Advertisement

Archive for Thursday, May 20, 2010

Congress apologizes for policies, violence against American Indians

Brownback reads resolution at tribal gathering in Washington

May 20, 2010

Advertisement

With the leaders of five tribes in attendance, Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas read a congressional resolution Wednesday apologizing for “ill-conceived policies” and acts of violence against American Indians by the U.S. government.

Brownback spoke during an event at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C., where he and Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, Lois Capps of California and Mazie Hirono of Hawaii joined representatives from the Cherokee, Choctaw, Muscogee (Creek), Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate and Pawnee nations, Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith said.

All those tribes are based in Oklahoma, except for the Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate, which is based in South Dakota.

Smith said that while most tribes had not specifically asked for a formal apology from the U.S. government, the gesture was appreciated.

“It’s difficult to issue an apology and sometimes it’s difficult to accept one,” Smith said by phone from Washington. “Once you put those differences of the past aside, perhaps the next step is, can you do any better in this round? That’s where our greatest challenge is. The history of the U.S. (toward American Indians) is not a bright record. The real question is, what happens from this day forward?”

Brownback, a Republican, had pushed for the resolution since 2004. Both houses of Congress approved it late last year and President Barack Obama signed it in December. Lawmakers have described the resolution as a symbolic gesture that would help promote a renewed commitment by the federal government to the tribes.

Brownback has said the resolution was not meant to authorize or support any claim against the U.S. government or serve as a settlement of any claim. His office did not immediately return messages Wednesday seeking comment.

In the text, the resolution “acknowledges years of official depredations, ill-conceived policies and the breaking of covenants” by the U.S. government toward tribes and “apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for many instances of violence, maltreatment and neglect inflicted on” American Indians by U.S. citizens.

Creek Nation Second Chief Alfred Berryhill called the apology “a historical step” in the relationship between the U.S. government and the tribes, which he said “maintain ourselves as sovereign” nations.

“We feel as if this took effort on the part of the U.S. government,” Berryhill said. “We do appreciate the effort of the Congress. I know it’s hard for our nation to apologize to anybody.”

The site of the ceremony, Congressional Cemetery, is the burial site for 36 tribal representatives from 12 American Indian nations who died in the region while representing their people, according to the Faith and Politics Institute, a group that helped present Wednesday’s event. Among them are William Shorey Coodey, the author of the Cherokee Nation constitution, who died in 1849, and former Choctaw Nation Chief Pushmataha, who died in 1824.

Comments

Cait McKnelly 3 years, 11 months ago

Now if the British government (who took their policies of genocide toward native Irish whole cloth from American policies toward American Indians) would do the same with the Irish life would be a little sweeter. While they are at it they can apologize for Kilmainham Prison, the rape of Irish women and the murder of Irish men by the Black and Tans and the murder of of over a million Irish through starvation during the Great Famine while relief food from other nations sat on the docks and rotted because the British wouldn't release it.

0

Mike Ford 3 years, 11 months ago

let's see, when father Serra came to California the onslaught of genocide came. then came all of the 49ers. Then came the State of California and the executive order of the California government to exterminate the tribes, put the indigenous women into prostitution, and sell the children to be house servants. Tribes like the Wiyot were massacred on Indian Island off California coast. Tribes were slaughtered off of their lands by the dozens. Read the book on Ishi to document these atrocities. The U.S. Government and California never ratifed half of the treaties and left peoples on little rancherias of land. Bring on Congressional Termination through H.R. 108 and the remaining tribes who still haven't been restored to federal recognition by the U.S. Congress. California Dreamin' came from the bloody hands of 19th century genocide and 20th century land thefts. Caucasians steal most of California and you're concerned about a motorcross track, REALLY???

0

stopthetrack 3 years, 11 months ago

The Indians have come full circle, and are now the new MOB in America. They don't have to follow many of the laws that apply to regular US citizens, and they have more rights than the rest of us. How do I know this? I live next to the Barona Indian Reservation in San Diego County, where 200 households of regular Americans are being terrorized by noise and exhaust pollution emanating from the reservation.

The Barona Indians operate a noisy, dusty, environmentally disastrous motocross track 100 yards from our homes. Nobody in the county or state government can do a thing, and the federal government either can't or doesn't seem to WANT to help. Environmental groups won't help, and many of the residents outside this neighborhood won't help, because the Barona Indians use their gambling profits to buy silence in the form of charitable donations.

If you doubt what I'm saying, read and LISTEN to this website: http://badtrack.bravehost.com/

You'll be shocked that something like this could happen in this day and age.

We need help. Anyone know a good writer, lawyer, law student, or ??? who might be able to help us out? All we want is some peace and quiet.

0

Mike Ford 3 years, 11 months ago

hey jaywalker, Koch Industries stole oil royalties for over 20 years from the Osage Nation just like the White people who married and murdered Osage citizens for their oil allotments between 1906 and 1935 and moslty got away with it. I was taught American History in High School by a descendant of 19th century Kansas land thief and U.S. Senator Samuel Pomeroy. Mr. Pomeroy was involved in the theft of Munsee, Kickapoo, and Osage lands in Kansas between 1858 and 1872. All of the settled land in this area happened because of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and the treaties of 1854-55 that stole lands from the Shawnee, Delaware, Sac and Fox, Kickapoo, Miami. Wea, Piankishaw, Peoria, and Kaskaskia and Wyandotte peoples. When were Topeka, Leavenworth, and Lawrence all founded? 1854-55. Autie, the 572 federally recognized tribes, nations, and bands of indigenous peoples in the 48 and Alaska are sovereign to govern themselves but dependent on the federal government for protection which is usually horrible at the hands of Republicans which dates from the Supreme Court case Worcester V. Georgia in the 1830's. I am Choctaw first. Our languages and lands existed before 1776, before tea parties by castoffs from Europe who didn't pay their fair share to support the country who sponsered their travels to the lands they stole. The tea partiers now complain about indigenous peoples from Meso, Central, and South America, and these tea partiers still don't want to pay their fair share. Not much has changed has it?

