I'd like to speak to you from the perspective of native history and its relationship to the United States these are my own opinions and I do not speak for the entire Native community or my tribe in fact my perspective is not often heard as it's very difficult for both people or both sides of the table the statistics I'm about to share are not meant to create feelings of white guilt judgment or even booked victimhood but rather to address histories which should be remembered for the wisdoms that they bring in the words of Antonio Gramsci history teaches but it rarely has pupils this phrase resonates mithi with me when I observe history's lessons and realized that its knowledge is lost repeatedly on audiences who are never comfortable enough to listen to them if we choose to refrain from the uncomfortable position of learning our nation's past we are bound to repeat the mistakes of our ancestors again and again on February 5th 2019 president Donald Trump gave his State of the Union address and he said quote America was founded on liberty and independence not government coercion domination and control while this statement may hold true for some it discounts the experience of many groups that existed at that time and through the developmental years of the United States one of those groups being my people the American Indian population America for the natives was founded on a cultural and ethnic genocide at times that would carry on well into the 20th century claims of manifest destiny would strip them of their lands their way of life and their population so let's examine this quote by President Trump and force ourselves to think outside the narrative provides America was not founded on domination to believe this we must forget that native land and its people were dominated through American expansion racial superiority 's and greed between 1776 and 1887 the United States say seized 1.5 billion acres from the First Nations people some of this was done forcibly and other times it was done in exchange for empty promises of provisions or relocated lands America was not founded on coercion well to say America was not founded on coercion we'd have to forget the Indian Removal Act – that would forcibly relocated thousands on a Democrat the Trail of Tears would claim at least 4,000 Cherokee lives as the government forced them to walk in the dead of winter towards lands deemed unfit for the agrarian Americans the coerced removal would leave open 25 million acres of land for white settlement and slavery to say America was not founded on coercion we'd also have to forget the continued seizing of Lakota land by the US government under president Benjamin Harrison a Republican who referred to the native people as an ignorant and helpless people during his term the massacre at Wounded Knee would leave 300 Sioux Indians dead over a religious dance and a demand to turn in their arms half of those slaughters that day were unarmed when women and children to say America was not founded on coercion we'd have to forget the largest mass execution in US history that saw 38 Dakota Indians executed on orders from President Abraham Lincoln a Republican their crime starvation due to the US government's breaking of treaties they did not provide them food and supplies and the US had hunted off all the Buffalo so they couldn't hunt and they also were restricted from leaving their reservation so out of desperation they fought back and were met with an execution America was not founded on control to believe this we must forget that it was out of manipulation and control that you not the United States signed 300 and seventy-five treaties passed laws and instituted policies that would shape and define the special nation-to-nation relationship between federal and tribal governments despite the treaties and despite the encroachments that led to land surrenders and relocations of entire tribes the United States forced natives to give up their culture their traditions their religions identities native names languages their hair and even children to the government to go to operated government operated boarding schools in the name of assimilation and Christianisation a controlling government would bring about atrocities such as forced sterilization of full-blooded Native females by the government in operate government operated IHS clinics during the 1960s and 70s sterilizations that would leave 25 to 50 percent of the native female population unable to bear children control was the reason citizenship and the freedom to travel off reservations would not be granted until 1924 control was the reason natives did not have the right to vote in all 50 states until 1962 even to this day natives struggle to vote due to distant voting booths and address requirements traditional streets do not exist on many reservations today as the government placed natives in rural areas far away from postal offices or towns therefore they do not have assigned addresses control would be responsible for the natives not being able to practice their religions freely under the law until 1978 and it is government control that has placed our land in a trust system a system most often used with the mentally handicapped and children this trust system makes it impossible for Native Americans to sell their lands or even get loans and in fact it is the government control that does not allow us to develop the 30% of coal the 50% of uranium or 20% of oil and gas reserves on our reservations today reserves that are estimated to be worth 1.5 trillion dollars surely a dollar amount that would lift us all out of poverty and clearly out of government control it is out of control that the government would implement a eugenics style policy of blood-quantum that is meant to statistically exterminate the remaining of Native American people and thus relinquish the government of their treaty obligations and protection of their lands laws past starting in the 1700s through the 1900s and up until today require of a native to track their amount of Indian blood we are the only ethnicity in America who is required to track their blood quantum in the modern day those who passed a required amount of Indian Asst receive what is called a CDI B or a certificate degree of Indian blood government enforced