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In America, a debate rages over illegal immigration to America. The principal focus upon illegal immigration is with those immigrants who come here from our southern border. Interestingly, there is little discussion of illegal immigration from our northern neighbor: Canada.

For some reason, concern over illegal immigration from our northern white neighbor is given short shrift in the discussions over illegal immigration.

Clearly, the fact that those who immigrate to America from our southern border are “people of color” has more impact upon the determination to prevent such immigration from our southern border.

It is not coincidental that those illegal immigrants who cross the border from Mexico are arriving in the “Red” states. States that were formerly  part of the Confederate States of America [principally Texas and Arizona] and the objection to such immigration has more to due with very deeply held racist ideations rather than any purported concerns over the potential “criminality” occurring as a direct result of such immigration.

We rarely, if ever, hear any concern over illegal immigration to America by white, Europeans or others who possess those advanced technological skills required in our industrialized and computerized society.

Singularly, the focus remains upon the poor, uneducated people of color who come to America as illegal immigrants from our southern neighbor: Mexico.

Obviously, we do not consider “our” ancestors who traveled here from Europe and other parts of the planet to be “illegal immigrants” but if one thinks about it, how else can they be characterized?

Personally, I am in the rather unique position of not only having ancestors who came here illegally but ones that were already here living in America when they arrived to these shores.  My paternal ancestors were German/English/French/Irish/Scottish and my maternal ancestors were Cherokee and Black Foot.

Of course, our ancestors generally assert that since the land was largely unpopulated and undeveloped, with the native, indigenous people living on the land being deemed to be  “savages”, [on a level barely above animals],  no comparison can be made between modern day illegal immigrants and our ancestors who were the original illegal immigrants to America.

The indigenous people who dwelled here upon the arrival to their shores of the original “illegal immigrants” were characterized by the founders of the United States in the Declaration of Independence as “savages” as a justification for separating from Great Britain to establish their very own government.

Interestingly, those same founders never once considered their own “savagery” demonstrated by the brutal and brutish practice of slavery [the buying, selling, trading and trafficking in human beings] wherein indigenous African peoples were brought here against their will to a foreign land and treated as property with no more consideration than the cattle, cotton, or corn harvested by those founders for their self-aggrandizement and profit.

I do find it ironic, to say the least, that our ancestors characterized the native, indigenous people as “savages” while our ancestors “savaged” land deemed sacred to those indigenous people.

Of course, many will assert that since their was no organized [civilized] society [white, European] in place with a set of laws governing such immigration, our ancestors cannot be deemed to have come here “illegally”.  

Perhaps that explains the penchant for calling them “explorers”, “Founding Fathers” and “pilgrims” [particularly since “pilgrim” gives the additional connotation of expressing the concept of a “pilgrimage” with the associative religious implications attached to it].  It sounds so very much more civilized and legitimate than “illegal” immigrant does.

However, such a premise is inaccurate. There were tribal laws in place and there was even a coalition of tribes in America known as the Erie Confederation, from which many of our very own constitutional principles derived.

Nothing gave the legal right to our ancestors to come here and take, by force of arms, deception and thievery possession of the land, displacing indigenous native tribes living here and reliant upon that land for their very survival and engaging in genocide upon those native peoples who were living here on the land upon the arrival of our miscreant ancestors to America.
Those ancestors, somewhat like modern day illegal immigrants, did not speak the native language(s), they did not understand the culture(s) of the indigenous people and our ancestors violated every natural law that was established by those native indigenous people(s) regarding a sacred respect for the land.

There were “natural” laws established by the indigenous people.  A profound respect for the earth was one of those principles. The belief existed in indigenous cultures that the land was “alive”, a living thing, due the same consideration and respect as any other living entity with the concept of private “ownership” of the land an alien concept to them.  

Of course, our ancestors, the original illegal immigrants, deemed such an idea ludicrous and proceeded to “devour” the land in accordance with their biblical “right” to subdue the land and take dominion over it.

In other words, to exploit for personal gain, the land and all of its resources and to establish for themselves dominion over that land.

For native, indigenous people this was anathema. The very idea that the land and the creatures dwelling upon it are exploitable for personal gain, without regard for the sacred quality of the land and those creatures reliant upon it was completely repugnant to their cultural heritage.

The land was held in common by the tribe. It was a collective “stewardship” of the land in keeping with profoundly held spiritual beliefs that precluded the exploitation of the land and its resources for private profit [capitalism] and personal gain.

The indigenous people believed in living in harmony with all living things on, in and of the earth, and considered every other living thing on the earth and the earth itself.  Nothing is done to or upon the earth that did not preserve and respect the natural balance of earth with considerable consideration given to the human interaction and interrelationship with the earth and every other species on the earth.

This is quite a remarkable concept coming from tribes deemed “savages” by the hordes of illegal immigrants that arrived upon the eastern shores of America beginning in the 15th century.

