May 04, 2011

Arizona's state gun killed Indians

Weapon Used to Kill American Indians Now Arizona State Gun

By Debra Utacia KrolOn April 28, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law SB 1610, which designates the Colt .45 caliber handgun—a weapon that was used to kill many Indians, including women and children during the Indian Wars of the 19th century—to its roster of official artifacts. Ironically, this list includes turquoise, a gem used by many southwestern tribes and acclaimed by Navajos as one of their four sacred stones and the bola tie, a men’s neckware item almost exclusively crafted by Indians.

State Representative Albert Hale, D-Window Rock, noted that “The honoring of any gun is offensive to Native Americans.” Hale, who served as Navajo Nation president before being elected to the Arizona Legislature, added, “Guns were used to kill Native Americans and take everything that belonged to them. They were used to put Native Americans on reservations.” Hale made at least two impassioned speeches on the House floor before the bill came up for the first of two votes. After the first full House vote nixed the bill with less than the 31-vote majority needed, Representative Steve Montengro, R-Litchfield Park, asked for a revote. The bill passed with a vote of 32-25 and three representatives not voting. Five Republicans voted against the measure in the Arizona House, which is dominated by Republicans.
And:[T]he Colt .45 pistol, the darling of the Indian fighters, also gave the U.S. Army a way to quickly kill and wound Indian people. In just one incident, in the dawn hours of December 28, 1872, a 130-man force from the 5th Cavalry from Fort McDowell and Old Camp Grant and 30 Apache scouts under the command of Capt. William H. Brown conducted a surprise raid on a band of Yavapais hidden in a cave hideout deep in Salt River Canyon. The Yavapais refused to surrender, and the Army shot and crushed to death 100 Yavapai men, women and children in what is today called the “Skeleton Cave Massacre.” The Yavapai consider this the most horrible massacre in their history, and newspapers and Army reports of the day describe it as one of the most “terrible battles in Apache history.” Reports indicated 75 “hostiles” were killed and 25 captured. In 1925, the Fort McDowell Yavapais retrieved the bones of their massacred relatives and brought them home for burial in a mass grave on the reservation.

After hearing Hale’s speech, at least two Republican legislators changed their votes. Rep. Kate Brophy McGee of Phoenix noted in an e-mail that, while she supports the Second Amendment and believes the Arizona Legislature should “pursue legislative policy that strengthens our right to bear arms,” she adds that “Representative Hale’s impassioned plea to his colleagues to not memorialize a weapon that symbolized pain and destruction to his people convinced me that this bill was not in Arizona’s best interests.” McGee also noted that “supporting one weapons maker over another is not the job of the legislature.”
Comment:  Wow...a Republican actually changed her vote on a gun issue based on an Indian's speech? That's impressive.

For more on the subject, see Arizona Chooses State Gun.

1 comment:

Rob said...

For more on the subject, see:

Lawmaker:  Colt Designation 'Disrespectful' to Native Americans

"For me, as a Native American and for other Native Americans, it didn't bring peace. It was a weapon of mass destruction," says Rep. Hale.

The state legislature passed a bill to make the gun the official state firearm, despite a passionate speech by Hale.

"Once they brought the guns, that was the instrument that was used to put them on reservations, to take everything that they owned: land, water, et cetera from them. That was at the point of that gun."