Some 35,000 years ago, there was a race known as Homo Sapiens
neanderthalensis. Where they are today, we don't know. One possibility is that Homo Sapiens Sapiens
(modern man) took their land and territory
and simply out competed the Neanderthal
s for resources. Another possibility is that the sapiens waged a war of genocide
against Neanderthals and killed them all. We don't know if either of these is actually what happened or if it just turns out that sapiens out-sexed them and our gene
Whatever the case, there are no Neanderthals alive today (unless you try to count football and hockey teams).
If it turns out that sapiens did indeed do horrible things to the neanderthalensis, we owe them and their legacy big time. Most all of Europe should be ceded over as a graveyard and historical museum park in the memory of these gentle giants.
Likewise, all resources that we have collected from Europe should be returned with interest. This is stolen land from the indigenous people of Europe! And yet, we sit here in our modern day and age, and look back upon the sins of our ancient ancestors. It does not matter if we distance ourselves from these acts - we are not better or worse for it. Anything short of relinquishing the whole of Europe to the
memory of the neanderalensis is reprehensible.
We are the Borg
We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own.
You will be assimilated.
Resistance is futile.
Unfortunately, this is the logical extreme of repartitions
. At one time or another, every culture has moved into the territory of another culture and taken it for themselves. However high and noble our ideals are, there is some of the Borg
in everyone - be it one 'primitive' tribe taking the land or women from another, or colonists moving out from one place to another. Do the 'native' Canadians who are descended from Viking
explorers owe a debt of some sort to the people who got to Canada first over a Siberia
n land bridge
? If it turns out that the Kennewick Man
comes from an earlier migration
, do the 'indigenous' (if it turns out that Kennewick Man comes from a different culture that predates that of Native Americans) people of North America owe a debt of some sort to the Ainu
which he closely resembles? For that matter, should much of Japan
be ceded back to the Ainu who were absorbed by the Yayoi-Japanese
by 100 AD?
The slope of repartitions of some sort for wrongs of our ancestors is a very slippery one to walk on. Especially as history continues to be uncovered to show waves of migrations and lost cultures.
In many cases it is impractical to try to put a monetary value upon the land, life, and culture. And when such a value is found it is either trivial or an amount that would bankrupt nations.
What we can do going forward is help people preserve the culture that they do have, and make sure that we do not make the same mistakes again - that we respective the native life on this planet and others.
Answering the question of native rights with rage only repeats the
mistakes of the past - "give me" is so selfish and does little to
repair the mistakes of the past.
Instead, we must learn about and respect other cultures. Preserve
and understand those cultures and ways of life that are dying.
To allow them to be forgotten would be the greatest tragedy.
Write about the songs and stories of your people. If you don't know any, go to your elders, rabbi or priest - much of what they do is learn about and preserve the old ways and the traditions that they represent.
The Native American culture is full of stories that are being forgotten and songs that aren't sung. Tell of the dances and the meaning. Sing
the songs and tell others what the words mean so they too can feel the beat of the drum in their hearts.
African Americans have many heros of civil rights - often people in the family. Tell their story. Write about their bravery and actions. Don't let people forget. There are many people whose place in history is slowly being forgotten and their contributions lost.
This goes for immigrants also. The Jewish people have a long history
that some try to obscure. Many families have a person who was a part
of the Holocaust - tell their story.
To go around demanding a piece of what has been taken in the past,
while your culture may have every right to ask for it often leads
to more tension rather than satisfaction.
If you happen to be a new steward of the land that you now live on,
learn about the history of it and share that history with all.
Everything2 is a wonderful place to tell others about your history.
Don't do it with rage, for that does little to foster understanding.
Don't ask who is to blame, but rather look to see how
we can share what we do have now while keeping the old ways alive in our