Simon Moya-Smith relates the experience of settler colonialism on his native land

Israel/Palestine
on 109 Comments

On his recent visit to the States, Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti challenged Americans by expressing solidarity with Native Americans who were also ethnically-cleansed from their lands. I say challenge because the issue is rarely addressed in activist circles; I rarely address it myself, I don’t know how to think about it.

The other night I attended a panel for Israeli Apartheid Week at Columbia University at which the issue was front and center. It was titled, “And the Native Did Not Disappear: Challenging the Omnipresence of Colonialism from New York to Palestine,” and sponsored by Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine and the Native American Council. From the description:

As two nations founded on the coming of primarily European settlers to a land upon which native people had existed and kept existing, the U.S. and Israel have much in common.

I heard only the first speaker as I was running to a Rashid Khalidi reading, but he was riveting. Simon Moya-Smith is a young Oglala Lakota who is studying at Columbia’s School of Journalism. He runs a blog called, “I am not a Mascot,” and he held the rapt attention of more than 200 people in the room for 20 minutes. Let me give you an account of his talk.

Moya-Smith began by addressing us in Oglala Lakota for a minute. Then he picked up in English: “What you heard right now is not a foreign language.” In fact English is the foreign language to this land, he said.

Moya-Smith moved on to media misrepresentations of Native Americans. “For example, we don’t wear a costume,” he said. The moccasins and bells — “Our regalia is spiritual. You don’t say a priest is wearing a costume… And Frank Sinatra didn’t chant; he sang. [Media]  recognize him as a singer. But when we sing, we’re chanting.”

It is hurtful to him to constantly see monuments to people who encouraged or directed genocidal policies– to go into Columbus Circle and see a monument to Columbus, and go to a school named after that man, to see icons of the first president. “George Washington said, you have to kill their crops. [i.e., don’t slaughter them outright].”

“It’s not something that happened. It’s something that’s happening. America is one big colony, and it’s still a colony. From the the Native American standpoint, it’s pretty shitty.”

Moya-Smith said that when he went to college in Colorado and worked at Denver newspapers, he found that some people didn’t recognize the genocide of the Native Americans, “because they’re still here.” But genocides took place in the Holocaust and in Armenia, and those people are still here. So a different standard is used by the settler colonialists in the U.S.:

“They can’t smell their own shit, because it’s too close to home.”

He said that one problem Native Americans have is that they’re so culturally visible but at the same time culturally invisible. The Mercedes Benz ad with the dreamcatcher hanging from it– a visible representation. The Cleveland Indians baseball team. “But if I walk into a room, I don’t look like a Native American.” And so he’s invisible. 

Sometimes people try to rationalize settler colonialism to him. “You have a laptop and a cellphone. That’s what it gave you… But what did it take away?” Moya-Smith’s voice rose, with a curdle of pain: “It took away our language, our spirituality, our grandparents, kicking and screaming.” He said that his grandparents were forcibly moved from the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota in a mid-20th-century effort to “save” the next generation of Native Americans.

“I wasn’t raised with my language or spirituality. I was born in a relocation city in Colorado. My family moved to Denver.” When he went back to the reservation for pow-wows, he learned that others closer to the traditions called him “a concrete Indian.” 

People say that Native Americans should leave the reservation to improve themselves. But why? Where should they go? “This is our country, this is our land. This is our old country.” When the Germans and Irish and French talk about leaving or going back to the old country, there’s no question about where they can go. “You wouldn’t ask an Italian to leave Italy.”

As a boy Moya-Smith began to resist the larger culture. He got sent home from school on Columbus Day every year because he refused to celebrate the colonizer by eating cupcakes for the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. He resented the fact that people made him an emissary of “Planet Indian,” as if he shared a language and a creation story with the Seminole. “We have different languages. We have different creation stories.” Just as France and Russia are separated.

Then Moya-Smith spoke of his personal effort to recover his traditions– to learn the ceremonies and the dances, to no longer be Catholic. And he said the internet is fostering this recovery. There are now 5 or 6 Native American activists taking on the Washington Redskins over their name. “That’s Native American youth, stepping up.” Moya-Smith believes the divide and conquer policy of the settler colonialist is at last being taken on. White men have said to these activists: “We’re honoring you Native Americans by saying Redskins. You’re a redskin. Don’t get mad.”

But he asked us, do you think if the Washington football team were the blackskins, that would that be accepted?

“We have to sit back and have people tell us what we should be offended by. And what I’m offended by is America.”

Moya-Smith related a recent joke on television: “Arizona is a hot place full of drunk Indians” (from the Mike and Molly show).” Or he walks out of school and sees a monument to Thomas Jefferson, who encouraged the extermination of his people. Or he goes to South Dakota and sees four rich dead white guys’ faces, carved into his people’s “holy site, our creation site– but that’s OK, it will be a good tourist attraction.

“We’re up against Halloween parties. Thanksgiving, Columbus Day. We’re 1 percent of the population in our own land… I want us to come shouting back as loudly as we can, we’re done with your gloating and we’re not going away.”

And you may think of settler colonialism as covered wagons, going west. But it’s not. It’s the cab outside on Broadway, it’s someone walking on the street.

“We are all beneficiaries of native land. You are sitting on native land. That’s why we won’t shut up.”

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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109 Responses

  1. Shegetz
    March 15, 2013, 12:38 pm

    The Mercedes Benz ad with the dreamcatcher hanging from it– a visible representation.

    Yes, an amazing visible representation of North American society in general.

    Asleep at the wheel.

  2. Henry Norr
    March 15, 2013, 1:02 pm

    Thanks for this, Phil. I’ve always thought that one factor contributing to the Zionists’ success in winning a large degree of popular support in the U.S. is Americans’ subconscious awareness that we too live on stolen land and owe our prosperity to ethnic cleansing.

    Just for the record, re Mr. Moya-Smith’s comment about the Lakota being a different people and culture from the Seminole, there’s an interesting story there: the Seminole did not exist as a people before the white people came. They’re an amalgam of native people from various tribes, predominantly but not exclusively Creek, and escaped African slaves. The name is supposedly a corruption of cimarrón, a word the Spanish used for runaways or “wild people.” Over time they developed a separate identity, but the feds didn’t recognize them as a tribe until the 1950s.

    • pabelmont
      March 16, 2013, 10:24 am

      Yes, we are aware we live on stolen land and DETERMINED not to feel guilty about it. By a false analogy, we “therefore” determine not to blame the Israelis.

      The analogy is false (to an extent anyhow) in that our depredations against the Native Americans happened long ago and during a period when there was little human-rights consciousness. Washington and Jeffereson were not evil men by the terms of their times, and saw no difficulty (or not much difficulty) with transporting “black” Africans here to live as slaves and transporting “red” “Indians” to death or to reservations — and away from their native ranges of territory, which we coveted. BY CONTRAST all of the Israeli depredations against Palestinians happened after considerable human-rights consciousness had set in, especially among Jews after pogroms and Holocaust, and after the UN Charter had rules against acquisition of territory by threat or use of war, and after the 1949 restatements of the laws of war (Geneva Conventions) had been negotiated and were in-train to be enacted, and ditto the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Even the League of Nations in setting up the Mandate regarded Palestine as nearly ready for self rule — at a time, please recall, when there were few Jews living there (although a general invitation had been issued via Balfour).

      In short, the “rules” had changed (or were being changed) and the temper of the times was against colonial displacement. Israel, as we know, did it anyway — in an entirely voluntary and self-serving act of state-creation (first by terrorism, later by terroristic war, still later by defensive war) which was in no way forced on the Palestinian Jews of 1945.

      So, the American Indians (like First Peoples in many countries including the anglophone countries outside Europe and the LatinAmerican countries) were treated abominably, originally, and then (with the settlers ensconced in a sense of ineradicable entitlement) treated abominably thereafter, and without return of sacred lands, arable lands, or much of anything.

  3. seafoid
    March 15, 2013, 1:07 pm

    A very inspiring talk.

    Of course it was ethnic cleansing. When did Native americans get the vote?

    link to historynet.com

    Just as bad as colonialism anywhere.

    “They made many promises but they kept only one. They promised to take our land and they did”

  4. Woody Tanaka
    March 15, 2013, 1:12 pm

    I think that this is the next big thing that the US will never face up to. The Washington Mall needs to have two additions: A museum and memorial detailing the genocide by the whites against the Native Americans, from 1492 to today, and A museum and memorial detailing the infliction of the crime of slavery by the whites against Africans and African Americans, and its aftermath, from 1492 to today. I won’t hold my breath. We’re the city on the hill or some nonsense.

    “White men have said to these activists: ‘We’re honoring you Native Americans by saying Redskins. You’re a redskin. Don’t get mad.'”

    This is absolutely right. One of the most disgusting things is when people say, “by naming military weapons and sports teams after Native Americans nations or people, it’s meant as a compliment. It means the Indians are fierce warriors.”

    First of all, the military in which the Chinooks and Apaches are flying is a genocidal force. It’s disgusting that the pigs in US military uniforms get to soil Native Americans by stealing their names, like when the hitmen they sent after Bin Laden invoked the name of the great Geronimo.

