Retelling the History: The Indigenous Palestinian Bedouin in Israel

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As Linda Smith notes in the Foreword, it has been the common experience of indigenous peoples to have their histories erased and retold by the conquering colonial powers, and it is all too common for indigenous people to be powerless and passive participants in this process. In this paper it is my intention to retell the history of my own people, the Palestinian Bedouin living in what is now southern Israel, from an indigenous perspective. It is also my intention to explore the ways in which the telling of history is not only a matter of the past, but is critical to determining current and future political and social policy. As such, the retelling of indigenous histories?and the introduction of indigenous histories into mainstream discourse?is as much about our futures as it is about our past. Furthermore, it is an act of resistance against the colonisers? hegemony over the telling of history and against the violence that their hegemony has both dictated and hidden from view:Under colonialism indigenous peoples have struggled against a Western view of history and yet been complicit with the view. We have often allowed our ?histories? to be told and have then become outsiders as we heard them being retold ? Maps of the world reinforced our place on the periphery of the world, although we were still considered part of the Empire. This included having to learn new names for our lands. Other symbols of our loyalty, such as the flag, were also an integral part of the imperial curriculum. Our orientation to the world was already being redefined as we were being excluded systematically from the writing of the history of our own lands. (Smith, 1999, p. 33)
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-47
Number of pages23
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2005


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