Open Book
Light Bulb

let's give it back

According to many Americans—including people of Native American ancestry—believe Thanksgiving celebrations mask the true history of oppression and bloodshed that underlies the relationship between European settlers and Native Americans.

Perhaps someone at your Thanksgiving dinner will solemnly express such a sentiment. A case can be made that we Americans live on stolen land.

Globally, most people live on land previously occupied by others. On the British Isles the Romans displaced ancient Celts, only to be displaced by Saxons who were later displaced by Normans. In the Middle East the Byzantine Greeks were displaced by Arabs who were then displaced by Turks. In east Asia the Han Chinese are today displacing Uyghurs, Mongolians, and Kazakhs.

Here’s a solution. Give it back!

Begin by giving back Americas’s National Parks to Native Americans. Nobodies property need be taken—the land is held in trust by the federal government. Native Americans would better administer US Parks than does our government.

For example, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado is now criss-crossed by ugly eight foot metal fences “to reduce the impacts of elk on vegetation and to restore the natural range of variability.” Can anyone believe Native Americans would resort to European-style fencing to protect the environment?

An added fiscal benefit: Eliminating one federal bureaucracy, the U.S. National Park Service. A small bureaucracy to be sure, and one of the few friendly ones. But still, government reduction.

Next, give back to Native American our National Forests. Current management of North American forests is a mess due to the hubris of cosmopolitan bureaucrats pressured by short-sighted politicians.
Ken Burns documents that in a single generation Europeans destroyed vast herds of American Bison (Buffalo) that once range the continent. Prior to the arrival of Europeans, generations of diverse and competing native nations successfully managed tens of millions of Buffalo. The environmental traditions cherished by Native Americans complimented by their cultural wisdom promises better management of USA forests.

Then, perhaps, give back Americas land-grant colleges. It is inconceivable that Native Americans could do a worse job administering our institutions of higher learning than do academics.

Too impatient to wait on government? Be the change! Sell your home, or at least your vacation home, donate the proceeds to the Native nation of your choice.

Of course, we’re not going to give it back. None of it. Not one of us ~

Thanksgiving blessings,
Dan Nygaard