Neo-natives | Letters | Salt Lake City | Salt Lake City Weekly


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An invasive, nonnative species was transplanted to the Americas from Europe 500 years ago [“Beetles Attack,” March 12, City Weekly]. I’m a part of this species. Everywhere we migrate, we secrete concrete, asphalt, toxic gases and metallic and polymeric compounds which wipe out entire living habitats, causing massive extinctions of other species.

We also carry with us spores of other nonnative species which disrupt the natural balance. We are a nonnative species with semi-awareness, and occasionally we become distressed by this imbalance we create. Then we gather our best, most expert semi-aware academics and government agents, who are motivated by paychecks and pious zeal, to figure out how to massacre other nonnative organisms we have introduced.

Our semi-aware experts work in two stages: first, aggressive massacre; second, passive-aggressive massacre. Funny thing, our experts never consider eradicating the original, invasive, nonnative species that brought these other nonnative species we ironically try to massacre.

Actually, not wanting our own suicide is not such a mystery. We, like every invasive, nonnative species, are bent on self-preservation and self propagation at the expense of anybody who hinders us. All species, native and nonnative, have the will to survive. But only nonnative species have the will to massacre other species. Native species have the will to live in balance with other native species.

Lying dormant within us nonnative species is a genetic code, a will to live in balance with other species. Call it the Golden Rule. When this code is awakened, we become native, we finally adapt. We realize that the species we now call native were once nonnative.

Navajo and Lakota ancestors, like us, once invaded the Americas from the Old World, found balance with other species, and became native. When the Golden Rule is awakened within us, we don’t want to massacre nonnative species, because we nonnatives don’t want to be massacred. Then we realize we become native like the tamarisk, the Russian olive, the Russian thistle, the cottonwood and the prickly pear. We natives live in balance with one another.

Tamarisk was a stupid mistake in the past, and introducing the tamarisk beetle is a ridiculous mistake now. Our invading the Americas was a mistake.

But now what is here is here, and now we are here. Now, we are natives. Now, tamarisk and tamarisk beetles are natives. What is, is. Let it be, and there can be no more mistake.

Daniel Shellabarger

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