One of the biggest controversies of our Nation’s history is the treatment of Native Americans since we began Colonization of the Continent. There have been dozens of broken and outright ignored treaties. There are countless atrocities committed by our military, government and citizens against the Indigenous populations. For too long, we have only offered platitudes or paid lip service to these crimes, without any substantive policy initiatives. I would like to be one of the few to change that pattern of empty rhetoric.
I believe Native Americans should have sovereignty and say in their own futures. The treaties and federal land that they occupy have historically done very little to deter encroachment by our government, or industries seeking to take advantage of the lack of resources and defensive capabilities tribes have. To this end, there have been precedents in the past to petition for statehood by native American tribes of the greatest Population. The most prominent attempt at statehood was the state of Sequoyah in 1905, which would have ensured the native lands in the portions of Oklahoma where they existed. It would have comprised of the “5 Civilized Tribes”: Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole; and granted them statehood with all the Rights, and benefits therein.
The reason this is so important is because the precedent has already been set, and the argument is a very strong one. I am an immigrant to this great nation. Born in Germany, and adopted, thus earning Natural Born Citizenship. However, these Indigenous peoples have been conquered and displaced relentlessly for hundreds of years. Their only grasp on civilization and sovereignty is the generosity of the Government honoring treaties and agreements which, quite frankly, are often broken for any number of reasons. Establishing statehood solidifies Sovereignty for Indigenous peoples in ways a treaty or other agreement never could. It gives Native Americans a Direct Voice in the House of representatives and the Senate. Something unprecedented in the History of the United States!
I propose, and would love to make a reality, the several Native States of the most populous tribes in America that meet the “minimum” population rule of 50,000 citizens. The ratification of these states would not change their current borders, and would in fact establish current borders as the borders of their newly minted states. Each state would receive 2 senators, and 1 Congressman, a Governor, a National Guard, and all the rights and privileges afforded by the Constitution of the United States. Not only this but the sovereignty of these nations could never be brought into question, as States have unalienable rights that are Constitutionally protected. The ability to have a State Constitution that codifies into law the Indigenous traditions, beliefs, and values of their respective peoples could never be trampled upon, desecrated, or questioned again!
Now, I understand that I have no Indigenous blood, or ties to the community. I understand that I am a “white man” offering salvation to the native. I understand the optics, and perhaps I overstep in my suggestion; but I simply do not believe that the paltry efforts to give more money, or leasing rights, sufficiently addresses the issue of Native Sovereignty. I believe the best way to protect the homeland, culture, and history of our Indigenous populations is by granting them the same rights and opportunities in a proportionate way as we have our other states. In this way, this context, we are 50 separate nations under one Federal rule. Adding these additional Native Nations to our Union will do more to improve our way of life as a Diverse and Multi-Cultural Nation than any platitude ever could!
This proposal would create: States 51-62, add 22 Senators and 11 Congressmen to our congress, 11 Governors to our nation, and ensure that over 4 million Indigenous peoples in the United States will forever have a voice in their own future! It would be my great honor to add the following nations into our Union:
Cherokee, Navajo, Latin American Native, Choctaw, Sioux, Chippewa, Apache, Blackfoot, Iroquois, Pueblo and Eskimo
These nations each have at least 50,000 identified persons which meets the Congressional Mandate for statehood. No matter where in the country their borders and lands sit they would become sovereign state lines. We could take this first major step in repenting for the sins we committed against the 1st Peoples of North America!
The last, and most simple thing we could do is replace Christopher Columbus Day with Indigenous People’s day and ensure that native history is taught from the perspective of the people who have lived and passed down this history rather than from the perspective of the conqueror.
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