An elder with the Mi'kmaq Nation, Dr. Daniel Paul, spoke with the VoR and revealed some of the true yet hidden history of the American Indian people, few of whom remain after the worst genocide in the history of all mankind.

The Indians of the Americas practiced Democracy for centuries before the Europeans invaded and even the US Constitution was written based on Indian principles. The Indian people were a peaceful people who lived lives based on honor, mutual respect and reverence for the land.

This rare interview may give you a glimpse into a once proud and great nations, which are now gone.

Interview Published Via 

Hello! This is John Robles, I’m speaking with Dr. Daniel N. Paul. He is a Mi'kmaq elder and an Indian historian.

Robles: Hello Sir! How are you this evening?

Paul: I’m very good, thank you.

Robles: Thanks for agreeing to speak with me. My first question – what was it like for the Indians when the Europeans first landed in North America?

Paul: When the Europeans first invaded the Americas, well, you have to go back when Columbus got lost and landed in what’s today called the Caribbean and attacked the Taino people there. That began the onslaught that was unstoppable from that point on. At that time the Mi'kmaq, for instance, probably had one of the highest standards of living in the world. Our people were well-fed, they had access to an ocean that was abundant, an area, their land base, was teeming with wildlife.

And our civilization was very advanced in humanities. We had such things as divorces and marriages and all the rest, child care, elderly care and so forth and so on. And the system was based on honor and the leadership of the Mi'kmaq nation, and most of the North American nations were democratically elected by the people. And in comparison the Europeans, at that point in time, the vast majority lived under kings and queens and other aristocratic despots. They had very little freedom and they were ruled with iron hands. So, there was a big difference.

Robles: So, would you say democracy began with the Indian nations?

Paul: Democracy was well-practiced in the Americas before the Europeans even knew what democracy was. For instance the United States Government, in 1988 I believe it was, passed a resolution recognizing the fact that their Bill of Rights and the Constitution was copied in a large part from the indigenous people of the Americas and the practices they had, in particular the Iroquois.

Robles: Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Paul: Well, the Iroquois had what is called the Great Law of the People and it spelled out how the people rule. It is quite a document, but essentially it spelled out the democratic principles that a nation should operate under, given: power to the people.

Robles: The true history of the Indian people has been hidden, not only by governments in North America but by governments all over the world. Can you tell us some of the facts that have been hidden?

Paul: Well, there are lots of facts. The biggest fact that’s hidden in this day and age, is that: when the Europeans first invaded they created a lot of propaganda about the people that were living here and depicted them to be bloodthirsty savages and uncivilized people and so forth and so on. And their story telling was so great that they believed it. In fact it was completely wrong. If the people of the Americas had been such terrifying warriors and what have you: How come the Europeans were able to dispossess the people of two continents?

The fact was that Europeans came here as, what I would call, barbarians, in the sense that they came well-armed and they were well-equipped to fight people who really had no weaponry comparable to what the Europeans had. And the reason why the Europeans developed such lethal weaponry was simply because they were fighting among themselves for centuries and had invented better ways to kill one another. And when they brought that over to this side of the ocean, it was… our people didn’t stand a chance. You’ll never hear that taught in school. It is well-hidden and the people here were peaceful people, and if the Europeans had come and interacted friendly with the people here, there would never have been any bloodshed spilled.

Robles: Can you give us an example how Indian tribes would resolve conflicts for example for territory? I remember hearing some stories about that and I thought it was very interesting.

Paul: There were some wars, there is no question about it. But the best I can tell you is; most of the civilizations on this side of the water were based on personal honor. People were taught to honor the elders from the time they were born and to respect one another, and the Great Spirit was of course the keystone among the people, believing in a higher power. Disputes were solved simply: one of the best things I ever read was simple that two men were having an argument between them, they were mad at one at another, so the Chief went to one of them and said: “Do you intend to hate him for the rest of your days?” and he said; “No!” and then he went to the other and asked him the same question. He said: “No”, and then he said: “Why don’t you get together now and get it over with and forgive one another, and that’s it?” And they did. And life went on as normal.

One thing you have to keep in mind when you are talking about North American civilizations, “Civilizations of the Americas,” greed was unknown, personal accumulation of wealth was unheard of. People didn’t know what that kind of thinking was about. And when you are looking at collecting gold and silver and what have you, that was something that was never a big factor in the civilizations on this side of water.

Robles: Can you tell us some of the things about Indian society and Indian culture that might be interesting to listeners?

Paul: Well, one of the things, I think perhaps not too many people would know about is simply the fact that these civilizations that existed in 1492, when Columbus got lost, were civilizations that were well-advanced in their own right. They were people who had developed a way of living. The Mi'kmaq society for instance, it was what I would call a Use Society. And from the time you were born and as you grew as a child you were taught to respect all your friends and neighbors and entire community and to put your community first before your own personal needs.

So, people worked together for the joint welfare of everybody, for the bountiful welfare of everybody and everybody prospered together. So there was no fighting among themselves to gain power or gain wealth, or anything like that, that was something that was unheard of. And the worship in the creator was something that they lived on. It was religion based on nature, they believed that the Great Spirit was in their people, in the trees and in the earth and in everything else. So, it was a civilization that worked quite well.

And I don’t think that at this point in time you could reinvent that kind of thinking among the people, or re-instill it because we are so corrupted by the European God that was imported into the Americas and that is greed. Greed is something that is very destructive and our people were doomed because they had no concept of what greed was, they couldn’t understand it. When you are looking at, Chief Sitting Bull him making a statement that if North America had been twice as large as it is, it still wouldn’t have been large enough for the Europeans, they still would have wanted it all.

