1 Aug 2023
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A Historical Overview
Sit down, buckle up, and get ready for a history lesson, albeit a brief one. And yes, I promise to make it fun. That's the Caspian guarantee! To understand why there's no Native American country in North America, we should start with a glance back at the past, beginning with the era of exploration.
That's right, we're going to delve into the time when mighty European empires sent their finest explorers across the globe, ultimately leading to the encounter of an uncharted and inhabited continent - North America.
It was no less than a complex mosaic of diverse, sophisticated societies with their unique cultures, languages, and civilizations - Native Americans. Now, let me tell you folks, if we were talking about an alien invasion, this would probably be it for the indigenous folk of North America. Not that green men landed from space, but strange people in big floating wooden contraptions.
Sadly, the encounter did not end up as peaceful as one could hope. It was, unfortunately, marked by a significant loss of life, conquest, and subjugation of Native American tribes through warfare, disease, land dispossession, and forced assimilation. The struggle for survival amidst such apocalyptic changes undeniably impacted the fate of Native American tribes. But I could tell you a story about that another time. Today, we're dissecting the question at hand.
Imperialism and Colonization
Now, let's turn our historical time machine to the era of colonization. Bear with me, I promise we'll get to the good parts soon. Consider the dominant European powers at that time - Spain, Portugal, France, and the teenagers of the block, England and the Netherlands. All, in some way or another, had their fingers dipped in the Native American pie.
These nations, driven by their insatiable hunger for resources and territory, gradually suppressed Native American societies and discouraged their existence as separate entities - culturally, socially, and politically. From England's establishment of the 13 colonies to Spain's conquest of Mexico, the late 15th to early 19th-century period weaved a grim reality for the Native Americans. Understanding this is crucial when you're wondering why these tribes couldn't form a country of their own.
From Tribes to Reservations
It's time for a quick fun fact - did you know that my absolute favorite Maine Coon, Gizmo, loves curling up in my lap whenever I'm reading about history? Ah, pet life. Now, back to our question - why isn't there a Native American country?
Post-colonization, many Native American Nations were relocated to specific land areas known as 'reservations.' These were, ostensibly, meant to be their 'countries' within the settler states. The U.S. government structured policies in a way that diluted the tribal system, undermining Native American sovereignty, and commodifying their lands.
My youngest, Lorcan, once asked, "Dad, if we shoved Gizmo and Boomer, our Golden Retriever, into one pet-box, wouldn't they fight for space?" Kinda like that, but on a significantly larger scale and involving people's lives and rights.
Assimilation and Citizenship
Have you ever tried baking a pie? You know, where every ingredient must lose its individuality to become a part of the whole. The strategies enforced on Native Americans were a bit like that pie recipe - total assimilation.
Coercive policies like the Indian Boarding School system aimed to 'kill the Indian to save the man,' where Native children were forcibly taken away from their families and culture to ensure their integration into mainstream American society.
The eventual granting of U.S. citizenship to all Native Americans in 1924, rather than recognition as a separate entity, further complicated the question of Native American nationhood.
Battle for Sovereignty
Moving on, it's not as if Native Americans just accepted the outcome placidly. There was, and continues to be, a fight for their rights and sovereignty. And folks, this is where it gets kind of similar to the rebellions you see in your favorite epic television sagas. Minus the dragons. Although Gizmo does pretend to be a dragon from time to time.
Historically, there have been instances of Native American tribes uniting and fighting back against colonial powers. The significance of their resistance movements lies in their assertion of identity and claim to their lands. However, the efforts have often met with stiff opposition, impacting the prospects of a large-scale Native American nation.
So, what's the situation now? Glad you asked! Native American tribes now have a degree of self-governance within U.S. borders. However, they may not be seen or recognized as separate countries despite having enforceable jurisdictions on their tribal lands. Interesting fact - there are 574 federally recognized tribes in the US!
But keep in mind, despite political strides, social issues related to the history of colonialism and systemic inequities continue to cast a dark shadow on the idea of a full Native American country within North America.
Reflecting on the Reasons
Now, as we wind up this discussion, let's reflect. Why isn't there a Native American country in North America? An amalgamation of historical force, strategic political policies, societal changes, and ongoing challenges have contributed to the present day reality.
Can it change in future? Well, for that, my friend, we need to wait and see. Predicting the future is Gizmo's job, not mine. That little furball swears he has psychic powers. And until he shares tomorrow's lottery numbers with me, we'll stick with exploring current matters and learning from the past.