At first there weren’t too many of them. They were awkward, didn’t know their surroundings, and seemed destined to perish or go back where they came from as soon as possible. When things became dire, we took pity on them despite the fact that our leaders said we should leave them to their fate, but most of us just couldn’t let them struggle. They were huddled together, tired and poor, and after we could finally communicate with them, learned that they had come yearning to be free. So we helped them. Gave them food, shelter; showed them how to work to help themselves.
More came. The formed their own small communities and kept to themselves. They refused to learn our language. Some actually thought our government and religion were offensive, yet we watched them shun and torture and even kill their own kind. Eventually gangs of them ran rampant, murdering us—young and old—ravaging our women and children.
After we had offered them friendship and assistance, they called us ignorant savages and even tried to enslave us. In the name of their government and their church they sought to eradicate us completely.
We discovered much too late that the tall ships with their great white sails were not clouds bringing gods to us, but merely boats carrying the worst of plagues.
These people did not understand “Mi’ taku’ye-oyasin.”…“We are all family.”
Four hundred years later, from the lands they allowed us to keep or where they imprisoned us, we are still asking them to treat us like people.