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The Dilemma of Mexican Native Americans

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  • Romi Elnagar
    I I have been asked to pass the page from which this article is taken and invite comments and responses.  I think it is really a worthwhile project, so please
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2013
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      I have been asked to pass the page from which this article is taken and invite comments and responses.  I think it is really a worthwhile project, so please let me know what you think of it.
      Thanks,
      Hajja Romi/"Blue"


      The Dilemma of Mexican Native Americans

      Are Mexico’s Native Americans who migrate to the U.S. “Mexican immigrants,” or are is this a migration of Native American, or First Peoples, across the whole of North American?
       
      What is one to make of the fact that for most Mexican Native Americans
      Spanish is as second language – their traditional language being the one in which they are fluent?
       
      What are the moral implications of the U.S.-Mexico and the U.S.-Canada
      borders arbitrarily separating the indigenous First Peoples of the
      continent?
       
      What happens when, for instance, there are an estimated 30,000 Zapotec
      people from Oaxaca State (Mexico) now living in New York State (U.S.),
      and the U.S. Census Bureau refused to make Zapotec-language material
      available to them for the 2010 census?
       
      What are the moral obligations of U.S.-based Hispanic, Latino and Latin
      American organizations to the First Peoples now in the U.S. who were
      born in Latin America?
       

      The Return of Native Americans as Immigrants
      New America Media, Commentary, Louis E.V. Nevaer
      The United States is seeing a resurgence of Native Americans in the form of immigrants who are descendents of North America’s indigenous
      populations. As Native Americans, they are terrifying precisely because
      they have a moral claim to cross the borders imposed on their lands,
      writes NAM contributor Louis E.V. Nevaer.

      As
      the immigration debate rages throughout the nation, the lingering, but
      unspoken, fear is that illegal immigration from Mexico heralds the
      return of the Native American.

      “The persistent inflow of Hispanic
      immigrants threatens to divide the United States into two peoples, two
      cultures, and two languages,” Samuel Huntington famously argued in
      Foreign Affairs magazine in March 2004, unleashing a firestorm of
      protests among U.S. Hispanics and Latinos. “Unlike past immigrant
      groups, Mexicans and other Latinos have not assimilated into mainstream
      U.S. culture, forming instead their own political and linguistic
      enclaves — from Los Angeles to Miami — and rejecting the
      Anglo-Protestant values that built the American dream.”

      In fact,
      almost all Mexican immigrants are descendents of North America’s
      indigenous peoples. As Native Americans, they are terrifying precisely
      because they have a moral claim to migrate throughout the nation-states
      imposed on their lands.

      This vilification of immigrants differs
      from the same sentiment of earlier generations. Previously, Americans
      debated and settled immigration issues through legislation: the Alien
      and Sedition Acts of 1798 to keep French and Irish Catholics out, the
      anti-Papist sentiment that fueled Nativism in the 19th century aimed at
      Italian, Irish and German immigrants, the xenophobia that culminated in
      the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, and the “Gentlemen’s Agreement” of
      1907 aimed at the Japanese.

      In “The Clash of Civilizations and
      the Remaking of World Order,” Huntington argued that the Mexican state
      was complementary to the American one, both heirs of Europe and the
      Enlightenment. This suggests that the cultural conflict he fears is
      between Western versus Native American.

      He is correct. Native
      Americans are indifferent to the Western values used to obliterate them,
      and he recognizes the moral authority with which they challenge the
      very concept of the nation-state.

      To refuse entry to immigrants
      from across the oceans, from Europe or Asia, is one thing; to stand
      against the internal movements of Native American people, Americans find
      unsettling. They can’t forget that efforts to transplant and expand
      European civilization in the New World have been the driving force
      behind the settling of the West in the 19th century and the exclusion of
      Native Americans from the mainstream of society in the 20th.

      It almost worked: There are no Manhattans on the island of Manhattan, no Coast Miwok in San Francisco.

      “The
      only good Injun is a dead Injun,” is a line in a Hollywood Western that
      sums up the nation’s attitude during the 19th century, and it is true
      that Native Americans were massacred, subjected to forced migrations and
      deliberately infected with contagious diseases so as to reduce their
      numbers. It is also true that during the last century, the establishment
      of reservations created marginalized communities where alcoholism,
      substance abuse and unemployment demoralized Native Americans into early
      graves.

      Now, peoples rendered almost irrelevant to American
      society are thriving in such large numbers that they are once again on
      the move across the continent.

      The return of the Native American
      began in earnest in the 1980s, during the Sanctuary Movement in
      California. Suddenly, people apprehended at the borders spoke neither
      English nor Spanish. Isa Gucciardi, who managed a translation company in
      San Francisco, reported getting calls from the Immigration and
      Naturalization Service (INS), as it was called then, with requests for
      interpreters who spoke “Indian” languages from southern Mexico and
      Central America. “We had to double the rate, since it was so difficult
      to find anyone who spoke English and Tzotzil Maya,” she said.

      Despite
      their best efforts to wipe them out, at the start of the 21st century,
      Zapotec, Mixtec, Maya and scores of other indigenous peoples have
      returned.

      They are working in our restaurants, stocking shelves
      in our stores, building houses and doing our landscaping. They are
      taking care of our kids while we’re at the office, and giving birth to
      more Native Americans in our hospitals. They are fueling the economic
      expansion, contributing to a society that looks upon them with disdain.

      Yet
      in the second half of 20th century, it was Europeans who looked on
      Americans with disdain. Walt Whitman celebrated America being one people
      out of many – “Of every hue and caste am I” – but to the Europeans,
      hyphenated Americans are mongrels and half-breeds: Irish-Americans,
      African-Americans, Italian-Americans, Anglo-Americans.

      The
      realization that Native Americans are crossing the borders that crossed
      them is alarming even Jesse Jackson. Interviewed on CNN’s “Lou Dobbs
      Tonight,” he complained that the workers streaming into New Orleans were
      “outside workers,” since he could not bring himself to say “Native
      Americans from Latin America.”

      My office in New York is in the
      Citigroup Center where the only Native American used to be the
      “Manna-Hata” Indian on the seal stenciled on the flag of the City of New
      York, standing next to an early Dutch colonist.

      Not anymore. Now
      when I go to the lobby and downstairs into the subway concourse that
      connects the Uptown Number 6 train with the E and V subways, there are
      Maya women, wearing their traditional textiles. Their babies strapped on
      their backs in shawls, with a blanket made of blue basket, they lay out
      before them for sale probably the last thing that is actually made in
      New York City: pirated DVDs of Hollywood movies.

      Having rid ourselves of the Manna-Hata people, we import Native Americans from Mexico.

      Given this demographic trend, it’s only a matter of time before we hear, “Press three to continue in Zapotec.”
       
      Originally published by New America Media: http://news.newamericamedia.org/news/view_article.html?article_id=0d7ce12ef7b01fe9806ce6d90e349853
      http://hispaniceconomics.com/overviewofushispanics/mexicannativeamericans.html

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