By Roberto Dr. Cintli Rodriguez
On the surface, it is about migration issues. Yet, if we probe a little deeper, it’s about the browning of Arizona. Probe some more and you will see that much of the hate has little to do with peoples’ legal status. That’s where English-only and the new anti-ethnic studies law comes in. It is not simply about our physical presence (red-brown), but about our culture–which is thousands of years old and indigenous to this continent. In this sense, it is beyond physical removal and even beyond thought-control; this is about our souls (they can’t have them).
A civilization clash: The theft of a continent is not a closed chapter in human history; nor has it become legal simply because of the passage of time). And yet, truly, no human being can be illegal on any continent. This truly is a civilizational clash–between those who believe, versus those who don’t believe, that all peoples deserve to be treated as full human beings with full corresponding human rights–regardless of where they/we live.
As a Native American, I sympathize with you, Arizona, because you fear the same will happen to you as it did to the Native American population some time ago.
However, while I do empathize with your situation, the immigrants you are targeting are predominantly hardworking and law-abiding. In comparison, the illegal immigrants from my story (your ancestors) were guilty of committing mass genocide against the local population and two-faced land theft. These are the ones that should be sent back, not the ones in question.
The larger point here is one worth reiterating. Namely, that most of our political, economic, and social battles represent a clash of cultures. It's not just Arizona's anti-indigenous laws, it's everything. Healthcare reform, financial regulation, civil rights, immigration, ethnic studies...it's all about who wields the power. Will it be the conservative minority or the more liberal and tolerant majority?
We're battling to determine which view of the world will prevail. Will it be the white/Christian/Western view, where we drill oil wells, invade countries, and kill species with impunity? Or the inclusive/multicultural/We Are the World view, where we put people and the planet before productivity and profits?
When I started working on PEACE PARTY and indigenous issues, I figured they'd allow me to write about the culture wars roiling our country. And that's proved to be the case. As Felix Cohen, the modern founder of federal Indian law, put it: