When addressing justice for American Indians the subject is often sensitive and at times things can get very controversial. No matter the results, eventually we all deal with it and move on.
Serving the Nations. Celebrating the People.
We went to a tribal member who spent years patronizing Whiteclay’s beer stores, but has now sobered up and turned his life around. He asked to remain anonymous, for fear of retribution.
Last month’s racially motivated killings in Oklahoma, perpetrated by Cherokee Indian Jake England and his white roommate against members of North Tulsa’s black community, once again bring to light the prejudicial tendencies held by many in our Indian communities.
White privilege in America first stood for wealth advantage, the provenance of white men, no matter how amassed, deserved, shared or inbred. Among its prominent symbols are oil baron J.D. Rockefeller, Monopoly guy with a fistful of cash, television’s The Millionaire, film’s Gordon (“Greed is good”) Gekko and cartoonish tycoon Donald Trump.
n front of a crowd of more than 100 peers, professors and community members, two University of Denver Greek Life representatives apologized to the members of the Native Student Alliance for a February 25 Cowboys-and-Indians theme party where students dressed in faux Native garb.
Some things in this life are entirely unacceptable. Yet offending the American Indian community does not appear to be among them.
Case in point: Last month, two University of Denver Greek Life chapters, Lambda Chi Alpha and Delta Delta Delta, hosted a cowboys and Indians theme party where students donned loincloth-like miniskirts, painted faces, phony-feathered headdresses, and faux buskin bedizens.
It seems that we all can be lost on what a “call to action” really entails. As a society, we are pulled in various directions, the amount of information which we choose to consume or ignore is limitless, and often the decisions we make can cause a stir on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. While reading Gyasi Ross’s column featured on Race-Talk and reposted on IndianCountryTodayMediaNetwork.com regarding Trayvon Martin, I could not help but think of the rapid reactions and waves of emotion that flow over all of us in times of despair, frustration and rage. Unfortunately, calling for action in Gyasi’s case left me quite confused as to the motives or direction of his message. He wrote:
“It wasn’t your son that was murdered simply because he happened to be wearing black skin when he was walking from the store. Maybe you don’t even have a son; furthermore, statistically, chances are that if you do have a son, your son probably doesn’t have black skin. Therefore, it is simply impossible for your son to be in this situation.”
This column originally appeared on Race-Talk.org.
This goes beyond skin color or politics. This is about the joys of life, and the notion that all of us should have unfettered access to those joys as long as we are not harming anyone else.
No, he wasn’t your son.
“If a phantom has at some time traveled this earth, it is racism. I understand this as a phenomenon that is supported by the belief of superiority in the face of difference, in the belief that one’s own culture possesses values superior to those of other cultures. It has not been stated often enough that racism has historically been a banner to justify the enterprises of expansion, conquest, colonization and domination and has walked hand in hand with intolerance, injustice and violence.” – Rigoberta Menchu Tum, Guatemalan Indigenous Leader and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, at the Sixth Lascasianas Symposium in Mexico, 1996.
Rigoberta Menchu Tum’s eloquent words on the history and ongoing effects of racism resonant each year on March 21, the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.