Thursday, January 24, 2019

Nathan Phillips Meditation

(screen shot from AJ+ video on Facebook)

It has occurred to me that if Rosa Parks had taken a seat in the front of a bus during an administration like our current political administration, she could well have experienced what Nathan Phillips experienced and been discounted in the way Nathan Phillips has been by our current president and that dwindling portion of American citizens that stand with him.

Below is what I transcribed from captions of the video by AJ+, "Nathan Phillips on Racism," that was posted on January 23, 2019, and seems to only be available for viewing on Facebook.  I am not on Facebook but am grateful that this video was brought to my attention.  I hope that you can view the video and witness the integrity with which Nathan Phillips speaks.  I have watched the complete YouTube video footage that gives the context in which Nathan Phillips stepped forward, and I continue to respect him and meditate on what occurred. 



Nathan Phillips:  This is America. The dream of freedom, of pursuit of happiness, hurts me. The history we have as America, the genocide against the Indigenous people, the enslavement of the Black people.

AJ+ Narrator:  Nathan Phillips has been fighting for the rights of Indigenous people for decades.  The 64-year-old attended the Indigenous People's March, thinking he would highlight injustices that Indigenous people face. Instead, he was in the media spotlight for intervening in a standoff between anti-abortion students and Hebrew Israelite activists and for Nathan, the experience has left him scarred for life.

Nathan Phillips:  That was what I was seeing.  I was seeing this clear as black and white ... racism, bigotry, hatred etched in my mind.

AJ+ Narrator:  The Indigenous war vet (am's note:  This is a misunderstanding that has been cleared up.  Nathan Phillips is a Vietnam-era veteran, not a war vet) has witnessed injustices against his people for decades.  

Nathan Phillips:  I was taken away from my family and put in a foster home.  It was a time, in this country, they called assimilation.  It was a period of time that they, America, [in] terms of their Indian policy -- Indian problem.  During that time of assimilation, they took away hundreds of thousands of children away from their parents, separated us, put us in foster cares, put us in boarding schools.  A lot of those children that were taken away, never got home.

AJ+ Narrator:  Indigenous people are more likely to be killed in police encounters, 83% of Indigenous women have experienced violence in their lifetime and most perpetrators are non-Indigenous.  So what happened at the recent march is nothing new to Nathan.

Nathan Phillips:  I seen that, so I got scared.  Not so much for myself but for my future generations yet to come.  What kind of country are we going to leave that next generation? Just talking about Indigenous youth or Black or all our next generation.  Indigenous people don't believe we have time to be squabbling and bickering over race, religion.

AJ+ Narrator:  But he thinks things are only getting worse for Indigenous people.

Nathan Phillips:  We're seeing it daily in the news.  We're seeing this rhetoric that's being spilled by our leaders. Our lawmakers are saying horrible things.  As they were ripping at each other, it was ripping at my heart.  My country here in my land, my home, my America.

AJ+ Narrator:  Despite the standoff, Nathan still has hope.

Nathan Phillips:  I see a better future. I do see a better future here.  Not only here in America, but throughout the world.  There are a lot of people who are just realizing that if we don't do something now, it's going to be too late. I guess what I say to a lot of people: peace and love.  Put that in your heart and love for all humans.

4 comments:

ellen abbott said...

Trump disgusts me, I really loathe that man. it all flows from him.

Sabine said...

Also this:
https://www.democracynow.org/2019/1/22/i_was_absolutely_afraid_indigenous_elder

lily cedar said...

It's so sad that we still divide people by skin color, language, gender, religion, ethnicity. We are all the same, all deserve kindness and respect, are all equals. Why can't we see that? What can't we do that? What stops us? Fear?

Colette said...

I was so moved by Nathan Phillips encounter with that arrogant student. He handled it beautifully.