The Real Natives

At the end of this I’m going to ask you to do something. Prepare yourself!

Today, I went to an Indian Pow Wow with my sister. Sounds sort of funny, but it was actually a lot of fun. It was on the grounds of Long Hunter State Park, and there were tons of people, tents, and kiosks present. We had a really good time. But I couldn’t help but notice something as we walked around from tent to tent.

Pretty much all of them were occupied by a member or associate of a Native American tribe. Makes sense, considering the occasion. But that’s not what caught my eye. What caught my attention was the general perception they had of our country. These people honest-to-God felt suppressed, taken advantage of, and culturally damaged. Not upfront they didn’t. But as I tend to do, I tried to chat with them and peel back the layers of formality, really getting an idea of their true feelings. And the blunt reality is that they have every right to feel that way. Sure, we might not like to admit that. And we might even go to great lengths to undermine the atrocities that occurred during the European conquest of the Americas – but these are people. Human beings. It honestly broke my heart to hear some of the stories they had to tell. And I’m talking like 1-3 generations ago, not like great great great great great grandfather stuff.

These people REALLY got the short end of the stick. I mean imagine if that were us. Just for a second. No really! Imagine it. Let’s use aliens as an example, so we don’t have to feel bad about ourselves (which we should). Who doesn’t like aliens?

What if ETs were to land here some day and say, “Hey guys! You’re doing it all wrong!”? Our technology, our agricultural methods, everything. But then they offer us a solution! Well if you do it THIS way, you’ll be much more productive. Hooray! Aw thanks guys, I knew you were out there. Now let’s go be inter-special besties and talk about how much faster you can text with seven fingers.

But then…little by little, they keep bringing more and more of their alien friends to Earth. Until eventually we reach a point where its so awkward that we need to make some major decisions.

“Okay Earthlings…I understand you’ve been sort of, ya know, living here and all. Buuuut about that. The higher ups say we need another planet so our species can stretch its legs. Soooo all you Earth guys are gonna have to huddle up on Australia and let us use the rest of the planet, or else we’ll vaporize you. Deal? Deal. Great! I’m so glad we could work that out! Yay for interstellar peace! Don’t you just love synergy?” *wink*

Perhaps an overly whimsical dialogue, but that’s basically a modern version of what happened to the Native Americans!! How would that make you feel? More importantly, how does it make us feel? Do we even care? No. At least the vast majority of us don’t. Why is that, you may ask? Because we aren’t taught to care about that. Sure, we briefly skim over the Trail of Tears in our textbooks, but we don’t come anywhere close to addressing the magnitude of what was done to create the world we live in today. Its almost frightening how much information can be twisted to spin a certain narrative for our children to believe in.

Sadly, there’s really nothing that can be done about this. Except this one thing: one of the tents I went to was pushing for a National Holiday to acknowledge the Native Americans. Because they get no recognition in the current schedule. So I happily signed it, and encourage you to do so as well. It may not be much, but it’s at least something. The holiday they would like to create will show the appreciation for the code talkers of WWI and WWII. If you aren’t a war buff, America utilized Native Americans and their language in both World Wars to encrypt their messages and documents, in many cases assigning translators to certain regiments or brigades. So this holiday would be one to reflect on the sacrifices those translators made and the duty they served to the United States (even after being taken advantage of). If anyone deserves a holiday, its them.

So if you read this, please help them out. Here’s the link to their website that was created just a few months ago:

http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/national-day-for-navajo

native


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