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Sorry (politics)  andre cramblit
 Mar 03, 2008 11:14 PST 

susan greene | columnist

A sorry attempt at apology
By Susan GreeneDenver Post Columnist
Article Last Updated: 02/26/2008 11:46:38 PM MST


Shannon Francis never sought an apology from a country that yanked her
mom and grandma off their reservations, forced them into white foster
families and barred them from speaking their native Hopi and Navajo
languages.

So the Denver resident was unaware Tuesday that her government had
decided to say, "Sorry."
"I had no clue it was coming," the 38-year-old mother of six said with
a shrug. "So much for making history."

Like Francis, you probably missed it when the U.S. Senate quietly
apologized for centuries of "violence, maltreatment and neglect
inflicted on Native Peoples."

The unprecedented resolution acknowledges that the government forced
indigenous people off their land, stole their assets and was responsible
for "official depredations, ill-conceived policies and the breaking of
covenants" with tribes.

When Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized two weeks ago for
policies that degraded that country's Aborigines, he blared his
pronouncement live on giant screens throughout Australia.
U.S. senators instead buried their "Oops, our bad" in an amendment to a
bill for American Indian health care.

Well, that certainly makes up for the Sand Creek Massacre and Wounded
Knee.

So much for healing generations.

"White America can't afford to apologize too seriously because it would
threaten their ownership of Indian land," said Iliff School of Theology
Indian cultures professor Tink Tinker.
Tuesday's resolution came at the urging of Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.,
who reports a "deep resentment" among Native Americans in his state.

His colleagues aren't so big on apologies. Congress hadn't formally
said "sorry" since apologizing to Native Hawaiians in 1993 for
overthrowing their kingdom a century earlier. In 1988, lawmakers
apologized and compensated Japanese-Americans interned in World War II
detention camps.
Brownback's resolution does not authorize or settle any claim against
the United States.

"We have a government that took our land and our children and
physically and emotionally abused them and forced them to assimilate
into something that they're not," said Francis, an accounting consultant
by trade and a longtime activist for American Indian causes. "We - I -
live with the pain of that every day. And for this they issue a bunch of
words, empty like their treaties, that mean nothing and nobody hears."
Who is the apology really for, Francis wonders?

Is it for her mother, grandmother and aunties who spent lifetimes
trying to forget the federal boarding schools that sought to strip away
their culture?

For her brother, plagued like their father and grandfather by poverty
and alcoholism?
For her son, who failed a 7th-grade history test when he refused to
check the box saying Christopher Columbus discovered America?

Or for Francis herself, who overcame years of shame about her dark skin
and accent to learn the ways of her ancestors that her own family had
failed to pass on: to honor her kids, hug them and root them deeply in
their heritage?

"If our people had been left alone, maybe things would have been
different," she said.

As Francis sees it, Tuesday's resolution does little to fix a sad
sequence of abuses that still is far from over.

"We don't need any more hollow words," she says. "What I want is for
the country to be honest, really honest, about what it has done and what
it continues doing to our people."
Susan Greene writes twice weekly. Reach her at 303-954-1989 or


"NITAs mission is to promote justice through effective and ethical
advocacy by training and mentoring lawyers to be competent and ethical
advocates in pursuit of justice."

For anyone who like to read the text, here it is:

S.1200

Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments of 2008 (Engrossed as
Agreed to or Passed by Senate)




SEC. 301. RESOLUTION OF APOLOGY TO NATIVE PEOPLES OF UNITED STATES.

(a) Findings- Congress finds that--


(1) the ancestors of today's Native Peoples inhabited the land of the
present-day United States since time immemorial and for thousands of
years before the arrival of people of European descent;


(2) for millennia, Native Peoples have honored, protected, and
stewarded this land we cherish;


(3) Native Peoples are spiritual people with a deep and abiding belief
in the Creator, and for millennia Native Peoples have maintained a
powerful spiritual connection to this land, as evidenced by their
customs and legends;


(4) the arrival of Europeans in North America opened a new chapter in
the history of Native Peoples;


(5) while establishment of permanent European settlements in North
America did stir conflict with nearby Indian tribes, peaceful and
mutually beneficial interactions also took place;


