Native Americans and restitution from the US Government

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Unread postby Mu Shu » Sun Feb 23, 2003 3:04 am

James wrote:
Approving affirmative action, and facing this particular issue are two different things from where I stand. Let me ask you this question before we proceed. Do you think our government should give money to a minority simply because they feel like they deserve it for something that does not impact their lives, simply to put a smile on their faces? Are you not worried about later occurrences of the event? What about the other minorities in the United States?



I definitely agree with the point you made earlier that the harm done to the someones ancestors by someone elses ancestors should have no bearing on the present. Each person is responsible for their own actions and not the actions of their parents, etc...

That said, I also agree that there are African Americans who feel that society owes them because their ancestors were slaves and their argument is really not tenable.

I'm really neutral on the affirmative action issue. I agree that it should not be justified with ancestral claims. I actually believe so strongly that each person is responsible for their own actions that I think estate taxes should remain the way they are so that cross-generational wealth (i.e. an aristocracy) does not take hold in the United States. Each generation should start with at least a somewhat clean slate both financially and morally.
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Unread postby Sun jian » Mon Feb 24, 2003 12:27 pm

Mu Shu wrote:I definitely agree with the point you made earlier that the harm done to the someones ancestors by someone elses ancestors should have no bearing on the present. Each person is responsible for their own actions and not the actions of their parents, etc...

That said, I also agree that there are African Americans who feel that society owes them because their ancestors were slaves and their argument is really not tenable.

I'm really neutral on the affirmative action issue. I agree that it should not be justified with ancestral claims. I actually believe so strongly that each person is responsible for their own actions that I think estate taxes should remain the way they are so that cross-generational wealth (i.e. an aristocracy) does not take hold in the United States. Each generation should start with at least a somewhat clean slate both financially and morally.


i agree. no one should have to live with the faults of their ancestors. about the African Americans and affirmitive action; i think they should earn their way in life like the rest of us and not bring up the past in doing so. the past is past and it should stay that way. 8-)
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Unread postby Wix The Great » Mon Feb 24, 2003 4:12 pm

My father's side is Native American so I am half Native. My dad nor I have any bad feelings toward anyone about what happened. I think others should maybe do the same thing and let it go, especially a lot of the African Americans I see around. Bloody people have been shoving racism down everyone's throats for ages now and I have had enough of it.

Ironically part of my mom's side is Hebrew. They don't hold many problems with the Germans, maybe some of the older ones who still believe in Nazism but that is about it.
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Unread postby Rhiannon » Mon Feb 24, 2003 11:05 pm

I'm incensed about what happened to the Native Americans, but I'm incensed about a lot of wrong doings this and other governments have done that have no links to my past as well. My real anger doesn't lie with the past in this situation.

My anger lies in that Native Americans can't have the way of life they once had (and I'll come to admit, it's impossible now for that, but it still angers me that those things have been taken away from the world). My anger lies with the way things are. I hate seeing the horrible poverty on reservations, poverty that no body -- Native American or not -- really wants to apply themselves to solving. My anger is with various tribe bureaucracies for actually serving, intentionally or not, to keep Native Americans in their "place". My anger is with the rich, deep racial hatred people have for "them dirty Indians."

I am sick with America -- all of her -- for keeping the issue under lock and key, for keeping it out of media coverage except at local elections. I'm sick of America spitting on the Native Americans with the left side of their mouth and pitying them with the right side, and watching their hands stay in place. I'm sick of seeing virtually nothing being done for the poorest and most depressed people in our country while we go run crusades out into all parts of the world. Checks don't cut it. I don't want more money for my people.

I want a solution. And I want action. Not casinos. Not welfare checks. Not racial scholarships or affirmative action. I want to see programs of education; education for the children and for the parents, education about self-sufficiency, education that Native Americans, like the rest of the ethnic cultures of the world, can exist as a co-culture of America.

