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article imageOp-Ed: Native Americans Finally More than Casinos

By William Charles Baker     Dec 9, 2010 in World
Finally some form of justice has come to the Native American who needs little further definition than being indigenous to the continent.
Finally some form of justice has come to the Native American who needs little further definition than being indigenous to the continent. Here when we arrived and now in the form of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, signed by President Barack Obama, provided some reparations for past transgressions. Previously ratified by the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, in spite of dire financial times the legislation was passed into law. Reparations can only go so far but a great nation should have more to look forward to than casinos.
There is one United States but within that unity are other nations. Some are based on culture the culture of ancestors that came from across the waters. But all came as the definition of immigrants who some would have us believe came from some land beyond our shores. Yet the Native Americans that were found here were only in the way of a colonial manifest destiny that still exists today. The American Indians were a nation of individual tribes, councils and structures that had all the elements of a civilized society regardless of European observations. A casino here and a casino there are not enough to hide the march from east coast to west coast in what must have seemed like an attempt to drive them into the Pacific Ocean. America owes our predecessors more than just casinos.
Visit an Indian reservation and look at the drug addiction, gang violence and loss of hope and validity as a nation within a nation that still would rather integrate all societies and cultures into their own. The naming of too many athletic franchises such as the Cleveland Indians with the red faced smiling Indian with feather sticking from a head band or other events with teepees and half time shows with full regalia of headdress and whooping war chants and you get the idea. These people were not barbarians but history would make you think so. History is the tool of the colonialist to justify the sacredness of land for future generations. They were here when others arrived from other continents and their contributions are depicted with bows and arrows and artifacts that have names but never seem to convey the depth of their contributions and the absence of honesty in so many Indian treaties.
A proud Indian nation that operates as a shadow of this greater empire where cigarettes and taxes seem to be more important than real reform and recognition that their heritage cannot be deprived regardless of casinos. A few more dollars but never a few less tears. These are my people too even though my classification would be as an African American. Intermarriage with runaway slaves and freed men often merged into the Indian nation and it grieves me to think of ancestors that can be seen in the features of my own family. Ancestors whose great culture was the real source and building block of this nation. That endured all the devastation of disease and superior military weaponry and techniques advanced by a colonial conqueror. Yet still remain in spite of small reparations like casinos.
Finally a president, under his own duress and political battles, signs a bill that outshines all the stereotypes. Debunks the old saying that nothing says I love you like money. Forces a recognition that an apology and money can go a longer way toward real love than casinos alone.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Native americans, Land settlement act, Obama, Casinos
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