Native Americans and restitution from the US Government

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Native Americans and restitution from the US Government

Unread postby James » Fri Feb 21, 2003 7:05 pm

Do the Native Americans living today deserve restitution from the United States government in return for what happened to their ancestors when the white man entered the United States and basically went to war with them over their home? Share your view in this thread.

Chen Kun wrote:yeah, it is very easy to judge others bad when you're living in a "great condition".
just because your country is rich and democratic now, doesn't mean that the US got the prosperity without violated human rights :roll:
how many Indians, Black people and Asians were sacrificed to get to the US condition now?

No sense in living in the past, that can’t be changed. Those before us have attempted to make amends to the Native Americans (they receive wonderful educational, food, housing, and other related benefits upon verification of heritage). Slavery isn’t exactly an American idea though, it was occurring all around the world, and it still happens today in many countries. As time passes we will progress in some areas and develop new limitations.

I don’t really see why we should worry about past events that are no longer problems impacting those who live today (unless they think that somehow the events that happened to their descendants impact them today in a serious way, which I cannot see).
Last edited by James on Sat Feb 22, 2003 1:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Rhiannon » Fri Feb 21, 2003 9:47 pm

James wrote:No sense in living in the past, that can’t be changed. Those before us have attempted to make amends to the Native Americans (they receive wonderful educational, food, housing, and other related benefits upon verification of heritage). Slavery isn’t exactly an American idea though, it was occurring all around the world, and it still happens today in many countries. As time passes we will progress in some areas and develop new limitations.

I don’t really see why we should worry about past events that are no longer problems impacting those who live today (unless they think that somehow the events that happened to their descendants impact them today in a serious way, which I cannot see).



Hmm, that's why most Native Americans that choose to live on their land (ie reservations) are living at poverty level or below. That's why those who don't, but have bloodlines, often don't get those benefits: because to have verified heritage, you must do geneological research, followed by proving to your tribe that you have enough blood in you still to become part of the nation, and then you have to get a certificate. Then you're recognized. This, as you can see, sure as hell doesn't catch all of the Native Americans, such as myself who is 1/3 blood. I could go on, but this topic is about free speech, not the abuse of Native Americans. Let it suffice to say that I strongly disagree with you.
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Unread postby James » Sat Feb 22, 2003 1:53 am

Wild-Eyes wrote:Hmm, that's why most Native Americans that choose to live on their land (ie reservations) are living at poverty level or below. That's why those who don't, but have bloodlines, often don't get those benefits: because to have verified heritage, you must do geneological research, followed by proving to your tribe that you have enough blood in you still to become part of the nation, and then you have to get a certificate. Then you're recognized. This, as you can see, sure as hell doesn't catch all of the Native Americans, such as myself who is 1/3 blood. I could go on, but this topic is about free speech, not the abuse of Native Americans. Let it suffice to say that I strongly disagree with you.

I went through the whole process with my ex-gf about a year ago. The people who get these benefits and choose to do nothing else with their lives are in the same pit as the people on welfare, their fault. As for giving benefits to today’s Native Americans, I actually think they shouldn’t get anything at all (especially people who are only a third or quarter blood). They aren’t the ones suffering; the people that suffered are now dead, long ago taken by the sands of time. Like it or not, now it is America, and the Native Americans have every bit as much the change to be a part of it as any white person does. Open a new thread if you want to debate it.
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Unread postby James » Sat Feb 22, 2003 2:08 am

Never mind on that, I went ahead and made the new thread myself. I do not think the Native Americans living today deserve any sort of restitution at all whatsoever. The crimes committed against their ancestors were great indeed, and they deserved a lot more from us than what they got, but those living today, I argue, are not impacted by the events of the past.

Sure, they can no longer live as they once did, but this is the way of society, humanity, and the world. Right now humanity is going through a stage of industrialization (for better or for worse) and it would have consumed the American continent one way or the other. The Native American living today has absolutely no limitations in today’s society. There is no outstanding prejudice against them (in fact, many people still feel like they should be making amends for the acts of our ancestors). They can move up in a job just like anyone else, and they can go to college without difficulty.

