Skip to comments.Senate panel considers apology to American Indians
Posted on 05/25/2005 11:32:48 AM PDT by nypokerface
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. senator on Wednesday urged a Senate committee to pass a resolution apologizing on behalf of the United States to American Indians for centuries of massacres, broken promises and other injustices.
Indian leaders at the hearing said they would need more than an apology to overcome the poverty, substance abuse and health care problems that many of their people face.
The United States has never formally apologized for its treatment of the indigenous people who were living here before European settlement began.
Sen. Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican who is spearheading the apology resolution, told the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs it would be a first step toward healing deep wounds.
"Before reconciliation, there must be recognition and repentance," he said. "It begins the effort of reconciliation by recognizing past wrongs and repenting for them."
Brownback introduced a similar resolution in the last Congress. It was voted out of the committee but the full Senate never acted on it.
The closest the United States has come to a formal apology to Indians came in 2000 when an assistant secretary for Indian affairs apologized for the past conduct of his agency. He said policies of successive U.S. governments had "set out to destroy all things Indian" and left a "legacy of misdeeds that haunts us today."
Brownback's resolution says the United States must acknowledge "the broken treaties and many of the more ill-conceived federal policies that followed, such as extermination, termination, forced removal and relocation, the outlawing of traditional religions, and the destruction of sacred places."
The resolution apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all American Indians "for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on native peoples by citizens of the United States." It also asks forgiveness for massacres such as the 1864 Sand Creek Massacre in Colorado, where as many as 200 Indians were killed, and the Wounded Knee Massacre in South Dakota, where about 350 Indians died in 1890.
Indian leaders at the hearing said much more than an apology was needed to help deal with the many problems their communities are facing, including poverty, ill health and poor health care, alcoholism, drug addiction and unemployment.
"The president has proposed drastic budget cuts to many of the programs that are vital to the health and well-being of our people," said Tex Hall, president of the National Congress of American Indians.
Edward Thomas, president of the central council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian tribes of Alaska, said it was clear that some in the U.S. government were sorry about the treatment of Indians while others were not.
"An apology to us while ignoring the Third World conditions of so many of our people just doesn't seem genuine," he said.
Saying "Sorry" opens the gov't up to all sorts of lawsuits.
What is wrong with the GOP on the Hill? Have they gone batty? They are behaving in the oddest manner.
Like what? Charging $19.95 for the Roast Beef buffet in the casino?
Get over it already.
Well, an apology is all you will get from Sam Brownback. Give it a rest, Sam. Meanwhile, millions of illegal aliens from Mexico are enjoying the benefits needed on the rez.
I will always love playing cowboys and indians, and I am always a cowboy.
How many apologies are we going to have to give each year?
Oh say, like the attempt to massacre the Jamestown colony.
The thing is there are NO purebred American Indians. All are mixed. A tremendous number (in the tens of millions) of people in this country are part American Indian. Some are a "lot" and others are "some" and "a little".
Not likely any of them owes anybody any apologies, nor should their Congress-critters assume they can speak for them!
The way I read this is that the people still on the reservations are sitting down and negotiating some sort of deal with some white people who feel "white Liberal guilt".
That's a non-starter. The people on the reservations speak only for themselves, not for everybody affected, and they are a minority of the affected anyway.
Back in the day, my family had lots of cattle and ranch hands killed and hunted by non-Indigenous-to-the-region Indians that would operate as rustlers and poachers, not because they were "thrown off their lands," but because they were common theives and stealing was easier than ranching.
They could start there.
What have you done for the last 100 years to improve yourselves?
Why do you need foreign aid?
I am really confused here.
First step for long, drawn out litigation is an "apology".
Good thing we got that compromise on the filibuster so the Senate could get back to work! (sarcasm)
Unfortunately, the history of humankind is filled with brutality. Americans may have been more technologically adept at destruction than others, and we are not perfect. But I doubt there has been a nation in the history of the world which is as powerful AND as compassionate as the US has been.
If I'm wrong someone will certainly point it out.
Some would also say that the biggest genocide in American history is still going on every day, and has been since January 22, 1973.
There's judges still to fight over, the Bolton nomination fight (which is going on right now on C-SPAN2), terrorism, taxes, the energy bill, the ILLEGAL invasion and this mope is worried about a freaking apology to Sitting Bull.
I swear, we need a mandatory IQ test for ALL political candidates. They're all a step above simpletons.
(no offense to simpletons)
Right. There were battles on both sides of this issue here.
We won, but we are losing this country daily. So in reality what was it for?
Our ancestors fought bravely for freedom, now we let people sneak in and give valuable things like citizenship and Social Security benefits just for the asking.
In the end that particular bunch of Indians nearly withered away from Old World disease, alcohol, and internal warfare.
I want an apology for the crap the Senate has done this year and betrayed my vote. I am holding my breath now. ......Mmmmm......Mmmmmm....Whew.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.