March For Life and Indigenous Peoples March, occurring on the same day in the same place, what could go wrong? There’s actually no reason there couldn’t be considerable overlap between the two groups….well, actually there was, just the wrong kind of overlap. There was confrontation, anger, chanting, drum beating, of course viral videos, media lies, distortions, omissions, accusations, then threats…all before the truth of what happened was known. All in all, another toxic day in manufactured outrage country. I have already written about it, I have nothing new to add.
Rather, I want to play with some assumptions about what it means to be indigenous. Indigenous seems to mean “I was here first”, or “I was here before you”. To which I say, “so what?” These days, being indigenous is a badge of honor, even confers some sort of native wisdom on the indigenee (a word I just made up–the person who is supposedly indigenous), which is certainly better than being a savage, or even a native, both of which imply a lower rung on the civilized ladder. But once again, I ask “so what?” If your people came here before mine came over, just what exactly does that confer on them, or you? Like it or not, every country in the world that you or I can name was settled by people different than those who were already there, and in most cases the “indigenous” people also came from somewhere else. Palestinians insist Israel is illegitimate because the present day Israeli displaced the present day Palestinians, but Jews occupied that land in Moses’ day, before Palestinians existed. Whether or not you are indigenous depends on how far back you are willing to go.
But why should I care whether or not you claim indigenous status? Being somewhere before someone else means nothing, what matters is what you did with what you had. You can worship the earth, can claim your simple lifestyle was more sustainable to the planet in the long run than industrial society, but once again, so what if it was? Anyone want to go back to that simple (i.e. primitive) lifestyle? If it was so great, why not go back to it? Some tribes in the U.S. live on reservations that are large enough to sustain a primitive, hunting, gathering, or agricultural lifestyle, and make enough money from leasing parts of their land for farming, grazing and energy, to buy herds of buffalo and other game to allow them to live the way their ancestors did, without those pesky settlers or the cavalry. The Navajo Nation got a $554 million settlement from the United States government a few years ago, and has a 14 million acre reservation. The Osage got $385 million, other tribes in total, over $1 billion. I don’t see any bison herds, except on the logos of Indian casinos that have sprung up on countless reservations.
Regarding wisdom, we’re supposed to respect this “tribal elder” named Nathan Phillips because……why? Nathan Phillips, remember that name. According to the national Mediated Reality Establishment–better known but less accurately portrayed as simply “the media”, specifically CNN, MSNBC, CNN, NBC news, NY Times, Washington Post, did I mention CNN, referred to Mr. Phillips variously as a Vietnam combat veteran, or Vietnam War veteran, and an elder of the Omaha tribe. Only the last appellation appears to be true, but given his actual history of blatant lying, lying by omission and lying by insinuation, can we even be sure? Nevertheless, the MRE gleefully touted his victimization by these “smirking white catholic boys” . Doug Wilson called them, sardonically, the Kovington Katholic Kids, which is how the major media above is treating them.
The MRE all turned out to be WRONG. In a massive correction Tuesday, the Washington Post reports that Phillips served in the Marines but “was never deployed in Vietnam.” Before correction, the Washington Post story claimed he had “fought in the Vietnam War.” Some outlets appear to be engaged in full damage-control mode, while others that reported the fake news about Phillips have failed to correct their stories. The New York Times incorrectly describes him as a “Native American veteran of the Vietnam War.”
How did he describe himself? In a magazine interview he said “I’m what they call a ‘recon ranger.’ That was my role.” There’s no such thing, plus he was actually a refrigeration repair tech, a “freon ranger” if you will. He also went AWOL 4 times during his service and was never deployed overseas. But still thinks he’s qualified to teach everyone else. He was quoted by a number of sources with uttering this morality lesson: “Before anyone else came here, we never had walls; we never had a prison; we always took care of our elders; we took care of our children; we always provided for them; we taught them right from wrong; I wish I could see that energy of that young man, and put that energy into making this country really really great.” I guess lying was left out of the right from wrong lesson.