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Native Rights

Viewed 2669 times 2012-2-18 05:13

Native Rights

The rights of people to retain their culture and languages are or should be the most basic of all human rights to be protected. China has fifty some cultures still alive and well within its’ national territory which is a glowing example to the world. As a great historian said, “If we don’t know where we come from we acn’t know where we are going,”

 

In the new world of the Americas and Australia, and New Zealand a concerted effort to eliminate native cultures has been in progress ever since the colonial western powers discovered these lands. During the conquest many cultures were eliminated through mass slaughter of the inhabitants and the introduction of diseases from the old world that the natives had no immunity to. The survivors were forced onto reservations where they no longer were able to sustain themselves from their natural resources; their children were taken away from them and sent to far off schools to be taught English and forbidden to speak their own language, as many as half of them or more never survived the schools and were buried there.

 

China too was invaded by colonial powers and suffered serious losses among the people who resisted, as well as the loss of cultural treasures, artefacts, and wealth due to plunder and extortion. Due to the immense population and the courage of the people to resist the invaders were confined to small areas until they were finally driven out.

The populations in the new world were very small in comparison with China and the entire lands were over run with colonists from the colonial invaders countries of origin.

 

In South America, Latin America, and the Southern part of North America the prevailing language today is Spanish the tongue of the conquistadors of the Spanish Empire that prevailed in the Western World during that period of time.

 

Central areas of eastern North America were first occupied by the French, who were later deposed by the rising British Empire, however French has remained the language of the province of Quebec in Canada accounting for about a third of the population of the country and is also spoken in other parts of the country as a second language.

English became the main language in the rest of Canada and the US; however Spanish is still spoken by many people in the US particularly in the South West that was first colonized by the Spanish, Mexico remains a Spanish speaking country to this day.

 

The result has been a failure of the colonists to develop distinct cultures of their own in the lands that they occupy.  I will write separate essays on the importance of languages, and cultures, and I invite comments.    

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)


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