indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439
Fredericks Peebles & Morgan LLP
Advertise on Indianz.Com
Home > News > Headlines

printer friendly version
Resolution offers apology for 'ill-conceived policies'
Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Tex Hall was in North Dakota last fall when he received a call on his cell phone. He was surprised to hear who was on the other end.

It was Sen. Sam Brownback, the Republican from Kansas whose name rarely appears on legislation affecting Indians. In recent years, in fact, the conservative lawmaker has been on the opposing end of tribes, particularly when it comes to gaming.

So Hall was even more surprised to learn why Brownback was calling. "We talked about some of the historical wrongdoings [against Native Americans] and he wanted to know what we could possibly do," Hall said.

The discussion intrigued Hall, the president of the National Congress of American Indians. "I said, 'You know the United States has never really formally apologized'" for its treatment of Native people, Hall noted.

"And he obviously did his homework," Hall said of Brownback. "He said 'Yeah, I know.'"

That gave Hall, who also serves as chairman of his tribe, the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation of North Dakota, an opening. "Why don't you do it?" challenged Hall.

Brownback wholeheartedly accepted the offer. For several months after that call, his staff worked with NCAI and some tribes to develop a formal apology to the first Americans. Introduced last month, it is backed by Sens. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), two respected figures in Indian Country.

"This is a resolution of apology and a resolution of reconciliation," Brownback said in his statement on the Senate floor. "It is a first step toward healing the wounds that have divided us for so long -- a potential foundation for a new era of positive relations between tribal governments and the federal government. It is time -- it is past time -- for us to heal our land of division, all divisions, and bring us together as one people."

The resolution cites a number of "official depredations and ill-conceived policies" towards American Indians and Alaska Natives. Among them:

  • Hundreds of broken treaties with Indian nations.
  • The Indian Removal Act of 1830, which forced Eastern tribes from their homelands.
  • The Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, in which the U.S. military killed 150 Cheyenne men, women and children.
  • The Long Walk of 1868, which caused the deaths of hundreds of Navajos.
  • The General Allotment Act of 1887, which broke up the tribal land base.
  • The Wounded Knee Massacre of 1890, in which the U.S. military killed 300 Sioux men, women and children.
  • The failed 19th- and 20th-century policies of assimilation, termination and relocation.

    "It's an historic, tremendous occasion ," Hall said of the measure. "When you finally apologize, you acknowledge those past sins and those violations and crimes."

    The resolution is quick to note that the apology won't authorize money damages or other payments to tribes of individual Indians. "But it does recognize the negative impact of numerous deleterious Federal acts and policies on Native Americans and their cultures," Brownback said in his statement. "Moreover, it begins the effort of reconciliation by recognizing the past wrongs and repenting for them."

    The Senate Indian Affairs Committee, which is chaired by Campbell, will consider the measure at a business meeting today. Hall said he hoped lawmakers would act this summer so that an apology can be ready when the National Museum of American Indians opens in September.

    "The timing could have a really tremendous impact," he said.

    The apology is written as a joint resolution so it would need approval in the House as well as the Senate before heading to President Bush for his signature. There is currently no accompanying resolution in the House.

    Relevant Documents:
    Text of Apology Resolution [As Introduced] | Sen. Brownback Statement on Resolution | Link to S.J.RES.37

    Relavent Links:
    Sen. Sam Brownback - http://brownback.senate.gov

    Copyright 2000-2004 Indianz.Com
  • More headlines...
    Stay Connected:

