Posted by Kate on July 29, 2000 at 19:13:07:
In Reply to: Re: Casting Stones and Owning Mountains posted by Rich on July 29, 2000 at 11:05:34:
: : I have often wondered, should the French and the English pay reparations and apologize to the Indians?
: : Regards,
: : Victoria
: Oh, Victoria! You little rascal you!
: Without divulging my stance on this, I must say it's been of great interest reading the responses ... And, one more thing ...
: There's actually a recent precedent, of sorts, for just this sort of thing. Back in the late '80s, former Knicks guard(?), Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey, was a co-sponsor of a bill to return the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota to the Lakota Sioux. No kidding!
: I'm not sure what ever became of this matter, though it's obvious who owns the Black Hills ... still. Of course, this does deviate from your original question, as this is an issue of treaty obligation!
Reparation is being made in other parts of the world too. The government of Australia is now giving back to the Aboriginal peoples that land that was once their fathers', where possible. Where this infringes on the rights of ownership of the white Australians, the Aboriginal peoples are being given the right to 'go walkabout' on properties designated spiritual places. Of course, the white Australians of The Pastoral are up in arms, claiming their property 'rights' go back 4 and 5 generations, that they and their ancestors have put 200 years of sweat and tears into that 'outback' and that they too have 'rights' now.
It's going to be interesting to see how this dispute is handled. It's been acknowledged that 'wrongs' were done and the government is trying to mend some fences. BUT - if you follow the whole sorry scenario back to its 'source', is the AUSTRALIAN government to blame? Well, at this point in time, who knows and quite frankly, who cares. SOMETHING IS BEING DONE - SURELY that's the bottom line!!
Like Bill, I can't help feeling - how can we be held accountable for the 'sins of the fathers ...' *I* wouldn't have wished that Aboriginals were hounded off their lands. But - it was a different time then and for all sorts of reasons, people felt that they had to have the continent of North America, to conquer and call their own, or simply to try to make a living, etc. There is NO denying that EVERY country has had its moment of oppressing those smaller and less well armed than us.
And again, as Bill pointed out, what good is an apology for doing this, if it isn't meant, if it isn't backed up by actual deeds? Words are cheap.
(Actually, Victoria, could you cite your source of when/how the American government apologised to its Native Americans? I'd really be interested to read the article(s).
But everyone COULD be 'big enough' to say 'hell, it doesn't matter who did this to you, *I* want to help sort things out'. Surely THAT'S more important and would make more sense, than needing or looking for apologies from governments or Peoples that may or may not be the perpetrators (a moot point) that might mean nothing.
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