Shawnet HistoricalReportonRace Essay

Submitted By shawny4
Words: 1256
Pages: 6

Shawnett Foster 11/12/2014

To My (White) Friend
Dear Jessica, MTV is airing a ton of commercials for their Look Different campaign. I’ve seen ones for Jews, Blacks and Guatemalans. I’m waiting to see if they air one of Native Americans and will keep you posted on the outcome. November is Native American History Month, which is ironic since it’s also the same month the nation celebrates with thanks the conquering of the so-called “New World” by your ancestors (Prichard). That’s how we’re introduced in the history books, like an afterthought. We were here for hundreds and thousands of years before white man, but we were not interesting to be documented until Europeans arrived to be friendly or discriminating, at their discretion. Thanks for letting us be a footnote in your existence, United States of America. Then placating us with a month dedicated to reminding you of our existence and diversity at the same time you try to promote a clean image of wholesome friendliness by overemphasizing one of the last times European colonial settlers and Native Americans truly, sincerely got along. Like we all got along the whole time! Native Americans have been discriminated against for as long as the White Men have been here. We were a novelty and then a nuisance, sometimes a commodity. Over time, legislation has been passed to limit our potential through various methods and channels. What political power we had (often none), what religions we could practice (not our own) and where we could live (not our own land). We have been decreasing in numbers substantially and have to struggle to protect our identities, our land and our culture (“Native American Indians”). I know we’ve discussed it before where you didn’t realize the white privilege you were born with, but it’s just astounding. Where once there were thousands of tribes with our own unique cultures and lifestyles, we are now a conglomerate. We are categorically Native Americans with individuality being lost (“Native American Indian”). Did you know in 1776, the Continental Congress decided that it would be worth their while to invest in recruiting Native Americans to fight for them in the Revolutionary War? As we were dying of small pox, measles and other diseases (“Native American Timeline of Events”). That was their request. Like they didn’t even realize other people had been there and had homes and families and communities on the land they were trying to fight for with another displaced country. What about us? So many pieces of legislation were passed to supposedly help us and protects us. In 1786, for example, the Northwest Ordinance was passed, proclaiming that “the utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians…in their property, rights and liberty they shall never be disturbed” (“Native American Timeline of Events”). Or at least not until the military invaded the lands and attacked all the Native Americans living there. Forcing upon the Cherokees the Trail of Tears in 1838, displacing them to Oklahoma so the government could take their land. And in 1866, Congress gave equal rights to all people born in the United States – excepting Native Americans, which remained law until 1870 when all men, including Native Americans, were given the right to vote (“Native American Timeline of Events”). In 1880, did you know the Civilization Regulations passed? It was created by Congress and listed offenses that only Native Americans could commit. Have you ever heard anything so ridiculous? I know as the descendant of Irish immigrants your people were not always given a fair shake either, but that lasted until they were repealed in 1936! Our religion was outlawed, our medicine men were outlawed our Sun Dance and other rituals and ceremonies were forbidden. Leaving us to our reservations, which…