Today marks Indigenous Peoples Day. A day to celebrate and honor Native American peoples and to commemorate their histories and cultures.Today we remember America wasn't discovered. Not by Columbus, not even by the Vikings who beat him here. Yes, they opened up trade, they made the contact between Europe and the Americas, but there wasn't anything to discover. There were always people of this land here. And sadly, the European contact with the land came largely at the expense of those already here.
Today is a day we remember the tragedies the indigenous people have endured and find inspiration in their overcoming ongoing struggles today. It should be a day most of us remember that we still have a lot to wrestle with in our history.
Sadly, our education system is failing in teaching us history. It has been has been so undervalued for so long, we cling to problematic myths and struggle with the wrong parts of our heritage. And we can see this in the battles over whether today should be Columbus Day or Indigenous Peoples Day.
It's time to have a celebration that recognizes the heritage of our country and land dates back much farther than any date when a European stepped foot on this land. And when we recognize that, perhaps we can start dealing with the harder issues.
Perhaps a great way to start today would be in learning more about the native peoples of Texas, or for your particular region.
"Before our white brothers arrived to make us civilized men, we didn’t have any kind of prison. Because of this, we had no delinquents. Without a prison, there can be no delinquents. We had no locks nor keys and therefore among us there were no thieves. When someone was so poor that he couldn’t afford a horse, a tent or a blanket, he would, in that case, receive it all as a gift. We were too uncivilized to give great importance to private property. We didn’t know any kind of money and consequently, the value of a human being was not determined by his wealth. We had no written laws laid down, no lawyers, no politicians, therefore we were not able to cheat and swindle one another. We were really in bad shape before the white men arrived and I don’t know how to explain how we were able to manage without these fundamental things that (so they tell us) are so necessary for a civilized society."
John Fire Lame Deer