by Wilfred Pelletier and Ted Poole

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 Western European culture will never endure in the Americas. I believe it is only a passing phase like the hoola hoop or the skate board. I also believe that the peoples living in the Americas will become American; that they will have to in order to survive in America. That means that a truly American culture will evolve—is evolving—in the Americas, a culture which is not a European import, nor an adaptation of a European import. That means that the sons and daughters of immigrants who strove for over four hundred years to possess the Americas will be possessed by the Americas; the descendants of those who tried to conquer and subdue the Americas will be conquered and subdued by the Americas. It means that the stubborn land the pioneers cleared and cursed will be loved, respected, and revered by the great-grandchildren of pioneers. And the native creatures of that land will also be loved and fostered, including the original American human: the Indian.

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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