If you’re Native, you may know a lot about your own culture. Or at least what it means to be “Indian”. Your understanding of the term probably depends on your location, circle of friends, etcetera, since its perception is quite indefinite, seeing as how its really a cultural misnomer anyway, stemming from Columbus’ labeling the Americas as the “Indies”.
Generally, though, one’s “Indian-ness” is gauged in terms of how close they are with their people (family, tribe, etc.), culture (crafts, language, stories, etc.) and of course, how “woke” you are about it all in relation to the greater world.
Which of course translates to “how angry you are about all the things non-natives (specifically whites) put your ancestors through, and how willing to keep “fighting the good fight” you are…which translates to “how many people you blame, how poor you are, and how many checks you’ve taken in between holding up the odd card board sign”.
If you are non-Native (again, specifically white), you probably don’t “know” much about Native culture, other than the following:
*Native Americans were once here, and are gone now, or at least, are fixing to be gone for all of their small numbers.
*Of those small numbers, they stick together in tight-knit, racially homogenous groups possibly on those things called “reservations”, where they have their own country, independent of this one, where they can do what they want as they anticipate the day when the whole continent once again belongs to them, or they die out (most likely).
*They were/are “primitive” people whose way of life is/was so different from the modern one that any notion of them in it seems out of place…
And, most importantly…
*Its your fault one way or another for their pain and suffering then and now, and the best thing you can do is just stay away from them, since not only do they not like you, but you might affect their delicate way of life if you so much as wave hello at them; and even if you somehow get beyond all that, just being around them will make you feel guilty, and who needs that?
Perhaps you’ve even been told one or more of these things—most likely from another non-native—just after hearing the well known “liberal” mantra of “educate yourself”.
For native and non-native alike, this is no coincidence.
The “stay away” mentality and the “fear me (and give me stuff)” mentality for non-natives and natives respectively, are both leftist-built, leftist maintained ideologies.
In the case of Natives, it comes from a combination of generational grief mixed with what appear to be obvious (if temporary) solutions, in the form of both the knowledge that your ancestors endured more heartbreak than any other group as a whole, and the belief that only adherence to “caring” government policies can allow you and your legacy to continue. Government systems most solidly aligned with the American left.
For non-natives, both the education system and the entertainment industry are extremely (if not totally) leftist controlled mediums. It is here where most of what little knowledge most non-Natives have about Native Americans comes from. It is here where, even if the “curriculum” we laid out before isn’t explicitly taught, the lessons you receive in class, and the occasional Native or Native-related movie that gets greenlit by Hollywood are both designed to make you reach those very conclusions.
The left, and especially Democrats, do this for two reasons: firstly, people in charge of entertainment and news have much more to gain from people hating one another than the opposite, and secondly, because they fear any possible unity of the first Americans and subsequent Americans.
They fear this because the system they’ve worked so hard to build and maintain—of keeping Native Americans weak and helpless, and others living in fear, would fall apart. And as long as Native Americans continue to live on government assistance, support the very policies which are the direct successor to those which oppressed them long ago, forgetting their cultures and being told that who they are depends on how much of a certain person’s chromosomal imprint is left on their biology, and as long as non-natives remain too afraid or disinterested to care, that’s the very thing that will never happen.
But we in the American Indigenous Movement intend to fight their plans at every turn in anticipation of a day when all Americans are drawn together by bonds of shared humanity, and the true marvel of first American culture and history is seen in a light never thought possible by the whole world.
This starts by dispelling myths with reality, and ends, not in contrived apologies or resolutions, but with real action and change.
For Native Americans, you are ostensibly encouraged to fully embrace your cultures and communities by the government and media, but only in such ways that will isolate you from the rest of the world.
You are told, one way or another, that the only way to partake of and sustain your identity is to live on a reservation or the equivalent, sticking close to family and tribe, and confining your culture to those with some biological relation to it.
In addition, you are offered incentives to embrace ways that your ancestors fought against with every fiber of their being, such as living in designated areas, depending on checks for livelihood, and identifying yourself by what’s in your veins instead of in your heart.
What they will not tell you is how much American culture owes to your own. They will not tell you that coming out of your shells and (as Hillary Clinton once said) “off your reservations”, might actually help yourselves and everyone around you. Will not tell you that the American Indigenous way of life strengthens the American spirit instead of contradicting it.
We in the American Indigenous Movement challenge you to defy the new cultural norm that’s been forced on your people.
Stand up and show the world why being Native American is such a great thing, not just for yourself, but for everyone.
If you are a Plains Native, pursue your dream of being a world class athlete or great American author while teaching the country and the world about how your ancestral warrior ethic inspires you to keep moving forward and stand up for your opinion and what’s right. If you are of the South Eastern Tribes, take pride in and teach the world about your creativity, industriousness, and incredible acts of kindness unprecedented in the global community.
Embrace you cultures to the fullest while taking them to new heights in this new world of digital technology and multiculturalism, and pay no heed to naysayers, whether from outside or from within your own people, who try to pin you down into the new, stagnant orthodoxy of “traditionalism”, where no one sees anything other than a floundering, anachronistic “Indian”, not even you.
If you are non-native, there is much you can do to help, and none of it involves “educating” yourself…
If anything, it probably involves forgetting a lot of the things you think you know. Let’s start with that…
*First of all, yes, Native Americans “were” here, but guess what? They’re still around. The educational system is designed to keep you from learning about the people who never left by making you either too bored by the old, dated information every movie since the birth of cinema has made use of that they teach you, or simply too afraid or “guilty” to want to learn anything else about any that might still be around. It’s a process of alienation that began with the oldest of political maneuvers (such as the Trail of Tears) and mentalities, and comes full circle in the classroom.