(6) the foundational English settlements in Jamestown, Virginia, and
Plymouth, Massachusetts, owed their survival in large measure to the
compassion and aid of Native Peoples in the vicinities of the
settlements;


(7) in the infancy of the United States, the founders of the Republic
expressed their desire for a just relationship with the Indian tribes,
as evidenced by the Northwest Ordinance enacted by Congress in 1787,
which begins with the phrase, `The utmost good faith shall always be
observed toward the Indians';


(8) Indian tribes provided great assistance to the fledgling Republic
as it strengthened and grew, including invaluable help to Meriwether
Lewis and William Clark on their epic journey from St. Louis, Missouri,
to the Pacific Coast;


(9) Native Peoples and non-Native settlers engaged in numerous armed
conflicts in which unfortunately, both took innocent lives, including
those of women and children;


(10) the Federal Government violated many of the treaties ratified by
Congress and other diplomatic agreements with Indian tribes;


(11) the United States forced Indian tribes and their citizens to move
away from their traditional homelands and onto federally established and
controlled reservations, in accordance with such Acts as the Act of May
28, 1830 (4 Stat. 411, chapter 148) (commonly known as the `Indian
Removal Act');


(12) many Native Peoples suffered and perished--



(A) during the execution of the official Federal Government policy of
forced removal, including the infamous Trail of Tears and Long Walk;



(B) during bloody armed confrontations and massacres, such as the Sand
Creek Massacre in 1864 and the Wounded Knee Massacre in 1890; and



(C) on numerous Indian reservations;


(13) the Federal Government condemned the traditions, beliefs, and
customs of Native Peoples and endeavored to assimilate them by such
policies as the redistribution of land under the Act of February 8, 1887
(25 U.S.C. 331; 24 Stat. 388, chapter 119) (commonly known as the
`General Allotment Act'), and the forcible removal of Native children
from their families to faraway boarding schools where their Native
practices and languages were degraded and forbidden;


(14) officials of the Federal Government and private United States
citizens harmed Native Peoples by the unlawful acquisition of recognized
tribal land and the theft of tribal resources and assets from recognized
tribal land;


(15) the policies of the Federal Government toward Indian tribes and
the breaking of covenants with Indian tribes have contributed to the
severe social ills and economic troubles in many Native communities
today;


(16) despite the wrongs committed against Native Peoples by the United
States, Native Peoples have remained committed to the protection of this
great land, as evidenced by the fact that, on a per capita basis, more
Native Peoples have served in the United States Armed Forces and placed
themselves in harm's way in defense of the United States in every major
military conflict than any other ethnic group;


(17) Indian tribes have actively influenced the public life of the
United States by continued cooperation with Congress and the Department
of the Interior, through the involvement of Native individuals in
official Federal Government positions, and by leadership of their own
sovereign Indian tribes;


(18) Indian tribes are resilient and determined to preserve, develop,
and transmit to future generations their unique cultural identities;


(19) the National Museum of the American Indian was established within
the Smithsonian Institution as a living memorial to Native Peoples and
their traditions; and


(20) Native Peoples are endowed by their Creator with certain
unalienable rights, and among those are life, liberty, and the pursuit
of happiness.

(b) Acknowledgment and Apology- The United States, acting through
Congress--


(1) recognizes the special legal and political relationship Indian
tribes have with the United States and the solemn covenant with the land
we share;


(2) commends and honors Native Peoples for the thousands of years that
they have stewarded and protected this land;


(3) recognizes that there have been years of official depredations,
ill-conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the Federal
Government regarding Indian tribes;


(4) apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all
Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and
neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States;


(5) expresses its regret for the ramifications of former wrongs and its
commitment to build on the positive relationships of the past and
present to move toward a brighter future where all the people of this
land live reconciled as brothers and sisters, and harmoniously steward
and protect this land together;


(6) urges the President to acknowledge the wrongs of the United States
against Indian tribes in the history of the United States in order to
bring healing to this land; and


(7) commends the State governments that have begun reconciliation
efforts with recognized Indian tribes located in their boundaries and
encourages all State governments similarly to work toward reconciling
relationships with Indian tribes within their boundaries.

