by Mark Scheinbaum
American Reporter Correspondent
May 1, 2006
A FIRST AMERICAN SPEAKS
TAOS, N.M., May 1, 2006 -- I am the first "American" and I am watching these pro and con "immigrant" boycotts and demonstrations very carefully.
For now this is just a warning, but cool the rhetoric, or I'll send you packing. Because you never took the time to learn about me and my people, the brightest of you might call me Pueblo, to conveniently lump me into the living tribes and ancient memories of perhaps two dozen distinct people. For now you can say I am from Taos Pueblo, the oldest, continuously inhabited community in North America. Historians firmly document 800 years of my people in what is now North-Central New Mexico tucked between the Rio Grande and Sangre de Cristos Mountains. But archaeologists will show you traces of my people ("pueblo" in Spanish) going back more than 3,000 years.
I laugh at the commentators who talk about "legal" and "illegal" neighbors. If we believed in selfish individual property rights, which we don't, we could say all of you are "illegal." But moving to more recent times, in the year you call 1912, the so-called Territory of New Mexico became a state of the United States of America.
Were Mexicans who lived for generations before territorial times illegally living in their homeland? What about if your grandmother went from Spain to Mexico to what later was a territory? What about my people who married the sons of conquistadors and melded into indigenous, Spanish, and Anglo cultures, all surviving to this day in our unique style?
Be careful if you pull rank on people who do not have dark ink jottings on white papers to prove they can share the land, water, and sky with Taos Pueblo.
I have been educated in your "Indian Schools," and gone to your "Land Grant" universities on land which was never yours to grant.
I find no Mexicans, Haitians, or Vietnamese surnames in the Hall of Shame of the savings and loan crisis which needed a $400 billion bailout by taxpayers.
No one ho waded across the Rio Grande further south, or scaled a fence at Nogales, Ariz., handed the son of Jamaican immigrants, Colin Powell, more jottings of fairy tales to read to your own pow-wow of chiefs in New York, to launch a war in Iraq.
Neither high gas prices nor nuclear threats from Iran; exposure of secret agents or lobbyists you allowed to steal from my people, or decades of deficit spending, were caused by the poorest and newest people to your land. Don't get too pompous with your material things.
We were your mall and stock exchange 800 years before you tried living in the Jamestown mud. When Ute or Jicarilla Apache invaders tried to peacefully disrupt our markets, fairs, and trading routes by bringing cousins from a thousand miles around, we either took care of them or hired those people to do the job.
One year after the birth of your great moral and spiritual teacher Jesus of Nazareth, and 1,900 years before Donald Trump's father built high-rise apartments in New York, we had true condominiums, complete with communal drainage, water, smoke controls for cooking fires, and strategic use of resources.
Long before you claim to have invented environmentalism, or xeriscape, we taught our neighbors how to plant the juniper and pinon as a fire break between the elk and mule deer's home in the forest and the lower valleys for grazing.
One thousand years before there was a Panama Canal, we mastered horizontal masonry, and both utilitarian and artistic pottery. Our modest pueblo (also Spanish for village), and its representatives controlled or influenced language, culture, law, and strategic trade routes over much of what is New Mexico today and portions of Colorado and Texas.
The field of anthropological law, the precursor of your Common Law, is now recognized around the world as a keystone of our neighbors the Navajo and Hopi, and adapted in our own pueblo. To this day, our governors and judges preside in our homeland.
From 1350 to 1700 A.D. we built alliances with the invading Spaniards, often using them as mercenaries to fight our enemies. We influenced the religious and philosophical leaders in Madrid and other European centers, teaching them that native peoples are free people, and exempt from European views of slavery and torture. When Spaniards defied us, perhaps thinking of us as "illegals," we fought back.
In 1650, nine of our leaders were hanged when Spaniards learned of our plans to overthrow their abusive colonial and church rule.
After 30 years of hangings, rape, looting, public floggings, and subjugation, on August 10, 1680 we joined with five neighboring tribes in what you call the Pueblo Revolt. Nearly 100 years before your "Revolution" from England, from 1680-1692 we killed fleeing Spaniards; we pushed them far south and cut off their water supply, and successfully expelled them from our land.
The Spaniards fought back for more than a decade. In a perfect world things might have been different. But in a mutually beneficial move to keep us from being raided and killed by rebel tribes who knew we did not have the Spanish horses, guns, and armies to defend our centers of trade, we negotiated a more peaceful return of the Spaniards.
When you want to drive out immigrants because of your fairly recent laws prohibit them, think about the names of the leaders of our revolt. The Spanish governor raided Isleta Pueblo and burned Sandia Pueblo trying to learn their names. Our leaders fled to the Hopi people who gave them safe haven until 1742. The Hopis kept their secret. To this day, we do not reveal the names of those who plotted and fought successfully to defeat the strongest colonial power on earth at that time.
Today you would not read the names of our agents, messengers, or secret warriors in Newsweek or The New York Times. But then again, we are the heathen savages who always embraced the black, the poor, the hungry, and even learned how to be penned in "reservations" by our legal conquerors, the white man.
I could go on and on, but I urge in the strongest terms that you newcomers find ways of peace, prosperity and harmony in dealing with your own newcomers.
Before you impose harsh penalties on those who broke your "laws" to feed their families and hope for a better life, remember that on Oct. 6, 1821, Mexico issued its Declaration of Independence, which reaffirmed that all of my people here in Northern New Mexico remain to this day citizens of Mexico on an equal basis with non-Indians. At least in spirit, it seems the country with which you are in conflict pver immigration afforded us more respect than the Great White Father on the Potomac.
Lou Dobbs does not play very well here.
I like his strength and intellect, and follow his arguments of "national security" with the same intensity I see the coyote stalk his prey on the great Blue Lake on our snow capped mountains to the East. But when you have done your war dances and shaken your rattles and clenched fists at each other, remember: This land is not yours to control.
Yes, we also do not control it or have more human rights than you, but perhaps we are one step closer to the Great Spirit, who for more than a thousand years has entrusted us with the wisdom to see your folly.
American Reporter Correspondent Mark Scheinbaum writes the "Market Mover" column for A.R. He is based in Boca Raton, Fla.