blood-quantum has linked forced assimilation with scientific racism by Legally defining what a Native American is so what does all of this mean and how can we apply it to ourselves today let me start answering that by taking another famous quote from Trump's state of the Union when he said here in the United States we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country tonight we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country but I challenge our president statements that America will never be a socialist by country by stating that for part of the population it already is in fact it was a 375 treatise in laws that the United States signed and passed that would implement a socialist style government when it concerns preserving the welfare and quotes sovereignty of Native Nations since 1824 the federal government has been running natives lives through dedicated government agencies called the Bureau of Indian Affairs or BIA or as many natives call it bossing Indians around and the BIE our Bureau of Education which was established in 1921 the BIA and the BIA and the bie are responsible for overseeing all activities pertaining pertaining to Indian Affairs those activities include but are not limited to education tribal courts social services roads housing economic development resource management of trust land and many more IHS or Indian Health Services is responsible for overseeing Indian Health and is another government operated system the budget for Indian Affairs under the BIA and BIA in 2018 alone was 2.5 billion and for IHS it was 5.5 billion the federal government controls and funds all of it that is eight billion collected in 2018 alone via tax dollars and the distributed and controlled as the federal government sees fit to support native welfare that is a form of socialism the nation-to-nation relationship that exists between the United States and the Native community embraces socialist ideals in four ways one a democratic state owns the means of production two native welfare is a societal objective three all natives begin from a starting point of equality that is held up by appropriated funds health care and welfare based programs and for the bettering the life of all natives equally through government protection and guidance is the greatest form of progressivism simply put our ancestors were coerced into unknowingly trading our freedoms and property rights for a government that would slowly replace our individualism our drive and our purpose so how are things operating with the government guiding and controlling all of my needs let's look at some of the numbers 5.2 million Native Americans and 573 federally recognized tribes exist in the United States today that's roughly 2% of the United States that is being run on a socialist style system Gallup independent has cited the living conditions on some reservations today to be comparable to third world conditions the poverty rate among American Indians in 2017 as reported by the US census was twenty five point four percent while nationwide average was twelve point three Native Americans have the highest unemployment rate out of any ethnicity in the United States a ten point two percent in 2017 while the national average was four point one percent the BIE school's graduation rate is only 53 percent while the Naville national average is eighty two percent sixty percent of u.s. high school students go on to college while only 17 percent of American Indians do death due to two / qø sious is 600 percent higher than the national average and alcoholism 510 percent higher diabetes one hundred and eighty nine percent higher suicide sixty-two percent higher than the national average in fact Native youth have the highest rate of suicide among all ethnic groups in the United States and is the second leading cause of death for Native youth between 15 and 24 years old a cold according to the national survey on drug use and health Native women in tribal communities are 10 times more likely to be murdered than the national average over 5,700 American Indian and Alaskan native women and girls were reported missing as of 2016 but a hundred and sixteen of those cases were logged by the Department of the United States only fifty only fifty three percent of Native Americans living on reservations have Internet in some areas up to 50% of homes are without phone service 40% of on reservation housing is considered substandard and one-third of homes are overcrowded the 11 thousand members of the Northern Arapaho share only 230 homes and 55 percent of them are homeless or couchsurfing and the Navajo Nation has roughly 18,000 homes without electricity or running water these are just a few numbers but they're deafening in their message if the government cannot properly run less than 2% of the population on socialist policies what makes us think that they can run a hundred percent of the population in such a way [Applause] the story of my people shows us how our freedoms are never taken immediately but rather overtime through the years we've started ourselves off of it through the years we've starved ourselves of a transcendent goal and instead fed ourselves misery we've convinced ourselves that what is owed is what will save us but we fail to see what we believe is owed is what is actually keeping us prisoners to that to stagnation my people were forced into trading their independence for a little security but we can learn through observation of our histories that this exchange of Liberty for preservation will result in nothing but government domination coercion and control we must begin to realize that Americans are only one treaty away from placing themselves on the reservation and in closing I'd like to say that being a leader is not about guiding others through the comfort of life and thought being a leader is not about showing similarity similarities and then stopping there being a leader is about being able to have the courage to walk yourself and your fellow man through the difficult the painful the hopeless and come out the other end with wisdom strength and purpose never be afraid to be the student of heart histories they will teach you how to lead ourselves down a better path and others thank you [Applause]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *