It’s not about blame

Facts that are more comfortable to overlook:

  1. In the 1800’s, American Indian Religion was outlawed.  American Indian’s spiritual practices went underground as did much of the culture and traditions. 
     
  2. The Indian Religion Freedom Act passed in 1978 (Um, that was 31 years ago. Not that long ago. This also means American Indians were the last ethnic people group to have their civil rights acknowledged)
     
  3. In the 1970’s, 40% of American Indian women that went for a routine hospitalization (i.e. having tonsils removed) were non-consensually sterilized. 
     
  4. Many American Indian children were forced to go to boarding schools.  Their hair was cut, their name was changed from their Indian name, they were forced to wear English clothes and were whipped for speaking their Native language. One person said, “We went in the door Indian and came out English.”
     
  5. Canada, New Zealand, Australia’s governments have all made a formal apology to the aboriginal people of their country for what happened. America has not. 
     
  6. In Oklahoma, every April, children participate in a ceremonial ‘land run’ to remember when the Sooners claimed family land. And while this is an important part of Oklahoma history, it is also the day people groups were once again displaced. 

 

People ask why were are adopting from Jeremy’s tribe. These are not the reasons. But hearing about these fact moves me.  It moves me teach my child to embrace their culture and treasure traditions so they do not become lost.  It also moves me to advocate for them should I ever need to. 

For many people, this information is difficult to hear. A sense of shame and guilt is quick to rise. Followed by defensiveness and statements like, “How long do we have to apologize for this? Isn’t in the past?”

It’s not about blame.

 Read # 2 and #6 again. It was not that long ago. It is still happening in subtle ways.

It is about awareness.

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3 thoughts on “It’s not about blame

  1. Steve Ely May 6, 2009 / 11:10 pm

    Very true. I grew up in a school system where Indians were almost equally represented in # as whites. I have a real heart for indians. I saw them discriminated against. I saw them underestimated. I saw them hated. I also saw them excel. I also saw them achieve. I saw them love and be loved. I loved them. Still do. I saw them then and see them now as good people. Strong. Brave. Proud. God’s children. An apology for whites arogance, greediness, and abuse seems empty so many years after the fact. However, it is still needed. For what it is worth this white man says he is sorry for our thoughtlessness and the pain we caused. However, I think what is better than an apology is to live now with indian folks as my equal, my friends, my brothers/sisters. I am thankful for growing up in a town where skin color didn’t matter! I am thankful that I still have American Indians in my life!

  2. Leftcornerofmybrain May 6, 2009 / 11:44 pm

    Steve,

    I agree!

    I think if we can see one another on an individual basis, racism has no room to grow.

    I never want my child to be ashamed or angered by history but rather to be aware of it, embrace it for the good and the bad, and then move forward and make a positive impact in history.

  3. Mrs D. May 7, 2009 / 7:12 am

    Thanks for putting this info out there. Too many times we stick our heads in sand, and pretend it didn’t happen. I am so proud of you!

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