Throughout history people have always stuck with others who were similar to themselves. As in, tribes stuck together and often did not mingle with outsiders. Mostly for survival and being able to fend for themselves. I will acknowledge that on every continent there existed some sort of kingdom where a person may have provided in a grand way for his people or convinced them that God came to them in a dream and declared them a king. Something different was happening in Europe. They had established kingdoms with specific border lines. They were the first people in the world to have taken it that far. Imagine living in a world with no borders or customs. What chaos right? Maybe not. Imagine how peaceful it was. Sure people fought over land and resources but most likely between tribes or villages of 100-500 people, not between whole countries where death tolls reach millions such as that of the world wars.
Into to the ‘age of exploration’, or the age of colonization. This was when the Europeans began to visit other countries and claim ‘mine.’ Cause they felt like it, why not right? As this was happening, Indigenous people everywhere were welcoming. So for example when europeans arrived in Cuba and Brazil, the indigenous people gave them gold and silver. It wasn’t that big of a deal to them but of course, the white man took it to the next level and enslaved the people to mine as much gold for him as possible to send back to the kingdom.
As time may have it, the white man realized the Americas were a place he could establish a lot of wealth through resources. Ah, the OG American Dream. As they established colonies, they began their sugar cane heist while enslaving more indigenous people to do work they were too weak for. Indigenous people have been on this land for thousands of years so it wasn’t too easy to keep them enslaved since they knew the land so well. As this was happening, across the world in Africa were the Arab colonizers influencing a wider scale slave trade. The European colonizers saw this and of course, took a bad to another level of bad and began purchasing and kidnapping millions of African Indigenous people from their lands to bring to the Americas. The beginning of the Atlantic slave trade.
As they realized how endless the resources were, they set up camp in the Americas. Imagine you’re just chilling, enjoying life and this dirty man comes in your house and says he’s going to eat all your food and live in your house but you can live in the basement. So yes, Indigenous people did fight back. They weren’t accustomed to fighting wars to the extent of the white man though so it was an unfair battle. Through diplomacy didn’t work either, at the meeting of the Aztec Emperor and the king’s minion, the emperor brought offerings of gold and a willingness to say, ‘fine you stay over there but mind your own business’. But as you may have guessed, mans was not reasonable nor rational. He beheaded the emperor and ordered the military to attack the kingdom.
As Indigenous people were being murdered and wiped out by the sicknesses and violences that the white man brought with him, society was being established. Caste systems were put in place. Africans at the bottom, Indigenous, Mestizos (half white, half indigenous), europeans born in America, europeans born in Europe. I won’t doubt that there was mingling between people in the world and maybe they were prejudiced when their daughter wanted to marry outside the tribe, but why does the white man live in such extremes?
As other European countries made their way over to establish their claims to land they ‘discovered’, borders were put in place. The French, the British, the Portuguese and the Spanish established their territories. And then proceeded to fight with each other over who gets what. Indigenous people watching like ‘how are you just gonna say you own mother earth, when mother earth owns us?’
They set up their governments, they push us to the side and give us whatever they deem to be enough.
They force our chiefs to sign treaties that they can’t understand.
They force us to learn their language and their ways, to follow their religion and stay to the side.
Our children are kidnapped and forced into boarding schools where their long braids are cut to match the priests who beat them for speaking the language that surpasses time and churches.
We are banned from ceremony and traditional practices.
We aren’t allowed to leave the reserve.
Oil companies mine our land and pollute our water.
At one point in time, Indigenous people lived harmoniously with the land and every living being within it. We honoured the land that gives us life. We never established borders or built walls. We honoured each other and understood that every living being was connected with us. Through colonization we have been forgotten. Indigenous communities everywhere are living in poverty without access to clean water on our own land. When you build pipelines on our land, we protest because we understand that water is life and by building a pipeline the future of our children will fight for survival. This extends into South America and indigenous communities in Africa and Australia and Asia. Indigenous people worldwide are living without access to basic human rights. We don’t want our land back. It never belonged to us. We want to be treated like humans.
Indigenous people now make up .08% of the population in the United States.