They are precious beings, we must protect them at all cost.
Once massacred with iron arms and devastating pestilence,
They must be isolated, lest their identity be lost,
Kept quarantine from foreign taint, infringing influence.
We allow them all their rituals, casinos, tribal chiefs,
Let them oversee a nominal nation all their own.
We let them keep their language, their customs and beliefs,
Allow them to find unity in the peripheral status quo.
Scholastically we dig to find the relics that confirm
The undisputed truth that we discovered long ago.
The treasures of the new world were the nations we destroyed,
The riches that we foolishly pursued our only foe.
Those ambitious dreams might have unfolded differently.
We might have found a wealth of innovations unforeseen.
We might have staved our ruthlessness with more civility,
Our history made bright, free from the unfading infamy.
That opportunity was buried, now another chance is given
To see the different cultures as a blessing sent by God.
Are we obliged to disinter their esoteric vision?
Make the noble savage warrior our redeeming apologue?
Quanah, Moctezuma, Atahualpa, Crazy Horse,
Antiheros of conquests that put us all to shame
Their noble stance was once pronounced by all an evil force.
Now we must assume the bending mother lode of blame.
So, open up the circle, let them in, give them the means
To build the bridge, cross over to a new reality.
To excavate the treasures of their spiritual proclivity.
To fly to the heights they are destined to achieve.
Who are we to presuppose our role in their deliverance?
Being only the begetters of our own disembarrassment.
If allowed they could exhume covert points of reference
With arrow accuracy, that lead us all to brave ascent.
Enabled they will reinstate devotion to the Covenant,
Will cure their own addictions, self-destructive tendencies,
Will modify their ways to fit a new enlightenment,
Will lift themselves from skid row and abject poverty.
Their culture will be saved, but not as relic or curiosity,
Binding them tyrannically to mystifying traditions.
But as a living monument to the cause of diversity.
A vivid contribution to a planet in transition.
Given science, given voice, given opportunity
They’ll teach us to be stewards of a fragile habitat,
Guide us to the numinous, help us build community,
Rediscover reverence, pave the way to unity.
Then and only then will the dilemma be resolved of
How to bridge the chasm, bring together in one family
All as equals, integrated, hearts ablaze with love:
They must disappear, that them be us and they be we.