A Note from Welcoming Michigan: Immigration and Native American Communitities

As Welcoming Michigan works to humanize the conversation about immigration and what it means to welcome immigrants to Michigan, it is important to us that the conversation be inclusive of all those who have been and continue to experience dehumanization, including but not limited to Native American communities. We've done some deep thinking about how we see a fundamental difference between colonization and immigration. So, when we say “when Michigan welcomes immigrants, Michigan thrives” we mean it. But, we don’t mean to say that when first Michigan was settled by Europeans, Native Americans experienced what we would call “thriving.” Still, today we hope for increased mutual understanding that can lead to shared prosperity. Check out the Learn More page of this website for more on our guiding principles.

Deacon Art Morsaw of the Pokagon Tribe recently spent time with us during an interview for our soon to be released short documentary on Migration and Welcoming Stories of Southwest Michigan. He sees most Hispanic or Latino migrants and immigrants as also being "native Americans" in that the large majority of Hispanic immigrants have lineage stemming from Native (South) American roots. Deacon Morsaw said that he sees their plight as similar and inherently connected to the struggles of the Native Americans in the U.S. Indeed this country was colonized by white Europeans after Columbus first arrived on our shores in 1492. However, throughout history it has been both Native American peoples and ethnic groups and people of color communities from other parts of the world who have been marginalized within our borders.

At Welcoming Michigan we are committed to continuing this important conversation and welcome your thoughts. Please feel free to visit our contact page to send a message to either of our Communities Coordinators.