Opinion: US owes apology to Native peoples
"Canada said sorry (last) Wednesday. Four months earlier, it was Australia. Now it's our turn.

Canada's apology follows a similar one by Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to the Aboriginal peoples in February of this year. Like in Canada, young Aboriginals were taken from their families, often by force, and sent to schools and homes where they were often abused, exploited, and prevented from speaking their language or practicing their way of life.

The United States has a similar legacy, but has yet to apologize. One state has stepped up and issued a somewhat different sort of apology, though. In a non-binding resolution, the Colorado Legislature apologized in late April for the intentional deaths, "cruelty, and inhumanity" inflicted on Native peoples. According to an article in Indian Country Today, the resolution specifically mentions the forced removal of the Cherokee Nation in 1838 and the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864, when as many as 200 Native people -- mostly elderly men, women and children -- were killed by members of the Colorado militia.

That's one state that's acted, 49 to go, plus the federal government. There's some good news from Washington, D.C., though. Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, a Republican, and Michigan Democrat Dale Kildee, head of the House's Native American Caucus, are pressing for congressional action, and they could succeed.

An apology to Native peoples is an important first step, but it should be accompanied by a commitment to discontinue the old practices of taking Native land and taking away Native peoples' political rights. And there are a lot of old wrongs that we can still make right."

Get the Story:
Sarah van Gelder: Canada Apologizes to its Native People. Will We? (Alternet 6/16)

Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments:
S.1200 | H.R.1328

Apology Resolution:
S.J.Res.4 | H.J.Res.3

Related Stories:
Audio: Sen. Brownback on Indian apology (6/16)
Rep. Boren hopes to put Indian apology in IHCIA (3/6)
Apology resolution added to Indian health bill (2/21)
Apology resolution introduced again in Congress (2/13)
Senate committee debates U.S. apology resolution (05/26)
Witness list for hearing on U.S. apology resolution (5/24)
Hearing scheduled on U.S. apology resolution (5/20)
Brownback reintroduces Native apology resolution (04/21)
Editorial: Apology a sign of 'modern tribal power' (06/28)
Bush blamed for delay of apology resolution (6/22)
Letter: People opposing formal apology in denial (06/18)
High-profile bills delayed by Senate committee (6/17)
Indian Affairs Committee activity this week (6/15)
Editorial: Apology to Native peoples not needed (6/15)
Tribal foes question need for U.S. apology resolution (6/11)
Brownback says reservation visit inspired apology (05/25)
Consideration of U.S. apology resolution delayed (05/20)
Apology from U.S. requested by Kansas Senator (5/19)

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