September 11, 2015

More September 11ths coming?

The Day White Innocence Died: An Indigenous Take on #September11

By Gyasi RossIt was undoubtedly a tragedy. But September 11th wasn’t a surprise, at least not for Native people and many people of color. No, Native people were already well aware of how destructive and evil people could be. How did we know? AMERICA TAUGHT US THAT; really, September 11th was only a surprise for white people and for those who didn’t realize that America had already perpetrated many September 11ths of its own. Native people knew that. We knew that America had a whole bunch of blood on its hands and that there was always a harvest season, always a reckoning. Sir Isaac Newton gave that harvest a name in his Third Law of Motion, that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.

Oh yeah, that means that there will be more September 11ths as well—it’s inevitable unless America works to acknowledge and reconcile with its many victims of domestic terrorism against its own people. We see that energy right now—the current distrust of the federal government, the distrust of law enforcement and peoples’ movements of all colors that don’t believe in the legitimacy of the “powers that be,” like Idle No More, the Occupy Movement, Black Lives Matter and the Tea Party. Obviously the viewpoints of those various movements are vastly different, but the energy is largely the same.

“We don’t believe you. This Nation is build upon raw power and deceit and not freedom, equality or opportunity.”

There will be more September 11ths unless we change, folks. God forbid, but unless we do something it will happen. There will be rectification for the Marias Massacre, for the Sand Creek Massacre, for Wounded Knee, for North Tulsa/Black Wall Street, the Mankato mass hanging, the Red Summer of 1919, Joe Coe, Emmett Till, internment camps of Japanese, Chinese Exclusion Act, slavery, Jim Crow, genocide, forced tubal ligation of Native women, Tuskegee experiments, etc., etc., etc.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In the words of Ron Burgundy, “It’s science.” So, how do we stop this horrible cycle? Acknowledgment. Conversation. Painful conversation. Hell, restitution, reparations. Not punitive—just what the US owes. To wit, honor treaties with Native people and recognize aboriginal title, whether that be via monetary compensation (a disgusting compromise for many Native people, yet one that acknowledges practical realities) or specific performance. Monetary compensation for black folks for 40 acres and a mule—what is that in today’s dollars?

Formally apologize. Acknowledge. Treat us as human beings—the inhumane way that many white folks on this continent treated people of color for 400 years still influences the way they perceive us today, hence the incredibly disproportionate amount of deaths for Native and Black people at the hands of law enforcement.

Not civil rights—human rights—treat us like human beings.

Otherwise there will be more September 11ths. It’s physics. Natural law. We’re stuck with each other—none of us are going anyplace. But acknowledgment, reconciliation and restitution of America’s past crimes will move help us move to a new age, where we can get past these historical demons and actually start living in the 21st Century.

God bless the families of all who were harmed by September 11th. God also bless the families devastated by all instances of terrorism, including those perpetrated by the United States.
Comment:  For more on terrorism, see America the Biggest Loser and Natives React to Charleston Shootings.

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