Saturday, June 26, 2010

Going native

Growing up in America, moving to Australia, and then New Zealand, the evils commited by colonial England against the indigenous peoples have become increasingly obvious and unavoidable. From the Native Americans of America, to the Aborigines of Australia, to the Maori of New Zealand, the story is always the same...brutality on a massive scale against the natives in order to rob them of their natural resources.

To their credit, the governments of both Australia and New Zealand have acknowledged the wrongs committed against their natives, and they are trying to make amends. They have made efforts to integrate the natives into the white man's society, and they have made visible efforts to celebrate native heritage. America could take some lessons here.

New Zealand sets aside seats in parliament for the Maori Party. That's an interesting idea. Perhaps the USA could set aside a seat or two in the Senate and a seat for each tribe or reservation in the House. It seems the very least we could do is replace the offensive and embarrassing Columbus Day with a day dedicated to celebrating Native American history and culture.

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