Opinion

Steve Russell: Indian Country could learn lessons from MLK





Steve Russell wonders whether tribes resolve internal conflicts and pursue their dreams:
Martin Luther King, Jr. famously told the nation, “I have a dream.” Less famously, he said on April 3, 1968: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land!”

The next day, April 4, he was taken by an assassin’s bullet.

I asserted in my column on his most famous speech that Indians, too, have a dream. A fine rhetorical flourish, if I do say so, but is it true? And if it is true, does our devotion to that dream match MLK’s?

Or do we have 566 dreams that conflict, each with the other? If that’s so, there is nothing traditional about those dreams, since many of the 566 federally recognized tribes are peoples separated by accident of history. Look no farther than my people, split into three governments with three sets of enrollment criteria and only one with a serious land base.

Get the Story:
Steve Russell: Learning From Martin Luther King: Can Natives Make 566 Dreams One Dream? (Indian Country Today 8/28)

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