Native Reactions to the Invasion of America
For Native Americans, the discovery of America was not a discovery at all. It was an invasion. Native Americans were suddenly stripped away off the land that is rightfully theirs. Conquerors like Christopher Columbus regarded this as the discovery of a new world which is definitely not. Native Americans became subjected to different kinds of hardships. The hardest is that they were not recognized to be the owners of their lands. What is known to be “Thanksgiving” in the United States is known to be a bloody reminder in history of the experience of Native Americans in the hands of “conquerors.”
Many people, Americans mostly, easily say that Columbus has discovered America but this is not very accurate. Less than a discovery, Columbus’ role is only seen in introducing America to Western Europe. Even before the invasion of America, there are already people residing in it. These people came from different ethnic roots and have considered America as their territory. These first Americans were called the Clovis people who have been first found in New Mexico. These are indigenous Americans and they are the legitimate owners of the lands of America because they did not invade it, rather they resided in it, not doing harm to anyone, unlike the Europeans.
Native reactions to the invasion of America are very complicated because this is rooted to how Native and Indigenous Americans give value to their land. Technically speaking, 80% of America’s population is composed of Americans with mixed ethnicities. They themselves are settlers in a land that they call their own. These Native Americans did not yet have a sense of nationalism, for the reason that America was not yet a nation yet. What they had, rather, is a sense of territorialism. Just like with other lands and people, when invaders suddenly come to their territories, it is expected that it would not be a peaceful social transaction.
Up to this day, there are still many issues with the rights of indigenous peoples in America. Most times, they are not recognized for their indigenous identity. This is very problematic because the dynamism of the sociopolitical and historical condition of the United States tends to reject the value of cultural identity existent in the country. This is very difficult for Native Americans because the social environment that they are in does not give them a chance to express their identity.
In some states in America, Native Americans are very visible but when it comes to viewing America from outside perspectives, these indigenous peoples are not at all given attention. This is the transhistorical effect of the invasion of America that has happened centuries ago. Despite the advancement of America in many socioeconomic and political aspects, they do not address the need to recognize the diverse cultural landscape of America. Somehow, this can also be seen as the root of why America is a country that is filled with discrimination. The invaders have inculcated a mentality that does not recognize diversity. Instead, superiority becomes equated to power. When America was invaded, it is obvious that the natives were outnumbered. The superior number of the invaders and conquerors gave them power as well as their motives in discovering newer lands in widening their rule all over the world. Up to this day, this form of supremacy is still experienced by many. This comes from white Americans that consider themselves as the superior race when it fact they can also be considered as settlers in the country that they call their own. In light of all this, the natives up to this day, call for one thing: self-determination.