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American Indian Movement of Colorado

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Sunday, March 12, 2006

Coming to terms with Genocide

From today's opednews web edition.

Coming to Terms with Genocide
by Stephen Dinan
March 12, 2006


Last week I set the context for why America needs to delve deeper into our history to clear patterns that are contributing to our current self-centeredness. Many of these patterns have historical roots in the misuse of power, which leads towards inflationary compensation. Our founding philosophy aspires towards universal rights, which are linked to a deep respect for the potential in each of us. However, the way in which we have wielded power often does not reflect that deep respect. To understand this gap between our ideals and our embodiment of those ideals, we need to start very early in our history.

The first historical fact that has never been adequately faced, understood, and integrated is the fact that we are a country founded on genocide. We celebrate the history of our founding fathers and their noble strivings and forget that we are living on land taken from decimated peoples. The continent Europeans “discovered” had a long history of settlement, with a great diversity of societies. In1492, there were at least 10-25 million indigenous people north of Mexico (some estimates run much higher). Many of these peoples had sophisticated civilizations, mature philosophies, and advanced systems of government. Some met the European invaders with generosity, which was typically then exploited. Others fought back, which often merely hastened their demise. Within a few hundred years of conquest and disease, less than 1 million Native Americans remained.

We need to let that fact sink in: America was founded on a Native American genocide more extensive than that of Hitler’s genocide of the Jews (6 million killed). This historical fact, when soberly faced, explains a great deal about why our country’s heart is not truly open, why we are prone to compensatory arrogance, and why we struggle to live in harmonious ways. It is a massive wound that has never truly been healed. We have not confessed the damage, humbly worked towards reconciliation, and learned the deeper lessons about power this experience could teach us. The avoidance of that process keeps us in a rosy, idealized vision of ourselves that perpetuates naivete and gives license to arrogance. complete article


At 11:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. It needs to be said and said and said until it sinks in to the American psyche.

Thank you.


I'm anonymous because even after half a dozen attempts to Register any one of several nicknames none were available.


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