Then and Now

What I wish to express is the struggle within myself in regard to the state of Oklahoma's Centennial Celebration -- Margaret Battiest

Then and Now
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth … and all that is within it…
Let us make man in our image … have dominion over all the earth and all that is within it …

THEN: There were tons of tribes roaming all over …
The tribes had dominion over their territory and all the animals …
Free to roam and acknowledge their Creator …

THEN: Christians came along bearing the Good News …
The Christians did not see the God-image in the Indians …
The Tribes enjoyed all their Creator had given to them … celebrated everything …
The Christians could not see God in the celebrations or how the Tribes looked …
The Christians enforced the "If you want God to bless you and your tribe -- you must change …
And you must give up tradition, culture, and how you praise God"…
The Tribes cut their hair, dressed differently, removed themselves from their ways…
The Tribes became like and acted like the Christians who brought Jesus to them…

THEN: As the Christians got established -- towns cities, state, government and Presidents…
They moved west and what they had taught the Tribes -- they used to push the Tribes out…
As more Christians and non-Christians moved into the Tribes' territory, they needed more land…
Treaties were established between the Tribes and government -- if you will move to Oklahoma…
We will forever take care of you and your people -- The Tribes…
The Tribes trusted the government and signed the Treaties and thus…
The Trail of Tears started from all over the now USA…
The Tribes gave up their freedom to roam and to acknowledge their Creator in their ways…

THEN: The Tribes settled in Oklahoma and re-established their own governments…
The Tribes settled for restricted freedom to roam and chose to fight for the freedom for all…
The Tribes fought in all the wars that ever came along in their world…
The Tribes fought for freedom of all -- way before they ever became citizens…
The Freedom they themselves did not have…

THEN: Oklahomans needed more land for all those others who wished to settle in Oklahoma…
Another Trail of Tears started as the Tribes moved from their established compounds…
The Tribes were moved to allotted lands -- more restricted than ever…
The rest of the Tribes' land was opened up for the Land Run…
Land Run celebration that takes place every year in the school systems…
The Tribes continue to enjoy what their Creator has given them…

THEN: Bureau of Indian Affairs was established -- governed by the majority/non-Indians…
BIA will rule over all The Tribes and provide for the Tribes…
Re-locations, schools, hospitals, and commodities were freely available for The Tribes…
Sub-standard yet freely available as long as the majority/non-Indians ruled over it…

THEN: Self-Determination came along -- could The Tribes govern themselves…
Tribal government may have been pushed aside for a time but rose its head up again…
Many Tribes did and still do very well in having a good government and business…

THEN: The Casino Era moved in for The Tribes…
Gambling is nothing but evil -- what about Las Vegas -- Reno???
The Tribes were and are able to establish helps for their own people…
The Tribes were seen as prospering -- grumblings started…
The Tribes live in this free land -- they need to be responsible for schools, roads…
Tribes, you have to give a percentage of your earnings to the schools, roads…

NOW: The broken Treaties have been learned by The Tribes…
The government is working hard to do away with their "We will forever take care of you…
if you give of your land"…
Very little of the original allotted lands are still in the hands of The Tribes…
The Tribes have always known the Creator gave them the authority to treat each other and the
world around with the greatest RESPECT…
The ancestors freely gave, of their ways, their lands, and their all…

NOW: A Full Circle has been made…
The Tribes must reclaim who the Creator created them to be -- in the image of God…
With such beautiful tradition, culture, and the heart to give freely…

The Rev. Margaret Battiest is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. She serves as the District Superintendent of the Northern District of the Oklahoma Indian Missionary Conference.

Copyright 2009 © The Rev. Margaret Battiest. Used by Permission. Reproduction granted for use in church worship services. Any further use beyond worship services must be with permission from the author.

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