indianz.com your internet resource indianz.com on facebook indianz.com on twitter indianz.com on Google+ indianz.com on soundcloud
phone: 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:
    On Facebook

    On Twitter

    On Google+

    On SoundCloud
    Local Links:
    Federal Register | Indian Gaming | Jobs & Notices | In The Hoop | Message Board
    Latest News:
    Tribes mount another fight after Trump approves another pipeline (3/24)
    Native Sun News Today: Navajo elders continue long fight on land (3/24)
    Editorial: Just another day of trying to keep up with the Trumps (3/24)
    Elizabeth LaPensée: Video games encourage indigenous culture (3/24)
    Mary Annette Pember: Native women work with youth offenders (3/24)
    Tiffany Midge: Trump continues to conjure hero Andrew Jackson (3/24)
    John Kane: Seneca Nation money train coming to end in New York (3/24)
    Grand Ronde Tribes secure approval of school mascot agreement (3/24)
    Editorial: Federal recognition for tribes in Virginia is long overdue (3/24)
    Seneca Nation ends casino payments after sending $1.4B to state (3/24)
    Appeals court hears slew of Indian cases amid focus on nominee (3/23)
    Internal tribal disputes continue to trip up federal court system (3/23)
    Mark Trahant: Indian health care gains ignored in political debate (3/23)
    Native Sun News Today: Young fighters maintain Lakota tradition (3/23)
    Ivan Star Comes Out: America loses its self-respect and humanity (3/23)
    Rosalyn LaPier: Why water remains sacred to indigenous peoples (3/23)
    Winona LaDuke: North Dakota spreads filth about water protectors (3/23)
    Harold Monteau: Tribal governments are abusing their own people (3/23)
    Alex Jacobs: Donald Trump in middle of the 'deep state civil war' (3/23)
    Secretary Zinke announces 'doggy days' for Interior Department (3/23)
    Keystone XL Pipeline route crosses Ponca Tribe's forced removal (3/23)
    Indian lawmaker resigns after being charged for child prostitution (3/23)
    Pinoleville Pomo Nation buys site of long-delayed casino project (3/23)
    High court pick acknowledges poor treatment of 'sovereign' tribes (3/22)
    Dakota Access submits another status update entirely under seal (3/22)
    Court allows claim for alleged underpayment in Cobell settlement (3/22)
    South Dakota tribes continue to extend Class III gaming compacts (3/22)
    Cowlitz Tribe secures approval to offer liquor as casino debut nears (3/22)
    Native Sun News Today: Community project continues at Pine Ridge (3/22)
    Cronkite News: Copper mine on sacred site complains about delays (3/22)
    Mary Annette Pember: Awareness for missing and murdered sisters (3/22)
    Stacy Pratt: Visiting the gravesite of Andrew Jackson in Tennessee (3/22)
    Murder charge filed for fatal shooting of Navajo Nation police officer (3/22)
    Muckleshoot Tribe still seeking answers for fatal shooting by officer (3/22)
    Hopland Band submits claim for county raid of marijuana operation (3/22)
    Chukchansi Tribe sued for $21M by gaming development company (3/22)
    Seminole Tribe accused of breaking contract with outlet at casino (3/22)
    Indian Child Welfare Act survives attack from conservative groups (3/21)
    Senate Committee on Indian Affairs schedules hearing on diabetes (3/21)
    Ponca Tribe hosts 282-mile walk to retrace trail of forced removal (3/21)
    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.