I cannot remember the exact age I was when I saw Squanto. If I were to guess, I think eleven or twelve. I remember seeing it on a local Television channel. We did not have Cable TV back then. I don’t remember the name of most of the characters but I remember the parts that were most important to me at the time.
Squanto was a movie about a native American, released in the year 1994. I was still frying akara in heaven, but I was opportuned to see the movie twelve years later.
Squanto was a young spirited native American, whose village was raided one day. He was captured by white men and thrust into a life of slavery.
As a slave his life did not mean much to his captors. For them, he was a savage, less human than they were; undeserving of humane treatment and mutual regard.
One day, Squanto was able to escape his captors with a boat he had stolen. Unfortunately for him, the boat was not strong enough to withstand the turbulent sea. The raging waves destroyed his boat, and he washed ashore, where he was discovered by monks.
Squanto was taken in by the monks who cared for him. A certain monk, Brother Paul, was not happy that the other Monks offered him hospitality. Bro Paul felt Squanto was not like them, he did not belong.
To emphasize his point, Brother Paul used the example of a withering plant, which was a gift to the monastery from a foreign land. He told the other monks that the reason why the plant did not do well in their monastery was because it was not from their region. The other Monks weren’t convinced. So they let Squanto stay nonetheless.
As Squanto recovered, he proved he was an exceptional guest. He won over the hearts of the Monks with his charisma, his take on life, his many talents, etcetera. In turn, the Monks taught him to speak English, read and write.
Squanto even found a way of making the metaphoric plant thrive, a feat which endeared him to Brother Paul. One day Squanto’s captors came searching for him in the Monastery. Luckily he was far from sight when they came. All the monks were called out.
The captors told the monks they were looking for a SAVAGE, a man who was sub-human. Brother Paul came out to speak. The other monks were alarmed and silently pleaded with him. He ignored their looks of plea, took out a bible and handed it to the captors and said, “I swear by this holy book, there is no savage, sub-human or wild man here”.
The movie goes further, but that scene stole my heart. Most people intentionally or unintentionally look down on one another. We segregate; creating levels of social strata, forgetting that when stripped of our race, gender, titles, achievements, tribe, status, religion… we are just human beings.
We need to banish superiority complex – believing we are better than a particular sect. We need to have mutual respect for everyone no matter the age, nationality, race, religion, social status. We need to learn to love ourselves and strive for a better world for all. Whether yellow, black or white we are all precious in God’s sight.
Indeed, there is no SUB-HUMAN here!
© Ifueko Uhunmwangho
Ifueko is a graduate of Medicine from the prestigious University of Benin City (UNIBEN). The Medical Profession does not hinder her creative writing skills.