Memorial Day is a day for honoring the brave, shouldn’t fallen Native Americans be honored for protecting their country?
As we complete our Memorial Day holiday weekend honoring those who died fighting for this great country’s freedom, one dimension is completely forgotten. Who honored the First Nation warriors that died protecting their land, on their native soil? How about those children who were taken away from their parents and died in Indian Boarding Schools?
History is a biased account, reflecting the morals and values of the majority society in that time period. It strays far from actual fact and it conveniently omits lots of data if it paints an inconvenient picture that differs with the party line. As a country, we seem to be attracting more enemies than friends these days. Could this be an indicator about the way we get things done? We will gladly violate the means to get the ends. In business, in politics, in war, and in relationships. Our kids pick up on this message. The means and the ends are inextricably linked in truth and integrity.
During the Revolutionary War, our fledgling country’s leaders were considered traitors to England. As a consequence, they carried a death penalty on their heads. Were they patriots or traitors? Depends on point of view - the context, not the content. One side honored them as founding fathers and the other side wanted them dead.
Are the fallen braves of First Nation people to be honored or forgotten? Didn’t they continually help strangers from a strange land from trappers to Pilgrims? And in turn for their kindness, they were mishandled in the most alarming fashion possible.
Genocide is a word that is not thrown around much. It’s just too dark, too atrocious, too unspeakable. It reminds us of our nefarious thoughts, the ones we reserve to justify attack and vengeance on societies enemies and criminals of the day.
With war, you attempt to annihilate your enemy with the most malignant use of force. With genocide, you systematically annihilate the traditions, the religion, the spirit, the language and customs. With the Native Americans, they called it assimilation. It is worse than war, its’ effects far more insidious, but the damage remains forever. It appears you are helping, but the truth is you are participating in a slow, torturous death of a nation’s heart. Individually, as families and collectively. African Americans and Japanese in this country know it well.
This year for Fun Day, we have chosen to deliver 1,000 backpacks loaded with school supplies as well as tons of non-perishable, high quality food for hundreds of families. We can’t go back in time, but we can acknowledge our errors in our ways and move on a Nation and welcome back First Nation people where they belong. If the rest of the world observed this, there would be more peace and less war. Get involved in our project. Your one act will set in motion something that has been held underground for centuries. Thank you.