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Native People Have Been Targeted with Genocide

From a talk by Tim Jackins at a leaders’ workshop in Washington, D.C., USA, in March 2013

Native people, Indigenous people, Native American people are not white, and they are mistreated. Is it racism? Well, yes. But economic conditions also forced a different kind of oppression on Indigenous people than was forced on other groups. Other groups were made to do work of tremendous benefit while receiving almost none of what they produced. Native Americans weren’t exploited in that way. The Europeans wanted to get rid of the Native people to take the resources the Native people had lived with and, in a European sense, “owned.” Native people didn’t think they owned them. They thought the resources were simply the world. It wasn’t about ownership. But from the European perspective of having to grab onto, claim, and fight to own resources, Native people were the owners of the resources and had to be disposed of. They weren’t wanted; their resources were. So the policies toward Native Americans were policies of genocide.

Native people everywhere have been targeted with genocide. The same sorts of things have happened over and over in different parts of the world in different periods of history.

Genocide has a couple of meanings. One is to destroy a group of individuals, to end their lives. The other is to end the existence of the group rather than the individuals within it. This is done by making the group lose their culture and assimilate so they don’t exist as they did before. It is very, very destructive to a people for their existence as a people to be threatened. And it puts in different distress recordings than the recordings from racism. If you were targeted as Native in North America, the recordings you would have would be of being unsure that you should exist. The number of suicides on reservations is appallingly high.

Each of us needs to counsel on the oppression of Native peoples, whether or not we think we have contact with Native peoples. Our society has spread this oppression, and an enormous amount of misinformation, that has hit us all.

Tim Jackins

(Present Time 184, July 2016)


Last modified: 2020-07-02 14:27:35+00