This piece was originally published in Home! A Bioregional Reader, edited by Van Andruss, Christopher Plant, Judith Plant, and Eleanor Wright, New Society Publishers, copyright 1990.
I believe that anyone now living in America or anyone who wishes to come to America can belong here. When I say “belong here,” I mean that it isn’t necessary to buy land and “own” property in order to belong someplace. How can you buy something you’ve already been given? Besides, the land is living; how can you butcher it up and offer the cuts for sale without killing it? And the land is sacred. You don’t live off it, like a parasite. You live in it, and it in you, or you don’t survive. And that is the only worship of God there is. When you buy land you are dispossessed by the act of purchase. The whole transaction is a lie that says, “This is my land. It belongs to me,” when the truth is that you belong to it.
Those who belong here know this. They’ve always known it. And they’re increasing in numbers. The people who belong in America are coming home.
Excerpted from No Foreign Land: The Biography of a North American Indian. Toronto: Random House of Canada Limited, 1973.
Wilfred Pelletier (1927-2000) was a philosopher, writer, and educator, believing particularly in the power of non-Western educational methods. In the 1960s he took part in the alternative learning experiment at Rochdale College. He served as co-director of the cultural and educational project the Nishnawbe Institute. For 20 years, he was Elder-in-Residence of the Sociology/Anthropology department at Carleton University. The university maintains a memorial scholarship in his name for students studying aboriginal literature.
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