Sam Deloria: Oppression common among indigenous peoples

"We in the US receive billions of dollars a year in programs from the federal government; we are free to criticize that government without fear of reprisal and to sue the government (sometimes winning, sometimes not); we have a gaming industry that amounts to over $26 billion a year, and increasing income from minerals and other natural resources and tribal enterprises. I know that much of the federal money is our due—my generation helped create or at least refine that rationale. Nevertheless, we get the money, and indigenous peoples elsewhere don’t. Certainly we have problems with our neighbors and with federal and state governments, but we have considerable standing to represent ourselves and often the resources to do so as well.

In contrast, thousands of indigenous peoples have been killed by the governments of their countries in the last several decades alone, sometimes with the support and connivance of the US government. In many countries in this hemisphere, being an indigenous leader or participating in efforts to advance indigenous rights puts one’s life in jeopardy. Indian land rights are still unsecured throughout the hemisphere, and the land and ways of life of numerous Indian societies are jeopardized by development. Indian people are being hunted from airplanes and shot down like wild game, a real-time genocide similar to that experienced by many of our groups in the past."

Get the Story:
Philip S. "Sam" Deloria: Sam Deloria Responds to Steven Newcomb Column (Indian Country Today 5/7)

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