it; it is prohibited."
In October 1947, large quantities
of relief supplies started to arrive on the reservation, initially from many private donors and later from various government
agencies. The War Assets Administration furnished the Navajos with 40,000 pounds of rice, several hundred dozen cases of canned
food, and 17.5 tons of flour, sugar, spices, and other commodities. Two carloads of fresh fruit were brought in by the "Friendship
Train," a charity drive organized by the Mormons, while twenty tons of clothing was shipped to Gallup and distributed to Navajos
by volunteers and the Navajo Service.
On December 17, as Congress
debated the authorization of more relief funding for the Navajos, Arizona Representative Richard Harless castigated the U.S.
government: "It is my purpose to tell why these people are starving to death. We put them on the most worthless land that could be found in the United States. At that time there were some 8,000 of them.
We captured them and gave
them a treaty at the point of a gun, to educate their children and furnish one teacher for every thirty students. We agreed
to furnish housing for them. We agreed to provide for their welfare. We have never fulfilled that treaty. We stand here today and talk about relief for foreign nations when we have a national disgrace in our own country."
The 1947 debate in Congress
over Navajo welfare left many congressmen with a guilt complex, as indicated by Republican John Jennings, Jr., of Tennessee,
who said: "[A]s to whether we should extend belated relief to these people, the spirit of Christmas and the dictates of our
common humanity demand that we right the wrongs that this country inflicted upon these Indians. We should do it while they
are alive and while the opportunity is ours." He added, "I want to say that I feel like my Christmas turkey would choke
me if I voted against this proposition."
It was gratifying and indeed
surprising to find such compassionate congressional support for Navajo relief, and that this compassion was, within a few years, extended to the establishment of the Navajo Long Range Program and the Navajo Irrigation Project.
Many of the congressmen who came forward and participated in the debates had never taken part in congressional discussions
of Indian affairs. In an article published in Nation magazine, author Carey McWilliams tried to explain the politicians' sudden
interest in Indian welfare and noted that the Navajos' plight had become a topic of world discussion.
The government of the Soviet
Union, America's Cold War nemesis, expressed great sympathy for the Navajos as "an oppressed minority in the United States." When an article from the Soviet newspaper Pravda was placed
in The Congressional Record, starvation deaths on the reservation could no longer be ignored by the Truman administration, or by any member of Congress, despite efforts to dismiss the piece as "Russian propaganda."
An article with the worrisome
headline "NAVAJOS WILL USE VIOLENCE TO GET FOOD" appeared in the November 29, 1947 issue of the Albuquerque Tribune. This
warning, spoken by a Bishop James Moss Stoney of Southwest Texas, was widely publicized, but the rebellion he predicted did
not occur. Navajos were loyal Americans, and they could see that concerned citizens, private charities, and the federal government were responding to their needs.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs
maintained a very low profile in 1947, making no effort to ward off or deny massive media and congressional criticism it received
after the release of the Navajo Welfare Report. However, rumors did circulate that Navajo Reservation Superintendent Stewart
would be fired immediately for allowing the "starving Navajo propaganda to get out of hand."
In 1948, Congress sent ample
relief supplies to the reservation and greatly increased the Navajo Service budget. And when Allan Harper replaced Stewart,
Bureau officials explained to the Navajos that they had sent their "best administrator" to the reservation in order to make
sure that the allocated funds resulted in the greatest possible benefit for their people. Furthermore, the BIA told the Navajos
that Harper was the man for the job because he would discuss his administrative decisions with tribal leaders.
The Navajos did not protest
the removal of Jim Stewart even though he had earned their respect by not flaunting his authority. He had shown great patience in working with individual tribal leaders, securing their Council's approval of policies and decisions that, in reality,
had already been made by the BIA offices in Washington.
When Harper arrived in Window
Rock, he was truly "a man with a mission." Stating that it was necessary to get agency files cleared and ready for expanded
programs, he ordered that all records and correspondence that did not apply to an ongoing program should be removed from the
files and destroyed. Special attention was given to the Stock Reduction Program and to interagency correspondence that had
taken up so much filing space in the 1930s and early '40s. Medical records, Navajo death records, and doctors' reports that
were "cluttering" the files also were removed.
By the time this "search and
destroy" operation was completed, it was apparent that the BIA in Washington did not want to retain any archival material
at the agency level. In 1968, I had an opportunity to study the 1947 reports retained in the Bureau's archives. The welfare
report written by Elizabeth Chief and myself had been carefully edited; it was not the same report that we had submitted.
From 1848, when the Indian
Bureau was transferred from the War Department to the Department of the Interior, until 1947, the Bureau of Indian Affairs
managed the personal, political, and financial affairs of Indians in almost total secrecy. Congressional respect for Navajos, generated by the outstandingly loyal service of both military and civilian members of the tribe during World
War II, resulted in appropriations that improved the life of every Navajo. The year 1947 thus became the low point and a turning
point in Navajo history. Today, Navajos who lived through the post-World War II era are reluctant to describe their suffering.
All they say is "Things got better."
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