Sounds like a mystery? Disingenuous is such an interesting word. Merriam Webster defines it as “lacking in candor, giving a false appearance of simple frankness.” I don’t know how accurately it fits this case, but let’s try it out. The comments section of my blog has unexpectedly turned into a mutual rant on the value of being “aboriginal”, with my reader wearing that mantle as if it were intrinsically righteous and valuable, and me asking, “so what?” This person lives in Canada. There are three distinctive groups of indigenous peoples recognized in the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, sections 25 and 35: First Nations, Inuit and Métis. I assume he or she is designated First Nation since they are the most numerous. I’ve seen the signs in Canada, and wonder what exactly it means. Certainly, at the least it means that the present day nation of Canada, which has a national flag and anthem, a constitution, a national military force (some of the best snipers in the world!), a central government, provincial governments, and a national expression (“eh”), was not first. The aboriginals were “first”, but were they all one nation, or many nations, or perhaps they couldn’t care less about nation status. I don’t know. What’s worse, I don’t care.
Here is a tiny sample of my reader’s opinion. “But you are as bad as your Mr. Trump IF you think you can now control who can and cannot come to America to try to find a better life than they had at home. That is exactly what your forefathers did, and we allowed them to come and we helped then survive in a world they were not prepared for. HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY! Go home to wherever your forefathers came from, and see if they accept you back. I doubt it. You have been Americanized. And it shows in your words.” Not to be picky, but who exactly “allowed” our forefathers—more precisely, the Pilgrims who landed in Plymouth, rather than the group who landed in Jamestown earlier—to sail here from Holland? While we are thankful to Squanto for teaching those early Pilgrims how to survive, he was hardly representative of my reader’s royal ”we”. Squanto had accompanied some Englishmen back to England, and when he returned to these shores he discovered his tribe had been wiped out in a plague, no, not deliberately but because they had no resistance to diseases the Europeans carried.
My aboriginal reader hates the United States, seems to like, even love Canada, but writes as if his forefathers were from Plymouth rather than Canada—someone is confused. He wants me and every post-aboriginal immigrant to “go back where we came from”, which would be a mite confusing, since most of us didn’t come from anywhere else and don’t even know from whence our immigrant forebears came. Why should we all do that? Because we aren’t aboriginal? What’s so great and holy about being aboriginal? I asked, and expect a reply any day now, though probably not in time before I finish this blog and really piss First Nation person off. Now the reason I worked disingenuous into this post is, doesn’t it seem disingenuous to write about the sin of not being aboriginal while reading my blog, and writing on a computer, or an iPad, or a smartphone, and surfing the Internet for answers to my penetrating questions? Perhaps I assumed too much. FNP might have found a way to convert smoke signals into HTML, but more likely (I am going to assume FNP is male, since I am a sexist white pig), he also enjoys indoor plumbing, electricity, TV, and frozen dinners. None of those conveniences are aboriginal either.
I pointed out that being aboriginal—being the first or earliest known of its kind present in a region—(or indigenous) hardly gives one a claim to land, unless they can hold on to it, and unless they can develop it they will not be able to hold on to it. He seems to think that the United States is unique when it comes to dispossession of aboriginals. According to IntercontinentalCry.org, there are over 5,000 indigenous peoples around the world, who speak over 4,000 of the 7,000 languages in use today. Many have been treated as shabbily, if not more so, than “native Americans” have. Let’s see: the Ainu in Japan, the Montagnards in Vietnam, the Aborigines in Australia (they don’t even get their own name?), the Maoris in New Zealand, but why go on. “Aboriginal” or “indigenous” designations have quite an “arbitrariness” quotient. In the US, we’re told that our aboriginals came over the Bering land bridge, a “postulated route of human migration to the Americas from Asia about 20,000 years ago.” According to whom? Anthropologists I guess, so technically Canadian and American aboriginals came the same way. What we aren’t told is how many of these tribes displaced, replaced, massacred and enslaved each other. I suppose you’d need a program to follow it all. The probable reality does kind of ruin the narrative of the noble aboriginal who just wanted a peaceful place to lay their head.
But let’s return to the main point. What’s so great about aboriginal? “We were here first” just means “before you”, but how does that idea give you “squatter’s rights”? Maybe this concept comes from Palestinian propaganda. The so-called Palestinians have accepted billions of dollars worth of “foreign aid” by promulgating the victim story of a people who were involuntarily dispossessed of “their” land. The timeframe for indigenous seems so arbitrary to me. Back when Abraham fathered Ishmael, then Issac, the present day Israel was the “promised land” that the Lord sent Abraham to. Abraham encountered others living there and co-existed with them. Over 400 years later, the descendants of Isaac returned to the land in their exodus from slavery in Egypt, only this time the inhabitants weren’t cooperative and most were dispossessed with extreme prejudice by the Israelites. Many years later the remnant of the Israelites were carried off to Babylon. They returned again via the decree from Cyrus the Persian ruler. In 70 A.D. the Romans killed most of them living in Jerusalem. Pretty complicated. Where do the Palestinians come into the picture? It hardly matters. At any given time in history in any given land, someone’s displacing someone else, usually with extreme prejudice. Then why does indigenous or aboriginal matter in 2019? If you ask me, it’s an ignorant way of trying to make the present day United States and our ally Israel look bad.