Opinion

Elicia Goodsoldier: United States must acknowledge its holocaust






A grave marker for a student who died at the Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Pennsylvania. Photo from RST DCI Sicangu Youth Council / Facebook

Elicia Goodsoldier, a citizen of the Navajo Nation and a board member of the National Native American Boarding School Healing Coalition, wonders when the U.S. will take responsibility for the genocide of indigenous peoples:
I am elated that the United States government has urged Germany to take responsibility for its history and further the care for Holocaust survivors, but I wonder when will the United States do the same for the victims of its’ own genocide campaign, and their descendants.

There is no question that the multitude of social problems currently faced by tribal communities stem from the Historical Trauma our ancestors and relatives experienced and that continues today. We know that because of the boarding school era, many of us don’t know how to parent. Because of the rampant sexual and physical abuse experienced in boarding schools, tribal communities across the U.S. have the highest rates of domestic violence and sexual abuse. Now science is validating the fact that trauma has a profound physical effect on us, changing the way the blood and brain chemistry work at the genetic level, causing an epigenetic transfer through our genes that continues until a true healing can take place. That healing should be supported, rather than perpetuated by the continual neglect of the United States to accept “acknowledge its responsibility for its own past actions resulting in trans-generational and other continuing effects.”

. . .

I believe it is time the United States begins to recognize its own true history, rather than the popular myth of manifest destiny, and “do the right thing by fulfilling its commitments and obligations to all survivors” and descendants of the United States Holocaust.

Get the Story:
Elicia Goodsoldier: Hitler Studied U.S. Treatment of Indians (Indian Country Today 8/8)

Also Today:
Confronting our history and 'unspeakable acts' at the site of the Sand Creek massacre (The Los Angeles Times 7/31)

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