I submit that any degree of restitution we should have offered would have been to only those who were impacted by the events of the past. Even today, with the proper steps taken, a Native American can get exceptional benefits (wonderful housing, college, and in some cases food payments) from the United States government. Even with these benefits, some of them still choose to go nowhere with their lives (I do not think there is much difference here from the welfare situation, it is all about dependency).

We locked many Japanese up during World War II (though they were not abused) and we made restitution to the Japanese locked up, which they deserved. Japanese living in the US today do not receive restitution for what we did to them.

African Americans today, in many cases, are descendants of slaves in early American culture. What we did to those before them was horrible, and many of the African Americans living in the US today feel they deserve restitution. They don’t get any though. Why? Because we never hurt them. Events of the past are just that, events of the past. People living today should not have to pay people of another culture money for crimes their ancestors committed against the other culture’s ancestors.

I ask this then, and my apologies to anyone who is offended (please understand that I hold nothing against you at all), but why should we make restitution to a person who has never been forced to suffer at our hands?
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Unread postby Mu Shu » Sat Feb 22, 2003 2:49 am

Hmmm... this sounds like the argument for abolishing affirmative action.

In judging the native American issue and also affirmative action I don't think "fairness" should be the only criteria. The real issue is what is best for the nation as a whole. Do Americans what to live in a society in which there are great disparities between races. Sure you can argue that its the black man's fault that his is not as educated and financially well off as the white man. But this does not solve the problem. If the white man blames the black man and the black man blames the white man... the dispute is endless....

In order to be pragmatic people need to sometimes look beyond a rigid sense of "fairness"... We should ask: does a particular solution work? That should be the criteria for judgement. If a solution "doesn't work" would things really be better off if the system was removed all together? Or would things be even worse?

The sense of "fariness" is a very strong motivating factor for political change. But quite often the "fair" solution ends up hurting everyone...
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Unread postby Rhiannon » Sat Feb 22, 2003 2:56 am

The entire premise of your argument, James, suggests that the Native Americans should just give up their old ways and join the rest of the world. How imperialistic and naive. Their lands were taken from them, and it's impossible to give those lands back. They were given lands that were the worst possible, because the good farm land went to the whites years ago. They have had two choices for most of the United States' existance: assimilate entirely, or isolate. Give up your way of life that you have every right to live, or keep it but don't ask for anything. Blending is now an option, but hardly a simple one.

The purpose established with the Indian Claims Commission is to assimilate and relocate Native Americans off reservations and into cities. The government still no longer wishes to honor the Native American way of life; they wish to let it be a cultural ghost -- present but changed.

The descendants of many of those ancestors still live on the reservations. In order to move off those reservations, they must get money. In order to get money, they have to have a job. There has to be a job available for them...and for that they need education and training...and for that, they need schools and training programs, and transportation. You can guess how little of that is available.

People have no idea what the poverty is like on the reservations. Mothers are wrapping their children in newspaper to keep them warm because they don't have blankets. Drug use and alcohol use is at an incredible high. Most people believe that's the Native American's choice; but in a world where you have to walk miles to get to a store, or to a job, or to civil services and live in poor conditions because you can't afford anything better, drugs and alcohol are a wonderful escape. The wrong escape, but a wonderful one. The situations on the reservations are equivalent to that of underdeveloped (ie third world) countries.

These people in poverty are not dependent on anything. They do not get the money. The bureaucracies set up by the US government in the tribes get it to distribute, and bureaucracies take a great deal of money to run. The head of the Cherokee Department of Child Welfare told me that if the money they recieved just to run their organization and do their drives was taken away and divided into checks among the needy familys, things would be incredibly better. The same can be said for other situations. Those who need that money are not getting it directly; the bureaucracies are eating it away. If you give $1 million for health care for a native tribe, how much of that goes to the people, when you need to build and maintain a hospital and its staff, who still rely on money from patients to get by?