0

budtugly 3 years, 11 months ago

Name a war where Women,children and old men don't get killed.

0

Kat Christian 3 years, 11 months ago

My feeling here is if the Government REALLY wants to apologize to the Indian then they should rescind (post-humeously) the Medal of Honor given to the 20 soldiers who murdered innocent Women, children, old men and unarmed men at Wounded Knee in 1890. Then we can begin to talk healing and a heart-felt apology.

0

consumer1 3 years, 11 months ago

I am waiting for the apology for mistreating my people (the Irish).

0

likeymikey 3 years, 11 months ago

Some say it was long ago, and everyone involved is dead, treaties are no longer valid. So the U.S. Constitution is no longer valid??

0

75x55 3 years, 11 months ago

Cheap and pointless gesture. So, what's the real motivation here....?

What is always the motivation for these sorts of things (choose either side)?

Votes and/or Public Monies!

0

Paul R Getto 3 years, 11 months ago

Smitty: I don't know if the book text is on line. The book was published in 2008. You can get it cheap on line. Seems to be a balanced presentation with lots of notes and sources on where he got the information. See these links for starters: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26315908/#34354893 Here's a link to an interview on the subject. http://www.amazon.com/Family-Secret-Fundamentalism-Heart-American/dp/0060559799 http://rawstory.com/2009/2009/11/author-the-family-proposed-ugandan-law-execute-hiv-men/

0

Paul R Getto 3 years, 11 months ago

A good start. Now, give them back the money BIA has stolen for generations. Brownback is pandering; I wonder why? Want to see how he really thinks? Check page 328 and 329 of the Family by Jeff Sharlet. Ideologies do kill sometimes. The VAT (value action team) from the Family pushed their agenda on Uganda, doubling the AIDS rate and sparking another phone 'religious' revival. They actually used some of the data from this disaster to push their 'abstinence-only' agenda on American school children.

0

denak 3 years, 11 months ago

I have to agree with the posters that say," why now?" This seems to have just come out of the blue.

I'm not saying it isn't a nice gesture but that is all it seems to be. And usually when these nice gestures are made they are at least linked with the anniversary of some kind of historical event. It is a nice touch to have it at the cemetary though. Cemetaries are always good when invoking the past.

Maybe I'm jaded but it all seems a little hollow.

Dena

0

autie 3 years, 11 months ago

One thing I don't understand. Berryhill states, “maintain ourselves as sovereign nations". Does that mean they are not Americans? Do they rely on foreign aid? Yet they are culturally engrained at this point into the Americana mainstream and conduct themselves as citizens with all pertinent rights and responsibilities....I find that confusing.

0

seriouscat 3 years, 11 months ago

An apology without a change in future behavior is meaningless. Let's hope this one is followed up with something substantial and doesn't just end up on the laundry list of lies.

0

Ralph Reed 3 years, 11 months ago

I agree with Cherokee Nation Chief Chad Smith as it is a nice gesture.

It would mean more if Brownback weren't grandstanding and courting votes. "Here's another chance for me to get more name recognition." He's not running for governor here as he thinks he's got it sewn up, he planting seeds for another run at the White House.

0

Mike Ford 3 years, 11 months ago

There are people alive who had something to do with it. They're called oil companies.

0

Mike Ford 3 years, 11 months ago

halito, onnat hinli, okla nahollo, your boarding schools and christianity didn't take my language. Until republicans stop being state's rights advocates at the expense of tribes, this is a pointless gesture. The Gop courts have recently attacked Osage Sovereignty in Oklahoma. The Dems have historic Indian Hater, Senatorial Candidate Blumenthal of Connecticut running for Senate. The immigration bill in Arizona affects the profiling of Yaquis and Tohono Odd'hams who have rez lands in Arizona and Mexico. Yankee Vet, my language was used as the first code language in World War One by Oklahoma Choctaws in the wilderness of Germany and France in 1918. I'm CHoctaw first and I don't forget the theft that took place in Oklahoma of millions of acres of Choctaw land so that Oklahoma could exist in 1906-07. Oklahoma is a word of ours meaning Red people. Chi Pisa Li Chinni, Nahollo Okpulo.

0

jaywalker 3 years, 11 months ago

"I know it’s hard for our nation to apologize to anybody"

Particularly when there's nobody breathing that had anything to do with it.

0

Liberty_One 3 years, 11 months ago

Just as a side note, more Native Americans were killed by the US government from 1850 to 1900 than Jews were killed in the Holocaust.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 3 years, 11 months ago

An apology is a nice gesture, but will they follow it up with a concerted effort to get the federal government to fulfill all of its treaty obligations?

0

barrypenders 3 years, 11 months ago

Why is Brownback 'Profiling'?

Stimulus, PAD Profiling, and Posercare live unprecedented

Darwin bless us all

0

smitty 3 years, 11 months ago

Will the government free Peltier now?

0

lounger 3 years, 11 months ago

Brownback has a hidden agena here. I havent figured it yet, but he wants something. Snakes dont apologize ( I really shouldnt insult snakes though).

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.