Boston, Massachusetts, US
The Effect of Settler Colonialism on Native Americans
What do we do today, to better understand the experience of Native Americans in this nation? I don’t know, A history of cultural genocide starting from 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia. The story of Native Peoples in America is written in blood, and there is so much to understand. From being used as product placement, having their land stolen mile by mile, having their own children separated from their families without a valid reason, and having their voices stolen. You have to start somewhere but where in these long lines of tragedy do you begin? I think the people who made Dawnland started in a great place. They started with the natives who are with us now. They started with the people who were separated from their parents. When dealing with the “twistory” of native Americans I don’t think there is a good way to change the minds of those who grew up with sports teams like the “Redskins”. I have seen people in this country who think slavery was for 5 years and no one died. I’m sad to say the people who think that are a lost cause. We should focus teaching the people who will listen, children. If we teach them about the “twistory” today they will know how to change it tomorrow, just like what Ms. Freeman is doing with us in Facing History. We need to apologize to these people for what happened to them. Even though you or me didn’t do anything to these people we profit off of their suffering. We live on their land, we grow food on their soil, and we drink their water. One day I was watching a 60 Minutes episode about the descendants of slaves and the descendants of slave masters. The descendants of the slave masters apologized. They didn’t do anything wrong, but they acknowledged they had profited off of slavery. I think America should do the same. A body like Congress should sign a formal apology to all Native Americans. It should recognize what past Americans did, otherwise they are just ignoring what sins past Americans committed. Similar to what the Secretary of the State in Maine did, but extend it to the national level. We can address the fact that Native peoples were murdered for who they are, by shouting that message and comparing it to something people understand. I know it is wrong to compare genocides, but the Holoclaust is something most people understand. (Of course there are the people who don’t believe in it but sadly they too are a lost cause.) If we were to say Hilter is to the Jews as America is to Native Americans, people be more inclined to listen, it is not a guaranteed listen. People made the same comparisons about the concentration camps and children being held in cages at the border, yet nothing was done. I think there is one concrete action can we take to move forward and build a nation with Native peoples, facing them head on. I know in black communities police officers visit schools to bond with black children at a young age, but then these children see George Floyd pinned to the ground, and now the police are back at square one because they have just again lost the trust of the children. A similar thing is happening to Natives today, the little land they have left is being pinned down and suffocated by pipelines and the Natives are being shot for peaceful protest, their voices are not being heard and they are not being seen. Not only hearing Natives, but undeniably listening to them is a great place to start. Like Roots was a spark for people in 1970s America, Dawnland and Dear Georgina can be the pieces of media that spark a conversation between Natives Americans and people who don’t understand their history.