Native Spirit

I was born on a Seneca reservation in western New York, as a Caucasian. My great grandparents settled there from Italy and Germany to build a railroad town. The Seneca leased their property to the white people. So when my grandparents built their home on the property, they owned the house, but not the land. This became a bone of contention in the early 1990’s when the 100 year lease was up. The Seneca reclaimed their land and closed off entrances to the town. If you lived there, you couldn’t leave town or you wouldn’t be able to return unless you were a member of the Seneca nation.

Who could blame them? Europeans invaded their peaceful lands and took it by force. Anyone left standing was taken to a prison camp, now designated as reservations.

I can’t imagine what it feel like to be descendants of people who would forced to live in “camps” when they had first rights to the land to begin with. It makes me a bit ashamed of my ancestors. Yet, who or where would I be had this not occurred?

We can’t go back in time and change the outcome of the event. But we can recognize the error in our ways and support efforts to correct a decline in a culture before it vanishes altogether.

This is an amazing video that shows life from the perspective of those descendants, and how their lives are today.


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