Van E. Harl
TERRORISM SINCE 1492?
My favorite mother-in-law is visiting so we took her to the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque. The Center is owned and operated by the nineteen Indian Pueblos in New Mexico. After touring the museum we wandered upstairs to the gift shop. As I was walking through the T-shirt section I spotted a rather unique shirt. It had a very recognizable old photo of some Native Americans with rifle in hand and the caption on the shirt read “Homeland security--fighting terrorism since 1492.”
I stopped and took a long, hard look at that T-shirt. And you know what, it was right, sort of? Every since the first Europeans landed in North America the natives of this continent have been in an unending struggle against hostile aggression. Assaults on the indigenous population, stealing of land and property and the long term plans to subjugate and control, yes that is exactly what those Europeans schemed to do. After all they had lots of practice overwhelming, enslaving and dominating their fellow Europeans for hundreds of years. With that much preparation and training the white men were pretty good at taking what they wanted.
Now the Europeans had found a land so vast that any one of them, who wanted to own land, could. The easy part about it was, the locals sitting on the desired land, were for all intent and purpose, living in the Stone Age. Most of the weapons of the Native Americans were made of wood and stone. To this day the rule is, if you take a knife to a gunfight you are going to lose. Not only did the natives take knives to the fight, in the beginning they did not even have steel knives. The white aggressors had the most modern tool of warfare at that time, gunpowder.
Imagine if Native Americans, caring spears with metal blades, along with fighting knives and axes made of steel, met the first Europeans at the shore. There might be a good chance my ancestors never would have gotten off the boat. But, they were not using sophisticated weapons and they were up against a new kind of enemy, who did not play by the rules of Native American warfare.
The T-shirt stated the fight against terrorist forces started in 1492, but that really is not correct. North American tribes had been visiting hostility on each other, with some of the same passion and success that their new white aggressors had demonstrated back in Europe. My great, great Grandfather was a Miami Indian from Indiana. Now I look like I just got off the boat from Germany and not until a few years ago even knew about the Miami side of my heritage. While helping my daughter do research for a school paper I learned there are very few Miami Indians left in the State of Indiana. They raided and terrorized local mid-west Indian tribes and then got raided themselves. Eventually they lost for good. They were not strong enough to maintain their land or their culture.
Enter the Europeans onto this continent, who were really no different than native Americans in the art of trying to dominate their fellowman. Unfortunately for the Indians the Europeans were technologically more advanced and we all know the rest of that story.
So, the Europeans are here for good and they eventually turned this part of the world into the most advanced and desirable piece of real estate on earth. The problem is somebody else wants a current piece of the action. Aggression against the US and its interests outside our borders is at a very dangerous level. European Americans are presently experiencing firsthand what Native Americans have lived with perpetually.
Something has to be reinforced here though--only the strong survive. There are forces outside our country that would gladly see us destroyed. They want what we have, they want what we can produce, and they just don’t want us. This process of taking from and trying to control others is never going to end. The only thing we can do in this country is remain as strong as we are, help our friends and repel the attacks of our enemies. If it means we have to take the offensive to “them,” then it must be that way.
I don’t want to see other people’s children die in the streets and I sure don’t want to personally be the cause of those deaths. I do, however, want the terrorist attacks to stop and my country, your country, to remain safe.
A hundred years from now I would hope people in this country no longer have a need for wearing T-shirts that talk about homeland security, and that the fight is finally over to stop aggression against the United States and all of its people, Native American or otherwise.
©Copyright November 17, 2003 by Van E. Harl