THE ISSUES

Native American Justice

Making Amends toward Native American NATIONS

Whether for an individual or for a nation, internal as well as external issues must be addressed if fundamental change is to occur. Primary among these is the addressing of one’s character defects, including the willingness to atone and make amends for ways we have transgressed.

For the United States, three main characterological issues must be addressed this way: our modern propensity to militarism, our relationship with Black Americans, and our relationship with Native Americans.

Native Americans lived on this continent for thousands of years before our European ancestors "discovered" it. The wisdom of the indigenous peoples of North America graced this soil before the white intruders ever arrived. It is estimated that in 1492 there were up to eighteen million indigenous people who lived in the area that is now the United States. Yet, by 1890, as a result of war and disease, there were only about 250,000 Natives left here alive.

Native Americans experienced both physical and cultural genocide.

Over the years, the US government made various treaties with Native tribes which have been continuously broken. Our broken promises have contributed to injustice and poverty among the more than 5 million Native Americans living here today. In addition to higher poverty rates, reservations are hindered by lower-than-national-average education levels, poor healthcare services, low employment, substandard housing, deficient economic infrastructure – and now, as in North Dakota during the 2018 midterms, voter suppression efforts.

It is time for our generation to atone and make fundamental amends for the accumulated transgressions of US policy. We must seek to overturn wrongs of the past that in many ways still linger today, and redress the problems that have been caused because of them.

In the words of the Friends Committee on National Legislation, “The federal government should provide adequate funding for the essentials of life, not as a gift or as charity, but as the fulfillment of commitments made at the founding and throughout the expansion of this nation.” 

SPECIFICS

As president, I would support:

  • Passage of the Savanna Act, a piece of legislation that is centuries overdue. The bill is named after Savanna Greywind, a pregnant 22-year-old member of the Spirit Lake Nation who was brutally murdered in 2017.  For far too long, Native and indigenous women have been murdered and abducted at sky-high rates, and law enforcement has failed to do much about it.  Savannah’s Act will require the US to start keeping and publishing statistics related to the disappearance or murder of Native American women.  It would also improve access for sovereign tribal governments and their tribal law enforcement agencies to the United States federal crime information databases, and provide other resources necessary to make an actual difference when it comes to this horrifying issue.
  • Full enactment of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which would also help with the issues related to Savannah’s Act, and reflect the disturbing levels of unaddressed abuse in some Native American communities.
  • Returning dominant control of the Black Hills of South Dakota to the Sioux (Lakota/Dakota/Nakota) Nation. The Black Hills, considered sacred to those nations, were promised by treaty in 1868 and should be returned as promised.
  • Halting construction of the Keystone and Bakkan pipelines, respecting Native tribes’ sovereignty over their territory.
  • Efforts by Tribal Nations to regain and restore their communities and heritage.
  • Improvement of Native lands’ justice systems, which, due mainly to chronic underfunding, make it difficult to enforce prosecution of non-natives accused of serious crimes.
  • Protection of tribal sovereignty. Tribal nations have important needs for infrastructure, education and economic development that are severely underfunded and under-resourced. My administration would guarantee aid to strengthen tribal self-governance.
  • Protection of Native religious freedoms. The Williamson Administration will protect sacred sites and lands from sale, mining, or transfer without consultation with tribes.
  • Rethinking treaties that have limited Native Tribes’ ability to make decisions about their own lands. Many of these decisions are economic --decisions that should be left in the hands of Native nations alone.
  • Continuing tribal nation summits annually held in Washington, with the full support of key cabinet agencies in order to discuss and garner feedback on issues relating to planned federal activities that might impact tribal nations.
  • Revoking the Medals of Honor given for Valor in Battle to the soldiers who massacred Native Americans at Wounded Knee.

One of the great tragedies of American history, not only for Native Americans, but for white Europeans as well, is that we denied ourselves the extraordinary cultural and spiritual possibilities of what might have been. Had a partnership, rather than dominator model, of social organization been chosen centuries ago, not only Native American culture, but also white American culture, would now be much more advanced. Due to increased historical and spiritual awareness, America is now ready to repair ancient wounds and pave the way to a more enlightened future. As President, I would be honored to preside over both.

America is in the midst of a social and spiritual breakdown, and under a Williamson administration we will rebuild the fabric of our nation from the inside out. Through economic renewal, societal respect, artistic expression and - most importantly - a president intent on helping Americans atone for the true story of genocide and cultural annihilation, we will repair what has been broken and begin the historic process of writing a new American story. Through a spirit of genuine atonement, white America will reconcile with a horrific past in the area of our relationship to Native Americans. And we will begin anew.

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