But no one seems to want that. They want to either send more money, or send no money at all. The money isn't working. It's like building homeless shelters and low-cost medical clinics. Homeless people may now have a place to sleep, and some cheap free food, but only a few are going to be able to make it out of their situation with that kind of "assistance." Educate the man, train him to be something. That's what I'm asking for.
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Unread postby Wix The Great » Mon Feb 24, 2003 11:27 pm

Wow dude, what tribe are of? My dad's family was Wampanoag. Yes, it is a great shame to see my people who once lives all along the east coast in great tribes now reduced to small portions of Rhode Island and MA.

I woul love to see land returned to them but I do not see it hppening and that is indeed very sad. However, we cannot hold a grudge because that is not a very righteous thing to do in a country where it could have been worse and we may not even be here today.
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Unread postby James » Tue Feb 25, 2003 12:00 am

And what would you have the government do that they aren’t already doing, Wild-Eyes? What would media coverage do? Only so much can be blamed on the government today, the people who need to take an initiative now are the Native Americans living in the reservations while complaining about their situation.

The only thing the past is good for is learning. Every moment spent worrying or being sad about it is a moment wasted. They need to work in the present to solve the very real problems facing them, and to build a better future.
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Unread postby Rhiannon » Tue Feb 25, 2003 12:27 am

Bill, I'm Cherokee (Blackfoot and Whitefoot both). And I really don't hold a grudge persay, the past is the past. But the past angers and disgusts me, and it should, as far as I'm concerned. If we should as humanity look at things like the Holocaust and be incensed, we should also feel that way about "lesser" events. What was wrong should offend us.


James, it's not the government alone here that's the problem. It's the US Government, the Tribal Bureaucracies, the non-Natives and the Natives which all contribute to this disgusting situation here in America. I'm holding both sides guilty in this.

Media coverage would increase awareness, and that's a rather obvious answer. We'd rather increase awareness about the health quality of MacDonald's than we would increase awareness about the current situation on reservations today. Is this the media's fault? Maybe. Maybe it also falls fault on tribal bureaucracies who refuse to have their ways of life filmed (if there are any, that is speculation purely).

Like I discussed with you in PM James, many of these people do not know what they don't have. Oh sure, they know they live in squalor, but they don't know there is better, and if they do know there is better, they don't know how to get it or it seems far beyond their reach. There are role models, but they are unknown.

I think the Natives on reservations, I repeat, need education. I'm not talking about better K-12 systems of education, either (which are decent enough, if the kids can get to them and are encouraged to go to them). I'm talking about adult education. Break down the walls of cultural hatred and stereotypes. Teach these people that they can walk out their doors, get vocational training, and get paying jobs. Teach them that they can have a co-culture, that they don't have to sacrifice who they are. Teach them about money, about health, about careers, about goals, about the things we take forgranted as Americans because we have them from day one.

You can't hold the Native Americans alone responsible for getting out of their squalor. A child cannot teach himself without books, without teachers. It's not even necessary for the US Government to add more money to their Native American programs. The tribal bureaucracies could get off their arses and put some of that money into new education programs. Reservation adults are mostly not self-sufficient. They are depressed and often addicted to some form of drug (including alcohol). They are incredibly suicidal. You don't just poke a drunk, suicidal teen in the ribs and tell him to fix himself -- you guide him through it, you educate and counsel him. What's wrong with asking someone to take that responsibility and teach the people how to live again?
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Unread postby James » Tue Feb 25, 2003 12:40 am

Increase awareness of what? And to what end? That is what I am trying to figure out here. If they were to start covering the state of reservations the American people would just want to pity them more, and send more money. What does that do? Make the situation worse, I will bet. You don’t pity someone who is depressed, it just makes it worse, how different would the case be for a whole group of people?

Sure, those members of these reservations that feel they are downtrodden and suffering may not understand that a good life is just around the corner if only they will get up and take it, but who should be educating these people? Obviously, in the reservations with this problem, the leaders of those groups aren’t taking proper steps to educate them. They aren’t willing to go out and learn on their own? Why then should it be someone else’s duty to educate them? And even if we did take up that duty, how would we approach it without a fresh stream of accusation?

