Time-travel with me, back two hundred years in Arizona, near where the city of Phoenix will someday be. In our imagination we are Pima Indians, standing by the Gila River. No, we don't call ourselves that, we are simply the people. And the Gila is simply the river.
Our families have lived here for many, many generations. We survive in the desert not only because we are strong, but because we are wise. We know how to use the cycles of the river to cultivate crops. We thrive in a place where very few people could survive, and have done so for many generations.
In addition to speaking our native language, we speak Spanish, and English. Spanish-speaking people have lived nearby, and traveled through this area, for hundred of years, and while the English-speaking people are newcomers, we are learning their language, too. We defend our land against those who would hurt us, and we ally with those who would help us.
We will not be forced one day to learn agriculture, and civilization, as we already know it. We have been a civilized people for hundreds of years, and will continue to be so, along with the people who are willing to share our knowledge.
Let us walk together along the river. We have a long journey ahead.
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