To the editor:
Racism! Would you not like to grab a shovel, scoop up this dung that breeds hatred, heartache and decay and smother it in a bottomless pit?
I recently came across several white supremacist, bigoted articles on the Internet. They slammed First Nations people and spouted callous fiction about Indian cultures. These articles—their tone and redneck profanity—turned my stomach, almost made me ashamed to be white.
I’d like to educate and change the attitudes of the sad ignorant souls who incite this racism and hatred. But many of these folks would be uncompromising; they may be just too enraptured—enamoured with the colour white. For those dogmatists who fall into this category of narrow-minded venom, may I suggest a move to different climes—say an Arctic ice floe or remote abodes in Antarctica—of course it would be kind and fitting to warn polar bears and penguins of the imminent arrival of these new, unsavory neighbours.
First Nations cultures have always had much to offer the world. They have a history of honouring the land, the waterways, the environment and the creatures who share this planet with man. Certainly, since the birth of the Manifest Destiny doctrine [In the 19th century, Manifest Destiny was a widely held belief in the United States that American settlers were destined to expand throughout the continent—Wikipedia] and the atrocities perpetuated by its followers, many native people have lost their path. There can be no doubt that they have been negatively affected by the white man’s quest for materialism, by his alcohol, his religions and his so called civilized land usage. But their traditions, their heritage, the wise council passed down from those who came before them remains a part of who they are. Most of them hold I’m sure, deep in their hearts, a love of: freedom, generosity, the land and Mother Nature’s gifts. The ignorant, reading these words, will drool their propaganda, they can and will dispute this, but the educated, the wise, seekers of peace know it to be true.
Prior to the Americas being besieged by European immigration, pollution was almost nonexistent, waterways were pure and giving sources of life, wildlife was plentiful, the land was not decimated by human and corporate greed. Walk the land today, witness the scars, the waste, the litter, the poison—feel the pervasive attitudes that snuffed out sanctity. The white man’s “march of progress” buried reverence for the land—buried respect for the rights and differences of others—buried compassion. Ironically, Europeans—many who travelled to this land seeking religious freedom—shoved their versions of religion down the throats of those already possessing a heightened sense of spirituality and a firm belief in our ‘Grandfather’ above.
My grandmother’s name was Florence Tribe. I tell family and friends that I too am a Tribe, and as such, I have First Nations blood coursing through my veins—perhaps Ojibwe, perhaps Stoney, maybe Lakota. I may be Pennsylvania Dutch with Scandinavian, German and Scottish heritage, but, according to me, I am a proud First Nations person too.
I have much to learn from the true Original Peoples’ family oriented, humble paths. If you, dear reader, open heart and mind, if you let your light shine instead of casting the dark shadows of racism, you too can learn. You might be surprised. You may find yourself walking a more gratifying trail.
They may not know me, but I count the human beings of the America’s First Nations as friends and I respectfully urge them to hold fast to the teachings of their grandparents, hold fast to honourable traditions. Continue to have a kinship with the earth and the creatures that yet dwell there.
Dale Fisher, Kelowna