Saturday, July 5, 2014

Immigration Policy - If Native Americans had Turned Back "The Bus"

A writer writes!

The fourth of July took me to a relaxed family gathering followed by a journey to a minor league baseball game in downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.  Our hometown team is named the “Indians”.  Absent   research, I’m assuming the Indianapolis and Indiana names have a Native American connection. The day before I watched a segment on the news about how residents of a town in California had prevented several buses of immigrants from entering the city.  My thought as I sat inside Victory Field watching the Indians play was that if Native Americans had taken the same stance when Europeans came to the Americas across the Atlantic Ocean maybe the scene before me wouldn’t be the same.  Instead of a stadium full of people with European backgrounds, possibly it would have been a different venue populated by Native Americans participating in some activity Native Americans enjoyed.

Maybe hundreds of years ago there were debates among Native American tribes about allowing European foreigners to enter the country where Native Americans were already established.  I can see Native Americans saying, “let’s send that boat back to where it came from”, and not let Europeans get off the boat to walk on their land.  If there are Native American historians out there I defer to them on the historical reaction that Native Americans had to these settlers.

Although Native Americans apparently chose not to repel the settlers in force, those in the California town who repelled the buses didn’t repeat the same generosity.  Did they foresee a repetition of what happened to Native Americans? Apparently hundreds of years ago the Native Americans did not feel threatened by the coming Europeans, initially.  But the residents of that California community felt threatened by a busload of children and others.  What did they fear?  Seeing their tax money partly go to paying for those immigrating to this country?   Fearing that they would somehow lose their jobs to immigrants?  Or was it just a mean “we don’t want you here” reaction? 

There was one thing that was certain; the welcome sign was not out in this California community.  Self survival, not a Christian spirit of love for the downtrodden drove these Californians to react the way they did.  I guess the United States doesn’t have a lot of resources to go around to others.  I wasn’t aware the resources of the country were dwindling.  Maybe I had better start stockpiling cans of food, and join the ranks of those protecting the border from the poor who want a better way of life.

So, on July 4th I found myself in Victory Field, watching the “Indians” minor league baseball team.  A capacity crowd of 14,000 was there, and I wondered if there was even one Native American among the crowd.  The crowd cheered as they started doing the “wave”.  I didn’t participate, as I didn’t want to join in the festivities as the “Indians” played baseball on the field.  Plus, I’m just not one to do what others are doing because they are doing it.  Later when it came time for the fireworks show, the crowd cheered the red, white, and blue fireworks explosions.  Yes, people have the right to cheer the anniversary of Independence Day as transplanted Europeans long ago celebrated their freedom from being governed by rulers from across the ocean.  But, somehow Independence Day also seems like one of the final events leading to the beginning of the near extinction of the Native American culture in northern America.  I somehow don’t think a large group of Native Americans were cheering and shooting fireworks on some obsolete reservation in the United States.

If only Native Americans had immigration policies in effect as the settlers came from Europe.  Who knows, that might mean I wouldn’t be writing this blog, as possibly I as an African American would not have been forcibly relocated to these United States of America to help the resettled Europeans build the economy.   But that’s another story…

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