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circle the wagons



colloquially: taking a defensive position; gathering a group of people; working together to protect from external danger


"[Circle the wagons] is rooted in stories about "brave pioneers" who were "under attack" by "hostile savages." Hit the pause button.

Those "brave pioneers" were seeking land that belonged to Native peoples who fought to defend that land, their homes, their moms and their kids. Anyone would do that, but the imagery of "circle the wagons" makes Native peoples out as barbaric and aggressive. Who, in fact, was the aggressor?!

More facts: The wagons were circled at night in order to keep the cattle enclosed so they wouldn't wander off. I've also read that, if there was an attack, the wagons were too far apart and slow moving to have actually been put into that circle."1

Alt Words

  • collect the team
  • huddle
  • self-protect

Further Reading

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