Boiling It Down: The Land of the Free and the Home of the Braves

(Editor's note: I recently received this note via email.)

My name is Focas, and I am a Mohican Indian. I don't think that you know me, but you probably have heard about my younger brother, Uncas. Uncas was made famous by James Fenimore Cooper, who wrote a book about him and called him "The Last of The Mohicans." So being his brother, I am the second last of the Mohicans.

I am still alive. I am over 350-years-old, and some days I feel it. I have been living in the forests of what is now Massachusetts for all these years. I have learned English, acquired computer skills and have been blessed with an incredible memory. Let me share some of my thoughts with you.

I was born and grew up in the woods overlooking the ocean. One day, I recall seeing those big wooden ships with sails coming toward the shore. They were carrying British people. All of these men, women and children got off of the boats and began to live in my Mohican country. I told all of my friends that these were illegal aliens. But we Mohicans had no border security. When the British got off of the ships, we had no method to check them for drugs, foreign currency, or alcohol. And they had those strange weapons of mass destruction which would lead to the mass destruction of many Indians.

The aliens built forts and houses. They created farms and towns. I was so upset that my homeland was being taken over by these illegal aliens. But my brother, Uncas, and my mom and dad told me to calm down, because they said this was a free country. I agreed, but duly noted that America was the Land of the Free and the Home of the Braves. Uncas and I were Braves. And we were losing our home.

Over the next centuries, more people came to America, not only from Europe, but also from Asia and Africa. They called this place The New World: for me it was my Old World. Conditions changed for my countrymen. Our lands and resources were taken without compensation. Most of my folks -- Sioux, Apaches, Navajos, etc. -- were forced to go to the West and were put on reservations. It's been a rough 350 years.

But now I hear that there is a big brouhaha about illegal immigration from Mexico. Some people claim it will ruin the American Way of Life. This claim is absurd. The American Way of Life was begun by the native Americans, like me and Uncas. The British came in illegally, and messed things up. The French, Germans, Irish and other nationalities followed. All of these people wanted a better way of life, albeit at my expense. What difference is there when the immigrants are British or Hispanic?

Whatever happens next is difficult to predict. Some of my native colleagues have done very well by appearing in movies, television, and comic books. Others have been thoroughly Americanized, and have made careers is such fields as medicine, law, and education.

But we will have the last laugh. Our gambling casinos are now part of the American Way of Life. As these illegal immigrants gamble at our resorts -- and lose their money -- we shall reclaim our inheritance, as if by magic. People will say that Native American culture was saved by descendants of Uncas and Focas --- Hocus and Pocus.