It must have been a remarkable sight for the indigenous people when our ancestors, the original illegal immigrants, began to savage the earth, clearing large areas of habitable but uninhabited lands by cutting down and removing the trees and other vegetation [flora and fauna] that had existed here untouched by human GREED [Get Rich Exploiting Environmental Degradation] for millennia until the arrival upon those lands of the original “illegal immigrants”.

Perhaps this explains the extreme resistance to modern day illegal immigration occurring in America.  The collective psyche of the American people, handed down from our ancestors, the original illegal immigrants, has incorporated into their mind a pathological memory of their own “illegal immigration” to America.  We are fully aware of the displacement of the original Native American indigenous people, and the establishment of an apartheid system of complete separation from them after genocide was deemed to radical, too anti-religious a “solution” to the problem of the indigenous people who interfered with the expansion, domination, and control over the land and all of its resources.

Therefore, the sensible thing to do is to keep uppermost in one’s mind the reality that the modern day influx of “illegal immigrants” is not only nothing new, it is fundamentally different from the original one that our ancestors, the original “illegal immigrants” engaged in upon coming to the shores of America from a distant land.

The land most impacted by “illegal immigration”, the land that creates the greatest disputation amongst and between the current “owners” of the land [a concept completely alien to the original indigenous people subdued and imprisoned on apartheid reservations], is land originally possessed by the ancestors of these new illegal immigrants.  

Those coming here now for jobs and to live on land that originally was “owned” by their ancestors are people returning here “illegally” to live on land that originally was in legal possession of their ancestors and upon which their ancestors lived for generations before our ancestors, the original illegal immigrants, took it from them by force of arms in wars.

The original Texas War of Independence is the one most memorable in the minds of the current residents of America with patriotically inspired calls to “Remember the Alamo” used as the mythological and faux justification for that war.  The Mexican-American War of 1846 was the other one.

In one of the largest land grabs in American history, The Mexican-American War displaced the original owners of the land [Mexicans], in the same manner as the original indigenous Native American tribes were displaced in order to expand the borders of the United States.

A land that we now deem, by dint of current occupation by immigrant Americans, as under “our” ownership, and therefore those who come here now are deemed “illegal immigrants” posing an existential “threat” to America and our capitalist “way of life”.

It is too bad the native indigenous people did not recognize the existential threat that our ancestors represented to them upon their arrival to these shores.

It would do all of us well to keep this historical perspective in mind when so many of our fellow Americans lash out so violently against “illegal immigration” condemning it for an usurpation of their God given “right” to legally possess the land.  I suspect God had nothing whatsoever to do with any of it. It was merely a matter of greed born of the necessity to expand the borders of the US for crass political and economic reasons.  Religion has always been a useful tool for the capitalist who perverts it into a justification for the usurpation of indigenous people from their lands.

Imagine a society that does not rely upon the capitalist economic system.  The capitalist system that puts so much emphasis upon the exploitation of natural resources and the mutual exploitation of  each other by “capitalists” demanding that exclusive ownership of the land is codified into law and based upon alleged moral principles of the right to “have dominion” over the land and all of its resources ordained by God. With the effort to equate capitalism with democracy, as if they are somehow inseparable and interdependent in order to avoid examination of the fact that democracy and capitalism are completely antithetical to each other.

A study of indigenous populations worldwide, not just in America and the North American continent is revelatory of societies based not upon the capitalist economic model wherein competition under a privatized ownership of property is the rule.  

These were tribal societies based instead upon collective “stewardship” of the land held to be commonly available to but not owned by the tribes who worked co-operatively to preserve and protect the integrity of the land with respect for every living thing in, on, and of the land.

Essentially, communal societies in which the tribal lifestyle insured balance and harmony with the earth and guaranteed a balanced approach to living that put the greatest emphasis upon the spiritual integration of ones daily existence with the natural processes of the earth. A lifestyle that ensured there would be no overpopulation of the earth with all of its destructive effects, especially in a consumer based society.  Tribal life virtually assured there would be no overpopulation of the land.

Villages that did not rely upon mutual exploitation of each other based upon economic greed. Villages were communities of people who worked co-operatively together as an extended family of people who felt nurtured by the earth and respected the earth as a living thing entitled to the same consideration as them. Tribal people that did not compete against each other with mutual exploitation being the rule governing every interaction.

Those societies have all but been obliterated by GREED [Get Rich Eviscerating Everything Democratic] in pursuit of profit by powerful multinational corporate [fascist] interests that have no respect for the earth or any living thing upon the earth and treat it as a commodity to be exploited for privatized gain under a capitalist economic system, regardless of the long term destructive effects upon every species on the earth including human beings.

Therefore, the next time you get to thinking about “illegal immigrants” go take a long look in the mirror to see the progeny of the original illegal immigrants staring back at you. Perhaps if you can see yourself as the progeny of the “original illegal immigrants” you can be much more tolerant of those coming here now as explorers, and pilgrims seeking out their own destiny in a new land already occupied by a multitudinous and very violent population hostile to their efforts to inhabit the land.

Originally posted to Jn1BGOOD on Sat Jan 19, 2013 at 08:16 AM PST.

Also republished by Native American Netroots and Community Spotlight.

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