Environmental Justice

America: Stealing Land from the Native People since 1776

By Tallon Kennedy
September 7, 2016

980xIn History classes we learn at a young age about the white man’s genocide of the Native Americans centuries ago. We act as if these acts were ancient history that we are removed from. We act as though the travesties of “westward expansion” were something in the distant past that we should learn from, but move on from. In modern times, Native American culture has been silenced and made invisible so that white people can remain absolved of the guilt of their ancestors, and continue to live in their suburbia on top of native lands.

But these are not remnants of the past, they are realities of today. The oil pipeline that is attempting to be built on a Native American reservation today is just another vicious act of racism and erasure of the Native people. The fact that attack dogs have been released on protestors without any sort of law enforcement interference is just another example of how white people in America consistently are absolved of their violent acts. However, if the Native American protestors were to commit an act of violence, the SWAT team and a militarized police force would undoubtedly be called in.

We like to act as if we’re ashamed of our history. We like to act as if we heartily regret the trail of tears and slavery. But when the disturbing realities of our past become our today, we turn a blind eye. We act as though racism is only a part of our past, but America today is inextricably bound to institutionalized racism.

We act as though we are sickened by the idea of forcibly and violently taking away land from the Native Americans, while simultaneously enjoying the privileges and prosperity of the land without adequate reparations. And when the very same thing happens today in the name of capitalism and energy and profit, we sit idly by, enjoying our slice of the elusive “American Dream” that a culture of commodifying the subordination of several races in servitude to one has created.

But please, tell me more about how Colin Kaepernick is scum of the earth for daring to propose that America is a country built on contradictions and hypocrisy. Please, tell me more about how he should bow down to his rulers and grant them the respect they deserve for the “freedoms” they so graciously granted him. Please tell me more about how more media attention and outrage should be given to a football player’s protest of the national anthem rather than a violent seizing of Native American land in the 21st century.

America, sometimes, you sicken me.


Photo by Dallas Goldtooth via http://www.ecowatch.com/sacred-burial-grounds-dakota-access-pipeline-1998932006.html

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