The Young Turks on YouTube: Veterans Apologize To Sioux Tribe At Standing Rock Forgiveness Ceremony
Native Leaders Formally Forgive Veterans in Emotional Ceremony
"We didn't respect you, we polluted your Earth, we've hurt you in so many ways but we've come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness," said veteran Wesley Clark, Jr.
By Nadia Prupis
commondreams.org Native American tribal leaders conducted a forgiveness ceremony with U.S. veterans on Monday night, in an emotional event that also honored the Standing Rock Sioux's victory against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) over the weekend. Chief Leonard Crow Dog, a well-known spiritual leader and member of the Sicangu Lakota tribe, formally forgave Wesley Clark, Jr. after the son of former NATO commander Wesley Clark, Sr. led a group of veterans in a speech pledging the veterans' service to the tribes and acknowledging the U.S. military's longstanding history of violating Indigenous rights. Clark said:
Many of us, me particularly, are from the units that have hurt you over the many years. We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faces of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. When we took still more land and then we took your children and then we tried to make your language and we tried to eliminate your language that God gave you, and the Creator gave you. We didn't respect you, we polluted your Earth, we've hurt you in so many ways but we've come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness.The veterans knelt in front of the tribal leader, who then placed his hand on Clark's bowed head. He offered forgiveness and urged world peace, saying, "We will take a step. We are Lakota Sovereign Nation. We were the nation, and we're still a nation. We have a language to speak. We have preserved the caretaker position. We do not own the land, the land owns us." Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License