Five Hundred Years of Injustice


This composition covers some of the inequalities and injustices that people of color have endured for centuries.  It highlights efforts to bring about change through awareness spearheaded by individuals and organizations.  And it identifies who benefits if these atrocities are to be erased.

The article by Newcomb: “Five Hundred Years of Injustice,” covers a unique background that reveals a few unknown facts about the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.  It shares the oppression, injustices, and inequities forced on individuals and communities. According to this article, the Native Americans’ lands were forcibly taken through oppression using religious doctrine.  They were forced to change their values due to colonization which resulted in a struggle against imperialism.

A more recent article, “The Myth of U.S. Plenary Power” explains the unfair control America imposed over Indians.  This article shares how the U.S. stole the homelands of Indians living east of the Mississippi River.  They were forced to move from their ancestral lands through the Indian Removal Act of 1835 – a legal structure that facilitated inequalities.  During that time, America was building hegemonic ambitions and pushing dominance. Manifest Destiny was believed by early American settlers that their mission and responsibilities were to spread democracy and build an empire. They believed themselves to be superior to the Natives, falsely thinking “God made them better.”  This was prejudicial treatment to the Native American people which resulted in all of their privileges taken away from them.

The ill effects from the past are still present today; and unless we decide to put an end to the old habits of oppression, it will continue to exist in our society. Discrimination and oppression against natives is embedded in Law. James Anaya, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, stated that discrimination is intense against Native Americans. Nonetheless, it is evident that there have still not been adequate measures of reconciliation to overcome the persistent legacies on the history of oppression and that there is still much healing that needs to be done (Blades, 2012). I completely agree with his statement and think America has been manipulated to accept the “injustice.”

Additionally, the United States Indian Federal Law ignores the morality of Human Rights.  “Concepts and categories of domination and subordination in U.S. Federal Indian Law and Policy are institutionalized in U.S.   Echohawk focused on the fact that those idea- patterns of colonialism not premised on human rights are still embedded in U.S. law and policy, and those patterns will continue to exist in U.S. law and policy until they are replaced with a different form of thought and ideas about the original nations and peoples of Great Turtle Island. This, however, is a change that the U.S. government is dead set against.” (Newcomb, 2014). The U.S. government’s interpretation of the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples reads into it the idea-structure of domination and subordination (i.e., Indian nation “domestication”) that characterizes U.S. Federal Indian Law and Policy. That being the case, Mr. Echohawk’s column could be treated as a springboard for advocating a key point: The ideas and arguments he calls the “19th Century Law of Colonialism” are not based on human rights, with its domination- subordination idea-patterns.  Echohawk proposed that laws be permanently removed even though the U.S.  claims to promote democracy, but it contradicts its hegemonic ambitions (Newcomb, 2014).

 

Blades, M. (2012, May 7). UN Rapporteur Hears Indian Testimony, Says Some Land Should Be Restored. Retrieved from http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/05/07/1089499/-UN-Rapporteur-Hears-Indian-Testimony-Says-Some-Land-Should-Be-Restored#

Newcomb, S. (2013, September 30). U.S. Indian Federal Law Ignores the Principles of Human Rights – ICTMN.com. Retrieved from http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2013/09/30/us-indian-federal-law-ignores-principles-human-rights

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