Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The Original Illegal Immigrants
Rev. Randy Woodley, a Keetoowah Cherokee Indian teacher, lecturer, poet, activist, pastor, and author, had an excellent article over at the God's Politics blog a few days ago regarding illegal immigration. Naturally the issue looks a little different to the original inhabitants of this country. He writes:
Concern about illegal immigrants has a familiar ring to us Native Americans. We have been empathizing with those concerns for over half a millennium.

Let's see ...Were the first immigrants to America illegal? By every definition - yes! But perhaps if they had a good reason it makes their trespass less offensive. What of their motives? The stated intent of some of the earliest European settlers in America was first to establish military superiority over the inhabitants and then "civilize" them by assimilating them into their form of government and converting them to a foreign religion. Such was the case in the earliest American colonies: From the First Charter of Virginia, April 10, 1606..."[we] may in time bring the Infidels and Savages, living in those parts, to human Civility, and to a settled and quiet Government."

And talk about attitude ... they even came expecting us to learn their language. For example, I always thought, if you come to Cherokee country, you should speak Cherokee.
He goes on to describe the ways early American Christians even used their faith as justification for the subjugation and eradication of Native Americans, and wraps up with this summary:

Early American immigrants, now well established, may have conveniently forgotten that their ancestors did not come as law-abiding citizens, but were intent on making their own laws and disregarding any laws already established by the original Americans. They often justified the taking of innocent lives and the removal of the original inhabitants by their religion. I could go on ... believe me ... I could go on. Suffice it to say, when I look at the track record of the current immigrants compared to the first immigrants, I find much hope for the future of our country.
Yes indeed. Let's be thankful that today's illegal immigrants are here merely to work and live, and not to violently take our land and lives from us, as our own illegal immigrant ancestors did to Randy's people.

Read the rest of Randy's article here.

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posted by Mike Clawson at 1:24 PM | Permalink |


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