November 25, 2011

Indians oppose Buffalo Soldiers plates

Indian group objects to Buffalo Soldier plates

By Gary ScharrerFew of the specialty plates are controversial. Who could disparage the Texas bluebonnet?

A recent proposal to put a Confederate battle flag image on a license plate, however, provoked enough public backlash that the Department of Motor Vehicles board unanimously voted to reject it.

The board did approve a specialty license plate to recognize the Buffalo Soldiers, which formed in the late 1800s as part of the U.S. Cavalry that helped push this country's western expansion. The all-black cavalry helped fight Native Americans in the Indian Wars from 1867-1888.

Many Texas African-American leaders strongly opposed the Confederate flag license plate while supporting the Buffalo Soldiers recognition. The president of the American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston sees considerable irony in African-American leaders appealing to Gov. Rick Perry to oppose the Confederate specialty plate, which they warned would remind black Americans of a legalized system of involuntary servitude, dehumanization, rape and mass murder.

"I feel the same way about the Buffalo Soldiers. When we see the U.S. Cavalry uniform, we are forced to relive an American holo­caust," said Steve Melendez, a member of the Paiute Nation of Pyramid Lake and president of the American Indian Genocide Museum. "I think they are well-intentioned, but the message they are giving to me is offensive."
Comment:  Texas's "God Bless America" plate is also objectionable since it violates the First Amendment prohibition against government establishing religion.

For more on license plates, see Oklahoma Plate Violates First Amendment? and California's Indian License Plate.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised more white people don't celebrate the buffalo soldiers. In general, Americans have only liked one group of undesirables if they're killing off another.