I ran into the indigenous peoples of the Americas today. I felt really awkward. Not awkward as in, I was supposed to call you last November about a second date and I never did awkward. No, this is awkward as in, the explorers who “discovered” your land paved the way for my country and government by committing mass genocide and selling little bits of it back to you like they were coal or water companies, only EVIL. …Well, really evil. This may be the most awkward I’ve ever felt, way more so than when I accidentally peed everywhere because I was sexually experimenting and then had to have my mom clean it up. At the time I thought that must be the most awkward anyone had ever felt, anywhere. But now… I just don’t know.
I don’t know what I can do. I know that my people called his people and they did a late Thanksgiving lunch, back when Europeans were new to the Americas, and that’s cool. Maybe Thanksgiving could be a symbol of peacefulness between the people of American and people of the United States. But the facts remain, of plenty of times that don’t fit that idyllic picture…
There were times when ignorant religious fanatics killed whole tribes for apparently worshipping the sun, even though they didn’t worship the sun any more than Christians worship the cross. But no on asked them that, and even if they had it was a Moby Dick thing to do. What would it be like to have your family tree struck by lightning? It would be hard to believe that the seeds which fell to earth might ever start growing again.
Shit. This isn’t going away if we don’t talk about it. They need to get mad, and we need to get mad, and we all need to scream, “THAT SHIT WAS FUCKED UP!” until we’re hoarse. Then we need to hug, or something. We need to get over this.
Because man, I think the indigenous peoples are depressed. They looked pretty depressed. Many of them were smoking, and others had various addictions or domestic abuse… not to mention widespread poverty and inadequate education.
But think about it! They’ve been abused physically and mentally for… how long now? If in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, then that makes it about 516 years. That’s hella long. It’s like, if your family was put through The Holocaust, Extended Edition, there was never any reconciliation, and THEN a bunch of people tried to whip out that famous river in Egypt on you. No one should have to sit through The Holocaust, Extended Edition. I don’t even know why they released that, but they did, and someone had the bright idea to buy it.
Can we apologize? Can we sign our names to something saying it was all a mistake, we love them and we value them and we want to see their family trees blossom again?
There is no clock big enough for us to turn back, so we’ve got to push forwards, back to the future which we have to build one mixed metaphor at a time. We might be living in the Greatest Nation In The History Of The World™, but even so we’ve got a long way to go. Call me a cynic, but I don’t know if there’s a turtle awkward enough to represent the scope of this problem.