White Eyes

August 30, 2009

When the first white man came to the west coast in their tall sailing ships, they saw minimal value in what lay beneath the waters or what was hidden deep inland from the rugged shoreline, all that concerned them was acquiring as many precious pelts as the natives were willing to part with, in exchange for a few sticks of tobacco, a handful of buttons, blankets and sufficient alcohol to incapacitate their reasoning.

But in time competition for trade among the Spanish, Americans, British and Russians turned into a push for ownership and the race was on to establish a permanent foothold along the west coast of this land they called New Caledonia. The first to establish a settlement would win the race.

Before long the British set a machine in motion that would pillage the land of its tall trees, harvest the sea of it rich bounty of cod and salmon and squander all that was seen of  little value to those still residing on European soil.

The Native communities watched helplessly as the white man forced them aside with their big bore cannons, tore into their traditional hunting grounds and slaughtered the wild life that had fed them for centuries before. Where the native fished freely, the whiteman established regulations which governed the time and quantity that they were allowed to harvest. Where the native once planted his potatoes, the white man planted fences and aggressively stood guard against trespass.

In exchange for peace the white man offered the natives domination and the British rule of law, neither of which they understood. The white man put before the elders of each community a piece of paper with strange marks on it and in exchange for their own mark, the natives received blankets, strange coins and even more control. Little did they fully comprehend that they had given away their freedom along with their land.

The once resourceful native, quickly became reliant to handouts and every other vice that held the white-man captive to the other.

So many travisties took place, for so many centuries and all in the name of expanding the British Empire.

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