“We weren’t lost, and we didn’t need any book. Indians are Jesus, hanging from the cross”. – John Trudell [John Trudell (born February 15, 1946) is an American author, poet, actor, musician, and former political activist. He was the spokesperson for the United Indians of All Tribes’ takeover of Alcatraz beginning in 1969, broadcasting as Radio Free Alcatraz. During most of the 1970s, he served as the chairman of the American Indian Movement, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. – wikipedia entry. This quote references the Mormon teaching that the Indians are the lost tribe of Israel.]
“It’s like there is this predator energy on this planet, and this predator energy feeds on the essence of the spirit.” – John Trudell
“They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they never kept but one: they promised to take our land and they took it.” – Red Cloud (Makhpiya-Luta), Oglala Lakota chief.
Note the final sentence from this account of Wounded Knee:
December 29, 1890: Big Foot’s band of Minneconjous try to reach Pine Ridge and the protection of Red Cloud after hearing of Sitting Bull’s death. Also present were members of the Sioux band led by Chief Spotted Elk. Hungry and exhausted, they had assembled under armed guard as requested to receive the protection of the Government of the United States of America, surrendering their arms and submitting to a forced search of tents and teepees that yielded but two remaining rifles.
Marched to Wounded Knee Creek, South Dakota, they were disarmed by the U.S. Army. A group of 120 men and 230 women and children were counted by Major Samuel Whitside at sundown on December 28, 1890. The next day an unidentified shot rang out and the well-armed 487 U.S. soldiers ringing the defenseless people opened fire. Afterwards, 256 Sioux lay dead and were buried in mass graves.
Twenty (20) Congressional Medals of Honor were awarded the soldiers.
We so condoned this sort of wholesale slaughter that Medals of Honor were awarded to some of the perpetrators.
General George Custer is famous for his role in the Indian wars. In a sickening little footnote to history, it turns out that Custer liked to have a band to playing an Irish jig called “Garry Owens” during the his attacks on Indian villages; he felt it “gentled” the action and made the killing “more rhythmic”. – http://teri.nicedriving.org/2012/03/these-things-happen/
The UN has been conducting a special investigation into the way the US treats its native populations, including in Alaska and Hawaii. You have not heard about this because although there are over 5 million Indians in the US, the politicians here do not see them, so the mainstream media rarely covers this issue; therefore, you do not see them. The UN investigation is about 200 years late in coming, but the sorriest part of the story is that this “exceptional country” cannot bear to examine itself too closely – it takes an outside agency to point out the obvious. In the time-honored tradition of our Congress regarding Indian matters, not one member of the US House or Senate would meet with the UN representative when he asked to speak to them as a part of his study. The problem of land-grab from the native population continues unabated even today, of course. Sites sacred to the Hawaiians are constantly being taken over for the purpose of expanding military bases on the islands, towns in Alaska are “relocated” so that oil can be extracted from the ground under them, etc. We are still unable to live and let live; for some reason, in this land of plenty we view anything our neighbor has as one thing less for us.
As a result of this investigation, the UN finds that there is systemic racial discrimination and their recommendation is that the US should return some of the stolen land back to the Indians.
This article from commondreams.org includes quotes from other articles on the subject, so I have chosen to use it as my resource on the UN finding. You may want to read the original sources linked within this article as well.
In an investigation monitoring ongoing discrimination against Native Americans, the United Nations has requested that the US government return some of the stolen land back to Native Americans, as a necessary move towards combating systemic racial discrimination.
James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, “said that in nearly two weeks of visiting Indian reservations, indigenous communities in Alaska and Hawaii, and Native Americans now living in cities, he encountered people who suffered a history of dispossession of their lands and resources, the breakdown of their societies and ‘numerous instances of outright brutality, all grounded on racial discrimination,'” the Guardian reports.
“You can see they’re in a somewhat precarious situation in terms of their basic existence and the stability of their communities given that precarious land tenure situation. It’s not like they have large fisheries as a resource base to sustain them. In basic economic terms it’s a very difficult situation. You have upwards of 70% unemployment on the reservation and all kinds of social ills accompanying that. Very tough conditions,” Anaya stated.
“I’m talking about restoring to indigenous peoples what obviously they’re entitled to and they have a legitimate claim to in a way that is not divisive but restorative. That’s the idea behind reconciliation.”
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The Guardian/UK: US should return stolen land to Indian tribes, says United Nations
A United Nations investigator probing discrimination against Native Americans has called on the US government to return some of the land stolen from Indian tribes as a step toward combating continuing and systemic racial discrimination.
James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said no member of the US Congress would meet him as he investigated the part played by the government in the considerable difficulties faced by Indian tribes….
“It’s a racial discrimination that they feel is both systemic and also specific instances of ongoing discrimination that is felt at the individual level,” he said.
Anaya said racism extended from the broad relationship between federal or state governments and tribes down to local issues such as education.
“For example, with the treatment of children in schools both by their peers and by teachers as well as the educational system itself; the way native Americans and indigenous peoples are reflected in the school curriculum and teaching,” he said.
“And discrimination in the sense of the invisibility of Native Americans in the country overall that often is reflected in the popular media. The idea that is often projected through the mainstream media and among public figures that indigenous peoples are either gone or as a group are insignificant or that they’re out to get benefits in terms of handouts, or their communities and cultures are reduced to casinos, which are just flatly wrong.”
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Inter Press Service: U.N. Wraps Up Contentious Study of Native American Communities
A United Nations special envoy on Friday called on the U.S. government to step up efforts to address historical injustices that continue to affect the country’s indigenous population.
James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, warned that historical wrongs, particularly the loss of land, continue to have an overriding impact on the well-being of Native American communities….
The trip marked the first time that the U.N. has waded into the contentious issue of U.S. treatment of its indigenous communities, one of the poorest and most marginalized populations in the United States.
The unemployment rate for American Indians has typically been double that of the white population. On reservations – self-governed tracts of land given to Native American communities by the U.S. government – Anaya reported a 70 percent unemployment rate.
Native Americans have also long suffered from disproportionately low statistics in health and education, as well.
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The United States must do more to heal the wounds of indigenous peoples caused by more than a century of oppression, including restoring control over lands Native Americans consider to be sacred, according to a U.N. human rights investigator…
That oppression, he said, has included the seizure of lands and resources, the removal of children from their families and communities, the loss of languages, violation of treaties, and brutality, all grounded in racial discrimination.
Anaya welcomed the U.S. decision to endorse the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2010 and other steps the government has taken, but said more was needed.
“Indian Sunset” by Elton John and Bernie Taupin. They took a few liberties in this song; Geronimo did not die fighting, for instance. However, plenty of other chiefs did get murdered exactly as the lyrics say: they were conned into relinquishing their weapons and were then shot dead once they were unarmed.
This post dedicated to Titonwan.