Native American Journalist 'Sounds Off' on Politics - Reconciliation And Apologies - NAU Hosts Lecture Series
BIO Become a Fan Get Email Alerts Similar Bloggers
Include the Invisible Americans in Race Debates
Posted March 24, 2008
Read More: American Indians, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Native Americans, Breaking Politics News
Tim Giago 'Sounds Off' On Politics
As most of us knew from the very beginning of this political season when a black man and a white woman entered the final leg of the presidential contest, gender and race would also enter the arena.
Since day one Sen. Hillary Clinton has taken her lumps for being a woman. Sen. Barack Obama started to get his lumps last week on the heels of the comments made by his pastor Jeremiah Wright. But in the case of Obama, the Republicans chose to attack him more for what they called his lack of patriotism rather than his race. Attacking him for his race would have been much too blatant and would have been seen as overt racism.
However, the comments by the Rev. Wright about America really steamed Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, and the Glen Beck of talk radio. Of the attacks on the twin towers on September 11, 2001, Wright said it was the "Chickens coming home to roost." Instead of "God Bless America," Rev. Wright said it should be, "God Damn America." Now that is like waving the red flag of anti-patriotism in the faces of the conservative talks show hosts.
Their main despair was if Barack Obama sat in the pews of this church and heard these attacks upon America, which he admitted doing, why didn't he leave the church? Or, according to many white Americans, why didn't he cast the Rev. Wright out of his life?
The gender thing started early in Sen. Clinton's campaign. For instance, have you ever heard anyone on television or radio comment on the suit worn by Obama or about his hair style? There have been plenty of comments about the clothing worn by Sen. Clinton and about her hair styles. In fact when she wore a yellow pants suit it was called her "Bumble Bee" outfit by Ingrahams. Does this say something about bringing gender into the race?
Let's get back to the issue of race. Americans, black and white, seem to think that racial discrimination only involves African Americans. Even in his speech to dispel doubts about his connections to the Rev. Wright, Obama talked about Hispanics and Asian Americans, but he did not mention American Indians.
When it comes to race relations, Native Americans are the invisible people. Any Indian living in North or South Dakota, Montana, Idaho, Arizona or even Washington, has felt the pain and the shame of racial prejudice. It has come in the school yard, in the search for decent housing, in restaurants and department stores.
When I was publisher of Indian Country Today, the paper covered the story of an Indian man suspected of shoplifting at a department store in Rapid City and how he was wrestled to the floor and humiliated by the store's security only to find out that not only was he not shoplifting, he was also a minister in the Episcopal Church. By reporting this story my newspaper lost a very valuable advertiser. The local daily did not carry the story.
There are still many issues about race that arise nearly every week in the states I mentioned involving Indians and Whites. Several school districts in South Dakota have taken the issue to court and won. The ACLU has stood up for the rights of the Indian people across America because the state and federal courts have often been so lopsided in dealing justice to Native Americans. In many Western states there is a dual system of justice when it involves Indians.
But even in the face of bigotry and discrimination, Native Americans have continued to be among the most loyal and patriotic of any ethnic group. According to The American Legion Magazine, 181,000 Indians have served in America's wars - 21,947 American Indians and Alaska natives are now on active duty - 3,868 American Indians and Alaska natives are currently deployed in combat zones - 47 American Indians and Alaska natives have been killed in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan since the war on terror began.
For several days last year our local daily newspaper printed the names of individuals with outstanding arrest warrants. Starting with A and running to Z the daily list was tedious, but it was noted immediately by nearly every Native American reading that newspaper that the vast majority of the names listed each day were those of Native Americans. This brings up the question: Are all Native Americans prone to criminal acts or is there an awful lot of profiling going on here? Although Indians make up only 10 percent of South Dakota's population, nearly 33 percent incarcerated in the South Dakota State Prison are Native Americans.
I have no doubt that if either Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton is elected president there will be a solid review of race relations in America. I only hope that they also include the long history of racial prejudice and discrimination against America's smallest minority, the American Indian.
