Why Indigenous lives matter for socialists

The Indians are so naive and so free with their possessions that no one who hasn’t witnessed it would believe it. When you ask for something they have, they never say no. To the contrary, they offer to share with anyone. With fifty men we could subjugate them all andmake them do whatever we want

These are the words of Christopher Columbus endorsed by a papal bull that decreed that any newly discovered land belonged to the first Christian nation claim to it. I can imagine no more abominable a crime than to repay someone’s hospitality by an attempt to enslave them!

The American Declaration of Independence said that all MEN are created equal. (Please note my emphasis on men, it matters) . In fact a negro slave was counted in a census as three quarters of a man and indigenous people weren’t counted at all, they were considered vermin and frontiersmen like Davy Crockett could get a bounty on their scalps!

The United States Constitution is believed to be based on that of the Iroquois Confederacy which existed before a European set foot on American soil. Several indigenous nations along the southern shore of Lake Superior, who all spoke the same language, were persuaded by the legendary Hiawatha and a mysterious companion to pledge never to war against each other.

Instead of trying to suppress a native culture we need to learn. My Scots and Irish readers will tell me that we English aren’t very good at that. I’ll put my hand up and say that this blog shows that I’m willing to learn. And there is a great deal we can learn from a pre-capitalist, socialist democracy.

Many indigenous nations had a bicameral government of two councils, no decision made in the men’s council could become law unless it was ratified by the women!

There are four principles we might consider:

  1. Honour the woman for she has intuitive knowledge that few me possess
  2. Honour the child, for their mind is pure and the Great Manitu might grant them an insight denied to those who minds have been corrupted by education
  3. Honour the elderly, not because they’re necessarily right but for the wisdom acquired from a lifetime of being wrong.
  4. Honour the Warrior whose duty it is to protect and provide for all of these, but in order to do so he must defeat his greatest enemy – his fear of failure!

There is also a principle that that every decision should consider the previous seven generations and the next seven. Tories are so fixated on the first part of this statement that they’ve reduced the likelihood of there being a seventh generation 😠

Finally, many indigenous nations use a Talking Stick, it’s impolite to interrupt the person holding it. When they’ve finished speaking they’ll pass it on to the next speaker. A big contrast to our House of Common where we have a Speaker who can’t control the dishonourable members on the back benches

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