To get education all they need to do is get up, join society, and take their benefits and hook up with some college classes. They don’t even need to take all those steps. We should not be willing to bring the education to them just because they don’t want to be a part of society’s education structure (which, if any of them are complaining, I can list as the only probable cause).

The government wants the Native Americans to be a part of American culture and society. They aren’t working against the program here. I suspect there is a high probability of reservation leaders not wanting members of the reservations to leave. Or maybe people are limiting themselves because they still feel the reservation is the only way to stick to their beliefs? Either way, the ball is in their court, all they need to do is pick it up and go.

I want to believe that there is something holding them down aside from the occasional depression, or a fear of leaving the reservation, but I can’t bring myself to do it. I honestly believe they have all the tools necessary to reach for the stars; they need nothing more. I think what they really need is some more confidence and ambition (they being the Native Americans that won’t leave reservations, but at the same time complain about the condition of the reservations in question).

It is easy to sit back and say the problem belongs to someone else, but really. What else can the American people and government do, that they aren’t already doing, without creating a greater dependence to the reservations or to themselves?
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Unread postby Travis » Tue Feb 25, 2003 1:08 am

1/16 Cherokee and 1/16 Shawnee so I am 1/8 Native American, but I am 1/2 German :lol:

Anywho James is right. You can't do much more for them with out the pity and money factor. If they don't want it, then fix your own problems. They have the opportunity, infact a slightly better opportunity to get into college them me. Media coverage solves nothing. I have seen several articles about the poverty of Reservations on TV, esp. msnbc.

That fact they are afraid to loose thier way of life isn't an excuse either. Look at the other ethnic groups that don't have a reservation, and still maintain thier way of life. A lot of asian communities manage to maintain thier way of life, also alot of European communities do as well. Even the Omish people managed to maintian thier way of life. There is really nto much more to be done other than to pick up and play ball.
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Unread postby Rhiannon » Tue Feb 25, 2003 3:01 am

The average amount of money spent per Native American on health care is $1,300. That's half of what the average poor to lower middle class American has spent on them per year.

A third of the country's 2 million Native Americans live below the poverty line. On the reservations, where per capita incomes averages $4,500, half of all children under age six live below the line; 1 out of every 5 Indian homes lacks both a telephone and an indoor toilet.

The BIA lost $2 billion in funds about 15 years ago and have not compensated that money. The BIA has failed to collect about $6 billion in oil revenues from oil companies that pump oil out of Indian reservations.

Most reservations are not anywhere near commerical development. And there are no jobs available on the reservation, not near enough to ensure that the unemployment drops below 25% (which is what the best record is with unemployment on a reservation to date).

Educational grants for college are less than half of what the demand and need is for them (on reservations). Only about 1/3 of applicants get lucky enough to get these grants. For the larger tribes, that makes about 100-200 students. Food comes through government issued rations. You can either have rations or food stamps.



So, explain to me, living in these kinds of conditions, how do you just pick up and play ball? Walk to the nearest town, hope you find a job, live on the street until you get enough money to rent a place to live? Would you? Do you expect thousands of people to pack their children on their backs and move into cities in this manner? True, there are housing programs, but again I emphasize: one must be educated and know about these things in order to be able to utilize them.

Benefits (including food) don't transfer out side reservations. Government issued food or food stamps come to the reservation to feed those on the reservation. Homeless Native Americans in cities do not get these benefits. The only benefits that stand still are housing (which again, I emphasize, requires education on the programs as well as in most cases, money from the state or individual) and scholarships (which are under extremely heavy competition).

Please explain to me how any individual on a reservation can just pick up and move on with their lives and integrate normally into society. Show me this is a case of individual responsibility.

James wrote:I honestly believe they have all the tools necessary to reach for the stars; they need nothing more.


What tools do they have?
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