Robles: You were listening to an interview with Dr. Daniel N. Paul. He is an elder with Mi'kmaq. Thanks for listening.


Responses to "Democracy existed in the Americas long before the Europeans invaded - Mi'kmaq Elder (Video)"

  1. Anonymous says:

    Indian political systems were many and varied. To say that all tribes practiced them is seriously inaccurate. Just as there were democratic principles practiced in the Americas by some tribes, there was also severe autocratic rule before Europeans invaded. There was also large scale warfare and the conquering and expulsion of tribes from their homelands by other tribes, torture, kidnapping, slavery, etc.. The idea that all tribes had the same or very similar cultures and governmental systems is revisionist and simply not true.

  2. Unknown says:

    Diplomacy is what is needed throughout 'our human rights issues with republic and democratic states. The history of these states is far parched to ancient times which are modern states-in the developments of European statutes. Beyond that there was the ice age and the fact that there were indigenous peoples that first were on earth and now what has been called the American indigenous people's the savages and pagan peoples-but if we go beyond and see that there was indeed the history of indigenous people's in the European states that practiced nature's creations as the cosmic times and the healing nature from plants, we can all see we were of a democracy at one point we lived a long time ago the way the American Indigenous people did. There were according to legend, which I truly 'believe-in' the emergence of many recreations and new world's on this galaxy of cosmos and earth/planets. We emerged as indigenous peoples and we advanced or perspectively grew through innovations and either fought brutally or through the minds we moved and have shaken the world, through leaderships either in the on-start as communities to state ruled, through trade and then taxing and government leaderships-it happened and it has been a journey for all humanity. WE need to be diplomatic about it as we are a very BIG population and we are gathered closely not by water but through technology. WE are in need of togetherness and voice is the only way to get it. We are all in this for survival and that is the basis of it all. We are different but we are the same, as we have the same needs and necessities. We do not need to continue living a brutal lively-hood, whether we did not have it and were pure, we all have faults and even the purest of pure is guilty of not being pure. "Our' human rights are in stake and so is humanity and the earth's well-being. WE will emerge once again and over and over-what do we leave behind to give forward? A crumbled architecture of civilization or a knowledge of land with growth for survival - seeds, plant, animals, water, and kindness in sharing!!!

  3. Unknown says:

    From what I gather from my grandmother and from some of my family who are from different tribes, there is an underlying belief in how to help each other build and to contribute in a friendly manner. Democracy for them was not how to abuse your neighbor, but was about sharing ideas. Education was very important, and being able to express your ideas.

  4. Anonymous says:

    This sounds remarkably accurate and closer to the real account of what happened after the first white settlers 'discovered' America.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I have never been tough this but have always believed this.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Being a realist, though not a cynic, I have to admit that I have heard some tall tales and highly-polished myth-history in the European tradition. It has always been considered a sign of progress that this trait in human nature be recognised and corrected, counselling people to take pride in the good while accepting the shame that must accompany the bad. I do not consider it a sign of progress that such pristine myth-history, perhaps even more highly polished than the European version, should be cultivated by the aboriginal peoples of this continent. Deception is dangerous, and self-deception even more so. I find this flat, two-dimensional account to be unworthy of the great aboriginal leaders and societies of the past. Their descendants who live here today deserve better than this and are fully capable of handling real history.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Every time they take the Power from the Corporate Toilets, they run and look else where for power so they can do what they have been doing, hurt people and cause this Country problems, my point is there is a Chief who keeps giving them the opportunity and power to keep doing what their doing to Natives and to other Countries and what their doing here this must stop. They go to the Arab Countries and attack them once they get power. Just recently they went over to Lebanon, Egypt & Syrian and blew up their Masjid (Churchs) and killed more than 2000 people. They attack the Amazon forest their cutting it away 100 miles an hour. Their killing and rapping Indigenous in other Countries, this Chief must be stopped immediately this is repeating History from Old, were they helped the Europeans attack the Natives only now, their attacking the Natives and the people aboard we can not let this happen again, so that we can have peace in this World, this must stop now!


  8. Anonymous says:

    A better sence of spirituality needs to be taught to all youth. Not just in the Americas. And in the americas, the important role indigenous people played and the major influence they had on our countries needs to be stressed more then it ever has been. People are taught to take pride in their European backgrounds without even taking a moment to consider that many Europeans came and mated with native Americans. So there are lots of people who have indigenous backgrounds and they don't even realize it, or theyve been taught not to care. You see this all the time. Not every white person who claims Cherokee ancestry is just a "wannabe". They just have been taught not to find out about their true ancestry, so they settle for the names of tribes they read about in myth filled, whitewashed, euro-centric history books, or what they see in poor, inaccurate Hollywood portrayals of native Americans. All Americans need to take more pride in the role indigenous people played as they would take pride in abraham Lincoln or that murderous slavetrading explorer Christopher Columbus. Indigenous people before European contact need to be the role models just as much as the governmental fore fathers are. The idea of racial supremacy and separation needs to be removed and replaced with the powerful knowledge and realization that our life and this earth is all we truly have. Ordained to us by The Creator, God, Allah or just cosmic evolutionary luck or however you want to call it. They need to realize that consumer greed leading to devastating world trade organizations has not made life better only worse. That every scientific break through of modern medicine, producing a so called cure will sooner or later be quipped by another, more deadly virus. People need to be more thankful for spiritual gifts they are givin at birth rather then the temporary, materialistic, consumer goods they acquire later on. The strive for more needs to regress and the appreciation for what we already have needs to be taught. A time for putting the planet first is at need. To culturally blend as one so that together we the people can bring the Americas back to some form of normalcy. A world free of human waste sites and full of clean running water. Non violence is key.

    1988 suquamish

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