Native American man speaks out against anti-immigrant sentiment.
Although many people living in the U.S. like to think of themselves as Americans, we often forget that this land was not the home of our most immediate ancestors. As a nation built by immigrants, how can we truly say that we are Americans if we are not indigenous to the land that we now reside in? In fact, the founders of this nation, and their forefathers obliterated large swaths of the indigenous people who made their homes in what is now called the Americas.
This controversy drew immense media attention during an anti-immigration rally in Tuscon, Arizona. A Native American man told the protesting group that they were all illegals (Huffington Post). Yes, the people at the rally did have U.S. citizenship to be here, but the man was making a different type of point. The only reason America as an internationally recognized country exists is because the stolen land was taken from natives who knew nothing of where the invaders came from.
The man strikes a nerve with a great deal of the protesters when he criticizes the symbolism behind the American Flag. He points to it and says it “stands for all the Native Americans you killed to plant your houses here.” (ICTMN Staff) Nearly every American alive would probably disagree with that sentiment, but it does raise the question: what do the Native Americans think of America as a whole? Are we an illegitimate government? Do we celebrate our freedom on July 4th without acknowledging that we took away the freedom and the lives of a people who called this land home? Do Native Americans experience sentiment that they are grouped together under the “American” label with most of the population base, the true illegals? The most repulsive offenses may have happened centuries ago, but those battles and lost lives continue to shape and influence the immigration debate that may very well, have no end.
Truly a great thought to ponder! I actually wonder how Native Americans feel about this issue after the past 300 years. Maybe you could add more testimonies from current Native American tribe members.
I really like this article! I have always felt that the way the American government has treated Native Americans throughout history has been atrocious. This article demolishes the validity of many citizen’s arguments that they are true Americans. I appreciate the boldness of the content.
It’s always enlightening to be reminded that we all came from immigrants, especially when we attempt to keep those who want what we have out. I have never considered how Native Americans feel toward immigration, and it would be interesting to learn what their attitude as a whole is regarding the policies we pass today to keep out immigrants.
I do not particularly agree with this point because even though some of our ancestors (not my ancestors) did take America by force, there is nothing we can do about it now. The American government has tried to correct our past corrections by building Indian reservations and trying to integrate Native Americans by giving people with Native American ancestry advantages. If we decided to dismantle our government because of it’s less than legitimate origins than the world’s economy would probably collapse. America should continue to help Native Americans and other people it has disadvantage in previous years because that is the best thing it can do.
This is an interesting point. I understand where this man is coming from because immigrants have built the America we know today, however, I think in the course of US History, many great men and women have devoted their lives to improving the very country we know. So in that sense, I think that America stands for more than just who was here first. I think that America has been and still is a symbol of liberty, freedom, equality and opportunity.
As much as i agree with the Native American i’d like to propose the idea that who’s to say the Native Americans where the first to settle on the land? They might have very well eliminated the people before them just as the new settlers did to the natives. Also you stated in the blog “He points to it and says it “stands for all the Native Americans you killed to plant your houses here.” (ICTMN Staff) Nearly every American alive would probably disagree with that sentiment”. I have an issue with the last sentence. Stating that nearly every American would disagree is making a large assumption. Stating such a broad idea somewhat quiets others who have an opposing opinion because you’ll vocalizing for them. You should be cautious with such large assumptions.
America was founded on colonialism, that’s a known fact. We take things that aren’t ours because we have bigger guns and more men. Our “survival of the fittest” mindset has inspired our takeovers in the southern states of the US, Latin America, and the Philippines. America is the land of entitlement. We think that we deserve everything because we can get it. We seldom give credit to people that were here before us.
Justin, my man! You’ve done it again. I really enjoyed this blog post! It’s not often that one thinks about where they live. I really enjoyed your commentary about the subject and the symbolism you presented about the American flag.
This was a really interesting article. It is always important to remember that our country has been built by immigrants from all over the world. This is really relevant today, because feelings of nativism arise when there is a great influx of immigrants from any one country, but it is important to remember that at one point in time, everyone who came here was an illegal immigrant.
I have researched this issue before. I found out how horrible the reservation conditions are. The reservations are plagued by alcoholism, high school-drop out rates and complete underdevelopment. While most Americans are considered middle class, many Native Americans who live on reservations are considered to be the poorest 1%.