Perhaps the most devastating import that arrived with European conquerors of the Americas was poverty. While disease, alcohol and religion played their part in destroying the indigenous civilizations here, poverty was a systematic economic construct that would outlast the aboriginal peoples’ ability to endure and adapt.
Surmounting poverty as an essential element of settler economics is only now beginning to look possible–for some. Indigenous initiatives to share the wealth between native nations point to possibilities beyond the Fourth World. Indeed, witnessing the results of the institutionalization of poverty through the globalization of free trade is a sobering reminder — even in America — that ruined lives more often than not are the consequence of actions taken on Wall Street or at the World Bank, rather than an act of God.
Ridding ourselves of poverty means ridding ourselves of the last vestiges of destructive values that arrived with the original wave of European immigrants seeking freedom and prosperity. The irony of what actually transpired is something we’ll be dealing with for a long time to come.
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here