Friday, June 23, 2017

Racial Divide

   During the Spanish Colonial time, non-Christian Chinese were prohibited to reside and put up business inside the walled city of Manila known now as Intramuros.  While Jesus taught a doctrine of inclusion, commanding his disciples to preach, “And this good news of the Kingdom will be preached in all the inhabited earth for a witness to all the nations,”(Matthew 24:14), the Spanish Catholic priests/colonizers discriminated against the Chinese.
   The Chinese were forced to set up residence in Binondo which later became identified as the Philippine’s China town.  In a twist by divine providence, Divisoria, the Chinese business center in China town became a thriving commercial district sustained by the Tutuban Central Station built in 1892, the main railway station of the Philippine National Railways.  It became a major drop-off center for goods coming to and from various provinces.  Divisoria’s close proximity to Manila harbors made it the source of low-priced goods smuggled from the US, China and neighboring countries.  Undocumented trading was conducted to give the buyers discount from the evaded tax and other costs.  That trade practice wasn’t a crime back then and even now to some extent.  It is called underground economy.             
   What happened to Intramuros?   It became a relic of a dead city.

   In the United States, tribal land was set aside by the government as Indian Reservations.  Indians can’t own the reservation land.  The property is held “in trust” for Indians by the federal government.  The policy was designed to keep Indian tribes on U.S.-owned reservations, which are governed by tribal leaders as a semblance of a sovereign nations.  “Almost no one on the reservation can afford to build a home, because no one can get a mortgage. And no one can get a mortgage because the property on the reservation is held in trust by the federal government; most of it also is “owned” communally by the tribe.” -

   The Bureau of Indian Affairs, or BIA, and the Bureau of Indian Education, or BIE, both part of the Department of the Interior are agencies overseeing the activities of Indian residents of reservations, virtually, free roaming, centuries old, political prisoners.

   In a twist by divine providence, it was later found that Native American reservations may contain about a fifth of the nation's oil and gas, along with vast coal reserves.  "In 1923 alone, the Osage earned $30 million in royalties. The Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs called them "the richest people in the nation."

   Now, greedy politicians want to free those lands from a treaty with the Native Americans that holds title to 56 million acres of tribal lands in trust.  The politicians want to put the lands into private ownership, something the Native Americans have been deprived of for more than a century.  In the Philippines that's called land grabbing.  This one, I’m afraid, has no vindication happy ending.

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