    Second, it reduces entire cultures and reduces it to the one context in which it interacted with white people – the struggle against the genocide at the hands of those white people.

    • Annie Robbins
      March 15, 2013, 3:43 pm

      woody, the smithsonian added a ‘musuem of the native american’ just a few years ago. however i do not think they recognize the genocide. ironically, it is very close to the holocaust museum.

      link to nmai.si.edu

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 15, 2013, 5:24 pm

        Yes, I know. The problem is that it’s not a museum and memorial to the genocide, itself. But it’s better than what had been there before.

    • Ellen
      March 15, 2013, 5:11 pm

      Woody, I’ve mentioned it before, but your comment, “A museum and memorial detailing the infliction of the crime of slavery by the whites against Africans and African Americans…” reminds me again:

      In the middle if Charleston, SC is Holocaust Memorial, but nothing at all in that city to honor the lives of Slaves who built and sustained that city.

      Why and how can that be?

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 16, 2013, 9:32 am

        Ellen,

        Good observation. Amazing, isn’t it? I think that what is going on is that Americans have deluded themselves into believing the nonsense and myths about freedom, equality, liberty, and the US’s role as the last great hope for humanity. It’s all crap, of course. History shows that the US is worse in some ways, better in others, but the one thing it is not is exceptional.

        “How,” they ask, “could we be the shining city on a hill if we admitted we did these horrific things for centuries, as national policy???” Instead of growing up, becoming adults and admitting the truth, Americans lie about everything necessary to protect the myth from the truth, painting a horde of ethnic cleansers and land thieves as “brave pioneers,” and cowboys (of all things) as “heroes” for example. (I don’t know about anyone else, but as the t-shirt says, “My heroes have always killed cowboys.”)

        It’s fine for Charleston to have a Holocaust Memorial, because that just goes to show that those (already suspect) Europeans did bad things. But to put a similar Memorial in South Carolina regarding Slavery and the Native American genocide might lead those sons and daughters of the Confederacy to understand that their shining city on a hill did things as bad, for much longer. And we can’t have that.

    • seafoid
      March 15, 2013, 5:28 pm

      Great post, Woody.

      I think the Native Americans have more cultural resources for the future that is staring us in the face. They never really adopted in your face consumerism.
      Life is hard for a lot of native people but there is a great richness to where they came from. People like John Trudell are inspirational too.

      I want to visit Hopi country some time.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 16, 2013, 9:33 am

        That’s seafoid. I agree. There is such a great richness of culture in the Native American tradition. What passes for culture in the USA is nothing, in comparison.

    • zenreaper
      March 15, 2013, 8:00 pm

      I am pretty sure an AH-64 Apache helicopter has NEVER killed a Native American. And I agree that our country, the US, has done some absolutely horrific things over the 237 years it has existed. And while I agree we should never forget that these things occured, when we become mired in the bad acts of the very distant past, we forget the good acts done since by the follow on generations. While many know the US supported the slave trade for a long time, it was also the US that led the world in the abolition of slavery. You use the phrase, ” like when the hitmen they sent after Bin Laden invoked the name of the great Geronimo”. This seems to imply that the operation was unwarranted. You appear to be glossing over the fact that we supported Bin Laden in the fight against the Soviets, only to attacked on September 11th. And even THAT incident has, in my opinion, been milked far longer than it need be, with the uproar over the “Ground Zero Mosque” etc.

      This may sound conceited, by I think when dealing with atrocities/benefit of things done by the US, you cannot use the same template as other countries. Not because we are better or worse, but because or population is made up of primarily immigrants from hundreds of countries over hundreds of years. And because our government is funded by the people, to use those funds means they are a contribution from all the people. Therein lies, for example, the problem with reparations for those attrocities. My family came to the US in 1933 from Germany after my great grandfather heard Hitler speak. Should I be taxed more to pay for the coutries actions prior to my family ever being here? Am I (or my family) guilty of the attrocites against the Native Americans? We have never supported that action, and stand for freedoms of all people. And, ironically, both the sons and daughters of Native Americans and former slaves also pay those taxes, so they would be paying for our apologies to them with their own money.

      I agree that we should never FORGET, but we should accept that the problem has been dealt with, measures put it place to assure it does not happen again, and move forward.

      • Hostage
        March 16, 2013, 2:30 am

        While many know the US supported the slave trade for a long time, it was also the US that led the world in the abolition of slavery.

        That’s not the case. Here is a very well sourced timeline for the abolition of slavery which illustrates that the United States was bringing-up the rear: link to en.wikipedia.org

        And because our government is funded by the people, to use those funds means they are a contribution from all the people.

        When your family came here they swore to support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America. In the case of the treaties with the Native American tribes, Article VI, Clause 2 said that they were part of the Supreme Law of the Land and that they were enforceable in the State Courts. Deal with it.

        Your family’s government is still the single largest landowner and landlord in the territory west of the Mississippi. You may not know it, but a great deal of that land isn’t even inhabited. Our government is funded in part from leases that permit others to graze herds, mine the minerals and drill for oil, or harvest timber on stolen territory. I don’t know how much it would cost your family to give some of that government-held land back to the rightful owners, but I doubt that you or I would go to bed hungry if the Courts awared Mt Rushmore to the Lakota;-) FYI, if we can’t even agree to make symbolic gestures, then it’s about domination, not the money.

        In many cases, including that one, the Courts have acknowledged that the land was ceeded to Native American tribes under various treaties that were wrongfully abrogated by the current titleholder – Uncle Sam. See for example the many web pages which explain that “The Black Hills Are Not For Sale”, like link to honorthetreaties.org

        Therein lies, for example, the problem with reparations for those attrocities. My family came to the US in 1933 from Germany after my great grandfather heard Hitler speak. Should I be taxed more to pay for the coutries actions prior to my family ever being here? Am I (or my family) guilty of the attrocites against the Native Americans?

        In many cases it would be more accurate to ask if our families should continue to enjoy the on-going benefits derived from misappropriation and cold-blooded murder, or simply dominating Native American families and profiting at their sole expense?

      • gamal
        March 16, 2013, 12:44 pm

        Ah its not Genocide, only ethnic cleansing, phew!

        The notion of “Israel Studies” funded by Zionists is straight out of “Candide”, why do i think of the Vulgar Bulgar’s.

        “By Jonathan Kalmus, March 14, 2013
        Follow The JC on Twitter
        Professor Derek Penslar

        Professor Derek Penslar

        One of the UK’s leading academics says supporters of Israel need to accept historical facts that Israel committed “ethnic cleansing” in 1948 — and be clear that there is no contradiction between this and their support of Israel.”

        link to thejc.com

      • RoHa
        March 16, 2013, 2:58 am

        “While many know the US supported the slave trade for a long time, it was also the US that led the world in the abolition of slavery.”

        No, it was actually the Royal Navy that did most of the practical work.

        link to bbc.co.uk

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 16, 2013, 9:57 am

        Good comment by Hostage in response. +1 to it.

        A few comments:
        “I am pretty sure an AH-64 Apache helicopter has NEVER killed a Native American.”

        My point is that the very same force that is flying those helicopters named after the Apache people — the US military and the US Army — is the exact same organization that attempted to genocide those same Apache people. (Imagine a world in which the Nazis won and named a helicopter the AH-64 Ashkenazim helicopter.)

        “And while I agree we should never forget that these things occured, when we become mired in the bad acts of the very distant past, we forget the good acts done since by the follow on generations.”

        You act as if the bad acts by the US government ended long ago. Not so. We are still in the lifetime of people born under a system whereby which bathroom one had to use was based on the color of his or her skin. We are not too far removed from the time when the civil rights leadership had to decide whether a fight against lynching, of all things, was worth the resources it would take. Can you imagine how bad it was if random random, race-based murder was not the worst thing faced by that community?? We are still living in a world where people are denied their rights because they happen to be gay. You can say that the society has changed for the better, and that is true. But that does not mean that the society has become good, necessarily, merely less bad.

        “it was also the US that led the world in the abolition of slavery.”

        Unhistorical gibberish. Sheer nonsense. The US was dragged kicking and screaming into abolition, and even after it was accomplished, permitted the practice of a system in the South that was near slavery in all but name.

        “You use the phrase, ‘ like when the hitmen they sent after Bin Laden invoked the name of the great Geronimo’. This seems to imply that the operation was unwarranted. ”

        No, it was merely meant to state that the people who carried out that mission were hit men, no different from mafia thugs. Read the story about the guy who did the murder and you’ll see that he had the opportunity to seize bin Laden to be put on trial, as should have been the case in any civilized system, but instead, the hit man murdered him and the rest of the thugs with him abused the corpse. Whatever one feels about bin Laden (I am no fan, to say the least) is irrelevant to the criticism of the way he was killed. The “operation” was a barbaric hit, nothing more.

        “This may sound conceited, by I think when dealing with atrocities/benefit of things done by the US, you cannot use the same template as other countries.”

        Not conceited, just silly. America is no different than any other country. You want to believe the patriotic nonsense about “American exceptionalism,” but it’s simply not true.

