When Columbus got here, there were already people here. That didn’t fare well for them. But, who was here first? The Clovis people were here before what we regard as “Native Americans.” And now, we find that the Manis were here before the Clovis. So it seems that if you really trace who was here “first,” what we think of as “Native” Americans got here at least third.
So what difference does it make?
Okay, for me, it doesn’t make a hell of a lot of difference, aside from my annual rant against the crying about Columbus Day. But, “we were here first,” as a concept has led to untold strife. From Basque separatists to German nationalists to the Palestinian – Israeli conflict, to American hostility to immigrants, the simple concept of “we was here first” is foul at its core, and its rot leads to division and strife.
I’m not saying that the Native Americans didn’t get a shitty deal. But, the Celts, Gauls, Etruscans, Visigoths, and Hittites got one too. Much of the Bronx used to be Italian. Much of the North End used to be Jewish. Neighborhoods change. Who was there first doesn’t seem to make much of a difference, and is logic that belongs in a sand box outside a kindergarten class.
And besides, most people who think they were there “first” were just the second most recent arrivals.