(c) Disclaimer- Nothing in this section--


(1) authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or


(2) serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.
Passed the Senate February 26, 2008.
Attest:
Secretary.

110th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 1200

AN ACT
To amend the Indian Health Care Improvement Act to revise and extend
that Act.


y Larance; John BakerCc: Jennifer LongSubject: Article in today's
Denver Post



This appeared in today's Denver Post and I thouhgt you might find it
interesting.

Mark


susan greene | columnist

A sorry attempt at apology
By Susan GreeneDenver Post Columnist
Article Last Updated: 02/26/2008 11:46:38 PM MST


Shannon Francis never sought an apology from a country that yanked her
mom and grandma off their reservations, forced them into white foster
families and barred them from speaking their native Hopi and Navajo
languages.

So the Denver resident was unaware Tuesday that her government had
decided to say, "Sorry."
"I had no clue it was coming," the 38-year-old mother of six said with
a shrug. "So much for making history."

Like Francis, you probably missed it when the U.S. Senate quietly
apologized for centuries of "violence, maltreatment and neglect
inflicted on Native Peoples."

The unprecedented resolution acknowledges that the government forced
indigenous people off their land, stole their assets and was responsible
for "official depredations, ill-conceived policies and the breaking of
covenants" with tribes.

When Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd apologized two weeks ago for
policies that degraded that country's Aborigines, he blared his
pronouncement live on giant screens throughout Australia.
U.S. senators instead buried their "Oops, our bad" in an amendment to a
bill for American Indian health care.

Well, that certainly makes up for the Sand Creek Massacre and Wounded
Knee.

So much for healing generations.

"White America can't afford to apologize too seriously because it would
threaten their ownership of Indian land," said Iliff School of Theology
Indian cultures professor Tink Tinker.
Tuesday's resolution came at the urging of Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan.,
who reports a "deep resentment" among Native Americans in his state.

His colleagues aren't so big on apologies. Congress hadn't formally
said "sorry" since apologizing to Native Hawaiians in 1993 for
overthrowing their kingdom a century earlier. In 1988, lawmakers
apologized and compensated Japanese-Americans interned in World War II
detention camps.
Brownback's resolution does not authorize or settle any claim against
the United States.

"We have a government that took our land and our children and
physically and emotionally abused them and forced them to assimilate
into something that they're not," said Francis, an accounting consultant
by trade and a longtime activist for American Indian causes. "We I live
with the pain of that every day. And for this they issue a bunch of
words, empty like their treaties, that mean nothing and nobody hears."
Who is the apology really for, Francis wonders?

Is it for her mother, grandmother and aunties who spent lifetimes
trying to forget the federal boarding schools that sought to strip away
their culture?

For her brother, plagued like their father and grandfather by poverty
and alcoholism?
For her son, who failed a 7th-grade history test when he refused to
check the box saying Christopher Columbus discovered America?

Or for Francis herself, who overcame years of shame about her dark skin
and accent to learn the ways of her ancestors that her own family had
failed to pass on: to honor her kids, hug them and root them deeply in
their heritage?

"If our people had been left alone, maybe things would have been
different," she said.

As Francis sees it, Tuesday's resolution does little to fix a sad
sequence of abuses that still is far from over.

"We don't need any more hollow words," she says. "What I want is for
the country to be honest, really honest, about what it has done and what
it continues doing to our people."
Susan Greene writes twice weekly. Reach her at 303-954-1989 or
gre-@denverpost.com.
Mark S. Caldwell, Esq. Director of Specialty ProgramsNational Institute
for Trial Advocacy 361 Centennial Parkway, Ste 220 Louisville, CO
80027-1281 Direct Denver: 303.755.7504
Direct Louisville: 303.953.6804Fax Denver: 303.368.4281
Fax Louisville: 720.890.7069 Email: stratman-@yahoo.com


"NITAs mission is to promote justice through effective and ethical
advocacy by training and mentoring lawyers to be competent and ethical
advocates in pursuit of justice."


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