Lakota(1), White(2). Freedom of Religion Act 1978

Kyle McGaa
Santa Monica, CA

Father’s Lakota Sioux (from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation) and mother’s blond-hair blue-eyed WASP. My father fought for so much in this country (Korea, Vietnam, American Indian Movement, Freedom of Religion Act 1978) and I’m astonished every single day how little people know about American Indians and the land they now call their home (very impolite refugees if you don’t inquire with the hosts). You may be a US citizen, but your ethnicity is not American. You can have your own identity, as long as that identity does not rob others of theirs (democracy like many similar thoughts are often from the Iroquois- not the “founding” fathers). Too many parts of US history glossed over the American Indian chapters to list here, and while I’m happy to see efforts like this help with diversity, I’m still incredibly put off by diversity projects (especially based in the Americas) that even at the least fail to pay lip service to even mention Native Americans (let alone doing something concrete). There is no other Mother land- this is it for us, so if you speak on diversity, American Indians should be among the first you mention (or make sure you don’t fail to mention).

We are not a nation of immigrants. Native Americans are still here. Try reading one American Indian author if you haven’t yet. I think it’s important to see how diverse people and institutions fare by their treatment of the minority minority- otherwise it feels like they just wannabe be “white” and exclude other minorities “behind them” (too many comparisons with white people, not enough comparisons with Indians- yes, Indians say Indians- get over it and don’t be distracted). Indians are special because this land is theirs, and most people are still unbelievably ignorant of so much. Happy for the strides so far, but still a long ways to go. Did you know there is a Bureau of Indian Affairs with a non-Indian appointed by congress that still regulates affairs with Indians in the Department of Interior (which manages livestock for example)? Did you know American Indian lands would be the 4th largest state, and 36th in population if federally recognized tribes were subtracted from the states (yet they do not have representatives or senator-like powers within the nation where they have the high military enlistment ratio of any race)?

Did you know that congress still has de facto control of American Indian Reservations with the ability to permit oil and mineral rights to industry which it often does at an alarming rate (one of many major issues Indians live with)? The original practicing people of democracy (lookup the original meaning of the Iroquois word “Caucus” for example) still do not have equal property and legal protections as others, and it is a sham to call this place a democracy. I hope you see that and begin treating the minority minority like you wish to be treated, because in the end, the US government still regulates affairs with Indians despite treaties (which have the same federal law of land de jure, but as we all know is simply not the case as every treaty has been broken). If you don’t look behind you after you climb aboard the enfranchised train, then you’re just a blue man no matter what your race is.

 

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