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July 20, 2018

11/1/2017 4:35:00 PM
Room for a View: Nativism, Please
By Peggy Tarr

“…Big words do not smite like war-clubs,

Boastful breath is not a bow-string,

Taunts are not so sharp as arrows,

Deeds are better things than words are,

Actions mightier than boastings…”

(Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, 1807-82, American poet)

It is November, Native American Heritage Month in the United States of America.  The month of November was declared National American Indian Heritage Month in 1990 by President George H.W. Bush.  “This was a landmark Bill honoring America’s Tribal people.  This commemorative month aims to provide a platform for Native people in the United States of America to share their culture, traditions, music, crafts, dance, and ways and concepts of life...” (Wikipedia) Nativism.

Webster’s dictionary defines nativism as: “The policy of protecting the interests of native inhabitants against those of immigrants. The policy or practice of preserving or reviving an indigenous culture.” 

Too many non-Native Americans forget or ignore the fact that Native Americans (Indians) inhabited the land that became the United States for eons before Europeans arrived.  Americans who try to rally Americans against new/current, non-white/non-Christian immigrants/citizens with slogans that suggest that America be returned to its European origin should be seen as acting in ignorance and/or bigotry.  One can only hope that nativism will enlighten Americans.  Nativism, please. 

“Between individuals, as between nations, peace means respect for the rights of others.”  (Benito Juarez, 1806-1872. Zapotec tribe; indigenous pre-Columbian civilization that flourished in southern Mesoamerica)

“Humankind has not woven the web of life.  We are but one thread within it.  Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.  All things are bound together.  All things connect.”  (Chief Seattle, 1780-1866. Duwamish tribe in western Washington; indigenous people of metropolitan Seattle)

“We will be known forever by the tracks we leave.”  (Dakota tribe, also known as Sioux)


Reader Comments

Posted: Friday, November 3, 2017
Comment by: Jean SmilingCoyote

Thanks for this column! Americans need to remember that had there been no First Nations, there would not have been any "Second Nations" here. I think we need to call out the local TV stations which do not give any mention to this Native American Heritage Month. Two days in, and we've heard nothing here. President Trump hasn't mentioned it, either - not even so much as a Tweet. I think the TV stations make their decisions on population. They think only Indians are interested in this special month, and there aren't enough Indians in this area to warrant coverage, so they omit it. They do know about it, I know for sure. They should be giving as much air time to this as for any other group's Heritage Month, and use the opportunity to educate their viewers, just as with the others.

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