Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Native Americans are given second class status all over America

In New Orleans on Saturday, a Mardi Gras Indian annual festival turned ugly when police decided to break up the procession violently and with limited cause. Police were notified that one Native American male may have had a concelead shotgun, but then went forward and disbanded the entire parade with force the Native Americans considered unnecessary. New Orleans, a city that holds parades and carnivals for breakfast, lunch and dinner, doesn't seem like the city that would summarily break up a parade because of a possibility of violence. Hello, the land of mardi gras is potentially violent, but other festivals like it are monitored by the police, not broken up by them. Those parades are frequented by drunken college coeds baring skin and fighting, and yet no one has moved to stop any of it. On a Tuesday night in New Orleans, in the middle of spring break, I saw fighting, harrasment and public intoxication on a new level, and stiill the party continued. Could it have been the participants of the Mardi Gras Indian parade, who are mostly Native American. The police do not usually have to answer to this community, in New Orleans or anywhere else, unless it is a higly organized tribe that has fought for its rights with the local and state governments.In California there are a few such tribes, and even they are subject to being called a special interest group, the use of their own land subject to threats of regulation from Sacramento.The lack of respect for Native American issues, rights and traditions has been a mainstay of the American tradition since this country's founding, but in the 21st century it still amazes me that this disrespect is so blatant. Many tribes have gained the right to self-rule, with stringent regualtion by the government of course, and yet the ability to coexist respectfully and peacefully with that government has still alluded many. It is time for Americans and local governments to asses why Native Americans in this county are not treated fairly. Taking into account their history in America, I would think there would be a better place for them in our society, not as just the forgotten or auxilliary peoples we tend to teach about in schools. With the violence in New Orleans sure to draw criticism and even more attention, there is another opportunity, at least for the local government there, to take a look at what steps should be taken to ensure Native Americans are treated like Americans.

2 Comments:

At 8:10 PM, Anonymous Shaka said...

La Tasha,

You ask why/how come Native Americans are still treated as 2nd Class Citizens in thier own land? Welcome to the world of the Colonized. To those that believe that America was never colonized and instead was a "self-determined nation" make me laugh as colonization was the number 1 tool in the creation of America, I am sorry your people are being given a hard time, But I estimate you will have to wait at least 60 years before Humans(Americans especially) will have evolved past petty stuff like that. Too bad You and I will be long gone....

 
At 7:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry...but I believe that the marching and announching to the world that "We are Native Americans and we deserve rights" is a wrong message to portray.

First off, being of Native American descent (Navajo)--I am first and foremost an "American". I pay my taxes, own a business, and vote. I would think anyone who does the same is protected under Civil Rights Laws.

The more "we" Native Americans disassociate ourselves through "sovrienty", we are setting ourselves up as what? A foriegn country within the US?

Come on... You have rights, stop acting like you don't. And stop blaming for everyone else for it.

 

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