Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release
July 20, 2013
Remarks by the First Citizen on New Guinea's Independence Day
09:04 A.M. ADT
THE FIRST CITIZEN: Look at the sky above. For over 500 years, half a milleneum, it has lain over us all, the first peoples of the greater Alaskan peninsula, and their welcome guests and friends. It is unchanging and infinite, or so it appears until you examine it closely. The stars spin above us in a heavenly dance. Eventually long nights become long days, and so there is change. Our nation, built upon a self reliant community of people of all ancestries and of all religions, built upon nothing more than our mutual need to help one another survive in this wilderness, still lies largely unrecognized by "great" nations, some of them much younger than we. They are nations of many people, like the moss that coveres this place. My people number much less, we are like the sparse trees of the Farewell burn, a vast area almost completely uninhabited, and left to its own by those who claim to "own" it.
This is our lot.
Unlike so many other places, the explorer races here have not displaced the first peoples. The tribes here have not gone the way of the Australian aborgines or pushed west like our bretheren elsewhere on this continent. The place we live is harsh and unyielding, and often times we had little choice but to cooperate, and so for 500 years we have lived together in relative peace. The newcomers, more often than not, were integrated into our various tribes, and trade prospered and benefitted everyone. This is what it means to be a New Guinean, and this is why were are all of one blood and spirit, regardless of who got here first. It is not about color of skin, or whether your ancestors came here 18,000 years ago, 4000 years ago, 2000 years ago, or 500 years ago. It is about merit. It is about the value that you bring to your village, settlement, or tribe. That is what a New Guinean is.
Today we celebrate our independence, but we did not win our independence on this day. We won no great war. Our nation was not even formed on this day. What we did instead was re-affirm that which is fact. This land is not "owned" by the State of Alaska, it is not "owned" by the United States government. Nor was it owned by the Russians who claimed this entire subcontinent without exploring any more than the coast, nor was it owned by the spanish before them, who simply drew a line on an inaccurate map. There were people already living here...us. Nobody destroyed us or kicked us out, instead we accepted those who contributed. We are still here, our culture is intact, and we say nobody owns the land. Nobody. The land owns us.
...and so it is that today, July 20, 2013, that we once again re-affirm this independence. Others come and go...we remain.
I would like to share with you a dream that I had 3 nights ago. In my dream I did something that nobody could possibly ever do. I thanked, personally, every New Guinean that has ever lived. I thanked the first man who risked a crossing along the Bering land bridge. I thanked those who came 2000 years ago from Asia in little more than kayaks. I thank those who trekked here across the Bering ice. I thanked those who came here to learn and explore. I thanked those who settled here from Europe. I thanked them all. Without each individual, our nation would be less. Their souls have passed on to the Great Spirit, on to God, and it is our duty to carry on their burdens, and live the lives that they all worked so hard for us to live. It is our duty to remain free. We do this in their names.
I have thought about the people I met in my dream, and I wish to say a short prayer, not just for them, but for us all:
Dear Lord, our God, Heavenly Father, and Great Spirit above,
Thank You, there is no greater feeling of liberation than to experience this freedom that You have provided for us. Today our hearts and souls are free to praise You, Great Spirit above. For this we are very thankful.
On this Independence Day we are reminded of all those who have sacrificed everything they had for our freedoms. Many are nameless, but not forgotten. Their earthly forms may lie frozen, eaten by animals, or turned to dust, but their names are known to You, God, and their souls are free. Let us who remain not take our freedom, both physical and spiritual, for granted. May we always remember that our freedom was purchased with a very high price. Our freedom cost others their very lives. Please give those souls a special place at Your side.
Today, please bless those who live alone in the wilderness. Please bless those who continue to homestead and explore. Please bless every tribal elder that they may protect their people. Please bless the settlers, tribes, and villagers, that they may live in prosperity and comfort. With favor and bounty meet their needs and watch over their families.
Help us to live our lives in a way that glorifies You, Lord. Give us the strength to be a blessing in someone else's life today, and please grant us the opportunity to lead others into the freedom that can be found in New Guinea.
Amen (Audience repeats.)
Thank you. (Applause.)
09:16 A.M. ADT
The Nation of New Guinea
New Guinea Independence Day Speech