Teach Your Children

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How to teach your children about Native American sovereignty.

It has taken a number of generations for Americans and Canadians to forget about Indian land claims. The moral issue of whose land we are living on is not part of the national discussion. If you look at your watch at this moment, there are not fifty people on this continent who are non-native who are having a serious discussion about the moral claim of Native Americans to this continent. It’s going to take, perhaps, several generations to work our way back into the national conscience. We have to teach Native sovereignty to children, small children. Here’s how we suggest doing it and it is a reason why paying rent is such a good teaching tool.

Imagine a conversation like this with your 5-year-old child:

Father: Hi, sweetheart—here is your weekly allowance.

Daughter: Thank you, daddy.

Father: And one penny of your allowance is going to pay the Indians rent.

Daughter: Why do we do that daddy?

Father: Because it’s their land.

Daughter: I don’t understand, Daddy.

Father: You know how the blue toothbrush is yours?

Daughter: Yes.

Father: You know how the red toothbrush belongs to your brother Bobby?

Daughter: Yes. That’s Bobby’s toothbrush.

Father: Well, this whole country is the Indians’ red toothbrush and that’s why we pay them rent—to show them respect and let them know that we know it’s their toothbrush.

The purpose of this important conversation that all USA and Canadian citizens need to have with their children is so their children will grow up with an understanding on a deeper level that they are on Indian land, and as these children get older and have their own children and teach them, and as their children and grandchildren hear about Native American land claims, they will have a greater natural sympathy, because they would have learned the lesson in their formative years—at a time when these lessons need to be taught. It’s important to learn this at a young age for the lesson to go to the deepest level.