Steven Newcomb: Another push for assimilation in 'Trail of Tears'

On the Navajo Nation. Photo by Rafał Próchniak

Steven Newcomb (Shawnee / Lenape) of the Indigenous Law Institute reads The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians so you don't have to learn about attempts by author author Naomi Schaefer Riley to justify the taking of Indians and the forced domination of the original nations:
A host of failed U.S. policies were aimed at making us “equal Americans,” and they are the very same policies that resulted in our nations being in the predicaments in which we find ourselves today. Just to take one example, more than 90 million acres of our land base were overtaken and overrun by the dominating society of the United States in a supposed effort to make us “private property” owners and “equal Americans” by means of the Dawes General Allotment Act of 1887.

With regard to Indian lands held in federal “trust” status today, Riley quotes an eminent economist: “In other words, Indians have long suffered from what Nobel Prize winning economist Hernando de Soto has called ‘dead capital.’ They may possess a certain amount of land on paper, but they can’t put it to use by selling it, buying more to take advantage of economies of scale, or borrowing against it.”

Since Riley would have us believe she is a pro-Indian advocate, one might imagine that she would whole-heartedly condemn the process by which more than 65 percent of Indian lands were taken out from under Indian nations and put under the control of the dominating society of the United States. Not so fast.

Read more from Steven Newcomb:
Steven Newcomb: 'The New Trail of Tears' Is a Neo-Liberal Recipe for Our Assimilation (Indian Country Today 8/14)

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