Should U.S. Government apologize
For American Indian Holocaust?
While the U.S. government is waging a war worldwide against terrorists, it's own past history has to be dealt with concerning it's actions against American Indians. Senator Brownback of Kansas introduced a resolution (S.J.15) calling for an apology from the federal government for it's long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies. Senator Brownback's bill is backed up by congresswoman Jo Ann Davis of Virginia with house resolution H. J. RES. 3.
In past years the U.S. Government has made it a point to apologize for it's action against other groups of Americans like African Americans and Japanese Americans. So one would think our federal government would have no problem apologizing to American Indians on paper. That's not true in this case.
Senator Brownback's apology resolution was before the U.S. Senate in 2004 but no action was taken. Now, the Senate Indian Affairs has passed the resolution out of committee and it will be placed on the senate calendar for a vote by the full senate in 2006. Maybe?
The American Indian community stands united with all Americans in defense of our home land. American Indians have no problem telling it like it is; they endured a holocaust. To them the Indian holocaust started with an invasion committed by Columbus. Without the support of Indian nations America, as we know it today, may not have come about.
After European Americans won "their independence" the federal government embarked on a path to take away Indians' independence. The federal government set the tone that Indians were a problem (enemy) to contend with for the new country. Over time the federal government made hundreds of treaties with Indian nations. Every one of them was broken by the federal government.
Laws were passed by state and city governments against Indians. Indians could only enter a town to trade their goods. Indians had to use "Black Only" bathrooms; they had to be out of town by sunset so there was no need to have the word Indian added. Indians had to request permission of a state government to cross it's border, with the understanding they were to do so only to cross the state, not stay in it.
When one looks at the darkest history of U.S. policies against Indians, we see that bounties were placed on Indian scalps, and massacres were legal. Hanging Indians, for whatever reason, was the norm. History note: President Lincoln oversaw the hanging of 38 Indian men. Three hundred three men were condemned to be hung, but Lincoln was concerned with how this would play out with European nations. This event, in Mankato, Minnesota, December 16, 1862, was the largest mass hanging in America's history. Now what was the U.S. Civil War about? http://www.unitednativeamerica.com/hanging.html
More of Americas dark history toward Indians played out at Indian Boarding Schools for kids, (1878-1930s) Their job was to kill the "Indian" in them. Forty percent of Native American women accessing care through the U.S. Indian Health Service in the 1970s were sterilized against their will. http://www.kporterfield.com/aicttw/articles/boardingschool.html
Maybe, just maybe, in the year 2006 the U.S. Government will deal with the question of whether or not it should apologize to the American Indian peoples. That's one hatchet the federal government is finding hard to bury.
Mike Graham is a member of the Oklahoma Cherokee Nation. Founded United Native America in 1993 to form a national group to take action on American Indian issues. The groups main issue is to bring about a federal national holiday for Native Americans. Graham has been a guest speaker on national and international radio talk shows and television programs. He has traveled across the country discussing issues with Indian nation leaders.
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