A Debunking Popular Myths Special : Would You Say this to a Native American


The word reservation is a charged word for me.

res·er·va·tion  (rzr-vshn)  n.

  1. The act of reserving; a keeping back or withholding.
  2. Something that is kept back or withheld.
  3. A limiting qualification, condition, or exception: has reservations about the proposal.
  4. A tract of land set apart by the federal government for a special purpose, especially one for the use of a Native American people.

pineridge059When I think of the history of the Native Americans or the First Peoples a lot comes to mind. There is definitely  this idea of keeping back and withholding.  There is also a sense of limiting condition as well. You may not know this but and I quote:

About 40% of our country’s 4.9 million Native Americans live on reservations (2008, Office of Minority Health). Living conditions on the reservations have been cited as “comparable to Third World.” (May 5, 2004, Gallup Independent).

To add insult to injury, as reported 1 out 3 Native Women will be raped in her life of course there is the systematic failures of the judicial system both in and out the reservation. This was taken from the NY Times:

Rape on the Reservation

By LOUISE ERDRICH
Published: February 26, 2013

The Justice Department reports that one in three Native women is raped over her lifetime, while other sources report that many Native women are too demoralized to report rape.  Perhaps this is because federal prosecutors decline to prosecute 67 percent of sexual abuse cases, according to the Government Accountability Office. Further tearing at the social fabric of communities, a Native woman battered by her non-Native husband has no recourse for justice in tribal courts, even if both live on reservation ground. More than 80 percent of sex crimes on reservations are committed by non-Indian men, who are immune from prosecution by tribal courts.

Our Native people are in very very bad shape. Some psychologists and historians have said that: “the abuse of Indian women and children can be traced to the introduction of  unnatural life ways into Native culture. Scholars support this idea and suggest that violence against American Indian and Alaska Native women directly relates to historical victimization. According to proponents of this idea, domination and oppression of native peoples increased both economic deprivation and dependency through retracting tribal rights and sovereignty. Consequently, American Indian and Alaska Natives today are believed to suffer from internalized oppression and the normalization of violence.”

Now Then Would You Tell A Native American

2012-11-11-12-13-34

  1. Would you tell a Native American boy or young girl that doesn’t trust you or interact with you to kindly remove the chip off your shoulder so  that in becoming the change they want to see in the world they will inspire others ?
  2. Would you tell a Native American of any age to rise above the hatred, and anti-Native Sentiment?
  3. Would you tell a Native America, provided you can find some where you are, that love is the Answer, or that if you can dream it you can do it ?
These phrases to me are worthless, they are of less value than use toilet paper. Think about none of these popular statements put any emphasis on pointing out that there was a Genocide committed against our Native Peoples or the fact that there are still policies in place that allow inhuman treatment and abuse to continue to this day ? One thing I have noticed too that is the most absurd thing I have ever heard, is that it is the responsibility of the victim to inspire those around into action. Imagine for a minute you or someone you love got raped or beaten to death, and you had to then go to the court and convince everyone to do something about the violence out on the streets.  I think it’s bad enough one has to find ways to cope with living with what one goes through, but one has to now find ways to inspire their uneducated neighbors to speak for those who have no voice?
Luckily for our Native neighbors we name out football, assault helicopters and missiles teams after them. Hollywood stars name their kids Dakota which means ‘friend’ I believe in Sioux
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That it that’s the post. This was written to share my opinion on how platitudes and soft language is used as a tool too keep certain constituents of our nation down. Check out the resources below. I am preparing a series of posts on our first peoples if you want to be a part of that please contact me or leave a comment below.

Resources

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Native American Postc-olonial Psychology by Eduardo adn Bonnie Duran

Paula Gunn Allen. (1985) “Violence and the American Indian Woman: Working to Prevent Sexual and Domestic
Violence, Vol5, No.4 (April).

Seattle: Center for the Prevention of Sexual and Domestic Violence.
26 Burbar, R., & Thurman, P.J. (2004) Violence against Native women. Social Justice, 31(4), 70-86.

 

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