Facts that are more comfortable to overlook:
- In the 1800’s, American Indian Religion was outlawed. American Indian’s spiritual practices went underground as did much of the culture and traditions.
- 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)
- In the 1970’s, 40% of American Indian women that went for a routine hospitalization (i.e. having tonsils removed) were non-consensually sterilized.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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.