Get ready for right-wing heads to explode like you’ve never seen before: First Lady Michelle Obama just stood up for Native Americans and their plight in American history, and told every citizen far and wide that they are being stripped of their culture.
Speaking to Generation Indigenous, Michelle Obama touched on Native American history and today’s youth and how the United States government has ultimately stripped them of their heritage due to systemic discrimination, abuse and racism:
“You see, we need to be very clear about where the challenges in this community first started. Folks in Indian Country didn’t just wake up one day with addiction problems. Poverty and violence didn’t just randomly happen to this community. These issues are the result of a long history of systematic discrimination and abuse.”
“Let me offer just a few examples from our past, starting with how, back in 1830, we passed a law removing Native Americans from their homes and forcibly re-locating them to barren lands out west. The Trail of Tears was part of this process. Then we began separating children from their families and sending them to boarding schools designed to strip them of all traces of their culture, language and history. And then our government started issuing what were known as ‘Civilization Regulations’ – regulations that outlawed Indian religions, ceremonies and practices – so we literally made their culture illegal.”
These comments are truly groundbreaking coming from the First Lady. They speak volumes of the Obama Administration’s strive to be inclusive to all and remember our history’s stains. While Republicans, from state laws in Michigan and Wisconsin to acts of Congress, continue to throw Native Americans under the bus, the First Lady shares in their plight. I am sure Republicans will cry reverse racism and throw their hands in the air accusing her of pandering to anti-white “causes.”
But can you blame conservatives, who hold Ayn Rand in such high regard (cough cough Rand Paul and Paul Ryan)? Given the fact that Ayn Rand is on record saying:
“[The Native Americans] didn’t have any rights to the land and there was no reason for anyone to grant them rights which they had not conceived and were not using…. What was it they were fighting for, if they opposed white men on this continent? For their wish to continue a primitive existence, their “right” to keep part of the earth untouched, unused and not even as property, just keep everybody out so that you will live practically like an animal, or maybe a few caves above it. Any white person who brought the element of civilization had the right to take over this continent.”
The difference in ideology is striking.
“So given this history, we shouldn’t be surprised at the challenges that kids in Indian Country are facing today. And we should never forget that we played a role in this. Make no mistake about it – we own this,” Michelle Obama continued.
We are so lucky to have a First Lady like Michelle Obama. She speaks the truth, and she’s a realist. We must confront our past actions, realize the have long, lasting effects, and work to fix our mistakes. Burying our heads in the sand and saying “it’s in the past” is not going to work. Bravo, Madame First Lady.
Image via Flickr