While driving home from vacation this past weekend, it really struck me how we US citizens really are newcomers and usurpers of this land we call America. I have known this since studying American history in 5th grade – I loved how our teacher had us play quizbo to study for tests. She would divide us up into teams of four or five kids, so that must have been 6 or 7 teams since there were always around 33 of us in a class. Then we would spend one class period writing questions from our textbook on slips of paper. The next class period, our teacher would read the questions. Teams would compete against each other – the details on how that all went fail me now, but the team with the most correct answers at the end of the game, won.
I have read a lot of novels set in the days of westward expansion, and devoured many a National Geographic detailing archaelogic finds of Native American sites dating back thousands of years. But there was still always this sense of, “Manifest Destiny,” I guess. Though I was always horrified when confronted with what we did to the Native Americans to get this land, I never felt an immediate sense of the reality of the situation. Everything was still just head knowledge.
Until driving across Wisconsin on Interstate 94, Sunday, July 11 at about 2 pm. First there’s, Milwaukee, then Pewaukee, which reminded me of Waukesha, and farther east, a sign for Wausau. “I wonder what, “wau,” means in whatever Native American language was spoken here,” I thought aloud. “It sure must be important since it is so common.”
My husband thought that maybe it meant, “water,” sort of like, “minne” means water in Minnesota. Let me go check that out – be back in a moment. OK, so it seems that since the Chippewa who lived in the area had an oral, not written language, when white folks tried to write down Chippewa words, they didn’t always catch all of the nuances of the language, so, “wau,” ended up being used a lot. The words that it is used in often have very disparate meanings.
But seeing so many names of places that obviously hearkened back to a different people’s tougue really brought home how we are now living on lands that once held a very different people with a very different lifestyle.
Why God allowed us to take this land, I cannot say. I am sure He was not happy with how everything happened. I do know that he wanted the peoples here to learn of him, but many things happened that I am sure broke his heart.
It reminded me that I am only here, living life as I know it because He has allowed it to be so. The United States of America is just one of many sovereign nations that has ruled this little patch of land currently called Minnesota and Wisconsin, but God is the ultimate ruler and decides who rules what, when. I wonder if he will decide that it is time for us to be overthrown? If we strive for true equality, as God sees equality, would he have mercy on us?
This reminded me of Jesus words when he said that His kingdom is not of this earth. I am so glad for the current comforts we enjoy in America, but if they were to end, I would be bummed, but am thankful that I don’t have to worry about my soul – since it is included in His kingdom. I hope yours is, too!