February 14, 2008

Should the US apologize too?

A Hollow Apology to Indian PeopleA Kansas senator wants his government to again wrestle with that question, proposing that the U.S. Senate issue a formal apology to Native people.

In an amendment attached to the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, Sen. Sam Brownback proposes apologizing to Native people.
Why this apology wouldn't be worth much:It's unfortunate this apology must be attached as an amendment to a bill, rather than stand on its own. Not that it likely would survive the inevitable onslaught from conservatives in Congress and from President Bush, who no doubt would see it as a concession to a conquered people.

In a nod to those conservatives, Brownback's amendment offers the following disclaimer: "Nothing in this section: (1) authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or (2) serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States."

So what real effect will such a hollow apology have in ending the very real problems—sky-high rates of diabetes, infant mortality, and alcohol and drug abuse—facing Native people today?

Rather, the government should spend its time tackling real issues, like reauthorization of the Indian health care bill, rather than trying to soothe its own conscience.


dmarks said...

Talk is cheap.

As for conservatives attacking things. I don't know a lot about Brownback, but I think he is one too.

Disclaimers like that end up in things inorder to help thwart frivolous lawsuits.

writerfella said...

writerfella here --
Congress already has proposed such an 'apology' resolution, intended for Native Americans in general and in toto, but one should recognize that the word 'non-binding' most assuredly has been incorporated among its highly complex language...
All Best
Russ Bates