In the United States, Native Americans are people descended from the Pre-Columbian indigenous population of the land within the country’s modern boundaries. These peoples were composed of numerous distinct tribes, bands, and ethnic groups, and many of these groups survive today as partially sovereign nations. Since the end of the 15th century, the migration of Europeans to the Americas has led to centuries of population, cultural, and agricultural transfer and adjustment between Old and New World societies, a process known as the Columbian exchange. From the 16th through the 19th centuries, the population of Indians sharply declined.
Contemporary Native Americans have a unique relationship with the United States because they may be members of nations, tribes, or bands with sovereignty and treaty rights. Cultural activism since the late 1960s has increased political participation and led to an expansion of efforts to teach and preserve indigenous languages for younger generations and to establish a greater cultural infrastructure: Native Americans have founded independent newspapers and online media, recently including First Nations Experience, the first Native American television channel; established Native American studies programs, tribal schools and universities, and museums and language programs; and have increasingly been published as authors.
A Native Perspective on War, Terrorism and the MOAB Bomb
Native Online (source)
“Mother of All Bombs” blast in Afghanistan on Thursday.
Published April 15, 2017
Friday morning the hosts of Fox and Friends celebrated Thursday’s dropping of the MOAB bomb by the United States military against ISIS in Afghanistan. This was the largest non-nuclear bomb ever detonated in combat, and they aired the video of the explosion to the song by Toby Keith, “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue.” One of the hosts commented that the video is in black and white, “But that is what freedom looks like. That’s the red, white and blue.” Geraldo Rivera then added that one of his favorite things in the 16 years he’s been on FOX News is watching bombs drop on bad guys.
Last week, after the US launched a barrage of missiles against Syria in retaliation for chemical weapons Assad utilized against civilians, Brian Williams, speaking on MSNBC said he was tempted to quote the great Leonard Cohen, “I am guided by the beauty of our weapons.” Brian went on to describe the missile launch scene as “beautiful pictures of fearsome armaments.”
As a follower of Jesus, who was a tribal man brutally executed by a state working in conjunction with its religious leaders…
As a Navajo man, whose ancestors endured acts of genocide and forced removal by a United States government that was armed with a Doctrine of Discovery, and therefore believed it had a manifest destiny to ethnically cleanse and rule these lands from sea to shining sea…
And, as the grandson of indigenous grandparents, who were taken from their homes and educated in boarding schools run by a government and churches that believed it was their civic and religious duty to “kill the Indian to save the man”…
I humbly offer some words of caution.
May we not celebrate war.
May we not glorify violence.
May we not dehumanize our enemies.
For if we could refuse to dehumanize our enemies, it would make the terribleness of war all the more real. And maybe, just maybe, cause us to engage in it less often.
Mark Charles (Navajo) serves as the Washington DC correspondent for Native News Online and is the author of the popular blog “Reflections from the Hogan.” His writings are regularly published by Native News Online in a column titled “A Native Perspective” which addresses news directly affecting Indian Country as well as offering a Native perspective on national and global news stories. Mark is active on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram .