Finding facts about stolen land
Brian Ward reports on a UN investigation of conditions for Native Americans.
May 23, 2012
THE OPPRESSION of American Indians was the cornerstone of the conquest of North America. For its part, the U.S. government signed over 300 treaties with Native tribes and broke every single one of them. The U.S. stole sacred land and killed off nations--not only the people, but their culture and livelihood.
For the first time, the U.S. has allowed a United Nations fact-finding mission to determine the impact of the passage of the proposed Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous People.
The 12-day fact-finding mission was performed by James Anaya, a professor of human rights law and policy at the University of Arizona. This mission took Anaya all over Indian Country and up to Alaska to determine the experience of Natives in this country. He will be presenting his finding in September to U.N. Human Rights Council. Reflecting on his mission, Anaya said on Democracy Now!:
The indigenous peoples of this country--the Native Americans, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, Native Hawaiians--suffer from poverty, poor health conditions, lack of attainment of formal education, social ills, at rates that far exceed those of other segments of the American population.
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ONE OF the headline-catching recommendations from Anaya was that the U.S. government return some stolen land to Native tribe as a way forward toward reconciliation. One specific piece of land recommended is Mount Rushmore, which is located in the Black Hills National Park in South Dakota--historically sacred land for the Lakota (Sioux). This land was stolen after gold was found in the Black Hills, in violation of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868.
In 1980, the Supreme Court decided that the seizure of the Black Hills from the Lakota was illegal and stated that the U.S. needed to compensate the Lakota for the land. The Lakota refused the money, instead demanding their land back.
The findings of the UN mission are no surprise since the U.S. was founded on stolen land--along with stolen labor. The U.S. continued to expand westward in an effort to find new markets and new resources.
In 1871, the U.S. discontinued the treaty process with Native tribes. From this point, the policy of the U.S. government was to assimilate Indians into white society. Young Indians were forced to go to boarding schools, where they had to cut their hair and were forbidden from speaking their native tongue.
It wasn't until the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 that Indians were given the right to vote, which makes them the last minority in this country to win the franchise. The same law allowed tribes to have democratically elected councils to govern their reservations. Though these councils were set up by the U.S. government, and often used by them, this was a step towards sovereignty.
Why is everything with you a cause for moral indignation?
When I taught U.S. History, I would invariably present the so-called Westward expansion of the 19th Century from the point of view of the native peoples who got disinherited, displaced and disenfranchised ...
Erich Maria Remarque, a staunch anti-Nazi German writer, wrote several books about Germans (including German soldiers) caught up in the madness of World War II (A Time to Love, a Time to Die; Arch of Triumph; others) without ever decsending to the level of being an anti-Nazi polemicist.
(You, of course, have been known to refer to the Lakota s "Sioux", a name full of pejorative connotations given to them by French trappers.)
But quit ******* up my threads. Please.
Hickock is my favorite of the old west "gunslingers." I have yet to see a movie that seems to capture the man. I have waited many years for it, but have pretty much given up.
You're right, edgar. There hasn't been anything that comes even close to historical fact about Hickok. He was a blowhard, for one thing, a shameless self-promoter.
Buffalo Bill had volunteered his services to the Army in chasing down the "renegades" who had done in Custer and company at the Little Big Horn,
Jerome A. Greene. "Washita." Chap. 8, p.169.
Ben Clack told Walter M. Camp: many of the squaws captured at Washita were used by the officers...Romero was put in charge of them and on the march Romero would send squaws around to the officers' tents every night. [Clark] says Custer picked out a fine looking one and had her in his tent every night."
This statement is more or less confirmed by Frederick Benteen, who in 1896 asserted that Custer selected Monahseetah/Meotzi from among the women prisoners and cohabited with her "during the winter and spring of 1868 and '69" until his wife arrived in the summer of 1869. Although Benteen's assertions regarding Custer are not always to be trusted, his statements nonetheless conform entirely to those of the reliable Ben Clark and thus cannot be ignored."
136 years ago, on this date, James Butler Hickok, better known as "Wild Bill" Hickok, former government scout, former marshall of Abilene, Kansas, full-time gambler, womanizer and self-promoter, was sitting, his back to the entrance, at a poker game in a saloon in Deadwood, South Dakota (at the time, though, it was all called Dakota Territory). A drunk named Jack McCall walked in, carrying a revolver that looked like you couldn't hit the side of a barn with it.
He shot and killed Hickok with a single shot to the back of the head.
Hickok is reputed to have been holding a poker hand of two pair -- aces over eights.
(Nobody seems to remember what the fifth card was.)
That hand has, ever since, been called the Dead Man's Hand.
The story is that mcCall was too drunk to be able to mount a horse he had waiting at the hitchrack outside, so he ran (staggered??) down an alley on foot. He was apprehended by -- among other people -- Martha Canary, a.k.a. "Calamity Jane" who, it is said, had a letch for Hickok. If that allegation is true, there is no evidence, however, that the feeling was reciprocated in any way.
McCall was hanged, after a trial of sorts, some months later.
August 2, 1876.