Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Genocide, ecocide, suicide driving Indian Country to the brink

The emergence of warrior societies led by veterans of the Gulf Wars, Afghanistan, and Kosovo has unified young people in North America's tribal regions. Movements are growing from the Mohawk Nation in Quebec and New York to the Lakota strongholds in South Dakota, among the descendants of the Arapaho in the Mountain West, south to the Navajo Nation and into the border regions of the Tohono O'odham.

In the US, where sovereignty rights, culture and language resurgence and growing capital resources from burgeoning black markets are building alternatives to hopelessness, suicide, and repression in Indian Country, deaths from firearm violence are higher than in any ethnic group.

North and South Dakota are in the cross hairs.
The company building the Dakota Access pipeline said Monday that the project remains on track to start moving oil this week despite recent "coordinated physical attacks" along the line. [Bismarck Tribune]
Attorney General Eric Holder was in South Dakota July, 2011 to keep the smoldering cold war with aboriginals from a flash point. Mary Garrigan provided readers of the Rapid City Journal with background:
Thirty U.S. attorneys from around the country, including U.S. Attorney Brendan V. Johnson of South Dakota, will be in Rapid City to participate in the joint Native American Issues Subcommittee and the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee meeting.
From Al Jazeera English:
In recent years in particular, Canada's indigenous communities have shown the will and potential to grind the country's economic lifelines to a halt through strategically placed blockades on the major highways and rail lines that run through native reserves well outside of Canada's urban landscape. There are more than 800 outstanding native land claims held against the Canadian government. And in many First Nations communities there is deep crisis, with poverty, unemployment and overcrowding the norm. According to figures from the Assembly of First Nations, more than 118 First Nations lack safe drinking water and some 5,500 houses do not have sewage systems. Almost one half of homes on native reserves are in need of "major repairs", compared with 7 per cent of non-native homes. Natives suffer a violent crime rate that is more than 300 times higher than Canada's non-native population, while natives represent 18.5 per cent of the male prison population and one-quarter of the female population, although natives only constitute 4 per cent of the total population.
Even as the Trump White House threatens funding for programs on public radio, especially those designed for Native audiences, producers bring the war on tribes to the air waves every day and people are frustrated, angry and increasingly militant.

Of course, the South Dakota Democratic Party should urge President Trump to dissolve the Black Hills National Forest, move management of the land from the US Department of Agriculture into the Department of Interior; and, in cooperation with Bureau of Indian Affairs Division of Forestry and Wildfire Management, rename it Okawita Paha or He Sapa National Monument eventually becoming part of the Greater Missouri Basin National Wildlife Refuge. Mato Paha (Bear Butte), the associated national grasslands and the Sioux Ranger District of the Custer/Gallatin National Forest should be included in the move.

While the Palestinian homeland looks like holes in the slice of Swiss cheese analogous to the illegal Israeli state, progress toward resolutions of Native trust disputes would have far more political traction after tribes secede from the States in which they reside and then be ratified to form one State, the 51st, sans contiguous borders with two Senators and two House members.

Tribal nations have been terrorized by genocide and ecocide for over three hundred years in the US. Why should they just lay over and take it?

Rewild the West.

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