Exploration of Themes...
I have been sick this last week and ended up having to go to the emergency room even but am feeling so much better now, thankfully. But all this week a few phrases have been stuck in my mind, circling around and around, so I thought I would post about it...
It calls to mind a scene from that movie Cyrano de Bergerac where Roxanne is at the literature meeting with her friends and Christian decides he does not need Cryano's help anymore to get the girl. They sit together in the courtyard and he says "I love you!" and she is saying something like "Yes, that is the theme, embroider it." and he isn't sure what to say to her so repeats passionately again that he loves her. She sighs and says something like 'No, no, no, I ask for Creme and you give me milk."
If it didn't sound so rude to me when I hear from westerners how much they like American Indians/Alaskan Natives and wish what had happened did not happen I would say something like 'Gee, that's nice. Move along." It does get to me when it happens over and over and over again and sometimes I wish I was not raised to not be rude! Why do people think that the fact that they accept us as 'real' people and what happened to us was terrible and then stopping there is any different then the ones who are openly oppressive? Does it make them feel better to say such things? Well, personally I am all for people feeling good about themselves, you know, sure, but... Isn't it a kind of rudeness to expect approval and acceptance for what should be considered a normal thing? I am a believer that good thoughts will help us change the world, so yeah, it is a good thing that they see us as people but why do they stop at the truth being that we are the rightful people of this land?
When you bring this up though you get accused of being "prejudiced" against westerners though. It is not "pre- judging" at all but taking an honest look at historical facts. It is adding insult to injury that this happens and is so prevalent in western thinking that they get offended if it is brought up. I honestly believe that things will not really change until we can confront these types of things openly and honestly. I know it was a long time before westerners became comfortable with the ideas of slavery in America and since the Indigenous Americans still face oppression it is a touchy subject I guess, but that does not mean we should not try to be honest about things to begin the changes we want.
One phrase that stuck in my mind was something like 'due to their rejection of what they see as western imperialism'. It does make me wonder what these western people see it as... If they do not call it "Imperialism" then what do they call it? Do they try to pretend it is some sort of benign thing? An honest look will show the truly devastating effects it has on just about every other culture on this world. And given that this a true definition then isn't the only choice to reject such a notion entirely?
America was founded on murder and theft, that is the untarnished truth of the matter. Adding insult to injury was the fact that it offers freedom from oppression to all those who will pretend that the American Indigenous are not really here or something... I know there are those who say that their forefathers did not do the actual killing and theft themselves, but they grab their piece just the same. Do they think that to the Indigenous Americans that there is a difference between the 2?
What do the Indigenous Americans want? How about asking them! Instead of that they appoint westerners to decide what it is that we want and need and everyone is okay with this since it has existed for way too long. Seeing the indifference does create feelings of anger in the Indigenous, just as it does to those who hear what happened to them. But it is not a vengeful anger, but a patient one. If you stop and think about it, they have been remarkably patient and even generous in waiting for Justice to happen.
What is Justice? That is a question that seems to stump America as a country when it comes to it's indigenous population! There are 3 branches of power in America's system and how many of these are controlled by indigenous people? None. Within each group there are sub-groups of agencies to run things and how many of these are controlled by indigenous Americans? None. A question to ask yourself is why this is so!
The propaganda spread about is how we need to be taken care of when a good honest look at how things were before the country was stolen will show this is nothing but a vicious lie perpetuated to keep the status quo. There was such an abundance of everything that westerners came in droves. Did they really think we had no idea how to waste things? It was a conscious decision to live in harmony with Nature, as a beautiful part of it. Does this mean that the Indigenous Americans were perfect? Of course not, but that always comes up when this is discussed. No nation is ever perfect because each nation is made up of people and we are fallible, that is a fact. Who was it that said "Hell is other people"? I always use that as an example to my girls when we were homeschooling and explaining the differences between an idea/theory and how they never seem to go quite as planned.
Where this discussion will lead us is up to all of us working together toward a solution that is Just. It should not strike fear into a westerners heart that this is now not going to be allowed to go away quietly since the Indigenous Americans have known this for hundreds of years already. That should set their hearts at rest and lead to open and honest discussions about bringing Justice to Americas Indigenous peoples.
In ending, I would like to go back to my example from the movie: Justice, that is the theme, embroider it... (and remember I ask for Creme...)