I think the scholars say that the Native American tribes who lived in Canada and the United States, and the Indigenous people who moved down through Mexico to Central and South America, originally came from the northern part of Asia and they crossed an ice bridge from west to east to enter North America.
As a child in primary school and early high school, I began to learn about the leaders and the way of life of Native American tribes like the Sioux, the Apache, the Comanche, the Nez Perce, and others. My great great grandmother, Susan Ferrell, on my mother’s side, was a Mosquito (Miskita) Indian from Nicaragua, so my facial appearance was not totally African. But, my mother informed all her children from an early age that our great great grandmother on her father’s side was a “coal black woman” (African) named Elizabeth Kingston.
As a child/youth learning about the Native American tribes and their way of life on the North American plains, a life which involved chasing buffalo and spearing fish, I identified with these people. I respected and admired them.
When I went to college in the United States, between 1965 and 1968, I became black-conscious, one reason being that the United States looked at human beings as either white or black. America did not pay any attention to brown. One drop of African blood made you black, unlike British and French colonies in the Caribbean, where they recognized brown, mulatto people as a kind of buffer class.
Early on at school in New Hampshire, I was good friends with a white student who lived across the hall from me. I think the small group of African-American students did not really recognize me as one of their own, partly because of my appearance. But from my early days at Dartmouth, I became friends with an African student from Malawi named Guy Mhone, though we lived in different dormitories and drifted apart between 1965 and the winter of 1967.
Mhone and I became close after an incident one night at Dartmouth in the winter of 1967 when the African-American students staged a militant demonstration against a campaign visit to the campus by the racist, segregationist governor of Alabama, George Wallace, who was running for the presidential nomination in the Democratic Party. This demonstration by the African-American students was an act of courage. I respected them big time for it. I became more black-conscious.
I go back now to the Native American tribes who lived in America before the Europeans came. The Native Americans lived in wigwams and used animal skins to keep them warm in the winter. They treated the earth with reverence, and built their religious beliefs around that reverence for the earth, and the Creator.
Inside the earth, when you open it, you will find metals and minerals like iron, nickel, titanium, cobalt, and so on and so forth. In order to manufacture more deadly weapons, apart from building a more comfortable way of life in ferro-concrete buildings, the Europeans had to open up the earth, dig deep into it, and our native and Indigenous ancestors saw this as a violation of mother earth. But by doing what they did, the Europeans gained an advantage in war. They manufactured superior weapons, and they conquered our ancestors. The European way of life dominates most of our planet.
But today we are looking at changes in the earth which presumably have been caused by the European approach to life, involving the aforementioned opening up of the earth, but also involving the penetration of the ozone layer (which protects humans from the sun) through the firing off of ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. The scientists talk about a “climate change,” and they are saying that it has to do with fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. The European way of life features fossil fuels and greenhouse gases.
It does not appear that the Europeans will change their way of life to reduce the damage which has been done to the planet. It is because of that way of life that they rule the planet, and they will not give up their power for anything.
The situation in Toledo, where the Quiche (Q’eqchi) and Mopan Maya want to live on the earth the way their ancestors did, has become explosive. I think some of the problem arises from the fact that there are valuable metals and minerals inside the earth and below the sea in Toledo.
If I were Maya, I would think the way the Maya do. I think we should realize that our African ancestors used to live similarly to the Maya, but it appears that most of us have now chosen the European way, the European philosophy. The result has been division between Belizeans — between Maya and Afro-descendants.
One of my part-time employees was telling me on Tuesday about watching his daughter work on her computer and smart phone at the same time. Where are we going? We are losing touch with each other as warm human flesh. Our planet is fighting back against us. And the mighty Europeans have reached the point where they can destroy the planet with their weapons. How crazy is this? There have been incidents in which the nuclear powers made mistakes and came close to shooting at each other.
I will say this, however. When John L. Stephens traveled through British Honduras, Honduras, Guatemala, and Chiapas in 1839 and 1840, a lot of people in these places were dying because of what looks to me like malaria and dengue. Today, medical science is able to fight against what used to be killers. So, I can’t condemn human progress because of its dangers and disadvantages. Jesus the Christ said, “My kingdom is not of this world.” Beloved, the world belongs to itself. We human beings are only passing through. That is why we pray. Entiende?