        “Therein lies, for example, the problem with reparations for those attrocities. My family came to the US in 1933 from Germany after my great grandfather heard Hitler speak. Should I be taxed more to pay for the coutries actions prior to my family ever being here?”

        Taxed more? No. You should be taxed the same as anyone else. Because who gives a damn when your family came here? The reparations are not owed because of descent, but because the people who live here (including you) are beneficiaries of the system which causes damage to other people to this very day.

        “Am I (or my family) guilty of the attrocites against the Native Americans?”

        No, but your government is. If you want the benefits of being a citizen of the state, you also must carry the burdens, too. You don’t get to pick and choose what your taxes go to pay for, anymore than I can opt out of paying to support the Apartheid state of israel or the horrific racist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

        “I agree that we should never FORGET, but we should accept that the problem has been dealt with, measures put it place to assure it does not happen again, and move forward.”

        What you’re saying is that those people who are suffering today don’t deserve anything. That IS forgetting. Because this isn’t something that ended many yesterdays ago; this is something that is continuing and effecting people to this very day. That’s such garbage. People like you are the problem, because you want to pretend to be on the right side of issues and you want people to think you’re oh, so caring (with the “my family are soooo against genocide”… wow. What moral giants you have in your family tree…), but when the rubber hits the road, if it costs you a couple bucks, you turn your back and pretend the problem doesn’t even exist.

  5. tokyobk
    March 15, 2013, 1:16 pm

    Barghouti said the same thing at Yale but in fact the land of New Haven was bought by a small band of Boston exiles from the Pequot who wanted protection from the Mohegan. It further begs the question (especially relevant to Israel/Palestine) as to whether land remains the essential marker of its inhabitants. Is Africa “black,” Is Europe “white” and “Christian?

    He said, correctly, that many land sales were coerced. But not in New Haven in 1638 and not in New York either.

    So is Manhattan, essentially and eternally native?The Dutch bought Manhattan and before you say “yes but for some shiny beads” reflect if that is not a kind a racism to assume the natives did not know the value of their own land and did were not capable of a contract.

    And the Lakota are migrated north over several hundred years and were at war with other (distinct as it is pointed out) nations establishing their territory.

    This is not to deny the genocide of natives or the despicable ways in which native Americans have been made into mascots, slurs and the butt of jokes. That many of our cherished presidents were proud genocidal maniacs regarding Natives makes any such denial shameful.

    It is, however, to say that racism of erasing Indians and their memory is not undone by the flip side of a caricature which makes Indians somehow innocent outsiders to human history.

    • tokyobk
      March 15, 2013, 4:26 pm

      ..bought from the Quinnipiac I should have said…

    • Hostage
      March 15, 2013, 4:44 pm

      It is, however, to say that racism of erasing Indians and their memory is not undone by the flip side of a caricature which makes Indians somehow innocent outsiders to human history.

      Of course. Many of the civilized tribes owned slaves and fought along side the Confederate States during the Civil War. Even the members that sided with the Union, seem unsympathetic about honoring their treaty commitments towards their former slaves who were (or were not) granted citizenship in their Indian Nation, e.g. link to time.com

      Wikipedia provides an overview or starting point if you’re interested in studying some of the older and recent history on the subject, e.g. Cherokee freedmen controversy link to en.wikipedia.org

      Despite the fact that Jews and other non-Christian groups were barred from public office and were sometimes viewed as “non-white” during the early 19th century, we too have the same sort of “skeletons in the closet” on the subjects of slavery, the opium trade, and etc.

      • Ellen
        March 16, 2013, 7:20 am

        Hostage, I am not saying this is not so, but when and where in the US were “Jews and other non-Christian groups ” barred from public office?

        The first Senator of Florida was Jewish. Some earliest civic leaders in the South were Jewish. South Carolina had a relatively large Jewish population among the white population. Jews were among the founding fathers of this city.

        We read it often that Jews could not hold office, but source documentation is not cited.

        Sometimes this seems to be a spreading meme. For example years ago there was a report as a fact in the Washington Post that in a certain well-to-do neighborhood, Jews were barred by the original zoning covenants. When this supposed “fact” was researched, nothing like that existed.

        But that meme embelished a story and planted more seeds of falsehood in the public mind.

        Atheists and Catholics were officially barred from office in some colonies in the colonial period, but were Jews officially as well? (As a group the very early Jewish settlers to the New World were active and prosperous)

        Not that it matters in the big scheme of things, but just wondering.

      • tokyobk
        March 16, 2013, 1:33 pm

        Jews were banned in early Connecticut.
        Jews actually fared better in the South where there was a premium on whiteness.
        Covenants were real. Maybe not in the neighborhood you were referring to but certainly in Fairfield County and many other places.
        And, of course quotas in Universities as well as “White Shoe” law firms and some investment banks.
        All this changed of course and Jews, whatever lingering prejudice exists here and there, are well established and secure in the US.

      • Hostage
        March 16, 2013, 2:51 pm

        Hostage, I am not saying this is not so, but when and where in the US were “Jews and other non-Christian groups ” barred from public office?

        Jews were not allowed to hold public office in most of the colonies. It was never a problem at the federal level after independence was obtained, but there was no US citizenship per se until the 14th Amendment was adopted. Prior to that, the Courts had ruled without much rhyme or reason that blacks and the members of many other minority groups were not considered “citizens” or “white” for the purposes of Article III of the Constitution.

        Article 22 of the Delaware constitution of 1776 required an oath regarding a belief in Jesus Christ from every person “chosen a member of either house, or appointed to any office or place of trust”. The Pennsylvania Frame of Government, Section 10 required office holders to profess there belief in one God and the divine inspiration of “the Old and New Testaments”.

        The matter was initially left up to the individual states, where no separation from their official Churches was required. Many of them had constitutions that required candidates for public office to be Christians or take an oath like the ones above regarding their Christian faith when assuming office. Here’s another example:

        *Thomas Jefferson was the first president to appoint a Jew to a federal post. Reuben Etting was appointed by Jefferson as the U.S. Marshall for Maryland in 1801. Interestingly, religious qualifications for state office in Maryland would have barred Etting from holding any state position in Maryland at that time. Thus, he illustrates the contrast between the federal government’s progressive approach towards religious minorities and the discrimination that could exist at the state level.
        * The struggle to give Jews equality in Maryland illustrates the challenges in
        obtaining religious equality in the Young Republic. Jews began to petition for the right to hold public office in 1797. A bill to give Jews this right, called “The Jew Bill,” was not introduced until 1818. The effort to give Jews political equality was led by a member of the legislature named Thomas Kennedy. It is noteworthy that he did not “have the slightest acquaintance with any Jew in the world.” He simply felt that religion was “a question which rests, or ought to rest, between man and his Creator alone.” Opposition to the bill was strong and the bill was defeated. Another bill was introduced in 1822. It became a major issue in the election of 1823. A “Christian Ticket” succeeded in defeating many of the bill’s supporters, including Kennedy, with the result that the bill was defeated again. Finally, in
        1826, the bill became law. Later that year, the first Jews in Maryland were elected to office.
        *Jews eventually gained full legal equality in every state. Including their experiences helps teach that progress towards greater equality has been part of the American experience since the beginning of the country.

        link to icsresources.org

      • Ellen
        March 16, 2013, 3:19 pm

        Thank you! also interesting that Maryland was the first state to fully legislate this legal equality. The Maryland colony was the first where Catholics were allowed to settle and own land per a deal worked out with John Carrol and the British Crown.

        This Christian allegience thing, however, still dogs our politics. And ever wonder how bizzare it is that the currency of the USA is enscribed with “In God We Trust?”

        I think our squirrly Congress slipped that one on us in the 50s.

        Apologies for the diversion.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      March 15, 2013, 6:24 pm

      The chiefs who “sold” their people’s land did not own it. It was not theirs to sell. So the “contract” was invalid.

      • tokyobk
        March 16, 2013, 7:48 am

        Its case by case. The Quinnipiac sale to the English settlers of New Haven was imo a genuine sale. I believe the same for Manhattan and the land sold to William Penn. Much of New England was fairly contracted at the time though as more English came the land grabs began and the treaties were broken as whites spilled over the Appalachian Mountains.

    • sardelapasti
      March 15, 2013, 8:08 pm

      And your point is?
      That European contract law should be enforced among American Indians?
      That the Lakotas have had wars?
      That joking is shameful?

      • tokyobk
        March 16, 2013, 7:45 am

        And your point is?

        Native American Indians are not immediately ennobled by the fact that various European tribes, first in competition and then in collusion, were better at conquest.

        What Europeans and then a confederated Christian and (eventually self identified) white civilization did to Natives is one of the great crimes of humanity but Indians, particularly the Lakota, are not strangers to conquest and subduing less powerful nations and taking their land.

        Therefore, a Native American has the right to lament the destruction of their people on human rights grounds but not, imo, on the grounds that white people and European civilization is bad.

        I also reject the idea that this land, or any land, including IsraelPalestine belongs innately to a tribe or “race: or religion, not the last to conquer it and not the (supposedly innocent) people who had it before.

        Human rights on human rights grounds is the only answer.

