In Indonesia I am asked “Dutch”?

Nancy_Olympic-NP_Hurricane-Ridge_Jun06_56kbNancy Deschu,
Anchorage, AK.

My Dutch ancestors arrived in New Amsterdam in 1624. Now, four hundred years later, I live in Alaska but my roots in New Jersey are strong and deep. While traveling in Sulawesi, Indonesia 15 years ago, locals would ask me, “Blanda?”, or what I learned was a slang term for “Dutch”. I felt shame because of the history of the Dutch colonial occupation of Indonesia and brutality to Indonesian people. Most people asked in a circumspect, curious way, though one man refused me a taxi ride. Usually I just answered “Alaska”, an easy way out, because this answer usually sidetracked any further conversation, and elicited a response of wide-eyed smiling response – “Ah! A-lask-ka!”.


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