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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 7/10/18

We are the privileged descendants of our ancestors genocide and stealing of the indigenous peoples lands

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Dave Lefcourt
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Imagined Relief of Columbus and the indigenous people in his landing in 1492

"How will YOU_DE-colonize our world" was the question asked at the closing event of the "Making Peace With The Earth" conference attended by Rob Kall and held at the Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York this past weekend.

Here is Rob's synopsis of the event. "Colonization is invasion and subjugation of indigenous people, and includes Genocide, says, Michael Yellowbird, PH.D., co-author of 'For Indigenous Minds Only and Decolonizing Social Work', a professor and director of the Tribal Indigenous Studies program at North Dakota State University. 'Colonization means loss of culture, lands, rights, marginalized status, being forgotten in national narrative".

Rob's article on the event didn't bring all new revelations for this writer. Read Howard Zinn's, "A people's history of the United States" and you'll find many references to the genocide and stealing lands of the indigenous peoples that was apparently alluded to in the Omega Institutes conference.

There is a revelation I had some time ago after reading Zinn that as a white man I am a descendent of the white man's colonization in America and therefore a descendent of the genocide and stealing of the indigenous peoples lands and not only a descendent but a privileged one at that. Rob came to that conclusion himself.

Though I personally was not directly responsible for the genocide and stealing, I nonetheless am a privileged descendent. There is no getting around that fact if one is brutally honest with oneself.

Once one accepts the fact that one's privilege comes as a result of these former acts of brutality committed by ones ancestors any idea of US exceptionalism, entitlement or the US being the indispensible country is pure BS and a lie, propaganda and indoctrination we've been exposed to since elementary school.

Now rectifying that genocide and stealing of the indigenous people's lands is no easy matter.

Certainly reparations paid to the indigenous people's descendents should be done and paid for by the US government. Also an official apology to the indigenous peoples should be made and presented by the current President of the US and aired on all channels by the MSM. As part of the official apology should be the admission the US government was remiss is breaking every treaty it made with the indigenous peoples.

Of course no apology, reparations, admission of wrongdoing by the US government can undo that wrongdoing. That can't be erased. And complete fairness as Yellowbird would have it is "dismantling of settler processes and structures, replacing them with indigenous processes and structures, settlers going home, leaving indigenous territory--in other words--giving back what was stolen."

Realistically is that possible? No matter how "fair" Yellowbird's reasoning is it's unrealistic.

I'd like to suggest the following. A conference of the indigenous people's chiefs or the representatives chosen by tribes be assembled with US government representatives be held, almost a constitutional type convention whereby new ironclad treaties would be signed, reparations agreed to, say rich national park lands be distributed to indigenous peoples and all other grievances be presented and rectified to the satisfaction of all in attendance. The results of the convention then be submitted to all tribal members and accepted or rejected. This may be a long process. So what. There's over 500 years of colonial brutality and grievances that need to be dealt with.

Lastly an honest portrayal of the genocide and stealing of indigenous people's lands be a part of the curriculum starting in the nation's public elementary schools.

Maybe by revealing the truth of our brutal beginnings as a colonized nation going back to Columbus we'll start ending the BS propaganda and indoctrination we continue to be subjected to.

(Article changed on July 11, 2018 at 16:00)

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