As ugly as it gets, the anger part is real, palpable, and pretty much justifiable. Black Americans have a whole lot to be angry about.
There is not a minority group in the nation that has not felt the sting of unfathomable hatred. Jews are still under attack from all sides (see Jewish Space Lasers,) Latinos, Asians, Muslims. In the old days you could've added Irish, Italian, and Polish to the list. What is very clear is that if your appearance is different, or perceived different, you become a target. The bullies will find you. It's just that simple.
One group, however, has been banished from sight, hidden away in corners you might not even know are there. There are actual places for those people who were once the majority population here. In fact, they pretty much owned this country and ran it on their terms. Oh, they had their spats, but they also had different systems of governance that worked well for them. And then they were herded up, shipped off, and denied all rights. Even when the Civil War was setting the slaves free, these people continued to be pushed aside, denied all civil rights including citizenship in their own country, and no one came to their rescue.
Yeah, yeah, I know. This is one of my usual soapboxes. Too bad. It is. And it doesn't get enough attention.
Do you even know there is a Native American Heritage Month? Just so you know, it's November, the same month as Aviation Month, Latin American Month, Good Nutrition Month, Hunger Awareness Month, Aids Awareness Month, Vegan Awareness Month...and others. But nowhere on the list appears Native American Heritage Month. Gee, I wonder why? Maybe because it's the same month as Thanksgiving, when we lie to ourselves about our relationship with the people who lived in the soon-to-be-Boston area?
My people–some of them–have run away to the hills, and have no blankets, no food. No one knows where they are—perhaps freezing to death. I want to have time to look for my children, and see how many of them I can find; maybe I shall find them among the dead. Hear me, my chiefs; my heart is sick and sad. From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever!
I only ask of the government to be treated as all other men are treated. If I cannot go to my own home, let me have a home in a country where my people will not die so fast. I would like to go to Bitter Root Valley. There my people would be happy; where they are now they are dying. Three have died since I left my camp to come to Washington. When I think of our condition, my heart is heavy. I see men of my own race treated as outlaws and driven from country to country, or shot down like animals. I know that my race must change. We cannot hold our own with the white men as we are. We only ask an even chance to live as other men live. We ask to be recognized as men. We ask that the same law shall work alike on all men. If an Indian breaks the law, punish him by the law. If a white man breaks the law, punish him also. Let me be a free man, free to travel, free to stop, free to work, free to trade where I choose, free to choose my own teachers, free to follow the religion of my fathers, free to talk, think, and act for myself—and I will obey every law or submit to the penalty. Whenever the white man treats the Indian as they treat each other, then we shall have no more wars. We shall be all alike—brothers of one father and mother, with one sky above us and one country around us and one government for all. Then the Great Spirit Chief who rules above will smile upon this land and send rain to wash out the bloody spots made by brothers' hands upon the face of the earth. For this time the Indian race is waiting and praying. I hope no more groans of wounded men and women will ever go to the ear of the Great Spirit Chief above, and that all people may be one people.
Heinmot Tooyalakekt has spoken for his people. (January 14, 1879)
Heinmot Tooyalakekt (Thunder Rising to Loftier Mountain Heights) was Chief Joseph's Nez Percé name. I guess it was too much to ask the historians of the period to bother learning how to spell it. Oh, hell; if we Minnesotans can learn to spell Bde Maka Ska.....
You may not know it, but Heinmot Tooyalakekt is considered one of the great civil rights leaders of America. He spoke up for the Indigenous Peoples of this land. Didn't get him very far, nor did too many people in DC pay any attention to him then, just as we pay no attention to him now. That is very broken.