Tim Giago, an Oglala Lakota, was born, raised and educated on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. He was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard in the Class of 1991. He can be reached at email@example.com
Reconciliation And Outright Apologies
By Tim Giago, February 19, 2008
Read More: Aboriginies, George Mickelson, Mickelson, Native Americans, Reconciliation, Breaking Politics News
I was speaking with my Nez Perce friend, Ron Holt, on Saturday about the apology offered to the Aborigines of Australia by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd. "What good is that going to do for the Aborigine people?" Holt said. And he has a legitimate point.
Eighteen years ago, a Lakota newspaper publisher wrote a column about the upcoming 100th anniversary of the massacre at Wounded Knee. Included in that column was a challenge to South Dakota Governor George Mickelson to use that commemorative year to do something totally unprecedented. Why not use this 100th anniversary to proclaim a Year of Reconciliation between Indians and Whites? The newspaper containing that challenge ended up on Mickelson's desk the week it was published.
Gov. Mickelson called that Lakota newspaper publisher and asked him to come to Pierre, the state capitol, to "kick around some ideas on reconciliation." After the meeting Gov. Mickelson introduced the proclamation to make 1990 The Year of Reconciliation and it was passed unanimously by the South Dakota legislators.
The Year of Reconciliation was not necessarily an apology to the Lakota, Dakota and Nakota citizens of South Dakota. It was instead an effort to open an arena of communications between whites and Indians and by this method, bring about a better understanding between the two races. The Proclamation of Reconciliation was read on the Senate Floor in Washington, D.C., that same year by Senator Tom Daschle (D-SD). Senator Daschle had high hopes of encouraging the other senators from states with large Indian populations to join South Dakota in its efforts to reconcile the differences between Indians and whites. However, this never materialized on a national level.
And now, following close on the heels of the Australian apology to Aborigines, Kansas Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) introduced a resolution as a part of the Native American Health-Care Bill, to formally apologize to Native Americans for the years of government mistreatment and abuse. I might paraphrase my Nez Perce friend, Mr. Holt here: "What good is that going to do for the Indian people?"
Even before it is introduced there is a string attached to the resolution. The resolution is careful to state that it is not meant to authorize or support any claim against the U. S. government or serve as a settlement of any claim. Hmmmm! Isn't it ironic that the same words are attached to the apology to the Aborigine People of Australia?
I brought up the Year of Reconciliation in South Dakota purposely. It harkens back to the comments made by Sen. Hillary Clinton about the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is true that King led the marches and did all of the hard, dirty and dangerous work to get action on the Civil Rights Bill. It is also true that it took President Lyndon Johnson to push this bill through Congress. But the Rev. King still stands as the author and the prime mover behind that bill. In South Dakota just the opposite is true about the Year of Reconciliation. Every media outlet in South Dakota always refers to that special Year of Reconciliation as Gov. Mickelson's idea alone.
The Lakota newspaper publisher who pushed Mickelson to proclaim 1990 a Year of Reconciliation is forgotten. Most Indian people in the state know who was really responsible for this proclamation, but the state media, a media that was highly criticized by this Lakota newspaper publisher over the years, has chosen to make the Year of Reconciliation, a white idea and project. The Lakota people are once again pushed into the background out of sight and out of mind.
The Australian apology is aimed at the "stolen generations," the thousands of Aboriginal children who were taken from their parents and placed into boarding schools in order to "breed out the color" according to Cecil Cook, a man designated as the chief protector of the Aborigines. Perhaps, in the apology attached to the Health-Care Bill, Sen. Brownback should also add an apology to the "stolen generations" of American Indian children subjected to the same methods of cultural genocide as the Aborigine children.At this stage of the development of the Native American society, an apology is probably meaningless. I think "justice" would be more appropriate than "apology."
Reconciliation in South Dakota ended with the death of Gov. George Mickelson in a plane crash and it also died because the governor's replacement refused to allow the Lakota newspaper publisher who originated the idea to continue the efforts on behalf of Mickelson and of South Dakota. After all, reconciliation was a "white idea." Oh yes, I was that Lakota newspaper publisher who came up with the idea of "Reconciliation."
