What Haunts Turtle Island

I have little to quibble with Dave Macaray’s central thesis in his article “Resolved: America Was Founded by Religious Lunatics.” I do quibble with some of the language and what the central thesis should be.

Macaray wonders what — if anything — the “Founding Fathers” founded since Jamestown and Plymouth had already been established before the so-called founding fathers were born. “Resolved” needs to establish what is being founded (synonym for established). The term “founding fathers” is used to refer to men considered instrumental in the founding of the country called the United States of America. Jamestown and Plymouth were the founding of colonies (not “settlements” as the Powhatan and Wampanoag can attest to.)

Macaray writes “…we could say that America was founded by a bunch of religious fanatics, and that it was the framers of the Constitution (educated products of the Enlightenment) who, bless their hearts, saved us from them.”

Saved “us” from “them”? This views American history solely through colonial eyes.

Indeed it was the Indigenous peoples who saved the pilgrims in the early days, people who may have known their bible but were challenged when it came to eking out a living on the land. As for founding, Plymouth was erected on the site of the Wampanoag village of Patuxet whose citizens were wiped out by diseases brought by English slavers.

The Tea Partyers may talk about “want[ing] their country back,” however, if anyone wants to talk about wanting a country back, it seems the only group that can legitimately use this as a mantra are the Original Peoples who were dispossessed.

Missing from the Macaray essay is the genocide that facilitated the “founding” of the USA. The USA is founded on the Indigenous nations that existed prior to the European colonists arriving. What followed was the founding of the Thirteen Colonists and American expansion westward, everywhere displacing the Original Peoples violently. Genocide was the unholy method for colonization and territorial expansion.

Canadians and Americans (and people throughout the western hemisphere) ought to bear in mind that their countries were founded on the territory of First Nations and the forced displacement of the people of these territories. That is the tragedy wrought by religious lunatics and murderous “founding fathers.”

It is the executions of many Indigenous nations that still haunts Turtle Island.

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at gmail.com. Read other articles by Kim.