Well...What Did You Expect?

I was wandering around cyberspace this morning and stumbled on to a news article published on FoxNews.com which piqued my interest. The article, entitled "Lakota Indians Withdraw Treaties Signed With U.S. 150 Years Ago" http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,317548,00.html -- Lakota Indian story
immediately woke me up. My first thought, no, my second thought was -- wow! the American Indian war is still going strong. My first thought was of my great, great-grandmother and how she must be turning over in her grave and screaming "it's about time."

This brought back the memory of 1974 and Wounded Knee and how the Federal government decend on the Rez like a swarm of ravishing locusts. Now, here we go again. Why does this article arouse such interest to me, because I am of Cherokee decent. Later in this commentary I will talk about my great, great-grandmother who walked the trail of tears in 1839.

The first paragraph of the article summed the Lakota stance exact: "We are no longer citizens of the United States of America and all those who live in the five-state area that encompasses our country are free to join us,'' long-time Indian rights activist Russell Means said.

America is a land of immigrants. Immigrants who conquered the North American Continent in order to settle and freely practice religion -- much to the chagrin of this country’s original people. To be politically correct, amend that last sentence to read -- conquered at the expense of people who settled here 300 - 400 hundred years prior.

In this new millenium, there's much speculation about how the "Original People" of America came to be here. In the world of History academia, heated debate regarding what's true history and what isn't continues. The Indigenous, or Original People, had no written language documenting their travels to America, and passed their history down generation to generation in tribal stories. The Cherokee Nation was the first Indian Nation to have a written language. This didn't happen until 1821 when Sequoyah, grandson of a Cherokee Chief, realized the importance of written language in the validation of the Cherokee Nation to the American Government and began developing an alphabet.

Most people remember the infamous Trail of Tears in the winter of 1838-1839, which, the Cherokees know as "the time when they cried". What is not remembered; in 1832, Andrew Jackson started removal of the Creeks, Chickasaw, and Choctaw Nations. The Seminole Nation was snug down in the Florida Everglades; that aspect of the American Indian war was never won by America. Actually, to many, the America Indian war has never truly been settled, it's still fought in present day courtrooms.

My great-great-grandmother Caroline and our people were in America by a good 300 - 400 years before the Europeans.
Caroline, her white-man name, lived 104 years. She was born to Sallis Kayto in 1830 in or around the current Wetumpka Alabama area. She died in 1934 in Birmingham Alabama in a house still owned by members of our family. The day Granny left us, she wrapped herself in a blanket, sat Indian style in a corner, closed her eyes and went to be with our ancestors. She died a foreigner in her own land.

Why did she die a foreigner? The United States hadn't passed the Social Security Bill (H.R. 7260) until April 19, 1935 a year after she died therefore, she didn't have a social security number (and would have refused to apply for one if she had lived) and was not considered an American.

Now, we have the current situation of bills passed to either legalize illegal immigrants or deport them. What makes America think that the first inhabitants of this land wouldn't like everyone deported? Indians of this country say that this is the "Land of Broken Treaties" and many believe that the current government is illegal and should vacate the premises.

This millenium turn of event has another Original Nation wanting to annex themselves from a government that speaks from the other side of its face. Can any rational human being blame them?

Of course, this is an outrageous thought; remember what happened in 1974 with the uprising at Wounded Knee. The Original Nation demanded annexation, which brought the Feds in to control the situation. The Oglala Sioux didn't actually want annexation; they wanted their treatment by the American government exposed to the rest of American society.

Within three years of the siege and the ensuing court trials, AIM (American Indian Movement) and their Chicano support organizations suffered from dozens and dozens of assassinations, with 63 deaths on Pine Ridge Reservation alone. (http://www.russellmeans.com/)

There's still a prisoner of unofficial war held this very day, Leonard Peltier. Not one President, neither Democrat nor Republican will declare him amnesty. (http://www.freepeltier.org/)

Irony has this country griped tight in a proverbial fist. We sit on the slippery palm of an oxymoronic hand: immigrants declaring other immigrants illegal. Or immigrants backing out of treaties they signed with the Original people 150 years ago. Never the less, the gust rolled pages of American history documents the tragedies befallen its Native sons and daughters, which many have referred to as attempted genocide.

Yet, America wonders why their voice continues to echo in empty rooms.

By djw

Readings of interest:
The Spirit of Wounded Knee

Killing the White Man’s Indian
Reinvention of Native Americans at the End of the 20th Century
By Fergus M. Bordewhich.

Quote:"Like the miner's canary, the Indian marks the shift from fresh air to poison gas in our political atmosphere; and our treatment of Indians, even more than our treatment of other minorities, reflects the rise and fall in our democratic faith." --Felix S. Cohen, 1953

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