        “That joking is shameful?”

        Yes, calling someone an “Indian Giver” or using the term “HOnest Injun” is shameful especially in light of the American Genocide. Redskins for a football team is despicable.

      • sardelapasti
        March 16, 2013, 4:14 pm

        Right. Keep it as is except for embellishments and police your language.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 19, 2013, 10:40 am

        “Therefore, a Native American has the right to lament the destruction of their people on human rights grounds but not, imo, on the grounds that white people and European civilization is bad.”

        I disagree with this position because there has never been a time when white people and European civilization encountering Native Americans hasn’t resulted in a net decrease in the human rights of the Native Americans.

    • Donald
      March 16, 2013, 9:17 am

      “It is, however, to say that racism of erasing Indians and their memory is not undone by the flip side of a caricature which makes Indians somehow innocent outsiders to human history.”

      There’s this notion that if group X is victimized, somehow this makes group X completely noble and innocent and beyond criticism. Which is silly. Group X is victimized because it is less powerful than the oppressors of group Y, but change the power relations around and one is likely to see group X become the victimizers, perhaps of a third group Z. (Which in turn will be portrayed as the completely innocent victims.)

      This doesn’t just apply to Native Americans.

  6. Dan Crowther
    March 15, 2013, 2:32 pm

    So a first generation immigrant to the US from say, Africa, is in the same moral place as a douchebag from Yonkers who moves to Israel? Come on bro. That’s insane and quite frankly, total bullshit in the context here at MW. No way the vast majority of Americans should feel guilty about being here and so on – in Israel, not so much.

    Also, I’ve had it up to here with the Columbia educated identity warriors with their blogs and sht. Dude has got about fifteen headshot photos on google images, that tells me something. And in the end, all of this does is make people think they themselves are full of sht for caring about Palestine while being American. I aint buying what this cat is sellin!

    • tokyobk
      March 15, 2013, 4:05 pm

      People are not full of it for being American and Australian and caring about human rights in Israel and Palestine. Neither are Americans and Australians who believe in one or two Sates based on rights. But Americans who live on Occupied Mexico or stolen soil who think that all Israeli’s should be ejected and that people who have been in a place for generations are still interlopers (while someone else of the “right” ethnicity can mover there and be a Native) are indeed full of it and hypocritical.

      • eljay
        March 15, 2013, 6:27 pm

        >> tokyobk @ March 15, 2013 at 4:05 pm

        +1 to another solid comment. :-)

      • Dan Crowther
        March 15, 2013, 6:55 pm

        I like what Benny did there: “who think that all Israeli’s should be EJECTED…”

        Nice throw in. Anyway, this whole thing about jewish israeli’s being sent to other countries is ridiculous, no one in their right mind thinks thats going to happen or wants that to happen.

      • Ecru
        March 16, 2013, 5:11 am

        @ Dan Crowther

        …no one in their right mind thinks thats [Jewish Israelis being sent to other countries] going to happen or wants that to happen.”

        Not least because nobody in their right mind wants psychotic Jewish-Supremist Settlers as neighbours.

      • tokyobk
        March 16, 2013, 7:35 am

        Helen Thomas’s comments that the Israeli’s should “go back” to Europe were not exactly rejected here.

        But if what you say is true I am glad. Its not a throw in. it a bright line between people who want to move forward equitably and those who want to fight a nationalist battle.

        And the second part is important too.

        I think Yassir Arafat (bEgypt) and Omar Barghouti (b.Qatar) are Palestinian because of their ancestry and cultural and political commitment and because they identify themselves as such. But I don’t think that their immigration to Palestine is anything more magical than Miss Israel who immigrated from Ethiopia. I don’t think a person of second generation NIgerian descent is less British than a person whose grandfather was born in London who “moves back” from New York.

      • Annie Robbins
        March 16, 2013, 1:46 pm

        tok, ‘ancestors’ is not a term generally used for ones parents. and when a child is born to american parents overseas, when they bring their child home it is not an immigrant. palestinians are refugees.

      • Ellen
        March 16, 2013, 2:48 pm

        tok, with that logic my childen born overseas were immigrants when we, as a family, would return to the US? Not so.

      • sardelapasti
        March 16, 2013, 5:15 pm

        Crowther – “no one in their right mind thinks thats going to happen or wants that to happen.”
        Of course. But what is not OK is all these people assuming things on behalf of the Palestinians. When in the future the Palestinians have a totally sovereign government let that government keep all the bargaining chips unused, and let them decide instead of giving citizenships to other people’s place –which is what Zionists do. Until then, keep in mind that ejection, and the basing of citizenship laws on something other than place of birth, should remain theoretically possible.

      • RoHa
        March 16, 2013, 11:54 pm

        “‘ancestors’ is not a term generally used for ones parents.”

        Nonetheless, one’s parents are ancestors.

        “and when a child is born to american parents overseas, when they bring their child home it is not an immigrant.”

        If the parents have established US citizenship, the child is not a foreign immigrant. However, if the child was born outside the US, it is, technically, an immigrant.

      • Donald
        March 16, 2013, 9:12 am

        “But Americans who live on Occupied Mexico or stolen soil who think that all Israeli’s should be ejected and that people who have been in a place for generations are still interlopers (while someone else of the “right” ethnicity can mover there and be a Native) are indeed full of it and hypocritical.”

        I agree with most of that, but thought I’d clarify one issue. On “Israelis being ejected”, that’s not what a 1SS should be about. It should be about a single secular democratic state with equal rights for all. (Whether that came be accomplished is a separate question.) Many Israeli Jews are second or third or fourth generation (or more) and are natives just as much as the Palestinians. And anyway, I don’t think even first generation Israeli Jews should be ejected–if people call for that then they are just demanding a new injustice to rectify an old one, which is how this mess got started in the first place.

        I missed seeing this article (couldn’t tell what it was about when I just saw the title). I agree with someone in this thread (can’t find it for some reason) who said that subconsciously maybe this is one reason so many Americans do support Israel. Our histories are almost identical on this point.

        What’s really interesting is how this fact has been used by pro-Israel types. It used to be that people like Chomsky and Finkelstein made the comparison, in order to illustrate that there’s a long history of Western settler colonialism and Israel is just the latest example. Now the hasbara crowd says that Americans are hypocritical for criticizing Israel for the Nakba, unless we “give the land back to the Indians”. I was just accused of that a few days ago at “Open Zion”. It didn’t occur to the idiot that the solution in both cases was not to eject the “settlers”, many of whom were born in the country their ancestors stole. But that’s how he thought–somehow in his mind it’s a zero sum game.

    • Hostage
      March 15, 2013, 5:21 pm

      So a first generation immigrant to the US from say, Africa, is in the same moral place as a douchebag from Yonkers who moves to Israel?

      It depends. If they wish to ignore US treaty commitments to Native Americans and build radioactive waste dumps on their lands or grant others easements to build pipelines from Canada through “Indian territory”, then yes, they are douche bags too. The UN human rights treaties and declarations promoted by the US government through its representatives, including Eleanor Roosevelt and Marjorie Whiteman, guarantee individual victims the right to a remedy, including access to the national courts and reparations. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 8, says that “[e]veryone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him by the constitution or laws.”

      Our government is pressuring Turkey over the Armenian genocide, while at one and the same time, it ignores its own responsibility for overthrowing the Kingdom of Hawaii and committing acts of genocide against the Native Americans and Filipino people during the same era.

      FYI: even after the US signed the genocide convention, which clearly criminalized “Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group”, the US Government did not prohibit that practice until 1978. See “The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) Pub.L. 95–608, 92 Stat. 3069, enacted November 8, 1978. So this isn’t ancient history.

      • sardelapasti
        March 16, 2013, 1:49 am

        Hostage – Just because it is touching our common subject here, a digression:

        “Our government is pressuring Turkey over the Armenian genocide, while…”

        The fact is that it had stopped pressuring Turkey in any way or wise for a good many years, no matter the general sensitivity to the Armenian genocide among the people, no matter the commitment of the Americans and Greeks in the country, because the Zionist lobby had thrown its considerable weight in the balance on the side of the Turkish military dictatorship. Every year like clockwork Armenians and other genocide opponents would try to get a resolution from Congress, openly opposed by the Zionist lobby and therefore finally rejected; the insufficient means of the official Turkish lobby here (grants fro fake “history”studies, etc.) were complemented by the Zionists.
        Come 2010, the Davos spat, and then the Mavi Marmara act of piracy and murder, and the reaction, but much more important for the Zionists, the arrest and trial of hundred of cadres of the military dictatorship, traditional allies of Ishghael. Immediately the Zionist press filled not only with a miraculously revived genocide of the Armenians but also very openly worded blackmail to the Turkish government: either you submit and shut up or we’ll back the Armenians and the Kurds! Almost in so many words.

      • Hostage
        March 16, 2013, 2:58 pm

        Hostage – Just because it is touching our common subject here, a digression: . . .

        Yes, I agree that accurately describes the interests and motives of the governments of the USA and Israel in the Armenian genocide.

