Dwanna Robertson: Tribes only asking US to live up to promises
Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012
"Contrary to popular belief, especially among non-Natives, American Indians did not simply relinquish their rights to lands, waters, and other natural resources. Indeed, as a result of historic negotiations and treaties between the U.S. government and tribal nations, federal agencies are obligated to provide specific rights, services, and protections as payment for the basic wholesale exchange of the land mass of the United States.
Misnomer—the use of a wrong or unsuitable term to describe something.
The United States contractually owes tribal nations. “Indian benefits” is a misnomer for the debt owed to Native peoples. The federal government pledged through laws and treaties to compensate for land exchanges accomplished through the forced removal of tribal nations from their original homelands. Unfortunately, payment is commonly expressed as “benefits.” This term—benefits—implies giving assistance, subsidy, or even charity, rather than deserved reimbursement. The Department of Interior even describes the obligated recompense for American Indians as benefits on its webpage."
Get the Story:
Dwanna L. Robertson:
Indian Benefits: Misnomer and Propaganda
(Indian Country Today 5/22)
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