    Local Links:
    Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
    Latest News:
    Native Sun News: Businesses show support for LNI tournament (3/27)
    Lakota Country Times: Oglala Sioux fighter climbing in the ranks (3/27)
    Mark Trahant: Alaska Natives look 10,000 years into the future (3/27)
    Ivan Star: The influences of boarding school and Vietnam War (3/27)
    Gyasi Ross: Funerals become family reunions in Indian Country (3/27)
    Tim Giago hands over the reins as publisher of Native Sun News (3/27)
    House committee passes Native American Children's Safety Act (3/27)
    Bill to benefit Miami Nation moves forward in House and Senate (3/27)
    City extended contract to send treated sewage to sacred peaks (3/27)
    Oneida Nation welcomes ruling backing land-into-trust request (3/27)
    Lawmakers want BIA to delay new federal recognition reforms (3/27)
    Another conviction from Chippewa Cree Tribe corruption probe (3/27)
    Editorial: Shakopee Tribe contributes $5M for health initiative (3/27)
    Opinion: Navajo Nation enacts 'sin tax' on unhealthy products (3/27)
    Editorial: Opposition to Pamunkey Tribe recognition 'revolting' (3/27)
    Dennis Jenkins: Hypocrisy for new tribal casinos in Connecticut (3/27)
    Supreme Court asked to hear Kialegee Tribal Town gaming case (3/27)
    Ho-Chunk Nation extends agreement for off-reservation casino (3/27)
    Indiana lawmakers seek role in Pokagon Band gaming compact (3/27)
    Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux leader not pleased with boycott (3/26)
    Lakota Country Times: Lakota Nation Invitational stays in Rapid (3/26)
    Native Sun News: Mayor of Rapid City addresses race relations (3/26)
    Jane Daugherty: Tribal e-commerce continues to draw scrutiny (3/26)
    Witness list for Senate Indian Affairs Committee's field hearing (3/26)
    Richard Iron Cloud: Remove murderer's name from sacred peak (3/26)
    Native Youth: Bring dental therapy providers to Indian Country (3/26)
    Steven Newcomb: Tribal nations still under dominating process (3/26)
    Law firm hosts tribes for session on marijuana in Indian Country (3/26)
    Judge upholds BIA decision on Oneida Nation land-into-trust bid (3/26)
    Appeals court rules against Crow Tribe in housing grant dispute (3/26)
    Ho-Chunk Nation raises minimum wage to $2.75 above federal (3/26)
    Mishewal Wappo Tribe to appeal decision in recognition lawsuit (3/26)
    Racist emails of former Montana federal judge to be preserved (3/26)
    Shingle Springs Band considered but rejected indoor gun range (3/26)
    House panel backs bill to block Tohono O'odham Nation casino (3/26)
    Quapaw Tribe did not include casino on land-into-trust request (3/26)
    Chumash Tribe never got apology for diplomat's casino remark (3/26)
    Governor won't sign casino compact with Fort Sill Apache Tribe (3/26)
    Cherokee Nation approves $6.9M renovation project for casino (3/26)
    Native Sun News: Oglala Sioux veteran training for Paralympics (3/25)
    Alaska Native musher Chuck Schaeffer completes 2015 Iditarod (3/25)
    LTBB News: Michigan tribes come together for historic meeting (3/25)
    Lecture focuses on repatriation of tribal intellectual properties (3/25)
    Board still working on delivering money for Cobell scholarships (3/25)
    Sen. Barrasso to chair field hearing on drugs in Indian Country (3/25)
    Bill for tribal marijuana compacts up for hearing in Washington (3/25)
    Choctaw Nation chief hopes to travel to Ireland for monument (3/25)
    HHS urged to do more to help tribes with foster care programs (3/25)
    Eastern Cherokees work to teach language to new generations (3/25)
    Another suggestion for Indian woman on $20 bill -- Sakakawea (3/25)
    Man from Crow Tribe cites self-defense in fatal casino shooting (3/25)
    Shawnee Tribe sees opposition to off-reservation gaming plan (3/25)
    Navajo Nation signs Class III casino compact with New Mexico (3/25)
    Quapaw Tribe insists a casino isn't focus of Arkansas land plan (3/25)
    Suquamish Tribe reaches deal to allow highway work at casino (3/25)
    more headlines...

    Home | Arts & Entertainment | Business | Canada | Cobell Lawsuit | Education | Environment | Federal Recognition | Federal Register | Forum | Health | Humor | Indian Gaming | Indian Trust | Jack Abramoff Scandal | Jobs & Notices | Law | National | News | Opinion | Politics | Sports | Technology | World

    Indianz.Com Terms of Service | Indianz.Com Privacy Policy
    About Indianz.Com | Advertise on Indianz.Com

    Indianz.Com is a product of Noble Savage Media, LLC and Ho-Chunk, Inc.