      • Dan Crowther
        March 16, 2013, 10:20 am

        Yeah I get all of that Hostage; the list of peoples crushed, governments overthrown, societies broken by the US is endless. We’ve facilitated genocide the world over and directly carried it out here and in indo china.

        I think part of the reason why the US’s treatment of indigenous peoples fails to shock is because we see it going on all the time, I mean, is a reservation that mush worse than living in West Baltimore? I’m not trying to be a dck or diminish anyones suffering but we happen to live in an unbelievably brutal society, people can barely keep their heads above water, and this is how life is for “us;” and so for those of “us” whose families had nothing to do with the crimes of genocide and slavery, I’m not buying the guilt trip.

        I’m all for paying huge amounts of money to indigenous peoples and doing whatever we can, all for it – tell me what I can do. But I’ve had enough of feeling bad for sht I can’t control, unlike most jewish israeli’s most americans want to live in a melting pot, me included. That to me is a positive natural impulse, I guess Simon would disagree

  7. DICKERSON3870
    March 15, 2013, 2:41 pm

    RE: “Moya-Smith said that when he went to college in Colorado and worked at Denver newspapers, he found that some people didn’t recognize the genocide of the Native Americans . . . “ ~ Weiss

    FROM WIKIPEDIA [The Trail of Tears]:

    [EXCERPTS]. . . In 1838, the Cherokee Nation was removed from their lands in the Southeastern United States to the Indian Territory (present day Oklahoma) in the Western United States, which resulted in the deaths of approximately 4,000 Cherokees. In the Cherokee language, the event is called Nunna daul Isunyi—“the Trail Where They Cried”. The Cherokee Trail of Tears resulted from the enforcement of the Treaty of New Echota, an agreement signed under the provisions of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 which exchanged Native American land in the East for lands west of the Mississippi River, but which was never accepted by the elected tribal leadership or a majority of the Cherokee people.
    Tensions between Georgia and the Cherokee Nation were brought to a crisis by the discovery of gold near Dahlonega, Georgia, in 1829, resulting in the Georgia Gold Rush, the first gold rush in U.S. history. Hopeful gold speculators began trespassing on Cherokee lands, and pressure began to mount on the Georgia government to fulfill the promises of the Compact of 1802*. . .
    . . . With the Indian Removal Act of 1830, the U.S. Congress had given [Andrew] Jackson authority to negotiate removal treaties, exchanging Indian land in the East for land west of the Mississippi River. Jackson used the dispute with Georgia to put pressure on the Cherokees to sign a removal treaty.[26]
    Nevertheless, the treaty, passed by Congress by a single vote, and signed into law by President Andrew Jackson, was imposed by his successor President Martin Van Buren who allowed Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina, and Alabama an armed force of 7,000 made up of militia, regular army, and volunteers under General Winfield Scott to round up about 13,000 Cherokees into concentration camps at the U.S. Indian Agency near Cleveland, Tennessee before being sent to the West. Most of the deaths occurred from disease, starvation and cold in these camps. Their homes were burned and their property destroyed and plundered. Farms belonging to the Cherokees for generations were won by white settlers in a lottery.
    After the initial roundup, the U.S. military still oversaw the emigration until they met the forced destination.[27] Private John G. Burnett later wrote “Future generations will read and condemn the act and I do hope posterity will remember that private soldiers like myself, and like the four Cherokees who were forced by General Scott to shoot an Indian Chief and his children, had to execute the orders of our superiors. We had no choice in the matter.” [i.e. "We were just following orders." - J.L.D.]. . .
    . . . In the winter of 1838 the Cherokee began the thousand mile march with scant clothing and most on foot without shoes or moccasins. . .

    SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

    * Compact of 1802 - link to trailofthetrail.blogspot.com

    PHOTOS:
    • Elizabeth “Betsy” Brown Stephens, a Cherokee Indian who walked the Trail of Tears. (1903) [jpeg image] – link to gazamom.com
    • Portrait of Marcia Pascal, a young Cherokee woman. (1880) [jpeg image] – link to en.wikipedia.org
    • Principal Cherokee Chief John Ross. (late 1800s) [jpeg image] – link to en.wikipedia.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      March 15, 2013, 2:55 pm

      CORRECTED LINK:
      • Elizabeth “Betsy” Brown Stephens, a Cherokee Indian who walked the Trail of Tears. (1903) [jpeg image] – link to en.wikipedia.org

    • DICKERSON3870
      March 15, 2013, 3:04 pm

      P.S. ALSO RE: “Moya-Smith said that when he went to college in Colorado and worked at Denver newspapers, he found that some people didn’t recognize the genocide of the Native Americans . . . ~ Weiss

      MY COMMENT: See the genocidal diatribe below, straight from the horse’s mouth press (so to speak).

      FROM WIKIPEDIA [L. Frank Baum]:

      [EXCERPTS] . . . During the period surrounding the 1890 Ghost Dance movement and Wounded Knee Massacre, [L. Frank] Baum [who later wrote The Wizard of Oz] wrote two editorials about Native Americans for the Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer which have provoked great controversy in recent times because of his suggestion that the safety of White settlers depended on the “extermination” of the remaining Indians.
      The first piece was published on December 20, 1890, five days after the killing of the Lakota Sioux holy man, Sitting Bull (who was being held in custody at the time). Following is the complete text of the editorial:
      (excerpts) Sitting Bull, most renowned Sioux of modern history, is dead. . .
      . . . The Whites, by law of conquest, by justice of civilization, are masters of the American continent, and the best safety of the frontier settlements will be secured by the total annihilation of the few remaining Indians. Why not annihilation? Their glory has fled, their spirit broken, their manhood effaced; better that they die than live the miserable wretches that they are. History would forget these latter despicable beings, and speak, in latter ages of the glory of these grand Kings of forest and plain that Cooper loved to heroize.
      We cannot honestly regret their extermination, but we at least do justice to the manly characteristics possessed, according to their lights and education, by the early Redskins of America.[31][32]

      Following the December 29, 1890 massacre, Baum wrote a second editorial, published on January 3, 1891:

      The peculiar policy of the government in employing so weak and vacillating a person as General Miles to look after the uneasy Indians, has resulted in a terrible loss of blood to our soldiers, and a battle which, at best, is a disgrace to the war department. There has been plenty of time for prompt and decisive measures, the employment of which would have prevented this disaster.
      The Pioneer has before declared that our only safety depends upon the total extirmination [sic] of the Indians. Having wronged them for centuries we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the earth. In this lies safety for our settlers and the soldiers who are under incompetent commands. Otherwise, we may expect future years to be as full of trouble with the redskins as those have been in the past.
      An eastern contemporary, with a grain of wisdom in its wit, says that “when the whites win a fight, it is a victory, and when the Indians win it, it is a massacre.” [31][33]

      These two short editorials continue to haunt his legacy. In 2006, two descendants of Baum apologized to the Sioux nation for any hurt their ancestor had caused.[34]
      These editorials are the only known occasions on which Baum articulated such views. . .

      SOURCE – link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 15, 2013, 5:27 pm

        History is filled with such blatant call to genocide and blatent assertions of white supremacy among people in the past few centuries. The keepers of the history has really whitewashed the saying of White America, ever since about the late 1940s.

        There is great book by James Bradley about Theodore Roosevelt that reprints a lot of that stuff that’s been shoved under the rug.

      • Ellen
        March 16, 2013, 7:28 am

        Hostage, I am not saying this is not so, but when and where in the US were “Jews and other non-Christian groups ” barred from public office?

        The first Senator of Florida was Jewish. Some earliest civic leaders in the South were Jewish. South Carolina had a relatively large Jewish population among the white population. Jews were among the founders of this city.

        We read it often that Jews could not hold office, but where is the citation of sources?

        Sometimes this seems to be a spreading meme. For example years ago there was a report as a fact in the Washington Post that in a certain well-to-do neighborhood, Jews were barred by the original zoning covenants. When this supposed “fact” was researched, nothing like that existed.

        But that meme embelished a story and planted more seeds of falsehood in the public mind.

        Atheists and Catholics were barred from office in some colonies in the colonial period, but were Jews officially as well? (As a group the very early Jewish settlers to the New World were active and prosperous)

        Not that it matters in the big scheme of things, but just wondering.

      • DICKERSON3870
        March 18, 2013, 3:12 pm

        RE: “History is filled with such blatant call to genocide and blatant assertions of white supremacy among people in the past few centuries.” ~ Woody Tanaka

        EXCERPTS REGARDING SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL

        When Britain lost control of Egypt in 1956, Prime Minister Anthony Eden said he wanted the nationalist president Gamal Abdel Nasser “destroyed, murdered, I don’t give a damn if there’s anarchy and chaos in Egypt.” Those insolent Arabs, Winston Churchill had urged in 1951, should be driven “into the gutter from which they should never have emerged.”

