Ivan F. Star
Where is America’s self-respect and humanity?
By Ivan F. Star Comes Out
Native Sun News Today Columnist
Americanism refers specifically to the “attachment or allegiance to the traditions, institutions, and ideals of the United States.”
Believe it or not, I was coercively immersed in this ideology during my schooling. When I dropped out of high school in 1965, I actually believed life had a bright future for me, even with my highly observable indigenous traits.
My indoctrinated sense of duty led me to sign up for the military. I served under this biased “Americanism” banner in that unpopular war in Southeast Asia in a tiny country called the Republic of South Vietnam. In retrospect, I sincerely thought I was doing the right thing. On an affirmative side, the fact that I had been deceived became a powerful impetus for me to find the truth.
In the tradition of Americanism, as taught to us in the formative years of our lives, this new nation called and we answered. Within ten long years, three million youth served12-month tours (on the average) and about one-third endured the extremes of combat. In the end, most were disparaged and made to feel shame and defeat, which many endured all their lives.
Although half the nation abandoned us, my white brothers-in-arms are in a better situation to find pride and honor in their service. As a Native person, I cannot, especially, when I look to the historic atrocities committed by this government and it’s military against my ancestors. In fact, the resulting attitude dominates society today with an obvious right-wing twist.
Within this realm, Native Americans are actually perceived as Toka (enemy) since we are treated as such. This was accomplished with a biased American history. In other words, it was written to benefit Euro-Americans only. This explains the fact that I was pushed back out the door the minute I set foot on the continent at Seattle-Tacoma Airport back in 1969. They forgot about what we did for them.
Yet, I am expected to conduct myself in that familiar 1940s “American” way. In all honesty, I have tried all of my veteran life to find something I could be proud of. The only respect and honor I feel is for those who gave their lives there. They believed in “Americanism,” just like I did.
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News Today website: Where is America’s self-respect and humanity?
(Ivan F. Star Comes Out can be reached at PO Box 147, Oglala, SD 57764; 605-867-2448 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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