Independence Day Musings

Yesterday was a perfect summer day, very much fitting of the 4th of July. We kayaked and picnicked, then went walking along the lake shore, or rather Jennie walked while I rode my scooter. I’ve finally decided I appreciate the scooter and the flexibility it offers; of course, in true Polio fashion, it has taken three years to arrive at appreciation.

Yesterday was Independence Day here in the U.S., a day devoted to celebrating the colonists’ rebellion against paying British taxes, and against the Crown’s limits on genocide and land theft. In my family, it was always a complex day; my father was a lifetime military man and civil servant who was a participant in three wars and remained guardedly patriotic throughout his life; he also greatly mistrusted the government’s intentions towards Natives.

This year, the day seemed more loaded than usual. The president has stated his intention to help Indians liberate the natural resources contained in/on reservations; he seems particularly eager to go after energy resources in the southwest. This government, even more than most, is ignorant of, or more likely, hostile to, Native attitudes toward, and practices regarding, the Earth. They are also decidedly anti-Native, as was their cultural hero, Andrew Jackson. While Natives by and large may oppose federal and state efforts to steal land, the Western governors don’t; nor or they opposed to the destruction of the Endangered Species Act, a position I find unconscionable for many reasons.  (For those who place economic growth over right relationship to the planet, it is worth noting that animals provide more economic capital than energy extraction, and more jobs. )

Of course, the current drive to disenfranchise native people and the environment is not really about the economy. Rather, it is about racism, genocide, and pure greed. Suffice to say these are not Native values.

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10 thoughts on “Independence Day Musings

  1. As always, Michael, you put meat on the bones of my beliefs and values by speaking the truth from a Native’s perspective. Oh to live in a society without greed and hatred.

  2. Yesterday was very complicated and draining for me, too, because half of it was spent with a member of my partner’s family who is my political opposite in every way. Our emotions came to a head at one point in the conversation, and I didn’t stop the tears falling down my face. Kindness, compassion, and inclusion are important to me. It doesn’t feel like a celebration without them.

  3. Thank you Micheal for addressing the confliction inherent in promulgating conflict. The indigenous way is to recognize dependence, not celebrate independence. #allmyrelations

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