"Native American activist and writer Winona LaDuke joins us to discuss her new book, The Militarization of Indian Country. LaDuke covers the legacy of the seizure of Native American lands by the U.S. government—which became sites for industrial and military use, including army bases, nuclear testing sites, coal and uranium mining—and how the military-industrial complex is encroaching on native communities. LaDuke lives and works on the White Earth Nation in northern Minnesota and is executive director of the group Honor the Earth. "Indian country is not to be assaulted by the U.S. military," says LaDuke.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Winona, in terms of the military, this seems to be a constant historical inability to grasp, the relationship of the government to Native American people. I was struck particularly by—during the wars in Kosovo, when the United States used—constantly talked about the Apache helicopters that were leading the fight against ethnic cleansing, or the new helicopter that supposedly was going to be the stealth helicopter that the military developed but then had to scrap, the Comanche helicopter. And there seems to be a constant insensitivity to the long struggle for freedom and defense of their land by the Native American peoples on the part of the U.S. military.
WINONA LADUKE: The reality is, is that the military is full of native nomenclature. That’s what we would call it. You’ve got Black Hawk helicopters, Apache Longbow helicopters. You’ve got Tomahawk missiles. The term used when you leave a military base in a foreign country is to go "off the reservation, into Indian Country." So what is that messaging that is passed on? You know, it is basically the continuation of the wars against indigenous people.
Donald Rumsfeld, when he went to Fort Carson, named after the infamous Kit Carson, who was responsible for the deaths of thousands of Navajo people and their forced relocation, urged people, you know, in speaking to the troops, that in the global war on terror, U.S. forces from this base have lived up to the legend of Kit Carson, fighting terrorists in the mountains of Afghanistan to help secure victory. "And every one of you is like Kit Carson."
The reality is, is that the U.S. military still has individuals dressed—the Seventh Cavalry, that went in in Shock and Awe, is the same cavalry that massacred indigenous people, the Lakota people, at Wounded Knee in 1890. You know, that is the reality of military nomenclature and how the military basically uses native people and native imagery to continue its global war and its global empire practices."
Get the Story:
Native American Activist, Author Winona LaDuke on "The Militarization of Indian Country" and Obama Admin’s "Lip Service" to Indigenous Rights
(Democracy Now 5/6)
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