Intermarriage with non-Natives has been primarily if not the only way for Native Americans to escape their poverty. Assimilation. Leaving behind the home and your people to become "American".
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Unread postby Justin » Sat Feb 22, 2003 3:35 am

Wild-Eyes wrote:The entire premise of your argument, James, suggests that the Native Americans should just give up their old ways and join the rest of the world. ... <quote trimmed>


I'm sorry but I feel no pain for these people. Either you do what you have to to get by or you die. If life on the reservation is so terrible then leave. If the only way then can lead a decent life is to leave thier old life behind I see no reason for them to stay. Is it better to live a live in poverty and keep your cultural heritage 100% pure or to leave and integrate with the rest of society and posbibly have some kind of decent life?

I believe they should leave, get rid of the resevations, force integration with the rest of society. I hate to be a cold hearted bastard but the truth is the Native American way of life is soon to be extinct. There is nothing we can do to save it. Why should we spend millions and millions of dollars on a failed cause? It's like a keeping a terminally ill patient on lifesupport when they're brain dead. It makes you feel better to seem them but there is nothing you can do to save them.

Yes what we did to their ancestors was a tragedy but we need to move on. We do more of a disservice to them by keeping them strung along on welfare. We should preserve what we can of their culture and cherish it as part of our history. But we need to learn from our mistakes and move on as a nation.
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Unread postby Seven at One Stroke » Sat Feb 22, 2003 3:44 am

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Unread postby James » Sat Feb 22, 2003 3:52 am

Mu Shu wrote:Hmmm... this sounds like the argument for abolishing affirmative action.

Affirmative action is too broad a topic to be encompassed in this particular issue. Furthermore, I am not arguing that the government should stop support to the American Indians. Many of them are dependant at this time, and to just cease their benefits would cause some serious harm. That said, I will continue to debate my personal view on this issue.

The very act of providing someone with something that other people don’t get, when the other people in question can see no reason why those people should receive the special treatment, promotes segregation. For example, if an African American feels that society is holding him back, and sees compensation as a solution, that will solve things on his end, but what about everyone else? They will see it as unfair. They are being forced by their government to pay someone restitution for something they never did. Many of them will adopt a hateful or spiteful view on this matter, and some of that group will take it to tangible levels.

We can’t always step back and take the solution that “works” if that solution brings about more problems. You can’t always take the easy way out. And as a government, it is not fair to take money from people for things they do not believe in. The government does it all the time, but all hell breaks loose when they do it over something that people understand and pay attention to.

That aside, it sounds to me like you support compensation for African Americans. Can you explain your view?
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Unread postby Seven at One Stroke » Sat Feb 22, 2003 3:59 am

James wrote:The very act of providing someone with something that other people don’t get, when the other people in question can see no reason why those people should receive the special treatment, promotes segregation. For example, if an African American feels that society is holding him back, and sees compensation as a solution, that will solve things on his end, but what about everyone else? They will see it as unfair. They are being forced by their government to pay someone restitution for something they never did. Many of them will adopt a hateful or spiteful view on this matter, and some of that group will take it to tangible levels.

We can’t always step back and take the solution that “works” if that solution brings about more problems. You can’t always take the easy way out. And as a government, it is not fair to take money from people for things they do not believe in. The government does it all the time, but all hell breaks loose when they do it over something that people understand and pay attention to.


Good point. I'm against monetary reparations to African Americans and Native Americans. However, I would like to some programs that actually do work, and I would like to see the government putting some heart into actually trying to improve the lives of minorities instead of just trying to pretend that they are. I would like to see the government at lleast bringing them up to the level of everybody else in terms of equal oppurtunities and equal access to the services that the majorities enjoy.

I do realize I'm making a lot of general assumptions here, but these are just my views. If things are underway to bring about change, please let me know. :)
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