* Secondly, while family and tribe is important to nine out ten Native Americans, they are typically anything but “full blooded”, and few place any great importance on their “blood quantums”, which are the degrees of Indian blood the government has required them to have in order to claim Indigenous status since the Dawes act of the late 1800’s. Many are “mixed blood”, and have friends, lovers and even spouses who have no Native blood at all. Once, tribal affinity was defined less by who one’s parents were and more by what one felt and thought about the people around them. Also, only about twenty two percent of the Native American population live on reservations, though they may still be enrolled in the tribes for whom the reservations are intended. And reservations are anything but “their own countries. Native Americans are citizens of the United States, but are at least purported to be entitled to certain land rights which are ostensibly upheld by the government…which is who owns the reservations in the first place. They do not have the same power as other sovereign US entities, such as states, to do as they see fit within their own borders, because the borders only exist inasmuch as the federal government will allow.
* Also, Native Americans are indeed bound together by ancient traditions, but they are every bit as “modern” as you. They go to work, drive cars, love movies and TV shows, and make use of these things in both their daily life as Americans and as Native Americans.
* Finally, while some people may have a more difficult time accepting various dark aspects of our collective history, its important to remember that its always more than you think, but less than they say… just because quite a few non-natives did some really bad things doesn’t mean it reflects poorly on the country as a whole, and certainly not you: chances are you’re not even biologically related to anyone who made life hell for Natives, but even if you are, you are not your ancestors, and as far as ancestral memory goes, you’ve nowhere to go but up. You do a far greater disservice to your fellow Americans by isolating yourself from them for the sake of fear, be it for their sakes, or for that of your own shame.
Now that we’ve cleared that up for you, the only thing left to do is get out there and support your Native brothers and sisters! The left wants you to apologize to no end, but all truly good people know that actions speak so much louder than words.
How can you do this? There are many small ways to start out with: you can support any Native American actors or businessmen/women that you know of, familiarize yourself with Tribal politics and vote for federal and local legislation that benefits the freedom of your first American compatriots.
These are all well known means of strengthening ties between native and non-natives, but we seek to go a bit further…
Unless you actually learn about Native Americans in the process of doing such things, you will have fallen short of your ultimate goal of truly accepting them as a part of your own culture as well allowing theirs to grow to their fullest potential. But if some (or a lot) of you simply find this to be too difficult because of the carefully constructed barbs of guilt and shame carefully contracted upon the natural human feelings of fairness and regret by the left, if you cannot look about the scores of buildings and monuments built upon land that was not originally that of your ancestors, if any of this impedes your own national pride…there does exist an alternative…
Regardless of the current federal laws and attitudes of the United States, let us address your feelings: what is it that an immigrant does before or after moving to another country? They familiarize themselves with the prevailing culture so that they can join the people to whom it belongs. Granted, you (probably) have already been here a long time….if that’s the case, about time you got naturalized!
As we’ve said before, the Native American spirit and the American spirit are one and the same. Take it upon yourself to read about the various cultures that populate your own “backyard” as it were; people talk about seeing the world and experiencing new cultures, well here in the good old USA, you have the unique opportunity to do so with over five hundred and eighty cultures which are not only rich in tradition and diversity, but whose way of life reflected that of this very country thousands of years before it even was, all without even having to get on a plane!
Read about tribal histories, mythologies, spirituality, accomplishments, and anything you can. You may even find that you identify in particular with a one or more, the way some people naturally identify with Japanese or Irish culture after having studied them for any length of time, without having been born into them.
And speaking of the Irish, many Irish, Scottish, and Scots-Irish Americans, for instance, have reported feeling a certain “spiritual connection” with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma after having learned about the time they raised the equivalent of five thousand dollars for their own ancestors during the Potato famine, having only learned about it and in the face of their own hardships via the Trail of Tears.
You may discover that there are many good things which tie you together with the first peoples on both a national and ancestral level as well, for, despite the best urgings of cynics (generally in support of–or acting as unwitting tools for–the left), people remember the good, as well as the bad.
You may even be more “naturalized” than you think, already; if you love nature, if you believe that everything has a spirit or some rudimentary consciousness, if you believe people should live as free as possible without having to believe or act in any way outside their way of life, that all life is sacred and worth observing and learning from, that it stems from a mysterious and (generally) unified force, such as a Creator God, if you love your family, friends, and believe that the teachings of older generations should be preserved, then you’re in good company among Native Americans.
You may even get literally “naturalized” by a certain tribe if, in your studies, you become close enough to them to be considered like family, such as through marriage or simply a deep spiritual connection. This, however, depends largely on how the tribal nation in question functions, which is directly influenced by what the federal government–whose reach is epitomized by the left—permits them.
None of this can happen, however, if you stick to the shadows and your reluctance.
To you, we say don’t be afraid. And if you are afraid, we will help you overcome it. If you have questions, ask them. If you have concerns, discuss them. The Native with whom you speak may harbor prejudices and fears of their own, but be understanding. Gird yourself like the warriors of the first peoples, and like those of your own warrior ancestors, and overcome the dread darkness that plagues our collective souls. It is better to get these things taken care of ourselves now than have THEM continue to use it against us like they have since day one.
As a final note for Non-Natives, there is a Sioux expression that you will come across often in your research, and that is the one we often end our articles with: “Mitakuye Oyasin”. It means “all my family/relations”, or “I am related to everyone”, and expresses the spirit we seek to spread in this beautiful and inspiring country. We must all be ready to see that we are all suffering from the same affliction, regardless of its origin, and be ready to help and love one another.
Together, we will break free of the etiological fatalism of the left, where something’s origin determines not only its nature, but its destiny as well.
So the next time someone says “educate yourself”, naturalize yourself, instead!
–Joseph Cody (The Native Conservative)