Censored: Reactions to Obama's meeting with Native American governments
By Brenda Norrell
"We've heard this before ..."
"Sad to hear Native elected leaders whining for more money for jails and neglecting what is really important ..."
"I watched the last part, once again the white men were sitting on the stage, staring down at the Indians, or wait, who was who, everyone looked the same in their colonial suits ..."
"The little bits and pieces I heard was a lot of 'we need to do better.' Well NO sh-t !!! that's what we've been telling you for years." --Tim Wozny
"Disappointing--but not unexpected" --Tiffany Minurbizniz
"Money always money & Obama writes checks, evil money. Leonard Peltier's name wasn't heard inside." --Patsy Luebke
If Obama is serious, then free Peltier, relinquish control of the Black Hills, empower the traditional Hopi and Dine' to defend their lands, and remove the soldiers of the state from the border reservations. If that happens, then maybe I might take him a little more serious as an ally than as a threat to the Sovereignty of the First Nations....!" --Ben Carnes, Choctaw
So you could spin this summit either way. Either "Obama promises to do great things" or "Obama has yet to fulfill his promises." Glass half empty or half full.
But I can't agree with Ben Carnes and the other AIMsters quoted above. Freeing Peltier and giving back the Black Hills are not the highest priorities in Indian country--not even close. Indians would be foolish to ask Obama to spend his political capital on these things, and Obama would be foolish to spend it.
What Obama won't do
Obama still may pardon Peltier at the end of his presidency. He isn't going to do it anytime soon. Nor will he be giving back the Black Hills, interfering with the Hopi and Navajo governments, or reducing our border security to allow more illegal immigration.
You might as well ask the tides to stop coming in. No president will take steps like these within our lifetimes, if ever. Putting these things at the center of your political agenda means you're not serious about change. You're not serious about engaging in the political process and finding compromises that will (partly) satisfy everybody.
Rather, it means you're rallying your people to a holier-than-thou level of righteousness. You're good and everybody else is bad--which is ironically how the European colonists felt when Indians surrounded them. You don't care how many Indians suffer or die as long as you achieve your symbolic victories.
For more on the subject, see Obama at the Tribal Summit and Pix of the Tribal Summit.
Below: "Citizens of several tribal nations raised tipis on the Ellipse in front of President Barack Obama's residence in recognition of the historic White House Tribal Nations Conference." (Rob Capriccioso/Indian Country Today)