As Thanksgiving Approaches, I Am Reminded

 

Native Americans are more American than Americans because Native Americans were here before Americans even found America and called it America which was already the Native Americans’ home… America.

 

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And yet, Native Americans are still treated like, “savages”.

Edmund Burke said, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”

I found all these pictures of Native Americans from history, and yet I have no idea who they are, what they went through. I don’t know their stories. I don’t even know their names.

We are making such magnificent progress with people of color and women’s rights. We’re even talking about how men need to be able to cry and talk about their emotions without being told they’re not a man. Yet, Native Americans are still shuffled to the side, like so much nothingness.

 

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In 2006, Native Americans were 1.5% of our country’s population. That is roughly 4.5 million human beings.

Current sources say there are now 2.9 million Native Americans in the US. That is 0.9%

We went from 4.5 million to 2.9 million. 1.5% to .9%.

 

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In 2004, the Department of Justice found that Native American women are 50% higher in rates of domestic abuse and rape.

That’s not 50% higher than other humans in the US. That is 50% more than the next most victimized demographic!

Meaning, whatever the next group of human beings who rate as #2 highest in rape and domestic abuse… Native Americans are 50% higher than them.

Native American women are also much more likely to be assaulted than other women, of any race.

The Bureau of Justice Statistics, the US Department of Justice,  and Office of
Justice Programs had this finding to report:

at least 70% of the violent victimizations experienced by American
Indians are committed by persons not of the same race— a substantially higher rate
of interracial violence than experienced by white or black victims.”

Meaning Native Americans are typically raped and beaten by races that are not Native Americans.

In case anyone wants to try and blame their pain on themselves. As if the victim is as at fault. Because, hey, we don’t blame victims in this country’s daily chosen culture. (And so no one tries to report this as an alternative fact, this paragraph is sarcasm)

 

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1 out of every 12 Natives are victims of violent crimes, every year.

Native American youth have the highest rate of suicide in all of the youth in our country.

More than 4 in 5 Native men and women have been victims of violence in their lives. That means, in numbers,  730,000 women and  595,000 men.

48.8% of Native women have been stalked in their lifetime. 18.6% of Native men have been stalked.

 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has this to say:

“It is significant to note that American Indians/Alaska Natives frequently contend with issues that prevent them from receiving quality medical care. These issues include cultural barriers, geographic isolation, inadequate sewage disposal, and low income.”

Oh, and also:

“American Indians and Alaska Natives have an infant death rate 60 percent higher than the rate for Caucasians.”

 

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Gee, I wonder why they don’t trust the government. We have all these facts. And what are we doing about them?

What can we do?

We can see Native Americans as people. We are all humans. We all deserve respect, love, dignity, human rights, and the same opportunities.

We can talk about what is wrong about the current state of affairs.

We can talk about their beautiful and intriguing cultures.

Cultural awareness comes with stories poking at us until we see the truth. We can spread their stories. We can find them, tell people their names and their histories. We can care. We can love. We can hope.

But more than that. We can be the engine that moves hopes into reality.

 

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Sources:

https://assets.aspeninstitute.org/content/uploads/files/content/images/Fast%20Facts.pdf

http://www.ncai.org/about-tribes/demographics

https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/249736.pdf

https://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=3&lvlid=62

 

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