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Old 06-28-2004, 06:17 PM   #1
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Will Washington finally Apologize?

NYTimes.com > Opinion

Quote:
The Long Trail to Apology

All manner of unusual things can happen in Washington in an election year, but few seem so refreshing as a proposed official apology from the federal government to American Indians the first ever for the "violence, maltreatment and neglect" inflicted upon the tribes for centuries. A resolution of formal apology for "a long history of official depradations and ill-conceived policies" has been quietly cleared for a Senate vote, with proponents predicting passage. Tribal leaders have been offering mixed reactions of wariness ("words on paper") and approval somewhat short of delight ("a good first step").

True, no federal reparations or claim settlements are at stake. But the rhetoric of the resolution pulls few punches about the genocidal wounds American Indians suffered in being uprooted for the New World. The Trail of Tears, the Long Walk, the Wounded Knee Massacre and other travails are specified in the resolution, which calls on President Bush to "bring healing to this land" by acknowledging the government's offensive history.

The apology would have been received as fighting words at the Capitol in the Indian war era, when the government pursued military domination and tribes fought back. But times change, albeit very slowly sometimes, and this time it is significant that the political clout of Native Americans has never been clearer. The parties are vying for support in key political arenas, with the narrowly divided Senate particularly in play. Native Americans' power is considerable in tribal bases like South Dakota, where their turnout was crucial in electing Senator Tim Johnson in 2002; in Alaska, where they are 16 percent of eligible voters; and in tight presidential states like Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.

Severe health, education and economic troubles still bedevil the reservations, despite the casino riches of a minority. Accordingly, the tribes must aim for more than an apology as they pursue ambitious voter-enrollment programs. An official apology is indeed words on paper. But approval by Congress would be an acknowledgment of modern tribal power, especially if the president presented it this September at the opening of the National Museum of the American Indian in Washington.
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Old 06-28-2004, 09:15 PM   #2
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I hope they do NOT apologize.
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Old 06-28-2004, 09:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
I hope they do NOT apologize.
Why not?

Are they above genocide? Because let's call a spade a spade, that's exactly what it was.

Why is Columbus Day still celebrated when he committed genocide agains the people of Hispaniola and then wider genocide later? I never understood how you could essentially wipe out entire populations and nobody gives a shit.
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Old 06-28-2004, 09:45 PM   #4
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I hope they do. Our government is yet to apologise for what happened here in Australia.

New Zealand has apologised
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Old 06-29-2004, 12:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram

Why is Columbus Day still celebrated when he committed genocide agains the people of Hispaniola and then wider genocide later? I never understood how you could essentially wipe out entire populations and nobody gives a shit.
Columbus is not worthy of a holiday?

Are we again looking at history through the lens of our modern day morals?
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Old 06-29-2004, 12:33 AM   #6
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One more thing, I can see apologizing for specific offenses....

President Lincoln was repsonsible for the Long Walk of the Navajos. That son of a bitch, we should end President's day too, since he did that, and President Washington had slaves. Those bastards do not deserve a holiday.
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Old 06-29-2004, 12:56 AM   #7
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Get over it, people kill other people, Indians were killing eachother over land well before Europeans came there and started to conquer that same land. Europeans brought guns, smallpox and colonists and founded a great nation. They killed a lot of people but considering it from a historical perspective rather than a modern one there is nothing wrong with that.

Killing people and wiping out nations is what conquering nations bloody well do, there is no need to get touchy feely because today some feel guilty for what was done in colonial times.

The best thing to do rather than apologise and open the door for large lawsuits against todays governments is to break the welfare dependance. drug abuse and health problems of aboriginal peoples, to actually fix the major problems facing them today rather than to give token gestures of guilt and responsibility for things commited centuries ago by historical figures that only enforce a victimhood mentality that helps nobody.
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Old 06-29-2004, 01:46 AM   #8
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I think it's a token gesture.
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Old 06-29-2004, 10:54 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Angela Harlem
I think it's a token gesture.
It's only a real gesture if $$$ is involved.

This is another example of how we try to out anguish each other over past "wrongs". Somehow we have begun to calibrate our moral compass by how outraged we are at bad things - the level of righteous indignation we can muster.

How far do you want to go back and reset the clock on who belongs where? Nation conquering nation is not unique to North America.




A Lincoln was a lousy commander in chief as well.
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:05 AM   #10
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I agree.
I can't speak about America so much, but my cynical side says where do we draw the line with these things? We all do have so much to be sorry for. Not just us, but England as well. Should we all have a National Swap Our Condolences Day? Don't the Aboriginals have to say sorry for occasionally trying to fight back? (although this is very weak as it was just brutal and not comparable) Don't the poms need to say, "sorry we really screwed up and settlement was not the walk in the park it could have been, sorry for sending 14 year olds over for merely having stolen a loaf of bread, sorry for allowing all the deaths and fighting, the displacements, the subsequent inhumane treatment of the Aboriginal people and so on, stealing your children..." Today, sorry for allowing them to live tied to the welfare state, and blindly and blissfully continuing on as though the problem doesn't exist. There's an awful lot wrong with our picture. I dont think sorry is really good enough, nor what the situation really needs.

But then my compassionate (? ha) side says, how hard is it to admit we all fucked up?
If an apology will go to great lengths to mend the rift between the people who have lived here for thousands of years and those who've been here for just over 200, why are we even debating it? If we are sorry, why dont we all just say it? I fear the real reason is perhaps uglier than we can admit, as a nation. I dont know if America is the same.
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Old 06-29-2004, 11:45 AM   #11
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I think it's good to Apologize and remember what our fathers f***ed up in history this could lead to more carefulness in the political future
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Old 06-29-2004, 04:56 PM   #12
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I've never understood the point of apologizing for things that happened many, many, many years ago, either. Why is our current government apologizing for past wrongs? None of them had any part in the crap that went on back then. It happened, there's nothing we can do to change it now, so instead of us apologizing for what happened in the past, what we need to do is learn from the mistakes made and do everything in our power to avoid the bad things that happened in history from ever occuring again.

Angela
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