The previous government in Australia under Prime Minister John Howard refused to apologize because it did not feel responsible for the misdeeds of past administrations and also because it feared that an apology would lead to enormous compensation claims.So that brings us back full circle: "What good is an apology going to do for the Native American people?" If our experience with "reconciliation" is any reminder, the answer to that question is "Not much."
NAU Environmental Sciences Hosts National Leaders In Forest Management And Policy
The Center for Environmental Sciences and Education at Northern Arizona University is coordinating The Lecture Series in Western Landscape Conservation to address emerging trends in landscape-level conservation and the policy changes needed to move beyond the current political stalemate on Western land and natural resource management issues. These events are co-sponsored by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Grand Canyon Trust.
This final event of this three-part series, entitled Breaking the gridlock on forest management: policy reforms, institutional change, and shifting public values, will bring in distinguished scholars from around the country to address urgent needs in national conservation science, policy, and leadership related to our national forests.
The event will take place on Monday April 7th, from 5:30 to 7:00pm, at the Gardner Auditorium, in NAU’s Franke College of Business.
Our esteemed guests, working at the cutting edge of Western forest law, economics, and management, will illuminate the emerging opportunities for achieving more effective forest management, and will suggest the policy changes needed to realize them.
Dr. Barry Noon, Professor of Wildlife Ecology at Colorado State University, is a national authority on forest science and management; he has served on several advisory committees charged with developing science-based forest management policies, including the US Forest Service’s Committee of Scientists (1997-1999).
Dan Rohlf, is Professor of Law at Lewis and Clark Law School, Director of the Pacific Environmental Advocacy Center, and is an expert in endangered species law and policy, wildlife law, and ecosystem management. He is the author of The Endangered Species Act of 1973: A Guide to its Protection and Implementation.
Our guests will address the needs for major change in federal forest management priorities, suggesting that a new guiding vision is necessary, and active leadership is essential to this process of reform. The federal government must develop new policies and adapt legal guidelines to promote biodiversity conservation, ecological restoration, watershed protection, sustainable use, and to actively support scientific research and adaptive management—these priorities should be guiding criteria used to manage fire and recreation, not vice versa.
Urgently needed changes must integrate new understandings of ecology, economics, law, appropriate geographic scale, climate change scenarios, and evolving social values in order to develop functional and sustainable forest management and to promote working landscapes in the West.
The series has been designed to define a clear set of strategic recommendations, targeted specifically to inform federal transition teams around the 2008 federal administration turnover, seeking to take advantage of a window of opportunity for Western lands conservation. Graduate students in the Environmental Sciences and Policy Program, working with NAU Professor Thomas Sisk, have been teaming with an outstanding interdisciplinary group of scientists, lawyers, economists, and policy experts.
Visiting scholars will also work with students in an ongoing Graduate Seminar in Landscape Conservation, discussing emerging opportunities and developing recommendations that NAU students and faculty, with guidance from the invited scholars will move forward publicly next fall and in early 2009.
For more information please contact Ryan Drum at 608-334-9291 or email Ryan.Drum@nau.edu. Additional information is available at
TO SUBMIT an ARTICLE, OPINION PIECE, COMMENTS to the Native Unity Digest, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
NATIVE UNITY - A place for Native American Peoples to solidify their tribes to make a positive impact on the cultural, social, economic and political fabric of American society and a place for non-Natives to better understand the ways of the American Indian.
'MAKING THE WORLD SAFE FOR HYPOCRISY' By Joe Perez
NATIVE ISSUES BLOG
Professor Robert J. Miller
AIROS NATIVE NETWORK plays music, news and other great programs from Indian Country - www.airos.org
FOR ANNIE'S NATIVE CELEBRITY NEWS - go to www.nativecelebs.com
CATCH COLORADAN PETER JONES AT:
SUPPORTING NATIVE AMERICAN/FIRST PEOPLE - ARTISTS, FILM MAKERS, ENTERTAINERS, ETC. http://www.krystynmedia.blogspot.com.