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What's the Matter With Our Indians

What's the Matter With Our Indians

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Published by Bill Allin
Many countries of the world believe they have a problem with their aboriginal peoples. This article explains the cultural divide and why the problem persists.
Find author Bill Allin at http://billallin.com
Many countries of the world believe they have a problem with their aboriginal peoples. This article explains the cultural divide and why the problem persists.
Find author Bill Allin at http://billallin.com

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Categories:Types, Research, History
Published by: Bill Allin on Sep 08, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/26/2012

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What's The Matter With Our Indians?
“Never criticize someone else unless you walk a mile in his moccasins.”-Lakota Sioux proverb To begin, let's examine the title.Five hundred years after Christopher Columbus (Christophe Colomb, an Italiancartographer of some considerable renown) defrauded his Spanish sponsors into believingthat he had discovered India--naming the inhabitants he found "Indians"--many peoplestill call the aboriginal peoples of North America Indians. By the way, Columbus didn't"discover" the Americas. Being a map maker, he had spoken on many occasions with Norse map makers who had been to North America many times with Norse fishermenwho had been visiting the continent for hundreds of years. Thus began the great NorthAmerican fraud, but more on that later.The aboriginal people of North America sometimes call themselves Indians, but theyaren't serious about it. African Americans sometimes call themselves "niggahs" too, butas a people they don't care for the moniker any more than the aboriginals like whites tocall them Indians. "Indians" is a bad name given them by ignorant Europeans whose primary purpose in coming to North America was to steal and to conquer. They called itdiscovering, exploring, trading, but let's use plain language here. They planned to take asmuch as possible and give as little as they could get away with. It was the European wayof the time."Our" is wrong as well. What are called Native Americans in the USA and First Nationsin Canada were never conquered, never defeated as a people. Of the hundreds of distincttribal groups--at least the ones that were not slaughtered to extinction (Beothuk, theoriginal "redskins" that lived in Newfoundland) or decimated as they tried to defendthemselves in "Indian wars"--none were truly defeated. They didn't have any concept of "owning" land, so they were prepared to share it with the newcomers. Since thenewcomers themselves were not decimated by such delightful diseases as smallpox thatthe Europeans delivered, the white skins soon outnumbered the natives. As always, size(of population) matters.So far as aboriginal peoples of North America are concerned, even today, they areAmericans or Canadians only according to citizenship documents they may have neededfor travel purposes. They consider themselves citizens of their own nations, as promisedthem in treaties written for them by English speaking lawyers, in English legalese,explained to them in simple but deceptive language they could understand. The Englishspeakers had no leave to negotiate, so it was a "take it or leave it" situation. This matters because in most of these cultures no one forces another to say "No" to anything and it isconsidered very rude to be forced into saying "No" yourself by another person. Theaboriginals agreed to treaties partly because their culture taught them to be agreeable, tonot say "No" to someone who is offering something.
 
They were tricked into giving up "ownership" of their land (a concept they never had intheir culture) by Europeans who promised them homes on land they would control("reserved" land, thus called reserves or reservations) and rights to fishing and hunting ontheir traditions lands, free education and a stipend for each person from the Crown eachyear.The aboriginals had no concept of "king." They knew of a Creator that was active in their lives but never seen, so they assumed that the unseen King would also look after them asthe Creator did. And, of course, keep promises made in writing.What were the living conditions? A little perspective is in order here. After the SecondWorld War, representatives of the (white) government of South Africa came to Canada tosee how the Canadian government dealt with its "Indian problem." Then they went homeand, following the Canadian pattern, enacted Apartheid. Apartheid was banned in SouthAfrican years ago when the black skinned people vastly outnumbered the white skins andthe world turned against a prejudiced government in South Africa. However, in Canada,the Indian Act still exists, though the government has made promises for many years toremove it. The United Nations has condemned Canada publicly for its apartheidregulations, to no avail. Apartheid still exists, not in South Africa, but in Canada. On "therez."Are "Indians" forced to stay on reservations these days? No, in Canada about half live off their home reservations. But any government benefits come only to those who live on thereserves. If you live off the reserve, even briefly--especially if you are a woman--thenmove back to the reserve, good luck trying to get your rights to benefits back from thegovernment. Now about the "What's The Matter" part of the title. What's the matter is that NorthAmerican aboriginal people did not die out, as expected, which is why they were givensuch a "sweet deal" in the apartheid style treaties. What's the matter is that the culture of the North American aboriginal people is very, very, very different from the culture thatwas brought to North America from Europe. If this article were expanded to book length,it would still not be long enough to explain the many differences between the cultures of the Europeans (now white North Americans) and the aboriginals.What's the matter is that the white governments of North America never kept the promises they made to the aboriginal peoples in legally drafted and signed treaties theydrew up themselves. No aboriginal group was ever offered the chance to draft a possibletreaty because they were considered by the Europeans to be inferior people, not quitehuman in the European sense. Not only were the conditions of the treaties in the stylenow known as apartheid, the governments didn't even keep the few promises they madein those treaties. Promises they made up themselves.We are used to politicians making promises before elections, then forgetting them oncethe elections are over. But if we have a legal agreement with the government, we expectthe government to keep its end of the bargain. The government certainly expects us to

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