Whose version of intelligent design is this?
As indigenous people, we have experienced a long history of the forced imposition of religion through educational, judicial, political and government systems since contact with those who sought to escape religious persecution in their homelands by coming to America. In the name of God, our people have been slaughtered and our religions, systems of government and education have been oppressed. Imposed systems of religion and education have been used in an effort to indoctrinate indigenous people into a status of inferiority, and our children, homelands and resources have been stolen to advance the religions and civilization of our oppressor.
Contrary to prevailing stereotypes of tribal peoples, First Nations societies had and continue to have systems of spiritual beliefs or religions that are practiced in ceremonies and reflected in world views and philosophies that continue to be lived today. Our creation stories explain the genesis for every element in this world.
Our sacred origin stories undergird our cultures, our ways of life and provide instruction in the original teachings given to our people by the Creator about how we are to conduct ourselves on this creation. In spite of the fact that these homelands are where we were placed by Creator, indigenous people still must fight in the courts to protect our spiritual ways and sacred places to practice our spiritual/religious ways today.
Proponents of intelligent design have been successful in their argument to impose biblical philosophies of Christian-based creationism as the alternative to scientific theories of evolution in public schools. They have acquired control of the State Board of Education to advance their agenda and ensure control of state-wide curriculum according to their religious beliefs and philosophies. Intelligent design proponents maintain their curriculum poses no danger to the constitutionally defined separation of state and religion that is a hallmark of American democracy, but instead provides a viable alternative to evolution.
These proponents of intelligent design seemingly are oblivious to the historical subjugation of indigenous people and others that has been advanced in the name of religion; of the mistreatment, abuse and violence that occurred as a result of state-imposed religion; or the multiple ways indigenous spiritual practices were outlawed, declared illegal and suppressed. Perhaps they are aware and believe such mistreatment was justified because we did not follow their ways.
What is disturbing in its absence from those who advocate a single religious-based belief of creation (intelligent design) over all others is a history of respect and tolerance for the creation stories and world views of all civilizations. Those who argue for intelligent design in public schools are not promoting inclusion of the creation stories of indigenous people of the Americas, the world and from all religions. Instead, intelligent design has been narrowly crafted to support inclusion of a single design of creation in their larger agenda to support a single, state-based religion from which to view the world and to justify oppression of those who differ.