Native Americans vs. COVID-19 | When Should National Borders Reopen?

Anthony Galli
4 min readMay 20, 2020

The Native Americans were enjoying their continental lockdown for thousands of years until one day in 1492 a small armada of ships appeared on the horizon…

The Europeans were bringing new goods, but also new germs.

Since Native Americans never had smallpox, measles, or the flu, those viruses quickly spread throughout the continent killing an estimated 90% of the indigenous population.

If we were to place ourselves back in that time period… sitting around the campfire… what advice would we give to Chief Big Bear in regards to the approaching European ships?

We might say,

“Big Bear, we must tell those big canoes to turn around! Shut down the borders! We must continue social distancing with the foreigners because if we let them in then their viruses will kill us all!”

But Chief Big Bear might say,

“But for how long can we continue to socially distance ourselves from the “White Devil”? It’s as inevitable as water flowing downhill that we’ll reunite with the rest of Mother Earth.

So isn’t it better if our 90% dies now instead of kicking the scalp down the trail because with each new rising sun their economy will only advance that much faster than our own?”

You’re horrified, but you know Big Bear’s right.

Humbly, hand-in-hand, you wave Christopher Columbus ashore.

Better to welcome them ashore while they have muskets rather than machine guns.

History repeats itself.

Today we are faced with a similar choice.

I’m currently writing this from Vietnam where the country has from all accounts…