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Spokane, WA and Fairchild Air Force Base: A Militarized Economy

Spokane, WA and Fairchild Air Force Base: A Militarized Economy

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Published by Cherise Fuselier
An essay for the "A People's Geography of American Empire" program
An essay for the "A People's Geography of American Empire" program

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Published by: Cherise Fuselier on Jun 14, 2007
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Spokane & FAFBRunning Head: SPOKANE & FAFBSpokane, WA and Fairchild Air Force Base: A Militarized EconomyCherise Fuselier The Evergreen State College1
 
Spokane & FAFBPART I: HISTORYIn
Wretched of the Earth
(1961), Frantz Fanon describes colonial land:The town belonging to the colonized people…the reservation is a place of ill fame, peopled by men of evil repute. They are born there, it matterslittle where or how; they die there, it matters not where, not how…Thenative town is a hungry town, starved of bread, of meat, of shoes, of coal,of light…For a colonized people the land is most essential value, becausethe most concrete, is first and foremost the land: the land which will bringthem bread and, above all, dignity.Spokane, WashingtonPopular history contends that the city of Spokane, Washington was not “settled”until the 1870s. However, this popular history fails to remember the native inhabitants of the region, who had lived there for thousands of years prior to the arrival of the first whitesettler. These Native people, the Spokane tribe, nestled themselves in permanent villagesagainst the volcano-formed Spokane River and enjoyed fishing for salmon plentiful in itswaters.The Spokanes, whose name means “children of the sun”, were the first to live inthe present-day region of Spokane Country and the city of Spokane (Fig. 1). TheSpokanes have legends that predicted the coming of the white settlers, and they werefriendly and welcoming upon their arrival (Ruby & Brown, p.
ix
). So friendly, in fact, “Awhite man once said that, were he to drop a twenty-dollar gold piece among a group of Spokane Indians, he would more likely get it back than were he to drop it among his own people” (p.
 xi
).2
 
Spokane & FAFBFigure 1. Map of Spokane Tribal Ancestral Lands and Current Reservation Lands.< http://www.spokanetribe.com/upload/FCKeditor/map02.gif>The first Europeans the Spokanes encountered were from the Northwest Fur Company’s Rocky Mountain House in 1800. Upon contact with these men, possibly theFrench Canadian trappers Le Blanc and La Grasse, the Spokanes treated them withkindness. However, with the arrival of the first Europeans brought new diseases, and theSpokane began dying during the trappers winter stay and after their stay (p. 35). Thetrappers were interested in trading commodities (such as metal knives) for animal furs.Many more trappers were to follow, and by 1810, the Northwest Fur Company had3

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