The First Electronic Church of America

S A I N T S   &   B I R T H D A Y   P A G E

May 4, 1997

       Saint Of The Day:

            John Collier

ohn Collier was a social worker in New York City and a community organizer in California before he discovered the American Indian. In the early 1920s, he was appalled to find how downtrodden were the Native Americans of the U.S. In 1923, he became the executive secretary of the American Indian Defense Association -- sort of an NAACP for Native Americans. There, he lobbied for reforms to help the Indians, exploited where they were not ignored. He tried to get the U.S. government to return Indian lands that had been stolen, and to stop the further sale of Indian lands. And he urged Indians to preserve their native cultures. In 1933, Pres. Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Collier to head the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a post he was to hold until 1945. That bureau was begun a branch of the War Department in 1824, which meant that its first mission was, largely, to conquer and subdue Native Americans. After the Indian wars were over, and most Native Americans put into concentration camps (called reservations), the Bureau's mission was to assimilate Indians into white American culture. The Bureau often did so by taking Indian children off the reservation, and educating them in huge boarding schools, where they were forced not to speak their native tongues and act as much as possible like little white boys and girls. For Collier, who had spent a good many years trying to help Indians preserve their native cultures, this was not a good policy. The mystery is why Collier permitted his own Bureau people to continue to destroy these native cultures. Collier left the Bureau in 1945, but the forced acculturation of Native Americans would continue until the late 1950s, when the Bureau began putting schools on the reservations, where Indian children could learn the lessons of the dominant culture, but stay home and continue to be part of, for example, their own Navajo, or Hopi, or Apache culture. The Bureau's present mandate from the U.S. Congress is to provide technical assistance to tribal governments, as well as to aid them in obtaining maximum benefits from Indian resources. A new wrinkle: many Indian reservations, particularly those that are closest to a large American city, have set up casino gambling, a source of immense wealth to the tribe. There's a problem with that move, too. This new wealth tells the young of every casino tribe they need not go to school, or learn a profession or a trade, because, they are already "rich" from their share of the casino income. Collier became a professor of sociology at the City College of New York in 1947, then retired to Taos, New Mexico, in 1954, where he lived with the Indians until his death in 1968.
MODEL: Collier's recognition that all men and women were his brothers and sisters. As such, he respected them, and tried to treat everyone as brother and sister. *** May 4 is also Holocaust Day (Yom Hashoah). It was established by the Knesset, Israel's parliament, to commemorate the day on the Hebrew calendar, Nisan 27, 5705, when Allied troops liberated the first Nazi concentration camp, the most notorious Buchenwald, north of Weimar, Germany, where 56,000 prisoners, many of them Jewish, perished by being gassed in the ovens. Those who surf the Web can find abundant material on the Holocaust. Just type in "Holocaust" on your favorite search engine, and you will find, among many other things, for example, the Home Page for the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, DC. It includes the full text of an article by Philip Gourevitch, an editor of The Forward in New York, from The New York Times Magazine, "What They Saw at the Holocaust Museum." Both the DC Museum and the Holocaust Museum in Los Angeles, are must-sees for anyone concerned about the future of the human race.
ACTION: Visit one of the Holocaust Museums, if you can, so you do not forget the lesson -- how racial or religious hatred can bring on a Buchenwald, indeed, the execution of six million Jews, by a people who are very much like us, an amalgam of both good and bad. You might also consider going to your favorite video store and renting the gripping movie, "Schindler's List," directed by Steven Spielberg, which details the story of one of Germany's death camps.

Your Birthday Today:

May 4
Day of the Teacher

Concerned, Warm, Stable

Self-sacrificing, Bitter, Dissatisfied

School is in. Like May 3 people, if you were born on May 4, you enjoying teaching others. Even if you don't work in a school, you share your experience and knowledge with those around you. Though you seem calm and level-headed, you have an unseen power that attracts positions of responsibility. Ruled by the number 4 and the planet Uranus, you rebel against rules in a quiet, diplomatic way.

Risk-taker. Your mild-mannered demeanor hides a gambler within. It may not be actual, physical gambling but a willingness to chase dreams, try something untried, or back a new idea. You may not become aware of this tendency until later in life when you feel a need to grow in the spiritual realm.

A fighter. Your easy-going nature also makes some think you an easy mark, but your inner strength and intelligence will not allow exploitation. While you let many things roll past, you erupt when someone rubs against your ideals. Indeed, others may be surprised by your stubbornness and temper.

Ties that bind. Your rock solid stability and mothering nature attracts those seeking direction or support. You may be more than happy to oblige, but after years of giving, you become to resent those responsibilities and yearn to be free.

Some advice: Leave a little time for yourself. Don't spend every minute worrying over others. Give your children or dependents a chance to fly solo. Don't be afraid to take a chance. Express yourself and don't always worry what others may think.

Also born on this day: Manuel Benites (Spanish bullfighter) Amos Oz (Israeli novelist) John Hanning Speke (first European to see Lake Victoria) Howard Da Silva (actor, radio director) Roberta Peters (coloratura soprano) Sonny Payne (jazz drummer) Keith Haring (painter) Randy Travis (country singer, songwriter) Ron Carter (jazz bassist) Audrey Hepburn (actress, UNICEF worker) Horace Mann (educational reformer, pioneer) Thomas Henry Huxley (British zoologist, writer)