I’ve been doing a lot of reading and thinking about Native Americans.
What can’t be denied is the length and scope of the genocide. Since white people showed up, uninvited, on these shores, the people already living here have been persecuted and nearly exterminated.
It’s still happening today. It’s not the 7th Cavalry anymore, it’s corporations/industry in cahoots with local government (“jobs”). But nothing much has changed otherwise.
The only thing the Holocaust has over the USA is its speed. It took the U.S. a couple of centuries to kill millions of people – and we had help from Britain and Spain. But the mass murder really can’t be called by any other name.
Germany has at least acknowledged its past.
We still honor Columbus.
We still haven’t acknowledged the past or tried to make amends. We badly need to make amends, to atone.
So I started to think about how that could happen. It would have to be a slow process but here’s a for starters: like many states, mine auctions off public lands. Usually it is to oil and gas companies. So here’s my proposal – for every block of public land auctioned, half of that is donated back to the First Nations. Tax exempt, of course. Little by little, at least some land would come back to the descendents of the original owners.
The Feds could do this too, of course – and use its military pockets to buy sacred places like the Black Hills and give it back to the Great Sioux Nations. Tax exempt, of course. I think it would be fitting to have this money deducted from the United States Army budget.
Some 30% of Federal land has no paperwork associated with it – not even a broken treaty or two – which even the Supreme Court has agreed means it’s stolen. So that could be repatriated immediately. Tax exempt, of course.
For the rich people, an estate tax break could be offered if they repatriate land holdings. People with large ranches or farms usually have other property elsewhere so repatriation with a tax break helps to get land out of corporate or private hands and back to the people it really belongs to.
We could make Columbus Day a National Day of Remembrance.
And while we’re at it, we could begin to acknowledge that, since we all came out of Africa, there really isn’t such a thing as “race”. You’d have to call the differences between us “evolutionary strategies”. There is but one species of mammal with large frontal lobes and hideous destructive power and that is us: Homo sapiens.