        SOURCE – link to nlpwessex.org

        I do not agree that the dog in a manger has the final right to the manger even though he may have lain there for a very long time. I do not admit that right. I do not admit for instance, that a great wrong has been done to the Red Indians of American or the black people of Australia. I do not admit that a wrong has been done to these people by the fact that a stronger race, a higher-grade race, a more worldly wise race to put it that way, has come in and taken their place.” ~ Winston Churchill to the Peel Commission in 1937

        SOURCE – link to message.snopes.com

        What about Gandhi’s nemesis, Winston Churchill? Today we only remember his heroic opposition to Nazism. But while he was against gassing and tyranny in Europe, he was passionately in favour of it for “uncivilised” human beings whose riches he wanted to seize. In the 1920s, Iraqis rose up against British imperial rule, and Churchill as Colonial Secretary thought of a good solution: gas them. He wrote: “I do not understand this squeamishness… I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes.” It would “spread a lively terror”. He was quite clear about why Britain should do this. He explained: “We have engrossed to ourselves an altogether disproportionate share of the wealth and traffic of the world… mainly acquired by violence, largely maintained by force.”

        SOURCE – link to commondreams.org

      • DICKERSON3870
        March 18, 2013, 3:33 pm

        P.S. ANOTHER SOURCE
        “The Churchill you didn’t know”, The Guardian, 11/27/02
        Thousands voted him the greatest Briton – but did they know about his views on Gandhi, gassing and Jews…
        LINK – link to guardian.co.uk

      • Ellen
        March 16, 2013, 7:43 am

        Dickerson, powerful information on horrific crimes under the colonial enterprise for what became the United States.

        Those growing up in the 50s and 60s remember the Western movie line, “A good Indian is a dead Indian.” The evil and dangerous Indian was still the propaganda.

        It is more than ironic that Zionists apologists cite the example of the US genocide of a people to justify the Zionist colonial enterprise over a people.

  8. MHughes976
    March 15, 2013, 2:44 pm

    I know that symbolism is important and see that that Moya-Smith wishes to see certain symbols and holiday celebrations revised or transformed. The arrival of the European settlers was indeed a kind of Nakba and perhaps the time has come to lay that fact to heart. But at the political level what changes does he wish to see? Especially, for our concerns, changes to which there might be a ME parallel?

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 15, 2013, 5:29 pm

      I think, as a start, we need to eliminate Christopher Columbus from the picture (i.e., eliminate Columbus day, rename all the “Columbuses” in the country, etc.) I’d also, personally, like to see Thanksgiving transformed so that the truth of the early genocide is told and not a white washed lie.

      • RoHa
        March 16, 2013, 12:00 am

        “I think, as a start, we need to eliminate Christopher Columbus from the picture”

        Why? He demonstrated the geographical relationship between Europe and the West Indies. Should he not be remembered for that?

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 16, 2013, 10:03 am

        “Why?”

        Mostly the slaving and the genociding of native peoples in the Caribbean. You know, little things like that.

        “He demonstrated the geographical relationship between Europe and the West Indies. Should he not be remembered for that?”

        Sure, in history books you can note that he backed into establishing this, even though he, himself, never understood that this is what he was doing. But this questionable good (if, indeed, it was a good) was a small nothing compared to the evil he did. It’s like celebrating “Heinrich Himmler Day” and justifying on the fact that he achieved some minor discovery.

      • Stephen Shenfield
        March 16, 2013, 11:23 am

        Actually he did nothing of the kind. To his dying day he thought he had reached the fringes of Asia (the East Indies, not the West).

        Perhaps Columbus should be remembered in order to be ceremonially cursed.

        Columbus Day can be renamed Arawak Remembrance Day.

      • MHughes976
        March 16, 2013, 12:21 pm

        Still, I get the impression that M-S does not propose any fundamental political change from the form of one-state solution that now prevails.

      • RoHa
        March 16, 2013, 10:50 pm

        “Actually he did nothing of the kind. To his dying day he thought he had reached the fringes of Asia (the East Indies, not the West). ”

        The fact that he misinterpreted what he had done does not mean that he did not do it.

    • OlegR
      March 16, 2013, 8:45 am

      I would assume that first you have to say you are sorry.
      Than you have at the very least to compensate the surviving indigenous peoples
      for the full value of what was taken from them plus interest.
      Also eliminate all symbolism that the surviving native people find offensive.

  9. Kate
    March 15, 2013, 3:46 pm

    I don’t know how to think about the issue either — it messes with my head. I readily agree that the colonists (some of them my ancestors) practiced genocide on the indigenous inhabitants of the U.S. and Canada, and that there is a lot of atonement and reparations that we need to deal with. I was long kept aware of the issues by a Chippewa friend, now dead, who was born on a ‘reservation’ in Minnesota and had a good deal of anger about the situation.

    But recently I have been following the Idle No More movement, and somehow found myself out of my comfort zone – big-time. The problem? Being expected to consider myself a ‘settler’! That term chilled my bones. B-b-but I’m an American! Some of the youngest members of my family are 16th-generation Americans! How long do you have to be in a place to be considered a native, or non-settler? Two generations? Thirty? Or do your ancestors have to be the first people ever to live there? In that case most of the people in the world outside the Americas aren’t indigenous to the place they live now. What if some of your ancestors (Irish in my case) are here because they were starved out of their original place by other colonialists? There sure isn’t anything simple about this.

    Let me quote from an article:
    link to uncomfortablycanadian.wordpress.com

    “Last week I attended a town hall-style panel discussion in Victoria on the future of Idle No More, one that posed the question that’s on everyone’s mind, “Where do we go from here?”

    In one of the evening’s poignant moments – there were many – a non-indigenous woman walked up to a microphone to bring attention to something that was upsetting her deeply. A previous speaker had suggested that non-indigenous people would be supportive of the movement just as long as it didn’t personally inconvenience them – a fair statement in itself, only the speaker didn’t use that politically correct appellation, non-indigenous.

    The woman at the microphone began to cry as she spoke about how she grew up on this coast and loved it deeply, how it was her home. “I am not a colonist,” she said, “I am not a squatter.” It must have been a hard thing to say, and might well have been on the minds of others in the room, but it also begged the further question, what was she?

    It can seem difficult to know exactly what us non-indigenous Canadians should refer to ourselves as in such contexts – there is certainly no shortage of options. Colonist or squatter? Settler, guest or newcomer? Simply Canadian?

    The crux of the issue, for many non-indigenous Canadians, is the question of guilt. To refer oneself as a colonist or squatter, or to be referred to as such, might well imply an uncomfortable degree of complicity in events that can seem historically abstract from our daily lives.”

    I feel uncomfortable just discussing this issue – and perhaps I shouldn’t have done so – but Phil has been so honest about some of his confusions and doubts about identity that I can be no less.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 15, 2013, 5:34 pm

      It’s a tough issue to face. But the fact of the matter is that those who came after the destruction of the Native American nations were settler colonialists on this land, and the offspring of such people. Now, the key is that all must be given their human rights, of course. But in the course of doing that, the fact of colonization of the Americas (the very name, itself, an alien imposition) must not be overlooked and carries with it a responsibility. One can’t change the past, but there is an obligation to make amends, in the way that past affects people today.

      • RoHa
        March 16, 2013, 12:01 am

        That’s pretty much the official line in Australia these days.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 16, 2013, 10:08 am

        That is very good. I don’t know too much about the state of Australian politics, but I know that Australia’s history is a very dark one, indeed. I am heartened to hear that the people there are willing to face up to the evil and to make amends.

      • tokyobk
        March 16, 2013, 8:38 am

        I understand abhorring genocide and whitewashing evil but what’s the beef with civilization? It has touched every continent and been driven by people of every race and religion.

        Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci contributed inordinately to human progress. Yes, human progress always facilitates evil. But saying that not having the technology for gas chambers means humans won’t kill each other is absurd.

        When Native Americans migrated to South America and build enormous civilizations with urban centers they named the regions after themselves too, ditto the Mali and Songhai.

      • Woody Tanaka
        March 16, 2013, 10:15 am

        “what’s the beef with civilization? ”

        Who’s making a beef with civilization? Not me. For example, the Native Americans nations had a civilization that was wiped out by the European invaders. I’m lamenting that destruction of a civilization. (Unless you are of the racist opinion that only Eurasians had “civilization”…)

        “Columbus and Amerigo Vespucci contributed inordinately to human progress. Yes, human progress always facilitates evil. But saying that not having the technology for gas chambers means humans won’t kill each other is absurd.”

        Perhaps the knowledge they contributed was important. And no one made the silly strawman argument you’re making. What I’m saying is that whatever good that came from Columbus’s voyage (and whether and the extent that it was, in fact, “good” is another issue), the fact is that Columbus was a slaver and oppressor of native people and responsible for genociding native people in the Caribbean. THAT is what we should be concerned about, not some nonsense about who was the first European in the Americas (which he was not, anyway.)

      • eljay
        March 16, 2013, 10:35 am

        I’m first-generation Canadian. I do not bear guilt for the past actions of other Canadians.

        But I do believe that it is up to our government(s) – on behalf of all Canadians – to make good-faith efforts to honour past / existing treaties or to negotiate new, just and mutually-beneficial treaties with First Nations groups.

        If I were to believe otherwise – if I were to advocate for something different – that guilt would be mine to bear.

