PLYMOUTH, Mass. - Two years after the Indians greeted the first European immigrants to this land that was new only to them, the good life may now be taking a turn for the worse as rumors spread about a proposed plan to send the English settlers back to their Old World.
"I've been here for 13 months working as a shoe leather apprentice, hoping to start my own business," said Tolliver Brown, a relocated immigrant from London. "I am hoping to bring my wife and children to live with me when I open my new business next year, but now with talk about sending me back, I don't know what I will do."
Last night Mr. Brown spoke before a town hall meeting of English immigrants who gathered to discuss concerns that the Native Americans are drafting a new policy that will require all non-indigenous persons to surrender their homes, possessions and land after two years of living here. Mr. Brown expressed outrage when he took the podium.
"I have lived an honest, hard-working life since coming to this county. I pay my taxes, not to the British government, of course, but I do pay local taxes," Mr. Brown said. "I live in peace with my neighbors and my fellow Native Americans. So why would they want to send me back home?"
Sir Reginald Baker, who owns a pig farm north of here, said there was a time when the once-welcoming Indians used to call him and his European neighbors friends. But times do change.
"Why just the other day I was hauling a load of bacon into town when some Indian and his horse cut me off. I swear I heard him say, 'If you don't like it you can go back to where you came from!'"
The biggest worry among European immigrants appears to be economic. A number of immigrants who attended the town hall expressed grave concern about what they will do for employment if the Indians deport them back to England.
"I came to this country because there was no work for me in the Old World," Mr. Baker told the crowd. "If they send me back, I won't be able to support my family again."
But according to a number of Indian leaders, such rumors of immigrant deportation are not true. In fact, many chiefs expressed concern that it is the Europeans who are the ones who are scheming to relocate the Indians.
"We welcomed the white immigrants when they first arrived on our shores," said one chief. "Once they took up settlement we even moved out of their way so they could set up their towns and farms. If you ask me it won't be long before they start telling us we're the immigrants!"
When asked about this concern, Sir Reginald Baker burst into laughter. "Poppycock! The Indians are only throwing up a smoke screen to hide their true intentions. We are being treated as scapegoats because they don't want to get after the real immigrant infiltrators."
When asked who the "real immigrant infiltrators" may be, Sir Baker lit his pipe and twirled his mustache. "Why it's the French, of course!"
Mark Anthony Rolo is a member of the Bad River Band of Ojibwe in Wisconsin. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.