A marker at the site of the 1890 Massacre at Wounded Knee in South Dakota. Photo: Adam Singer

Sonny Skyhawk: America can't be proud of its treatment of Native peoples

America just celebrated another year of independence. But Sonny Skyhawk, a citizen of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe and the founder of the American Indians in Film and Television, doesn't think there's much to cheer about when it comes to the nation's treatment of Native peoples:
America, in all the grandeur of its history – its fireworks, music and patriotic pomp – has very little to be proud of.

As a Lakota, when I hear “home of the brave,” I think of the Massacre at Wounded Knee, where innocent children, women, and old men, were mercilessly slaughtered. I am also reminded of Mankato Minnesota, where Abraham Lincoln sanctioned the public hanging of 38 innocent Dakota men simultaneously, on custom gallows in the town square.

I could go on and on about the numerous massacres “America” unapologetically committed upon my Native people. To these old Indian eyes, the self-celebration on the Fourth of July is absurd and incongruous, as opposed to the general assumption that this is a great country. It borders on surreal that a nation with this chronicled past would pause to immerse itself in such pride given its swept-under-the-rug history of atrocities. Atrocities aimed at one purpose: The near annihilation – and continued attempts – to commit genocide on a proud people whose only opposing cause was to protect its people and their way of life.

Read More on the Story:
Sonny Skyhawk: The Fourth of July Through This Native’s Eyes (Indian Country Media Network 7/17)