Native Americans lived in harmony with the land. Using only what they needed, natives were natural environmentalists. It wasn’t about money or ownership it was about using what was needed and leaving the rest unharmed. The year 1540, a crucial turning point in Native American history, began a 350 year battle between the invading white man and the American Indians. Blood of tens of thousands were shed on both sides of the battle lines.
The Anglo-Saxon invaders referred to the native peoples as savages. Instead of respecting and learning from the Natives, they decided they needed to be assimilated, reformed, changed and made into proper citizens- or simply be destroyed. Natives had their own spiritual beliefs, but that wasn’t good enough, they were told what they must believe and had this new form of religion forced upon them. Regardless of the fact that Native beliefs were very similar to theirs, they simply celebrated and honored the Creator differently.
Much like the Tibetans living under constant threat of communist China rule, Natives continued moving on but were told where to go, where not to go and what to do. They were stripped of the freedom they had always known.During the trail of tears Natives lost much of their historical documents. It makes ancestry research of certain tribes nearly impossible for people to trace. The white man swept through the land taking over without regard to who or what they were destroying. White man brought disease and illness with them. Natives had used tried and true herbal remedies, created from the land to treat many common illnesses. The white man, unfamiliar with this, called it witchcraft and killed the innocent tribal members.
Natives didn’t want or need to be colonized. The Native heritage and daily life was completely uprooted with the invasion. We still feel the effects. Did the native peoples want to be shoved onto reservations, given a sum of money monthly and build casinos? No. They wanted to continue their lives, as they were. America has at least attempted to make things right, but still fall short on many levels. The Tibetans still need our help. Let’s not continue to let history repeat itself.
Article by Michelle Hall
National Domestic Violence & Abuse Examiner