Peter d'Errico: 'Friends' continue to embrace negative Indian policy

A poster from the allotment era. Image by Braden208

Indian Country has always had a lot of "friends" but retired professor Peter d'Errico argues that they continue to advance the destructive origins of federal Indian policy:
The boarding schools and allotment acts promoted by the "friends of the Indian" were explicit attacks on Indian ways of life, designed to separate Indians from Indian lands, economies, languages, rituals, clothing, family ties, social relations, and other ingredients of Indian Nationhood.

The "friends of the Indian" described this anti-Indian program as "anti-racist"! They claimed to love Indians even as they deplored Indianness. Their program was to pull Indian individuals out of Indian society and integrate them into American society, in the process atomizing and obliterating Indian Nations.

The confused legacy of the "friends of the Indian" continues today throughout federal Indian law and policy. Most disturbingly, it has confused the minds of those Indians who have succumbed to the "gaslighting" claims that federal programs and laws are "pro-Indian."

The most common descriptions of federal Indian policy involve gaslighting: using terms like "trust," and "nation within a nation" as if these words are pro-Indian Nationhood, when in fact they are the core of a US colonial system rooted in U.S. Supreme Court legal doctrines of "plenary power" and "Christian Discovery."

Read More from Peter d'Errico:
Peter d'Errico: Two Kinds of Racism: A Call for Clarity (Indian Country Today 8/21)

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