Father Christmas, Give Us Some Money! Don’t Fool Around with those Silly Toys!

Posted: December 21, 2012 by extremehistory in Uncategorized

history isnt pretty christmas editionSo I’m writing my first appeal letter for The Extreme History Project. How am I doing so far? Did I get your attention with the title? I think the Kinks said it best. When times are tough financially, it just doesn’t make sense to spend money on “things” when people just need that cash for their basic survival. I guess at the heart of things, I’m just practical. So I’m asking you to fork over some of your hard earned dough. That’s right. In spite of the hard financial times, I’m asking you for money. Pretty ballsy, huh?

Right. So why should you give up a penny of your hard earned money to support The Extreme History Project? That is a very valid question and one I will attempt to answer as best as I can. In fact, let’s make a deal, you and me. Let’s say that if my answer to that question satisfies you, that you’ll pull out that checkbook and chuckle while you write a nice, healthy check (“touché, Extreme History, touché “) or log onto our website at http://www.extremehistory.wordpress.com and click on our “Donate” button on the side bar. However, if my answer does not satisfy you, then you are free to go about your business, happy holidays, see you next year. Deal?

Ok, here goes. What is the value of identity? Do you know who you are? Where you came from? How you came to be you in all your glorious aspects? How much does that history play in your daily life? Do you cook like your grandmother did? Balance a checkbook like your father did? Do you think of your uncle’s tips when you go to buy a car or maybe you’re in the family business? Did you ever stop to think where they learned what they taught you? They learned from their parents, grandparents, etc. How much of your identity comes from a long history of knowledge and behavior, passed down from many generations? Probably much more than you realize.

Now suppose that you woke up one morning and everything you had learned from this long line of ancestry was wiped away. Gone. Denied! How much of yourself would you lose? What is the value of that identity?

Native American reservations are struggling with this exact loss. Through the forces of history, their identities have been eliminated and denied. The result of this denial is high rates of substance abuse, teen suicide, depression and poverty, among others. The Extreme History Project is working to create a model which hopes to restore the history of their struggle in order to find validation, healing and the road to a recovered identity.

How are we doing this? We are recording oral histories of Crow Elders, giving them an opportunity to tell their stories of this period of struggle and subjugation. Revealing, in many cases for the first time, the hardships and long-fought battles for the few rights they have won back and the many they haven’t. We are researching, writing and publishing the history of the Crow people during the first years of their containment on reservation lands. We are building a digital database of primary documents pertaining to this history which will be made available online, free of charge, to the general public. We are working with the Archaeological Conservancy to protect and preserve the site of Fort Parker, the first Crow agency, not only for the information that it has to tell us, but also to show respect to the Crow Nation by declaring Fort Parker a place of national historic significance. This site will be one of the first of its kind, symbolizing the Native American reservation period. The Extreme History Project will be developing educational programming around the site which will be available to the public.

Besides our work with Fort Parker, we are also building a model for other communities to find their own identities within their history in order to inform their decision-making and understanding of their current issues. This work will take the form of a public history course using our Historical Activist Handbook, which will be available to the public and community-based workshops, offered through Humanities Montana.

We will also be continuing our partnership with the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, running our popular, free monthly lecture series and adding several history-based family events all supporting our mission to bring cutting edge research in history and archaeology to the general public.

Our organization has grown to include three Board members, eight volunteers and several professional collaborators. Our work is resonating with people of all ages and backgrounds who want to be a part of this project. It’s very important to note here, that no one at The Extreme History Project is currently paid for the work we are doing. From our Co-Directors, to our board, to our volunteers, we all give our time to do this important work because we believe that it has the power to change the world.

Your contribution, no matter the size, will go toward sustaining our work by providing the administrative funding we need to keep going. It will pay our rent, buy our office supplies, pay for transportation when needed. It will also help to buy advertising and marketing when needed. Every penny of your donation will go toward supporting our work.

So, as you can see, we are working to create a new paradigm where history is relevant to community, identity and policy. We foresee a world where a true understanding of our past informs the decisions we make about our future, a world where empathy is built by understanding the processes that have led to the present. Is that a world where you want to live?

So, how’d I do? Have I satisfied your concern about why you should give up some of your hard earned cash to The Extreme History Project? If I have, please send a check to the address below or log on to http://www.extremehistory.wordpress.com and click the “Donate” button on the sidebar (you can pay with a credit card through Paypal here). If I haven’t satisfied your concern, then I bid you happy holidays and a happy new year. Perhaps you’ll give me another chance to answer that question for you in the future.

I appreciate your letting me bend your ear and whatever your response, I wish you a peaceful and hopeful 2013!

In historical solidarity,
Marsha Fulton
Co-Director

The Extreme History Project

P.O. Box 5019, Bozeman MT  59719-5019

The Extreme History Project is a Non-Profit, 501(c)(3) organization. All donations are tax deductable to the extent allowed by law. For more information contact Marsha Fulton (406)222-2991, extremehistoryproject@yahoo.com.

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