Guest opinion: U.S. out of balance without honoring natives
Once we recognize the role of the American Indian in the evolution of our country, the dream for humanity carried to these shores by the early settlers of New England and Virginia will be realized, and we will lead the world as exemplars of liberty, justice, equality and abundance for all. Until that time, the United States, like a three-legged stool missing one of its legs, is out of balance without the Native American at the table.
As we journey together toward Nov. 11, 2020, the 400th anniversary of the signing of the Mayflower Compact by the visionaries who put their lives on the line to take a leap for humanity from absolute monarchy to a society based upon the ideals of self-governance and religious and civil liberty, let’s go within and seek the pathway to profoundly realizing those freedoms we dream of for our children.
We must first understand that the formative concepts that became the guiding principles of American democracy and the American mind and spirit took shape through intercultural exchange and cooperation.
The first synthesis between European colonists and the American Indian occurred during the extraordinary half-century of peace and friendship at Plymouth Plantation, 1621-1675, during which the Pilgrim separatists, who defied the King of England and sought political and religious freedom, shared a spiritual connection with the Native Americans they encountered and considered them equal under English law.
The second synthesis occurred as the European desire for freedom and autonomy expressed in the Mayflower Compact and the concepts of representative government in the Virginia House of Burgesses meshed with the mechanics of the federal republic governed by local and regional councils found in the Iroquois Great Law, resulted in the system of government set forth in the U.S. Constitution.
Now, however, rather than liberty, equality, justice and abundance, the corruption — by money, power and progress — of the principles and ideals of the founders of New England — and those of the Native Americans they encountered, has prevailed.
We struggle to be proud of our Founders and the promises we made to the world in the freedom documents of the United States — the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution and the Emancipation Proclamation. That pride is tarnished by our inability to live up to these promises. The United States has lost its self-respect and the respect of the world.
At this point in time, New England history and the origin story of the United States is a morass of misinformation, revisionist history, distorted oral history, opinion, guilt, anger, shame and blame.
It is time to move forward. It is time to take the inspiration of the intercultural syntheses of the 54 years of peace and friendship modeled by Plymouth Colony, and the melding of the Great Law of the Iroquois into the Constitution, to the next level.
It is time to respect, honor and understand the Native American point of view and way of life. It is time to sit in council together and explore how we are going to realize the principles and ideals so treasured by the founders of this nation, by the American Indian, and by all people who dream of bringing universal liberty, equality, justice and abundance into actualization.
When we come together with the indigenous peoples of the world as equals, as family, and we each open our hearts and our minds to the other, the melding of our gifts will bring a new perspective that is invisible at this time. This new perspective will allow us to see the path to true unity, peace and freedom.
Connie Baxter Marlow of Woody Creek has been bringing visionary Native Americans to the Roaring Fork Valley since 1990.
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