Friday, 13 November 2020

vp

Whilst in no way diminishing all the firsts portrayed here, we learn that Ms Harris is not the first to be the second highest officer of the executive of the US government of bi-racial, non-European heritage thanks to Miss Cellania (whom we congratulate as a new regular contributing happy mutant for Boing Boing). If one goes to the column at the bottom occupied by Dick Cheney then moves up three rows (past Gerald Ford and Harry Truman), one lands on the square with the gentleman to have this distinction, attorney and senator from Kansas, the Honourable Charles Curtis (*1860 – †1936).

Serving in the administration of Herbert Hoover at a time before the position was a running-mate and holding very antithetical views to his president’s platform, their ticket consisted of the winner of the highest number of party electors and the individual coming in second-place. Curtis was affiliated with the Kaw Nation—having three-eights Native American blood (what a tedious and litigious way to celebrate one’s ancestry) but Curtis was deservedly disowned by contemporary and future members of his tribe and the rest of the indigenous population for his legislative agenda and political career that was instrumental in dismantling the sovereignty and self-governance, transforming communal, shared land into allotments for individual households and selling the unclaimed surplus to settlers. Furthermore, Curtis championed assimilation and the practise of sending Native American youth to boarding schools to add to cultural erosion and replacement. The vice-presidency being then a sine cure appointment, Curtis was prevented from doing further damage after 1928, the duo loosing during the next election in the midst of the Great Depression to FDR and John Nance Garner. From this dark chapter, we can look toward the future—the Kaw people and other nations reorganised and have regained a measure of political autonomy since the late 1950s and through the subsequent decade.