Jim Hoffman's letter praised self-reliance while equating dependency with labor unions and citizens having expectations of their government. He said, "Our country was built upon self-reliance, not dependency," before ending with this Henry Ford quote: "Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him, better take a closer look at the American Indian."
A closer look could remind America how hard we've worked to convert self-reliant Native Americans into what our courts refer to as "domestic dependent nations." We took their lands and compromised their sources of food, shelter, and clothing before attempting forced assimilation and tribal termination.
America at its best can embrace self-reliance and acknowledge our role in depriving others of the same. Native Americans discovered this before we "discovered" their lands and tried replacing their languages, values and cultures with ours.
- Donald J. Evans, Valparaiso