The most crucial part of this process is education about Native history and struggles- and especially what the US has done to affect this history. The history we learned was very skewed, which I think contributes to the misinformation, and dehumanization surrounding Native peoples, so learning accurate history- not the watered down censored version we learn now- needs to happen. In the “Invasion of America” article, the author discusses the language that is used when speaking about Native history- most of which is inaccurate and harmful. Language like this, along with all the other false narratives we learn have to be changed.I think part of this should also be lifting up Native voices. There are hundreds of tribes across the US, and each has a deeply intricate culture, so it is important that we learn from them so that the education we receive is both accurate and respectful. The stories we learn about Native people can lead to a lot of stereotypes and misinformation, which is what makes people so okay with all the damaging imagery and language surrounding them, because that is what we were taught. Deconstructing this false narrative is essential to ending this damaging rhetoric. In this it is very important to teach what the US government has done to further the suffering of Native people. Another piece of the “Invasion of America” article that I found to be very interesting was how little we know about what the government actually did. The Trail of Tears is a recognizable name, and most people know about it- but that is not the only forced removal of Native peoples, and Wounded Knee was not the only massacre. We have been learning this past week about the genocide against Natives, and in all the 12 years of school I’ve done, this is the first to actually call it a genocide, and explain what really happened. To actually being to hold ourselves and our country accountable, we need to know what it has done, and the role that we continue to play in the oppression of Natives.
Though land is not enough to erase all the hurt that has been done to Native peoples, it is a crucial step in atoning for the wrongdoings of the past. The genocide of Natives was directly connected to the loss of their land, so it is only right that the first step in making amends is giving back the land that was forcibly taken from them.
Education is a large part of this answer too. Society inherently ostracizes Native people for their culture because of the lack of accurate history about them, so it is our responsibility as allies to educate ourselves and others to ensure that Natives don’t feel out of the place- especially given that it is a society they are forced to assimilate into. Culture is a vital part of identity, so respecting and learning about Native cultures is one way to be an ally.