      • MHughes976
        March 16, 2013, 12:40 pm

        In Panama and I suppose elsewhere in Latin America they sometimes refer to the First Family and Second Family, rather than to indigenous and non-indigenous elements, of the nation. I’ve heard that term from my family (!) there. That terminology acknowledges that those who were once immigrants have put down roots of their own, which indeed they have. And in principle, maybe not always in practice, members of the Two Families are now equal, living without discrimination in terms of political rights: that is to say, a one-state solution has taken hold. I don’t deny that the Jewish population of Palestine have made lives there, put down roots and all that. They have not reached equality with the Palestinians, though, even in principle.

      • tokyobk
        March 16, 2013, 1:22 pm

        You are talking as if the majority of Israelis are first generation immigrants from Brooklyn and Moscow, and all Palestinians are descended from local people.

        In fact there are more Israelis who are descended from Jews expelled from Middle East countries and whose family has been there since Palestine, a smaller number whose families have been there forever.

        The issue is human rights moving forward and equality under law.

      • Ellen
        March 16, 2013, 2:59 pm

        tokyobk, Yes, human progress always facilitates evil. Primitive regression facilitates and goes along with evil.

        Human Progress is facilitated by entlightment, humanism and, yes, even spiritual love.

        Again, with your logic fascist terrorrist evil regimes such as the Third Reich, or the nationalist Serbian criminal leaders brought us progress?

  10. Marco
    March 15, 2013, 6:04 pm

    The fundamental difference is that the United States, since at least Brown v. Board of Education, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Indian Civil Rights Act of 1968 has implemented the equivalent of a one-state solution.

    The comparison between the America of today and contemporary Israel will be apt only if the latter implements full citizenship for everyone in Palestine and ceases to be the Jewish state. Even in a one-state Palestine we would expect there to be grievous civil rights problems, Jewish socioeconomic and political privilege, and disputes over land. Such a scenario would be replete with injustice just as America is today.

    But under the current regime in Israel? There’s no comparison. America is no longer based upon lebensraum for the white man.

    • Citizen
      March 16, 2013, 9:41 am

      @Marco

      Yes. All native Americans have all the rights afforded by the US Constitution, same as non-native Americans. However, they have some additional rights as well. Each of the 600 or so tribal land areas within the US are like mini-states within the state they are located among the 50 states, which are themselves limited by our Federal Republic system.

      link to legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com

  11. sardelapasti
    March 15, 2013, 8:24 pm

    All things being equal, we land again on the level of principles. Yes, the USans committed a genocide (and do not seem to have ever paid war damages or even finished the genocide) but… a Constitution which ends up giving full citizenship and full rights to the victims was set up by the very imperialists who encouraged the genocide. It can be argued that the Constitution won’t even take you to the next stop without a subway token, but a right recognized by all in the abstract is a hugely important start.

    That’s why as bad as the story of the natives and the crime of colonization are, there still is no comparison with the two most recent European models, those of the Nazis and the Zionists.

    • OlegR
      March 16, 2013, 8:49 am

      /ut… a Constitution which ends up giving full citizenship and full rights to the victims was set up by the very imperialists who encouraged the genocide/

      Your really should read the Israeli independence proclamation.

      • sardelapasti
        March 21, 2013, 3:55 am

        Olegr – “Your really should read the Israeli independence proclamation.”

        I did. It’s the opposite of the US Constitution. It is a racist declaration of sovereignty by lawless invaders calling the right of conquest, with some weasel wording to pacify the then more powerful UN and pretend to be sort of tending to accep the Partition Declaration. In summary, nothing that Attila the Hun or Jenghiz Khan could not have written with the same good ghostwriters.

      • Hostage
        March 21, 2013, 4:15 pm

        Your really should read the Israeli independence proclamation.

        You really should read the minority rights treaty contained in UN General Assembly resolution 181(II). It required a legally binding signed declaration from the State of Israel.

        Abba Eban testified that Israel had satisfied that requirement through the promulgation as law of its signed Declaration of Independence in the national gazette and a cable confirming the declaration that was submitted to the Secretary General by Foreign Minister Shertok.

        The Israeli Knesset and Supreme Court subsequently violated the object and purpose of the agreement when they held that:

        Some were inclined to view the Proclamation of Independence, and especially its declaratory section, as a constitution, but the Supreme Court stated, in a series of decisions, that the proclamation does not have constitutional validity, and that it is not a supreme law which may be used to invalidate laws and regulations that contradict it.

        link to knesset.gov.il

        So lets read the explicit terms of resolution 181(II) “C. Declaration, General Provision” together:

        The stipulations contained in the Declaration are recognized as fundamental laws of the State and no law, regulation or official action shall conflict or interfere with these stipulations, nor shall any law, regulation or official action prevail over them.

        link to yale.edu

        So the problem isn’t that we need to read your Declaration, its that Israelis need to learn how to read it.

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 16, 2013, 10:19 am

      What you mentioned is a good first step, but that’s like taking a step west from the Atlantic Coast of Virginia. If the goal is only two steps from the coast, you’re almost there. If the goal is the Pacific coast of California, you’ve done essentially nothing. The issue is where: as for the goal of justice, how far west is it??

      “That’s why as bad as the story of the natives and the crime of colonization are, there still is no comparison with the two most recent European models, those of the Nazis and the Zionists.”

      I disagree; I think they’re comparable. The Europeans/USians achieved a near perfect genocide and oppression and marginalization of the survivors.

      • sardelapasti
        March 18, 2013, 8:33 pm

        “The Europeans/USians achieved a near perfect genocide and oppression and marginalization of the survivors.”

        Near perfect genocide and maginalization, correct. But they couldn’t achieve a “White Anglosaxon Christian” State like the two others, in their respective terms. And they ended up giving equal rights to all citizens.

  12. mcohen
    March 15, 2013, 9:11 pm

    well that is basically the crux of the matter.to the victor goes the spoils,at least the jews have history on there side-check out those ancient coins with hebrew writing on them
    positively ancient-see the history -take the trip into the past to see the future
    left wing hypocrites lol

    • Shegetz
      March 16, 2013, 9:16 am

      take the trip into the past to see the future

      You mean a small, arrogant, warmongering nation that lives by the sword shall die by it and have its population scattered across the globe, sidestepping extinction by a hairsbreadth?

      Yeah, I can see that.

      Perhaps if you were a better student of history, you’d not rush in so enthusiastically to repeat it.

    • Citizen
      March 16, 2013, 9:51 am

      @ mcohen
      So, you view the principles of international law implemented at the Nuremberg Trials (and Tokyo Trials), and further elaborated on by Geneva, etc–were, and still are nothing but examples of “to the victor goes the spoils”? Since 1945, is what you see nothing but the victors grabbing all the spoils from the vanquished at every turn?

      • Citizen
        March 16, 2013, 10:17 am

        Wars of aggression and crimes against humanity were condemned at Nuremberg, using application of ex-post facto law. Unlike Germany and its defendants at Nuremberg, neither Israel nor the USA can say these laws do not exist after Nuremberg and Geneva. They exist. As does full due process. We have the World Court. The form of the international rule of law exists, and nobody or entity can justify its conduct by pointing to 19th century conduct, or indeed any conduct prior to Nuremberg. But, as a practical matter, so far, no big guys from the big powers or from Israel astride Uncle Sam, have been brought to accountability since Nuremberg. This suggests the extent to which (military but also economic) might still makes right, as Goering had it. And why bother with a blatant war of aggression, when you can mask it as a war of prevention or preemption?

    • Woody Tanaka
      March 16, 2013, 10:25 am

      Well, simply because there were Hebrew speakers in the past does not give Hebrew speakers of today any right (moral, historical or otherwise) to the land.

      And the “to the victor goes the spoils” line is interesting, as it, once again, shows that if you scratch a zionist, you’ll uncover an apologist for the Holocaust. Because what you are saying is that the “losers” have no rights which the victor must respect. It’s simple “might makes right” because otherwise the victor would not be entitled to “the spoils.” And, if that’s the case, if the loser has no rights, then when the Nazis conquered Poland and Western USSR, they were entitled to the “spoils” which included, in their minds, the right to dispose of the lives of the people there, as they wished.

      So, which is it? Do “the spoils” go to the victor and thus you justify the Holocaust, or do perhaps even conquered peoples retain rights to lives property and human rights that military defeat cannot end?

    • MK_Ultra
      March 16, 2013, 7:54 pm

      The jews have history on ‘there’ side because ofthose ancient coins with hebrew writing on them which makes them positively ancient? ~palm to forehead~ You couldn’t be more incoherent and inarticulate if you tried.

  13. yourstruly
    March 15, 2013, 11:58 pm

    pending?

    age of love?

    justice for palestine?

    hallelujah, amen?

  14. yourstruly
    March 16, 2013, 12:13 am

    at this moment in history

    with the whole wide world

    in our hands

    hold on everyone

    & never let go

    • yourstruly
      March 16, 2013, 12:31 am

      that very moment?

      building a just & peaceful world?

      what was it like?

      like a dream come true?

      • yourstruly
        March 16, 2013, 1:25 am

        with the you are i, i am you, we are one?

        spirit of change?

