“We ask for nothing more, and will accept nothing less, than the U.S. government keeping the promises made to Native Americans.”
John E. Echohawk
NARF Executive Director
“All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian.”
“To be continued.”
closing words on Native American Rights Fund TV ad
One of the first pieces I ever wrote on Enlightened conflict was “200 years later the American Indian may be partially unscrewed.”
I thought of what I wrote back in 2009 because I just read an article suggesting that 50% … yeah … 50 fucking percent … of native American Indians are homeless.
… a Brooklyn-sized housing crisis has languished in the 617 American Indian and Alaska Native tribal areas and 526 surrounding counties where 2.5 million of this land’s first peoples live. There, Native men, women and children occupy the most severely overcrowded and rundown homes in the United States.
The 11,000 members of the Northern Arapaho in Wyoming, for example, share just 230 reservation homes. A staggering 55% are considered homeless because they’re couch surfing. In the Navajo Nation, 18,000 homes or roughly 40% of total Navajo housing stock lack electricity or running water.
In the twilight of the Obama administration, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimated that these forgotten communities urgently needed 68,000 new housing units – 33,000 to eliminate overcrowding and 35,000 to replace deteriorated stock. This is a number similar in scale to total new construction called for in New York’s current 10-year housing plan.
But while New York’s housing crisis has occupied headlines and led to a plan of action, the indigenous housing crisis has remained invisible. HUD’s study is the first and only in-depth report on the subject.
I could just point out that this is simply unconscionable for a fully developed country but then I would have to point out how little conscious we have shown as we have consistently screwed the native American Indians since we got here.
I could point out how easily this could be resolved compared to the ongoing seemingly unsolvable things like balancing the federal budget, climate change and national healthcare initiatives but we seem to like avoiding the solvable because it most likely seems to ‘small.’
I could even point out that while we spend incredible amounts of time discussing meaningful issues like livable wages, equal economic opportunities and helping lift people out of poverty it seems like we shouldn’t ignore what I would consider the most basic of basics for every citizen in the united states … food, water & shelter.
This is crazy to me.
I am not a bleeding heart liberal nor am I a believer in monetary restitution for past discretion but I don’t believe just because I have screwed someone in the past and got away with it I should look the other way in their time of need <thereby screwing them through avoidance>.
I actually have one word for us in this moral less stance we seem to be tacking on this issue … a native American Indian word … Majimanidoo.
It is the Chippewa Indians <or Ojibwe tribe if we want to be technically correct> for ‘evil spirit’.
It is an especially brutal word because by ‘evil spirit’ the Indian tribe means ‘someone born without a soul.’
This word embodies someone devoid of anything good.
You know what? I tend to believe Native American Indians sure could be thinking about using that word for us.
We screwed them by killing them off.
We screwed them by taking away their lands.
We screwed them by demanding they lose their culture and become … well … Christian Caucasians.
And then when we actually acknowledged we screwed them … we threw some money at them.
In Life we can all end up on some side of some pretty bad things. This surely seems like one of those bad things.
But this is fixable.
I cannot right a wrong and I cannot unscrew all the screwing … but I can certainly take some steps to insure the next generation is less screwed than the generations we gave screwed to date.
I stand by my suggestions I made back in 2009. I would not only insure they had proper food, water & shelter but I would also build programs that insured the children had a chance to break the cycle. http://brucemctague.com/200-years-later-the-american-indian-may-be-partially-unscrewed
Money does not solve everything and in this case I don’t want to give anyone money … I want to give them the opportunity to be … well … not just better than their parents <which is what all parents want for their kids> but rather I want them to be better than my parents, your parents and any parents. I want to give them the opportunity to be the best version of who and what they are as a person.
That’s what gets them out of this unfucking believable screwed up situation we created by screwing them.
Every once in a while I see an incredibly bad ad, for a very good cause — support justice for Native American tribes, organizations, and individuals – in television.
I’m not exactly sure what to make of this strange bad ad.
It seems like the purpose is to solicit donations … but I can’t imagine rapping that “…the Indian Wars never ended…” will make very many people sympathetic to what is a significantly underappreciated issue – societally & morally.
I would offer to do their marketing for free just because I believe they deserve better and the issue deserves national attention.
I imagine my issue with getting this free gig would be, if asked, I would tell them all I would do is show images throughout the history of time leading to the current situation with a voice over that said:
“we were happy … and then you came and screwed us … screwed us some more … figured out how to set up systems to ongoingly screw us … were kind enough to give us citizenship in 1924 <the last ‘minority’ to gain that … albeit we were the original Americans> … you were kind enough to give us some money not long ago to partially unscrew us … but we are still getting screwed. All we want is an opportunity to not get screwed.”
<hence the reason I will not get this gig>
As for now … and the native America homeless?
What’s remarkable about Indian Country’s massive and forgotten housing crisis is that it would not exist if our government and society simply cared enough to devote adequate resources to putting roofs over the heads of people who need and deserve them. The troubling reality is that unless that roof makes someone money, we simply don’t care.
Julian Brave NoiseCat
At some point it would be nice if we could figure out a way to stop screwing the Native American Indians because they will always be here — it is their home.
That just doesn’t seem too much to ask.