Racial Disparities in Metro Transit Enforcement; Small Town, Bigger Trend; This Day in History: U.S. Apologizes to Native Americans (sort of)

A Dec. 17 Minnesota Public Radio story says Metro Transits’ own internal analysis of its law enforcement data “shows a range of racial disparities in how the agency enforces transit and other laws.”

The information came from an internal analysis by Metro Transit. According to the MPR story:

• Native American adults were 55 percent more likely to be cited than whites, rather than merely warned.

• Native American adults were almost twice as likely to be arrested than whites.

The analysis also found that for one of the most basic violations, a first-time accusation of not paying a full fare, blacks were 26 percent more likely to get a criminal charge than whites and Native Americans were more than twice as likely to get a criminal charge, in the form of a citation.

Small Town, Bigger Trend: Belfast Nixes Columbus Day

OK, I have to admit to blinking twice when I got a brief email with a link saying that Belfast axed Columbus Day. “Wow,” I thought, “I didn’t even know Ireland recognized Columbus Day, this is really something!” Then I read the story.  Turns out it was from the Bangor Daily News. It said the city council of Belfast, Maine, “voted this week at a regular meeting to do away with the name Columbus Day and to replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day, making the midcoast city the first municipality in the state to rename the holiday.”

So Belfast joins other cities around the country renaming Columbus Day. The trend continues. Click on the link above for details.

This Day in History: A Lame Apology

On this day in history, December 19, 2009, President Obama signed the 2010 Defense Appropriations Bill, containing what might be the lamest apology in recorded history. Buried on page of Section 8113 of the bill is the “Apology to Native Peoples of the United States.”

There was no media release, no public acknowledgement. Nothing. It is fairly brief, so we will copy the whole thing here.

Sec. 8113

(a) Acknowledgment and apology

The United States, acting through Congress—

(1) recognizes the special legal and political relationship Indian tribes have with the United States and the solemn covenant with the land we share;
(2) commends and honors Native Peoples for the thousands of years that they have stewarded and protected this land;
(3) recognizes that there have been years of official depredations, ill-conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes;
(4) apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States;
(5) expresses its regret for the ramifications of former wrongs and its commitment to build on the positive relationships of the past and present to move toward a brighter future where all the people of this land live reconciled as brothers and sisters, and harmoniously steward and protect this land together;
(6) urges the President to acknowledge the wrongs of the United States against Indian tribes in the history of the United States in order to bring healing to this land; and
(7) commends the State governments that have begun reconciliation efforts with recognized Indian tribes located in their boundaries and encourages all State governments similarly to work toward reconciling relationships with Indian tribes within their boundaries.

(b) Disclaimer

Nothing in this section—

(1) authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or
(2) serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.

So what do you think? Here is a piece from Indian Country Today in December 2011 commenting on this apology, titled: A Tree Fell in the Forest: The U.S. Apologized to Native Americans and No One Heard a Sound.


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