May 15, 2007

"Melting pot" explained

Newcomb:  Jamestown 2007:  Commemorating the colonization of North America The U.S. tour of Queen Elizabeth II was timed to coincide with the commemoration. Speaking of changes that have occurred in the United States since she last visited Jamestown 50 years ago, when racial segregation was still the law of the land, the queen said, "The melting pot metaphor captures one of the great strengths of your country and is an inspiration to others around the world as we face the continuing social changes ahead."

From an indigenous perspective, however, the melting pot metaphor calls to mind the effort to destroy the traditional indigenous cultures and ways of life in North America, through the violent process of colonization and "reduction."

The melting pot is a metaphorical cauldron used to render indigenous nations from their original independence to a state of subjection and domination. Unfortunately, it is this colonizing process that is being commemorated in Virginia in May.

President Bush, in a May 15, 2006, address on immigration reform, invoked this very image when he said that the United States must "honor the great American tradition of the melting pot, which has made us one nation out of many peoples." For each of our respective Indian nations, such a colonizing "melting" process is a fundamental threat to our continued existence.

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