Somewhat inspired by Thanksgiving, I offer this: One of the things I've noted in my class on Christian History in America is the reaction that people had towards immigration. Immediately after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, a nativist movement emerged shunning those who were new to the country. It seems that ever generation or so, a new group of immigrants became the target of persecution. The frightening part is that much of this hatred was perpetuated from the pulpits of Protestant churches. It's sorta eerie to witness the current dislike of Mexican immigrants as some of the language sounds identical to that of over 100 years ago.*
That's why I found this map particularly enlightening. It shows the territory of the Cherokee nation [of which I am a descendant, by the way] which, before the American Revolution, found it's northern border at the Ohio River. After the war, their territory was reduced significantly, and now they have only a small portion of land between Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee.
It's impossible to go back in history and correct the wrongs that were committed that we now benefit from today; reparations are impossible to make and, in my opinion, pointless anyway. But we can learn the lessons from the past. We can accept who we really are. We are a nation of immigrants but once we build a foundation we fear losing what we've built. So instead asking for the tired, poor and huddled masses, we tell them to go back to their own country. Wonder if the Indians felt the same way.
I recognize that there are many issues concerning immigration that are need to be flushed out; people need to be legal, people need to pay taxes [well, as long as I have to anyway]. But we shouldn't persecute immigrants. This is a great country. There's plenty of space for all of us. If we're truly thankful for our country, we shouldn't hesitate to allow others to enjoy it as well.
For an explanation on the Cherokee map, read the full article here.
*Sidenote: Many who push for English to be declared our language do so out of fear of the spread of Spanish in our country; they're worried that they'll be outnumbered and will lose their culture. This too is expressed frequently by nativists throughout American history and yet it never became a reality. There have always been communities of immigrants in this country who maintain the use of their own language. Eventually immigrants, who understand the importance of learning the prevalant language, adapt to English, usually at the expense of their original culture.