I get a little fired up sometimes when talking with one of the people, especially an elder who has seen and been through much more than I as was the case today in having a cup of coffee and a biscuit with grandfather.
The gist of the conversation came down to single point as he said he has never been able to understand exactly what it is the government wants from us other than everything we have ever owned.
After five hundred plus years of attacks and oppression I don’t know exactly what the government expects from us as a people either.
Are we merely to remain silent, content to accept whatever scraps are tossed our way? Whatever “freedoms”?
We knew hardships when we alone occupied this hemisphere, but that’s true of any people anywhere – we also knew the joy of being ourselves without outside interference.
We lived the life we were born to and cultivated, and though we at times warred against each other, again true of all people, we also knew the peace and stability of communities that contributed to the welfare of all within it.
Poverty and disenfranchisement are neither joy, nor peace, nor stability – and when comparing the asset and debit sheets no one can say we are in the black.
We have little of what once was, yet we remain and cling to that which endures inspite of those among us who see them as marketable commodities.
This marketing is the equivalent of the boarding schools and no less a threat to our way of life – it is to me an unwarranted transgression akin to that visited upon us by the black robes for speaking our own languages – an attempt to if not break us then to sufficiently confuse and weaken us while a few give themselves titles and stuff their pockets with the proceeds.
So what is it – are we to be “good citizens”? If so what is the definition of that in view of the history? Subservience, will that make us good?
If we all suddenly embraced Christianity would we be something more than trophies to be paraded around the congregation ? Would the Mormon’s who think we’re a lost tribe of Israel be satisfied and welcome us into the fold?
Would the government pat themselves on the back and say their efforts to “civilize” us have come to fruition?
Should having been placed in a situation of dependency are we to be thankful for that?
Thankful for commodities, food banks, and allotment checks? Thankful for never having enough of anything?
Are we good citizens when we provide photo ops for presidents or aspiring presidents when elections draw near?
If we give them an “ndn name” does that mean we are all related? If so as relatives we’ve been treated pretty shabbily wouldn’t you say?
How about when we surrender more land – are we doing it for America’s or Jerry’s kids and therefore good citizens?
If we die on foreign fields in foreign wars are we at least temporarily elevated in status? Took a lot of dying on those foreign fields before we even had an unimpeded right to vote.
No, I think the idea is when we buy into all this, then, and only then, are we considered “good”, but I say when we are “bad” and don’t we are better.