The Importance of Fact-Checking

 

A friend sent me a link today to an article in the Huffington Post about (yet another) error in Sarah Palin’s new book, Going Rogue.  The gist of the article dealt with a quote in the book that was misattributed to the wrong person and also used out of context.   

 

As the epigram to Chapter Three, "Drill, Baby, Drill," Palin assigns the following remarks to the Hall of Fame hoops coach [Bill Wooden]:

“Our land is everything to us… I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember our grandfathers paid for it–with their lives.”

 

But the full quote was actually by a Native American activist named John Wooden Legs and appeared in an essay titled “Back on the War Ponies.”

 

“Our land is everything to us. It is the only place in the world where Cheyennes talk the Cheyenne language to each other. It is the only place where Cheyennes remember the same things together. I will tell you one of the things we remember on our land. We remember our grandfathers paid for it–with their life. My people and the Sioux defeated General Custer at the Little Big Horn.”

 

There is a world of difference between how Palin’s book used the quote and what the quote actually is.  Grandfathers on both sides may well have paid for their land with their lives, but the white grandfathers couldn’t claim their people had lived on the land since time immemorial.   

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