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Jewish World Review Oct. 7, 1999 /27 Tishrei, 5760

Don Feder

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Smithsonian's Indian Museum will indict America -- BY THE SHORES of the Potomac, near the shining big-sea water, will stand the contentious wigwam of the Smithsonian -- its National Museum of the American Indian, to be precise.

Last week, while the Senate was cutting funding for the Brooklyn Museum of Art for its painting of a feces-smeared Virgin Mary, a more far-reaching assault on American values went largely unnoticed.

Construction was begun on the Smithsonian's Indian museum on the Mall in Washington, D.C. The $110-million project (two-thirds taxpayer funded) is expected to attract 6 million visitors a year.

A New York Times story on the ground-breaking ceremony provided a glimpse of political correctness to come. The Times noted that the museum "will not only celebrate and display continuing tribal cultures but work to set the record straight."

The museum's director, Richard West, said the institution would be dedicated to "presenting the Indian perspective." By "Indian perspective," West means the fulminations of activists who think Columbus was the father of genocide and the 7th Cavalry was the S.S. on horseback.

To emphasize the point, those attending the ceremony sang the anthem of the American Indian Movement, a militant gang best known for its terrorist action at the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1975, which left two FBI agents dead.

The Smithsonian has passionately embraced the multiculturalist agenda. It sees all of history in the reflected light of the PC trinity -- race, gender and class.

This dogmatism was most conspicuous in a 1995 exhibit on the end of World War II in the Pacific and the Hiroshima bombing. The exhibit's original script (revised after protests by veterans) described the conflict as "a war of revenge against the Japanese," who were "fighting to preserve their culture against imperialism."

It was as if the rape of Nanking, Pearl Harbor, the Bataan Death March, "comfort women" and other atrocities by the Imperial Army had never happened.

Even art isn't safe from the Smithsonian's revisionists. A 1991 exhibit ("The West as America: Reinterpreting Images of the Frontier, 1820-1920") was described by a writer for The Washington Post as "reducing the saga of America's Western pioneers to little more than victimization, disillusionment and environmental rape."

Scientists complained that the exhibit "Science in American Life" could have been scripted by the Unabomber. Joan Shields, a professor of chemistry at Long Island University, called it a "revisionist historical display of science as a litany of moral debacles, environmental catastrophes, social injustices and destruction by radiation."

The Smithsonian's latest rewriting of history is its book "Timelines of the Ancient World -- A Visual Chronology From the Origins of Life to A.D. 1500." While major events in the development of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam are meticulously detailed, the book moves from B.C. to A.D. without acknowledging the birth of Jesus. The spiritual revolution wrought by the Jewish people is similarly ignored.

The Smithsonian was established in 1846 for the "increase and diffusion of knowledge among men." Today, it exists to exhort.

At the Smithsonian, history becomes a self-criticism session, where the sins of the West, evils of capitalism and the toxicity of the Judeo-Christian tradition are confessed and atoned.

Shortly, the Smithsonian will take to the warpath again. Its National Museum of the American Indian will attack the legitimacy of our founding and Westward expansion. From Plymouth Rock to the closing of the frontier, it will present the "Indian perspective." But you'll get to pay for it.

The complex story of America's native cultures should be told without bias or belligerence. Instead, the museum will subject visitors to a sanitized, one-sided history and victim-group mythology.

Will this effort to "set the record straight" include celebrations of ritual cannibalism practiced by the Mohawks and Chippewas, torture techniques perfected by the Apaches, the quaint custom of scalping or the degraded status of women in most Indian tribes?

America may be the only nation in history to subsidize its own destruction. When the multiculturalists, academic Marxists, perpetually aggrieved minorities and sensitivity gestapo finally succeed in pulling down our national house, over the ruins should be erected a sign reading, "Your Tax Dollars At Work."

JWR contributing columnist Don Feder can be reached by clicking here.

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©1999, Creators Syndicate