Harlan McKosato: Violence against Native people swept under rug

The remains of Lakota men, women and children who were massacred at Wounded Knee in South Dakota on December 29, 1890, are buried in a mass grave in January 1891. Image from Library of Congress

Radio show host Harlan McKosato wonders why violence against Native people, whether in the form of massacres like the one at Wounded Knee or forced removals like the Trail of Tears, are all but ignored in mainstream U.S. society:
Imagine being a Native American when Europeans viciously and maliciously came after our lands and resources. Do you think tribal people lived in fear for their lives, their children, and other family members? Ever heard of the Andrew Jackson Indian-removal era and the Trail of Tears? Then came the U.S. Cavalry, who were infamous for attacking Native villages at dawn. Talk about living in fear.

It doesn’t seem like many Europeans and Americans were sticking up for the indigenous people who had lived here for thousands of years. What about when our warriors were ambushed during our tribal doings and our tribal ceremonies when they were vulnerable and were attacked without warning?

Let me be clear however. I am not sympathetic to Islamic radicalism. I’m not saying that any particular kind of violence is justified. I am just sick and tired of hearing the American media talking about how the Orlando massacre was the worst in U.S. history. That’s not true. That’s not correct. Why don’t they ever report about the massacres that Native people suffered? It bothers me sometimes when these kinds of thoughts come up in my mind – but they do.

In my opinion, warfare and massacres have only evolved into the 21st century. The U.S. has an ugly past that is barely recognized in history books or any major media. I’m thinking it’s the ultimate example of white guilt – “Let’s not talk about our violent history against Native Americans (and African Americans) and maybe it will just go away.”

Get the Story:
Harlan McKosato: US Has Selective Memory Regarding Violence (Indian Country Today 7/27)