Written and Illustrated by Koriander Bullard
I woke up glaring at my phone today. I couldn’t decide what story was angering me more.
Twice this week, we have stood by and done absolutely nothing as Native Americans, or “American Indians” as we have incorrectly called them since 1492 when Christopher Columbus arrived on what is now United States coastal shoreline, where he led a multi-man genocide, rape and pillage against the indigenous people while erroneously believing these were peoples of the country of India, have been watching bulldozers rip up their homes and their burial grounds for the sake of “business”.
Over in California, Naval Base Coronado is under hot water for digging up a burial mound, home to the remains of the Kumeyaay Nation’s children, some having not been disturbed in more than four hundred years until the Navy decided to expand --for real-- the parking lot on the pocket island off the coast and across from San Diego. Back in 2002, the US Military had promised the natives that they would not disturb the area again for (their words, not mine) a good 7000 years “or so” after the discovery and re-interment of a centuries old little boy, whose remains had been scattered recklessly upon discovery, and who had to be re-buried in pieces. But the military failed to put this promise into writing, so they are effectively (stop me if this sounds familiar to you history buffs) going back on their word.
Half a country away, North Dakota finds itself in it’s own brouhaha of social discord, as an entire burial mound had already been crumpled up like so much garbage by a bulldozer shortly before a protest could be formed by the natives owning the grounds. Energy Transfer, an oil company owned by Texan oil bandit Kelcy/Kelsey Warren, plans to rip up not only burial grounds, but also the homes of US citizens of all colors (White people, that means you too) from the site of the mound into central Illinois, to build an oil line that will not actually “bring jobs” as it will be employed by already employed workers at the current plants.
The burial mound is owned by the Lakota, but since the Lakota people are “not recognized” by the federal government as a “federally recognized tribe” the nation isn’t even considered to be human, so when the natives reached out to the local police for help in protecting their property, the police responded by protecting the oil company ripping up the lands, arresting several people and sending deadly attack dogs, guns and pepper spray on not just the protesters, but their children.
The media didn’t even start to acknowledge the Lakota as people in all of this until September 4th, instead referring to them by the slur term “Sioux” which is a 1760’s slang used in Ojibwe and French for “Little Snakes” and was invented as a derogatory term against the Lakota, but is now used in the media to describe Lakota, Dakota and Nakota natives.
White Twitter is currently hashtagging it’s support of the natives, initial tweets criticized the natives for daring to fight for their own land. “Don’t they understand business?” tweets one redneck, while another chides “They’re DEAD, who cares?”
Let me be clear. What Kelcy Warren is doing to the natives is the same as if I were to drive a bulldozer through your grandmother’s plot, shove an oil pipe in her coffin and then pepper spray your daughter. Are we up to speed now? Good.
Actually, in 2011 the city of Chicago really did tear up a graveyard just a few years ago before Mayor Daley left office. O'Hare International Airport needed a bigger parking lot, so that pesky graveyard on church grounds just had to go. So yeah, it can happen to your family at any time.
And that last comment by the way was what jolted me awake today. It isn’t bad enough that here we are, allowing both government and big business to jack up burial mounds and established, legally paid for homes, but we are also allowing them to attack children.
Don’t make excuses for these police officers, and spare me the rhetoric of how “pure and innocent” these poor dogs are.
There is not now, nor will there ever be a good reason for a fully grown man, a decade or more past his first arrest as an officer of the law, to use pepper spray, an attack dog AND a pistol on an eight year old little girl, who is unarmed and trying to keep her home, which by the way, is on a reservation devoid of anything resembling commerce.
Think about it. This little girl, one of several attacked I might add, is standing peacefully, unarmed, and this man is literally trying to take dirt from her, the only thing she gets to call a home or proper resting site for her ancestors.
Did we really need to assault a little girl over dirt?
Indian reservations are desolate wastelands. The government has made it public for generations that they barely allot anything sustainable to these lands. Businesses only set foot on these grounds to erect liquor stores and casinos, and when they can’t drive the natives to drink and gamble, they’re starving their schools. Many states will shut you down if you try to teach anything about native culture to your own kind here, and most of today’s youth barely have an understanding of their own languages, let alone actual U.S. History before college, and the poverty levels are so staggering here that the average young Native is not likely to make it to age 16 without having attempted suicide at least once. Their “health services” are stuck in the 1880’s, and we’re actually complaining and trying to take this “lush” trailer park lifestyle away from them?
Once more, we are sending in police officers to steal dirt from a child by lethal force.
Surely you can see what’s wrong with this picture.
I have no sympathy for these police officers, government officials or any of the other grave diggers involved. While it goes without saying that the businesses ripping up these lands are pure evil, the cops deserve the full brunt of our hate in this situation.
Mr. Officer, you have one job, protect and serve law abiding citizens.
Instead, I just watched you sick a pitbull onto the face of a small child.
The war on Native Americans is real, and we’re going to have to do more than just Twitter support if we don’t want to be next.