To the Editor:
Friday, July 3, I stand in protest with the Oceti Sakowin Oyate (Seven Council Fires) Tribes of South Dakota:
Our current Federal Administration has not only dismissed, but has also demeaned Native American Indigenous People both through its targeted actions as well as silent inactions.
Last fall President Trump declared November 2019 as “National American History and Founding Fathers Month”. This, in a month that he also declared to be “National Native American Indian Heritage Month”. Neither American History nor the Founding Fathers have been kind or even fair to Native Americans. This declaration comes also in a month that sadly and ironically celebrates the mythologically hospitable First Thanksgiving - a feast held between the pilgrims at Plymouth Rock and the Wampanoag Tribe. The Wampanoags were nearly wiped out in the years prior and subsequent to this feast now held as an American family holiday.
Friday, July 3, I stand in protest with the Lakota-Dakota People as President Trump forges ahead with a campaign rally posing as a patriotic Fourth of July celebration within the Paha Sapha (aka Black Hills of South Dakota). In spite of meeting with Tribal leaders and citizens, and “listening” to their historical and spiritual reasons for rejecting the event in this land so dear to them, the rally will go on. It will take place beneath the once natural face of this Sacred Grandfather Mountain that has been desecrated by the carved faces of four U.S. presidents. These are presidents who carried a 16th century Popes’ decree of “The Doctrine of Discovery” into the U.S.’s “Manifest Destiny”, which religiously and lawfully supported centuries of genocide, land theft, broken treaties, kidnapping children for boarding schools, massacres labeled as battles, and a policy of attempted assimilation.
Friday, July 3, I stand in protest of this rally that will go on in spite of the risk of devastating inferno from the planned pyrotechnics, which have been banned for years in this sensitive natural area. Environmental concerns include blaze eruptions from unexploded fireworks debris and contamination of water supplies.
Friday, July 3, I stand in protest of this rally that will go on in spite of the risk that thousands of participants may be exposed to Covid 19 as masks and social distancing remain “optional”. The infection and hospitalization rates from the virus are drastically increasing in many of our states, once again overburdening hospital ICU beds and staff. This viral illness is especially devastating to Native Indigenous people as has occurred in the west and southwest.
Friday, July 3, I stand in protest with the Lakota/Dakota People.
But what does this have to do with us here in Newaygo County? It has to do with the land we non-native people now walk and live on and the Native Indigenous people who still live here now, all too often invisible and unheard; it has to do with national policy, national health, national precedence and the messages that our leaders provide as national guidance.
Friday, July 3, I stand in protest. Yet I know I must also kneel in deference to all Native American Indigenous People for the centuries of historical wrongs and the continued imbalance of power and privilege imposed upon them, as displayed and exampled by this July 3rd debacle.
I think I have learned a new definition of “Blind Justice”.
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