Saturday, April 22, 2006

Native Tension

It seems incidents of Native American tension and protests are coming into the news in Ontario.

For example, in Caledonia, Ontario, natives occupied a housing development for 52 days until the police raided to end it. Later, natives "blockaded a vital Ontario rail corridor" in order to "show solidarity for those occupying a disputed parcel of southwestern Ontario land". Sources: this article and also this one. The disputed parcel of land was taken from the natives a couple of centuries ago.

As much as part of me wants to say: LET GO OF THE PAST AND ADJUST TO THE NEW REALITY, I have to stop and ponder this more carefully. If we (we being the majority in North America, whites of european descent) think all Native Americans are going to look at what happened over the last few hundred years and then sit back in a passive manner and say "Oh well, what happens will happen", we are VERY VERY VERY VERY naive.

What has occured, if not genocide, was one of the largest full-featured invasions with many war atrocities. And not just in North America, but South America too.

In his biting condemnation of the Europeans activities in the "New" World called "A Caution Against Bigotry", Christian leader John Wesley says: " It were to be wished, that none but heathens had practised such gross, palpable works of the devil (speaking of abuses within pagan religion). Even cruelty and bloodshed, how little have the Christians come behind them! And not the Spaniards or the Portuguese alone, butchering thousands in South America: not the Dutch only in the East Indies, or the French in North America, following the Spaniards step by step: our own countrymen, too, have wantoned in blood, and exterminated whole nations; plainly proving thereby what spirit it is that dwells and works in the children of disobedience."

Some scholars estimate that when Europeans began to discover North America, there were some 10 million Natives living within the current borders of the U.S. Now the number is 2.4 million. How is that for population skrinkage? The death rate would have to be astronomically higher than the birthrate for that to happen. Anyone want to venture a guess about what caused this decline? Who will be held accountable for this? Sure much of it was due to "natural" causes such as disease, but of course it directly coincided with the arrival of the Europeans.

We (speaking generaly of Europeans) have trampled these people into the ground for years, taken their land, and generally insulted them. What do we expect? For them to sit down and passively twiddle their thumbs? Would we expect to do the same if Iran, for example, were to raid our dwelling place and claim superiority over us?

We should be suprised that they (Native Americans) have not put forward MORE resistance and protest.

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