Whether you’ve seen the Broadway show or the new movie, you know that the magic of “Hamilton” isn’t necessarily the story itself, although entertaining; it is the remarkable way it is told.

It is racially diverse, a story of America then and now. Non-white actors cast in roles that white actors would play is what makes the production so engaging. Seeing people of color interpreting the Founding Fathers’ era through hip-hop music brings about a new era of representation, reclaiming the narrative, turning history on its head in the very best way. After a while, the audience no longer sees color but human beings wrestling with politics and power. Actors are cast from Latina, Black, Asian and even white races.

It covers a variety of subjects. “Hamilton” reflects the morality or lack thereof of that time in history. Women are abused and marginalized. The narrative tells the story of America’s male-dominated, all-white beginning. The characters are portrayed “in living color.” We get so caught up in the diversity of the actors, lyrics and music we forget about everything else. They are full of hope with a vision for the future.

The entire richly diverse production overlooks the most basic yet forgotten element. Much like the stage they are acting and singing on is a fundamental foundation of the show: America could not exist without the land. The owners and occupiers of this land are the Native people and First Nations. It is the missing narrative.

“Hamilton” is highly entertaining, and one of the most important things it does is awaken in young students an interest in history, politics, policy, leadership and government. Future generations must know the entire history of America. Without the land there would be no America. The telling of how the land is secured by creating scurrilous policies is left out. The clear reason for this glossing over our experience is the guilty conscience of America for how Indigenous people were treated, not just historically but also under the thumb of broken promises and treaties that were not worth the paper they were written on.

With a broader focus to his research, Lin-Manuel Miranda, who created “Hamilton,” would have discovered that Washington wrote letters to the Wabanaki Nations, asking for our support in the war. The musical takes place during the summer of 1776 in New York after Washington has crossed the Delaware. Washington and the founders relied on the Tribes’ assistance and, at the same time, planned a path forward. Aaron Burr bemoans not being in the room where the sausage is made. He is left out of the planning.

The term “making the sausage” means the details of creating a policy or a strategy in order to accomplish a certain goal. When the founders of this country met to create a Constitution, Indian leaders were not invited to “make the sausage.” The Constitution was supposed to cover everyone. Our country is emerging from the cloud of sanitized history through a reckoning with race. A power shift is ongoing in society at every level. Stereotypical ideations of people of color, racist tropes, cultural appropriation and the subliminal messages that dictate behavior and policy are being dragged out into the open. We are all examining how we interact with one another and the biases at play. We need to realize that these things may not be conscious or purposeful but do have an impact. A great topic of discussion would be: Why not include the first people of the country in the room where the sausage is made? Maybe it’s because Native America is the sausage.

“Hamilton” is wonderful and thought provoking. We are disappointed it is not inclusive of all Americans. Yet it does leave room for discussion of the original owners of this land and our legacy. Seeing people of color rapping the story of Alexander Hamilton propels us all toward a more truthful place. Martin Luther King Jr. said in his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech: “I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.”


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