    • Annie Robbins
      March 16, 2013, 12:51 am

      thank you yourstruly

  15. Qualtrough
    March 16, 2013, 12:44 am

    The day that the US government denies native Americans rights available to other Americans based solely on their ethnicity is the day that I will see any equivalence of this story to the plight of the Palestinian people.

    • Abdul-Rahman
      March 16, 2013, 7:55 am

      I agree with the general point you made. However, I would also note for example UN investigations have noted the appalling treatment many Native Americans still receive (and for example see the widespread corruption within the “Bureau of Indian Affairs”, often to the continuing detriment of Native Americans, that groups like the American Indian Movement aka AIM spoke so strongly about). On the United Nations angle, Mr. James Anaya, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples has written and delivered some very important information link to unsr.jamesanaya.org

      On another topic, Mr. Anaya has also written important reports on the situation and injustices being imposed on the Bedouin in the Negev desert currently link to scribd.com and link to mondediplo.com

      But as for the overall point of your comment in regards to the US today I agree, with the side note of the plight Native Americans still face despite officially being completely equal under the law (similar situations can be noted in regards to African-Americans, Latinos, etc. in the US today as well).

    • OlegR
      March 16, 2013, 8:51 am

      That’s a neat trick Qualtrough
      first you take everything from a people and than you write on a piece of paper
      that they have rights like everybody else, therefore everything is ok.

  16. dbroncos
    March 16, 2013, 1:41 am

    Simon Moya-Smith’s critique is a familiar one to most Americans and I doubt if there are many who who would dispute his premise: Native Americans are victims. My question is what does he want?

    • James Canning
      March 16, 2013, 4:41 pm

      dbroncos – – If a person is one-eighth “native-American”, is that person a bit silly railing against the injury inflicted by the greater part of his or her own ancestry?

      • Hostage
        March 17, 2013, 2:22 pm

        dbroncos – – If a person is one-eighth “native-American”, is that person a bit silly railing against the injury inflicted by the greater part of his or her own ancestry?

        Yes of course. White citizens can leave their estates or establish trusts for their descendants without worrying about that sort of nonsense. No one would suggest that art work or property stolen by the Nazis should not be restored to the legal heirs, just because they happen to be one-eighth Jewish.

        In Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward – 17 U.S. 518 (1819) the Supreme Court recognized that the the law protected joint ownership rights through simple contracts or corporations and that they were the same as those held by natural persons. But the US government and the states adopted laws that deliberately tended to destroy any jointly owned or held rights of Native American tribes.

        It was the US government that introduced the idea of blood quantum laws to establish membership in tribes. That was done in order to separate otherwise lawful heirs from any tribal inheritance.

        The only real question is: Does the US Department of Interior have a better claim to the billions of dollars in proceeds from land stolen under color of law, or the persons who would have otherwise been considered the legal heirs?

      • James Canning
        March 17, 2013, 7:49 pm

        Hostage – – Do you regard Sir Winston Churchill as a “native-American”? His mother, Lady Randolph churchill, was one-eighth Iroquois.

        If a person has three white grandparents, and one black grandparent, is that person a black in your view?

      • Hostage
        March 26, 2013, 3:20 pm

        Hostage – – Do you regard Sir Winston Churchill as a “native-American”? His mother, Lady Randolph churchill, was one-eighth Iroquois.

        It depends, it’s not up to me. It’s up to the tribe in question. I provided a link in one of my earlier comments which explained that the Iroquois League has the power to grant citzenship to new members and to admit new member nations to their Confederacy. In the case of federal benefits programs, the law still allows the use of blood quantum criteria. link to iroquoismuseum.org

  17. OlegR
    March 16, 2013, 8:53 am

    I really enjoy this post Phillip.
    The confusion, the revealed hypocrisy in some …
    The suddenly found complexity of the situation (willfully ignored in the other case).

  18. OlegR
    March 16, 2013, 8:57 am

    Btw what happened to mooser ?
    I suddenly noticed that his usual background noise is absent…

  19. James Canning
    March 16, 2013, 4:39 pm

    Is it worth noting, that many American “Indians” or “native Americans” have only a small portion of “native-American” blood?
    Was Winston Churchill a “native-American”? According to some tribal standards, indeed he was.

    • Hostage
      March 17, 2013, 2:32 pm

      Is it worth noting, that many American “Indians” or “native Americans” have only a small portion of “native-American” blood? Was Winston Churchill a “native-American”? According to some tribal standards, indeed he was.

      Once again, the idea of blood quantum laws was to evict rightful heirs from jointly held tribal lands and sever their rights to any proceeds from its use. So it isn’t a question of Churchill disposing of the tribal property. Its a question of him being able to reside there if necessary, or enjoying a minor share of the misappropriated rights of usufruct.

      • James Canning
        March 17, 2013, 7:52 pm

        Hostage – – Do you think it would have been appropriate, for Sir Winston Churchill’s mother to complain about the treatment of “her people” at the hands of the whites? She had an Iroquois great-grandparent.

      • Hostage
        March 26, 2013, 3:00 pm

        Hostage – – Do you think it would have been appropriate, for Sir Winston Churchill’s mother to complain about the treatment of “her people” at the hands of the whites? She had an Iroquois great-grandparent.

        Why on Earth not? The Iroquois had their own League of Nations during the European Middle Ages. Their nations could naturalize new citizens. Their Confederacy didn’t just conquer other nations. It could also admit them to membership, like the Tuscaroras. Many historians claim that the plan of the US Constitution was deliberately modeled on features of the Iroquois League. link to uh.edu

        The Federal government has already paid millions of dollars in claims for its failure to enforce its revolutionary war era treaties with the Iroquois League. Parts of the modern day states of New York and Pennsylvania represent land that was ethnically cleansed and stolen from the League by the local white colonists. — link to geographyplanning.buffalostate.edu

        Compare that situation to some of Churchill’s American cousins. According to genealogists Winston Churchill and FDR were seventh cousins once removed. link to usembassy.org.uk

        Klaes Maartenszen van Rosenvelt, was a Dutch colonist who bought a forty acre farm in Nieuw Amsterdam. It was situated in the same area occupied by Midtown Manhatten and the Empire State building today. He and his descendants also acquired vast tracts of land to the north of Manhatten in the Hudson Valley. No one questions the right of his heirs or assignees to inherit their patriarch’s real estate and other holdings and pass them down in-turn to their sucessors in interest – including FDR.

        If the descendants of Dutch men can pass down lands and properties for eight generations, spanning more than two hundred years, then I see no reason that the descendants of the Iroquois shouldn’t have a similar equitable and legal right to quiet enjoyment of their possessions and property too.

        So the only real question would be whether or not Churchill’s people had been wrongfully deprived of their lives or property without due process of the law. Our own government has answered that question in the affirmative.

      • James Canning
        March 29, 2013, 4:49 pm

        Hostage – – Sir Winston’s American ancestors were primarily those who gained from the dispossession of the Iroquois, rather than those who were injured by that dispossession.

      • Hostage
        March 31, 2013, 2:20 pm

        Hostage – – Sir Winston’s American ancestors were primarily those who gained from the dispossession of the Iroquois, rather than those who were injured by that dispossession.

        You asked a question about his mother and I gave you a straight answer. It’s not unusual for people to personally know one of their great grandparents. Anyone who suggests that a descendant needs a certain blood quantum to complain about the human rights abuses perpetrated against their own great grandparents is peddling racist nonsense.

      • James Canning
        March 31, 2013, 5:06 pm

        Hostage – – I was more interested in the angle that people with only a tiny portion of Indian blood, argue they should have hereditary rights conferred on them that are not available to most Americans. Hardly “racitst nonsense”.

      • Hostage
        April 1, 2013, 1:11 am

        I was more interested in the angle that people with only a tiny portion of Indian blood, argue they should have hereditary rights conferred on them that are not available to most Americans. Hardly “racitst nonsense”.

        Of course it’s racist nonsense. That rule does NOT apply to a blood relative in the direct line of descent of a “white citizen”. No one can challenge the hereditary right of a Rockefeller, Roosevelt, or other white descendant to establish or maintain their own family trusts, cooperative business associations, & etc. on the basis of inter-marriage. You either are, or are not, a blood relative of your great grandparents. Full stop.

        Why on Earth are so-called “tribal rights” deprecated by white people and treated under a different legal standard? In Trustees of Dartmouth College v. Woodward – 17 U.S. 518 (1819) the Supreme Court recognized that the law protected joint ownership rights through simple contracts or corporations and that they were the same as those held by natural persons. But the US government and the states adopted laws that deliberately tended to destroy any basis of joint ownership rights in the case of Native American peoples by employing legal tests involving blood quantums or inter-marriage.

        That practice should be illegal, unless the same tests apply to white persons. See 42 USC § 1982 – Property rights of citizens:

        All citizens of the United States shall have the same right, in every State and Territory, as is enjoyed by white citizens thereof to inherit, purchase, lease, sell, hold, and convey real and personal property.

        link to law.cornell.edu

  20. MK_Ultra
    March 16, 2013, 7:51 pm

    “We have to sit back and have people tell us what we should be offended by. And what I’m offended by is America.”

    Hear, hear…you’re not the only one noble warrior.

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