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The Red Man’s Burden

AMERICA is in trouble today, beset by enemies within and without. As an American Indian, I believe it is my sacred honor to save her. It is time to take up the Red Man’s Burden.

The Red Man’s Burden is the peculiar burden of being an Indian patriot – a flag-waving, Pledge-of-Allegiance-reciting, God-Bless-America-singing patriot – lover of a nation that has not always loved me back.

In 1889, British poet Rudyard Kipling urged Europeans to take up the “White Man’s Burden” – to “send forth the best ye breed” to conquer and civilize the heathen world. Rightly or wrongly, Kipling believed that his people had a special destiny beyond their own tribe. He believed that white men should act as firm but loving fathers to the dark-skinned peoples of the world.

I likewise believe that my people – the Indian people of North America – have a special destiny. As the original guardians of this land, we are responsible for its upkeep, for the well-being of every man, woman and child who lives here. When America is in trouble, the Indian must come to her rescue.

I tried to do that, in a small way, in August 2000, when I was teaching humanities and psychology at Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City. I contacted Governor Frank Keating and urged him to support a state law mandating patriotism courses in Oklahoma schools. He asked for a proposal, which I supplied. Nearly a year went by, with no action. I didn’t know where to turn next.

“Write David Horowitz!” my Comanche mother urged me. I hardly knew who he was. But my mother listens to talk radio night and day, and knows all the political personalities. She was very impressed with Horowitz, a former communist revolutionary of the ‘60s turned Republican activist. “He has a brain!” my mother would say.

So, in December 2000, I posted a message on Horowitz’s Web site, Among other things, it said, “As an Indian, I feel it is my sacred honor to save the white man again, this time, from himself. Before he gives this country away, thus defeating me twice, I want to try to save what he built out of my land.”

I got a call soon after – not from Horowitz himself, but from Richard Lawrence Poe, who was then editor of FrontPage.

Richard saw something in me that I had never seen in myself. He said that I was a rare commodity – a genuinely “conservative” Indian. And he told me that there were a lot of people out there in Middle America who hungered desperately to hear what I had to say.

Richard hired me as a columnist for FrontPage. He became my writing guru, often taking hours from his busy day to delve into my mind and soul, helping to translate my Indian intuitions into plain English. My writing was highly academic, tending toward abstraction, complexity and mystical modes of thought. Richard challenged me constantly to write as simply as I speak.

Before I knew it, Richard’s coaching had launched me into a world I had never known before – the frontlines of America’s raging culture war. Suddenly, I was engaged, on a daily basis, in political battles that I only half understood.

Even today, when people call me a “conservative Indian,” I am not completely sure what that means.

I prefer to think of myself as a warrior. That’s a word that every Indian can understand. In the old days, we were all warriors. But drugs, firewater and immorality have stolen our manhood. Too many Indian men have forgotten what it means to protect one’s family and provide for them. Too many Indian women are left alone to fend for themselves while their men drink away their lives and chase after white women.

If a “conservative” Indian is one who reminds his people of who they used to be, one who calls on them to walk the warrior’s path – all right, then. I’ll accept the label. You can call me “conservative.”

We Indians have a role to play in America’s restoration. But first we must restore ourselves. We must rise from the stupor of self-pity and self-destruction in which we have languished for over a century. We must fill our hearts with a warrior’s strength.

Only then can we take up the Red Man’s Burden – the awesome task of rescuing the white man from his own folly, just as we once rescued the Pilgrims who landed weak and helpless on our shores.

Dr. David A. Yeagley
November 9, 2003

Reprinted from the Bad Eagle Forum, November 9, 2003

Posted by David Yeagley · January 14, 2009 · 12:57 pm CT ·