indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+
ph: 202 630 8439   fax: 202 318 2182
Indian Law Online Master Degree
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...
    Local Links:
    Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
    Latest News:
    Native Sun News: Lummi Nation brings totem pole to fight Keystone (9/3)
    Native Sun News: Film company aims to bring Native stories to life (9/2)
    Mark Trahant: Alaska Native candidate joins rival in governor's race (9/2)
    Walt Lamar: Tribes face problems dealing with legalized marijuana (9/2)
    Jennie Stockle: Fans mock Cherokee people with Trail of Tears sign (9/2)
    DaShanne Stokes: State-recognized tribes need eagle feathers too (9/2)
    Indian studies professor denied position over remarks about Israel (9/2)
    Alaska Natives excluded from secret military intelligence program (9/2)
    Judge schedules hearing in Gun Lake Tribe's gaming land litigation (9/2)
    Viejas Band looking to expand casino after reaching new compact (9/2)
    California tribes are drawing large numbers of Filipinos to casinos (9/2)
    Mohegan Tribe wants 'right-sized' commercial casino in New York (9/2)
    Tim Giago: Oglala Sioux people aren't afraid to say no to easy cash (9/1)
    Native Sun News: Release of secret uranium mining data ordered (9/1)
    Mark Trahant: It's past time for tribal leaders to govern the nation (9/1)
    Jennie Stockle: A safe space for opponents of offensive mascotry (9/1)
    John Christian Hopkins: A big thank you to the friend I never met (9/1)
    National Museum of the American Indian celebrates 10th birthday (9/1)
    Mother arrested in connection with child's death on Navajo Nation (9/1)
    Opinion: Energy development can help secure tribal independence (9/1)
    Cherokee Nation announces $170M casino and retail development (9/1)
    Tunica-Biloxi Tribe won't be sharing gaming revenues this quarter (9/1)
    Seminole Tribe on track to see gaming revenues increase to $2.1B (9/1)
    Eastern Shawnee Tribe to reopen gaming facility in February 2015 (9/1)
    Editorial: Tohono O'odham Nation didn't play by 'rules' with casino (9/1)
    Opinion: Gaming good for Eastern Cherokees but not for fellow tribe (9/1)
    Opinion: Federal recognition only means more casinos in California (9/1)
    Native Sun News: Tribes walk out of contract support cost meeting (8/29)
    Clara Caufield: Northern Cheyenne Tribe spends $2.4M on property (8/29)
    Mike Johanns: Retracing steps of great Ponca Chief Standing Bear (8/29)
    Steven Newcomb: Racist mascot a sign of deeper problems in US (8/29)
    Lauren Jones: Affordable Care Act benefits Native Americans too (8/29)
    Gila River Indian Community to see $77.6M from Cobell buy-back (8/29)
    Energy boom linked to rise in human trafficking in Indian Country (8/29)
    Navajo man heads up Native American Homelessness Task Force (8/29)
    9th Circuit hears case over Yakama Nation tobacco manufacturer (8/29)
    WAER: ICWA matters handled in 'kangaroo courts' in South Dakota (8/29)
    MPR: Red Lake Nation opposes liquor license near dry reservation (8/29)
    Tule River Tribe helps remove marijuana operation on reservation (8/29)
    Omaha Tribe signs agreement with EPA to improve utility services (8/29)
    Las Vegas Paiute Tribe rejected 'gift' from NFL team's foundation (8/29)
    KPLU: Spokane Tribe maintains close ties with baseball franchise (8/29)
    Opinion: HUD loan program a small step to boost Indian housing (8/29)
    DNA study finds distinct population of Native people in Arctic area (8/29)
    Tribes closely watching Big Lagoon Rancheria casino land dispute (8/29)
    Tohono O'odham Nation to build off-reservation casino in phases (8/29)
    State questions Forest County Powatatomi Tribe's slot machines (8/29)
    Quapaw Tribe eyes local support for commercial casino in Kansas (8/29)
    Native Sun News: Police officers who shot Indian teen get medals (8/28)
    Cara Cowan Watts: Laying the groundwork for college scholarship (8/28)
    Rudolph Ryser: Indigenous nations need leverage to bring change (8/28)
    DOI extends $100M in Cobell buy-back offers on two reservations (8/28)
    Cobell buy-backs could return over 38K acres to tribe in Montana (8/28)
    Five-year-old Navajo boy sent home from school for his long hair (8/28)
    Three charged with murder for death of Mississippi Choctaw man (8/28)
    Lummi Nation seeks cooperation after ruling in treaty rights case (8/28)
    Artist Gregg Deal takes on Indian mascots for performance piece (8/28)
    Sports announcer won't use Washington NFL team's name on air (8/28)
    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.