The first people enslaved by the Europeans in the Americas were the Arawak People, enslaved by the Spanish under the command of Christopher Columbus. The Spanish enslaved millions of Native People across South America, Central America and in the American Southwest and California.
Native People were enslaved by nearly every European power that laid claim to the "New World."
Native Americans accounted for over 25% of the slaves in America as late as the middle of the 18th century and many Native People were lawfully enslaved until the end of the Civil War.
The Constitution of the United States is based on the "Great Law of Peace," of the Iroquois Confederacy, which formed sometime around the year 1250 A.D.
The first person to propose a union of the original colonies - the Iroquois lead". Canassatego, at an Indian-British convention in Pennsylvania in July of 1744.
In 1754, forty-two members or the Grand Council of the Iroquois Confederacy were in attendance to act as advisors to the founding fathers that wrote the Albany Plan to form the confederacy
Benjamin Franklin, James Madison, John Adams, William Livingston, and Thomas Jefferson all spent considerable time living among, socializing with, and/or admiring the form of self-government realized by their Native neighbors.
The classless, egalitarian society of the Iroquois also inspired the thinking of Frederick Engalls and Karl Marx.
The first person to die in defiance of British role in the War of Independence was a man named Crispus Attucks. Attucks, a man of African and Native descent was killed in the Boston Massacre. Attucks, the first to fall in defense of the new nation, was a man whose people were the last to gain citizenship, Afirican-Americans attained citizenship in the Civil War and Congress granted Native Americans citizenship in 1924.
One reason the U.S. Armed Forces were able to enjoy the level of success in WWI, WWII, and the Korean War was the ability to "crack" the enemy codes. U.S. codes were unbreakable because Native American soldiers devised their own codes, based on their languages. Thousands of American soldiers owe their lives to these "Code Talkers." It is ironic that these codes were based on native languages, banned by law, and suppressed by the actions of the U.S. government and religious organizations that operated in concert to eradicate and destroy Native cultures and traditions.
Like the Constitution of the United States the founding charter of the United Nations is based in large part on the principles of the Iroquois Confederacy.
Today there are approximately 2,300,000 enrolled members of Native American tribes. This number comprises less than 1% of the total U.S. population, Approximately 440,000 of these enrolled members live on reservations. 80% of Native American people live and work off reservations.
These federally recognized reservations account today for 56 million acres. 14 million of these acres are rated as "critically eroded" by the BIA. 17 million of these acres are rated as "severely eroded," and the remaining 25 million acres are rated as "slightly eroded."
So you wanna be an Indian with your beads and feather and exotic furs or skins.
You wanna cash in on minority programs and grants and being noticed.
And you wanna rub shoulders with Brando and go to cocktail parties because, suddenly you're interesting and everyone wants to be your friend.
So you wanna be an Indian, go to powwows, dance like one.
But you don't want to live on a reservation or in some cheap hot & cold frame on the other side of the tracks in a city north of nowhere.
And you don't want to think about Sara, 34, with her bloated, cirrhotic belly, dying, and her seven kids, or have your non-Indian friends catch you grinding corn on a metate, or see the peppers and onions hang from the ceiling and kitchen walls in your home.
And you don't want to work the potato fields in Idaho or sell turquoise jewelry on the street in Flagstaff.
And you don't want to marry a drunken Indian and get beaten up all the time.
And you don't want to pray the old way, offer your flesh or fast four days.
And you don't want to go to prison for fighting for your rights.
Go Ahead. Be an Indian.
Native Americans will survive you, too.
as told to Les Tate - used with permission
How often have you heard or said “I’m part Indian”? If you have, then some Native American elders have something to teach you. A very touching example was told by a physician from Oregon who discovered as an adult that he was Indian. This is his story. Listen well:
Some twenty or more years ago while serving the Mono and Chukchanse and Chownumnee communities in the Sierra Nevada, I was asked to make a house call on a Mono elder. She was 81 years old and had developed pneumonia after falling on frozen snow while bucking up some firewood.
I was surprised that she had asked for me to come since she had always avoided anything to do with the services provided through the local agencies. However it seemed that she had decided I might be alright because I had helped her grandson through some difficult times earlier and had been studying Mono language with the 2nd graders at North Fork School.
She greeted me from inside her house with a Mana’ hu, directing me into her bedroom with the sound of her voice. She was not willing to go to the hospital like her family had pleaded, but was determined to stay in her own place and wanted me to help her using herbs that she knew and trusted but was too weak to do alone. I had learned to use about a dozen native medicinal plants by that time, but was inexperienced in using herbs in a life or death situation.
She eased my fears with her kind eyes and gentle voice. I stayed with her for the next two days, treating her with herbal medicine (and some vitamin C that she agreed to accept).
She made it through and we became friends. One evening several years later, she asked me if I knew my elders. I told her that I was half Canadian and half Appalachian from Kentucky. I told her that my Appalachian grandfather was raised by his Cherokee mother but nobody had ever talked much about that and I didn’t want anyone to think that I was pretending to be an Indian. I was uncomfortable saying I was part Indian and never brought it up in normal conversation.
“What! You’re part Indian?” she said. “I wonder, would you point to the part of yourself that’s Indian. Show me what part you mean.”
I felt quite foolish and troubled by what she said, so I stammered out something to the effect that I didn’t understand what she meant. Thankfully the conversation stopped at that point. I finished bringing in several days worth of firewood for her, finished the yerba santa tea she had made for me and went home still thinking about her words.
Some weeks later we met in the grocery store in town and she looked down at one of my feet and said, “I wonder if that foot is an Indian foot. Or maybe it’s your left ear. Have you figured it out yet?”
I laughed out loud, blushing and stammering like a little kid. When I got outside after shopping, she was standing beside my pickup, smiling and laughing. “You know” she said, “you either are or you aren’t. No such thing as part Indian. It’s how your heart lives in the world, how you carry yourself. I knew before I asked you. Nobody told me. Now don’t let me hear you say you are part Indian anymore.”
She died last year, but I would like her to know that I’ve heeded her words. And I’ve come to think that what she did for me was a teaching that the old ones tell people like me, because others have told me that a Native American elder also said almost the same thing to them. I know her wisdom helped me to learn who I was that day and her words have echoed in my memory ever since. And because of her, I am no longer part Indian,
I AM AN INDIAN!