Sunday, February 24, 2013

1st Nations and White Privilege

Over the years I've had numerous occasions to reflect on what the colonial mindset has done to the American continent's indigenous people. Yeah, I grew up with cowboys and Indians, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, and all of the other evidences of white privilege in this country. But, something never quite sat right in my heart. The First Nations people were human beings. Their world was invaded by outsiders. How were we right? So, like a good little White guy, I started looking at some of the humanitarian and philanthropic ways to "help the poor Red Man." Little did I know that I would one day run head long into Randy Woodley. Nor, did I anticipate the effects of Dr. William Myer on my worldview. These men, along with Rev. Jennifer Crumpton, Caryn D. Riswold, and the bloggers at Womanist Musings have stretched me to the point of breaking. In fact, I have broken. I've broken with the white patristic ideal of America. I've broken with the idea that White makes Right. I've broken with the idea that God has ordained males for the divine work on Earth. These things make me wish that I was NOT a White Male.
But, I am. I can't change that. And, for whatever reason, Creator saw fit to make me this way.
However, back to my original thoughts.
Some folks think that humans came to this continent some 10,000 years ago. From these original travelers came the indigenous people that Columbus and the Mayflower, and perhaps the Norse met. I've read some blogs and other sources written by Native Americans that indicate that they KNOW that Creator gave them the land. This land. The land that we call ours. In fact, from Columbus to Cortez to the Jamestown community to every White European to set foot on this continent, we have said that God gave US this land. It was God who led the explorers west. It was God who allowed the Conquistadors to triumph. In our arrogance we have interpreted the seeming military successes of our forebears to mean that we were/are right. Everything that we have done in this hemisphere has been god-ordained. This country is God's country.
What if......
The First Nations people are right. Creator gave them this land to live on. To live with. What if those roots were allowed to grow deep and produce much good fruit because Creator Yahweh ordained it so? And, what if God did, in fact, lead the Europeans here? We have been taught that God sent the Europeans to this continent to bring the Gospel. To bring civilization. But, what if Creator brought them here to learn? The indigenes knew the land. They knew Creator. They knew the true reality of life here. What if that's just what the Europeans needed to learn?

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