Nativism Gone Awry

It’s funny that so many Americans today tout nativism as the remedy for our country’s ills. Ironically, many of my ancestors were Native Americans. I have a genome that encompasses over twenty indigenous tribes from as far south as Mexico and as far north as the Aleutian Islands. So, I can support that nativism agenda. Give us our country back.

Too many forget that the settlers who came here from Europe were not native to this land. In fact, their efforts to claim this country in the name of Manifest Destiny resulted in the death of millions of my ancestors. Is it not hypocritical to condemn Hitler for massacring millions of Jews, when “Americans” killed tens of millions of Native Americans?

Many argue that it was a smallpox epidemic brought here by the Europeans that killed the native population. Others believe that a broken heart led to their unfortunate destiny. And there are those who propose that they were merely too weak to survive the settlers’ occupation. Perhaps, it was all of the above and more.

Various historic accounts support the fact that anywhere from 14 to 70 million Native Americans were forced from their homes and died so the settlers could move in. Many, today, place the blame for the demise of many natives on the tribes that once controlled this country. I read one article that claims that only the strong survive. And, in the battle over the land the “Indians” once called home, those tribes were weak. Many say the loss suffered by the Native Americans resulted in a more robust nation, thanks to the settlers.

Kinda reminds me of the article written by the New York Times about our current president stating that all Haitians have Aides. So I assume that is his justification for wanting to deport the earthquake refugees. NYT goes on to state that he also said that the Nigerians, who are here, will never want to go back to their “huts” in Africa. Maybe because they have it so good here?

My cousin married a Nigerian. Their family owns a comfortable compound outside of the capital of Lagos, with no grass huts. And they return to their homeland often to regenerate and reclaim their roots.  They are Ibo, said to be the Lost Tribe of Isreal. To have survived this long as a dominant tribe hardly makes them weak. So we should be supportive and uplifting of such a noble people, rather than denigrating and castigating them for being who they are.

Further historical records support evidence that Africans came to America long before the Europeans. And instead of dividing and conquering the native population, they respected their rights to their land, leaving their home unscathed. The Africans most likely returned home to tell tales of a mighty nation of people who lived to embrace the land that gave them life.

Instead of castigating those who are not of European descent in this country, we must all accept the fact that America is a stolen nation. A nation ripped from its indigenous population to provide a home for immigrants from countries across our globe. A nation that must reconcile itself with the fact that the settlers massacred tens of millions of people to claim land which was not theirs to claim. We must learn to embrace the heritage of those indigenous tribes who are left. And it wouldn’t hurt to give back to all who were so ruthlessly harmed in the name of Manifest Destiny.

And to President Trump I say, America is not yours to take. It is time to remember our country’s indigenous population, while we embrace the words engraved on the Statue of Liberty. “Give me your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shores.” We are a nation of indigenous tribes and immigrants, and that is where our strength lies.

 

 

 

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