For Indigenous Peoples, Is Full Participation in “We the People” Progress or Assimilation?

Native Leaders Offer Differing Critiques of the Doctrine of Discovery and Different Paths Forward

Steve Newcomb (Shawnee, Lenape) and Mark Charles (Navajo/Dutch) are both outspoken critics of the Doctrine of Discovery, an expression of Christian superiority and the forerunner to Manifest Destiny. Their critiques take them in different directions. Newcomb emphasizes that Native peoples and nations need to move toward a free, independent and sovereign existence, while Charles emphasizes moving toward indigenous equality in American society.

This clash of views came into focus after Charles made a TED Talk on the Doctrine of Discovery earlier this year and Newcomb criticized it in an editorial.

It should come as no surprise that indigenous leaders hold differing opinions. Yet as non-indigenous people look to follow indigenous leadership in truth telling and healing around dismantling the Doctrine of Discovery, such differing views create a challenge to understanding what it means to be an ally.

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A Lame Apology and Poems with a Punch

Mark Charles (Navajo) told me a while back about the lamest apology ever made, the one Congress made to Native Americans, the one buried in theĀ  2010 Defense Appropriations Bill.

Until recently I hadn’t heard about the poem that apology inspired.

Before getting to the poem, let’s take a couple of steps back to the beginning of the story: Senate Joint Resolution 14, proposed in the 111th Congress (2009). The resolution starts by acknowledging: “a long history of official depredations and ill-conceived policies by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes and offer an apology to all Native Peoples on behalf of the United States.” Continue reading

News Wrap: Indigenous Environmental Victories, A Native Perspective on Bombing ISIS, Native American Superheros in Comics, and More!

Below are summaries and links to recent news items about recent indigenous environmental victories, a Native perspective on bombing ISIS, a publisher who is breaking stereotypes and raising up Native American superheros, and a failed effort at a symbolic gesture to mend wounds in North Dakota. Continue reading

National Truth and Reconciliation Efforts Moving Forward

Truth Commission
From Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Several nations have used Truth and Reconciliation Commissions or similar processes to try to acknowledge and heal from the traumas colonial powers inflicted on Indigenous peoples. In the United States, such work is long overdue, both for Native Americans and other people of color.

An article published in Yes! Magazine this month discusses efforts to push Truth and Reconciliation forward at a national level. Continue reading