Settler states such as Canada, United States, Mexico, Brazil, South Africa and Argentina have a difficult time comprehending why the peoples among whom they settled fail to disappear. Mexico is busily building a massive highway through the middle of Otomi territory (just to the west of Mexico City) ignoring the commitments made to seek the free, prior and informed consent of Otomi communities like San Francisco Xochicuatla. The highway construction and the new highway itself is causing no ends of troubles for the Otomi. The Rama on the south Atlantic coast of Nicaragua are basically ignored by the Nicaraguan government and its partner China as they attempt to protect themselves from the adverse consequences of a massive Pacific to Atlantic canal running through their territory. Nicaragua has not attempted to secure the Rama free, prior and informed consent to build this canal through their territory. Actually, the list of depradations committed by states’ governments again Fourth World nations would contain hundreds of such examples from all over the world. Efforts to seek accommodation with the state government have generally been turned away.
The State of Maine in the United States joins these other states’ governments employing bully tactics to erase Fourth World nations. The Wabenaki fell under French and English occupation in about 1624 as French and English business interests with their indentured slaves moved in. After the United States proclaimed its existence the State of Maine was carved out of what had been another occupied area (Massachusetts colony) and declared a state of the US in 1820. All along the Wabenaki and allied peoples attempted to accommodate and frequently resist these changes. Like so many of the neighboring nations the Wabenaki tended to accept strangers and would attempt to absorb them as part of the nation. So they attempted this practice with the rapidly increasing numbers of land hungry British and French settlers.
Eventually, in the spirit of accommodation, Wabenaki agreed to send representatives to the Maine Legislature—shared political power one would think.
The state of Maine changed its stripes with newly elected authoritarian politicians in recent years and the consequence has been the emergence of intensely hostile relations. Now the Wabenaki will walk away from the state of Maine and seek to restore their political separation.
The accommodative spirit of north Atlantic Coast Nations has been sorely tested by the State of Maine and has been found wanting. The Wabenaki of chosen a separate political path.
Many nations may find themselves rethinking their accommodative spirit in relations with states government and decided to forge their own separate political path. If the states will not live up to their own agreement to obtain the free, prior and informed consent of nations before actions or policies are taken that affect the lives and property of nations, then nations will have no recourse but to undertake a proactive effort to affirm and exercise their separate political interests–even if the states do not agree.
Fourth World nations have separate social, political, economic and cultural interests. Accommodation has for too long gone toward the states’ benefit. It is time to reset the balance more in favor of Fourth World nations by taking a separate political path in their own interest.
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