Monday, May 01, 2006

Immigration: Part I-The Crystal Ball

The Puritans were people who grew discontent in the Church of England and worked towards religious, moral and societal reforms. They asserted that The Church of England had become a product of political struggles and man-made doctrines. Escaping persecution from church leadership and the King, they came to America. ( Settling into a foreign land, they encountered numerous hardships. Coming from a different lifestyle, customs and language, there were many conflicts with the indigenous people of the land.

The first notable sign of strain was the Powhatan Confederacy that lasted from 1622-1644. Much of the initial ill will was rooted in the colonists' belief that the Indians would welcome them and willingly supply food. Their perspective was that exchanging European tools and Christianity for sustenance could forge a mutually- beneficial arrangement. That bargain made little sense to the natives. The settlers failed to realize that the Indians only hunted and gathered little more than their immediate needs required and additional pressure on their food supply by the colonists raised a real possibility of starvation. Tensions were heightened when the colonists allowed their livestock to wander into Indian cornfields…wiping out crops, and especially when the whites used their superior firepower to extort food contributions from the tribes. (

In retaliation in 1622, the Indians launched a surprise attack on the settlements killing nearly 350 whites. ( Warfare between the races continued for another decade, but neither side won the battle. Bloodshed was the only notable trophy. The settlers gave up any pretense of coexisting with the Indians and embarked upon a policy of extermination.

Fast forward to the 21st century for another battle among the “natives” and “immigrants” of this land: The updated version has immigrants coming here with the belief that the American people would welcome them, supply aid…adding additional pressure to government programs, and allow them to take American jobs and not pay income tax on them. The immigrant perspective being one of taking on duties that American’s would not and offered more culture to the “melting pot”. Tensions are heightening once again…

Will this lead to the same horrible outcome of fighting, killing and extermination?

Note: With the forceful emotions embedded in this topic, I feel we will be condemned to repeat history if we do not turn our focus on the reasons WHY people are leaving their homes for America. Stay tuned for this discussion…

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