Opinion: America's unjust efforts to preserve White privilege

Historical marker at Bosque Redondo in New Mexico, where the Navajo Nation was imprisoned for four years and where a treaty was signed in 1868. Photo by Philkon Phil Konstantin via Wikipedia

Writer addresses the relationship between the Navajo Nation and the federal government:
As I pass through the Navajo Nation on my 4,000-mile drive across America, I catch a disturbing glimpse of a white-power insurgency happening in all regions.

White settlement of the Southwest meant dislodging the native population at gunpoint. U.S. Army troops slaughtered the Navajo at will. Whites broke one treaty after another, then forced the Navajo in 1864 onto a “Long Walk” of 300 miles away from their tribal lands. When a pregnant Navajo woman came to childbirth, an impatient Army soldier simply shot her.

The Navajo were allowed to return four years later to a much-diminished territory set aside for them. Today the Navajo Nation is the largest tribal reservation in the U.S. It has significant autonomy, including its own judicial, law enforcement and social service systems. But the Navajo remain under Washington’s thumb. Poverty is everywhere.

I read the history and feel shame and compassion. The “cowboys and Indians” games we played as children in Indiana, informed by TV shows like “The Lone Ranger,” now seem utterly ignorant. The real story was gruesome and unjust.

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Tom Ehrich: America’s unjust efforts to preserve white privilege (Religion News Service 2/17)

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