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"Solidarity with indigenous peoples today is not just a moral question of righting the wrongs that our ancestors did and that our governments continue to do. Nor is it just a strategic question of recognizing that indigenous peoples around the world are at the forefront of the battles to protect the earth from further destruction from industrialization. It is also the fact that some indigenous peoples have memory of the knowledge we need to survive in a world in harmony with nature and with one another."
"It is no accident that, in an historic period in which we need some new solutions to the problems which modernization has created, the courageous warriors who survived the genocide of colonialism — whether the outright slaughter, the disease, the small reservations, or the theft of their land, their children, their language, and their culture — are now coming to the fore and providing leadership and wisdom for the struggles ahead."
The author then quotes an article written by Evon Peter, former chief of the Neetsaii Gwich'in from Arctic Village in northwest Alaska and Executive Director of Native Movement. While the article was written by an American about America, circumstances are precisely the same in Canada.
"There is only one path that I see for America to truly become a land of life, liberty and justice for all. That path is to heal itself through an uncompromisingly honest acknowledgment and thorough addressing of its atrocities and lies. Without this, our country will continue to act out of ignorance, fear, greed and an obsessive need to forcefully control human lives, both domestically and internationally."
"Humanity has experienced time and again how a history rooted in dysfunction and unsustainability feeds the fire of self-destruction. As sure as the Roman Empire collapsed and a drug addict smiles as his last dose ushers him to death, the United States will continue to blindly and, in some cases, consciously inflict suffering at home and abroad if it does not acknowledge and address the truth of its past and current actions."
"There is a path that can free us from this cycle and help to transform the world. It is not an easy path, but it is necessary if we hope to prevent the loss of millions of human lives. We have the resources, knowledge, technology and time to make a transition, but the question is: Do we have the courage and the will to face truth and act from a place of humility, patience, compassion and conscience? How successful do you think Jesus, Muhammad or Buddha would have been in sharing their teachings with a tainted heart and a distraught, fearful mind?"
"We must begin by acknowledging and addressing the foundation upon which America was built – stolen land and the genocide of American Indians. The United States has never apologized to American Indian people for these violations. This country has demonized Hitler and erected Jewish holocaust museums, yet refuses to acknowledge its own acts of genocide."
"An apology or museum alone would not heal the wounded hearts and disempowered governments of indigenous peoples or the tainted heart of America. There is one great, critical lie that the U.S. government has effectively taught to Indigenous and non-indigenous Americans alike – that there is no way for the United States to honor its treaties with American Indians and pursue new treaties with those not yet afforded that opportunity, including Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian indigenous nations."
"This great lie is only as true as we Americans accept it to be. There were similar lies told in our country’s history to women deprived of a voice and to African slaves. In the case of abolishing slavery it took a radical shift in human consciousness, a courage and will to overcome, and a changing national economy, as well as a forced acceptance upon many Americans who were not ready for the positive evolution of our country. As painful and challenging as it may be for many Americans, we must begin our healing by dispelling this great lie and moving through a process of reconciliation with American Indian nations."
"Our inability to adequately address the many critical issues facing American people today are symptoms of a United States that harbors a tainted heart. Reconciling our relationship with American Indian nations is the first step to building a foundation upon which life, liberty and justice can be attained for all."
This article originally appeared on the Web at - Indian Country Today.
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