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Practical Politics

Please , do not be confused. This week's article takes the position that horrible things have been done to not only Black folks in the U.S., but to several other groups. Among them are the Native Americans.  Generational atrocities--way beyond simply confiscating their land and killing off the buffalo for money and sport--were imposed on them. Reparations are due.

The most monstrous course of action taken by the American government and imposed on the Native American population is the national policy of forcing Native American children to be removed from their homes and families--oftentimes sent thousands of miles away-- called forced assimilation.

Native American children were regularly removed from their parents and family life and taken to so-called tribal schools where they were forced to abandon their languages and cultural ways, learn English as their only means of expression, accept Christianity, and abandon their tribal clothing, culture and family ties. Refusal to comply often meant forced removal of the children--sometimes starting at 4 years old--by the American military, with violence when deemed necessary.

This was national policy for almost 200 years, including deep into the 20th century, and was regularly enforced by the U.S. Department of the Interior, the same agency that was responsible for Black Americans losing most of their farmland in the U.S. 

So far, those officials across the U.S. who have currently adopted the policy of re-writing history in ways that "make themselves feel good about themselves" as bringers of great progress, light and civilization, have not yet been able to bury those  records of forced removals and replace them with comic-book stories (the so-called anti-woke officials). Even the long era of "Gunsmoke," "Paladin," and John Wayne-Gary Cooper movies (many of them still being shown on non-network TV) regularly danced around the concept and rarely showed historically accurate portrayals of the process.  But the forced assimilation process is American history, and reparations are due.

A current important fact to report is that the U.S. Department of the Interior is currently being run by a former victim of the forced removal process. Restoring native American cultures is too big of a job even for one steeped in the lore of that suppression movement, but Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, a member of the Navajo Nation, has been doing her best. She is not, however, seeking reparations for the Native-Americans. Instead, she is trying to undo as much prior departmental mischief as she can before her term is up---she is the first and only Native American to head the Interior Department. Another Biden victory in November will probably see her retain that position.

She is the champion Native-Americans deserve.

     Professor David L. Horne is founder and executive director of PAPPEI, the Pan African Public Policy and Ethical Institute, which is a new 501(c)(3) pending community-based organization or non-governmental organization (NGO). It is the stepparent organization for the California Black Think Tank which still operates and which meets every fourth Friday.

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