We all face the fact that we carry ancestral and historical baggage around with us. And that society is significantly (and often badly) impacted by that. Lovers of liberty need to remember we are all individuals. Yes, we fit in many groups, but our relations with others needs to be one-on-one, recognizing we are responsible for our own actions, not those of our ancestors or other members of one of the pigeonholes we are stuffed in.
This point came up in a discussion of the current situation of AmerInd people in the Fifty States. The many hundreds of tribes (nations) that exist NOW land have societies and social orders and even political systems that reflect not just the last 500+ years of increasing interaction with people of European heritage, but for thousands of years before that.
We see the same thing going on right now in Ukraine and Russia and nearby nations. Ukraine was part of Russia from 1793 to 1991: almost 200 years. Some consider Ukraine to have been an imperial possession, while others consider Ukraine to be similar to, say, Texas. There are hundreds of thousands, even millions of people who are both Russian and Ukrainian – close relatives with ties to both. But there are also hundreds of thousands or millions who are “JUST” Russian or “JUST” Ukrainians – many of whom have been taught or learned to fear and even hate the other nationality.
Ukraine and Russia are hardly alone in this – consider England and Scotland, Denmark and Sweden, the successors of Yugoslavia, and of course most of the Arab world and the Middle East. And right here in the States. It is NOT a matter of “racism” and not just a question of politics. It is human nature.
It is more than just the Greasy Grass (Little Big Horn) Battlefield that brings up things like that. That battle, always portrayed as one between the “Sioux” (Lakota) and Northern Cheyenne (Sutaio and Tsitsistas) on one side and the US Army’s 7th Cavalry Regiment on the other. (Some claim the Northern Arapaho also fought against the US: actually just two young Arapaho men were forced to fight against the 7th. And one of those may have accidently killed one of their “allies” – a red-on-red casualty!) But there was a lot more involved, including the well-documented fact that the Crow (Absaroka) nation fought on the US side in the battle. Why? In large part because they were enemies of the Lakota and had been for at least a hundred years.
Yes, the Crow and Lakota were and still are traditional enemies – and yet are “cousins” – both speak a Siouan language as contrasted to what, say, the Cheyenne or Shoshone speak. Because the Cheyenne are allied with the Lakota, they are often at odds with the Crow, although their reservations border each other. In some cases, the Feds have aggravated tribal enmities – for example, by putting the Northern Arapahoe and the Eastern Shoshone together on the same reservation (Wind River in Wyoming) (and breaking commitments at the same time).
But there are other modern enmities – a friend of mine’s dad is Dineh (Navajo) father. His mom was Sicangu (Lakota). Both fullblood. Window Rock (the Navajo capital) refuses to recognize him as a Navajo – he’s a “half-breed;” Rosebud has no problem with enrolling him as Sicangu. In the Four Corners, Ute (any of the three modern Ute nations) and Navajo are generally antagonistic towards each other. For both ancient and modern reasons, I gather. I understand that there are poor relations between most of the people of the Pueblo villages and the Inde (Apache) nations, including the Navajo (actually the most successful of the Apache nations). Again for both ancient and modern reasons, including competition for land, funding, tourism and gaming revenue.
“Your ancestors, seven or ten generations ago, did this to my ancestors, so I will hate you and fight against you.” One reason there were few alliances against the FedGov and settlers (Anglo-European or Hispanic) in the 1800s: the memories of war and conflict were fresher then!
But we see the same thing in so-called mainstream American culture. From the Hatfields-McCoys type thing (I know, not “really” mainstream) on. LDS-Gentile conflicts. But especially today, the screams of racism and vicious hatred towards Southerners by many – or even towards whites in general. People today are being taught to hate someone born in 1990 because their ancestor, born in 1840, might have been a slave owner or fought in the CSA in 1860! Or people whose ancestors were born in one of the Germanies in 1860 and immigrated to Dakota Territory in 1890 is hated because of their skin color (white – pink, really!) for their historical “racism” towards blacks or Amerinds. Even though their immigrant ancestor had nothing to do with slavery, the War between the States, or the Indian Wars.
And what about mixed race people? I know a man who has at least one ancestor (a great-great-great-grandmother back in the 1850s and 1860s) who was a slave and a probably the daughter of a slave. But he doesn’t look mixed race, and his ancestry doesn’t count. Why? Because that ancestor of his was an Apache enslaved by Comanche! His grandfather looked fullblood Comanche both as a young man and in his 80s – but wasn’t. The guy I know looks pretty much like pure English/Scots! But his ancestors were just as much slaves as any plantation slave in the Carolinas or Mississippi. The poor modern guy also has ancestors on another branch of his family tree that were plantation and slave owners (of black people) in Mississippi! If he has to pay reparations for someone in his family five or six generations back then doesn’t he deserve reparations for someone else in his family five or six generations back? And according to modern haters, he’s got to hate himself!