“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen
I love this Leonard Cohen quote because it gives me hope. Recently, I have been hearing several different stories where different native tribes have won cases that have gone through years of struggle and brought the tribes positive outcomes. One of those I already wrote about recently in the blog called “Standing with and Working Together” about the Lakota Sioux tribe of Standing Rock and their present success in stopping the pipeline from polluting their water.
I have heard two other recent successes where two other tribes in the Northwest have finally gotten social justice in regard to litigation that went on for 20 to 100 years on behalf of their tribes. These are a “few cracks” of hope I have that finally native people are starting to get restitution from the terrible past that white people in the USA have inflicted upon them. These native people are finally getting the legal and cultural respect and consideration due to them. Incidents I will bring up in this blog, as well as, besides what happened for the Sioux people in North Dakota give me some hope that some of us white folk are changing our behavior from the past ignorance and delusion that we had been living in.
In a blog from this summer that I wrote called “Working Together II” I wrote about the Paiute tribe.
After 100 years of not being able to fish for salmon in Burns, Oregon, many members of the Paiute tribe there, were finally able to fish for salmon on the Malheur River. The Paiute had had the cultural tradition of fishing for salmon on the Malheur River, prior to the dams. The Oregon fisheries manager, Erica Maltz, worked with tribal chairperson, Charlotte Rodriguez, to truck in and reintroduce 200 salmon beyond the dams that are on the Columbia and Snake Rivers, so that tribal members could fish for the salmon once again.
You can hear this story on Oregon Public Broadcasting radio:
This next story has to do with finally acknowledging a skull found in the Northwest that was found and dated to be over 9,000 old. It took over 20 years to prove that it origins came from northwestern native people.
Here is an article about the Kennewick man from Smithsonian Magazine last year.
Here is a further story which has finally allowed the Umatilla tribe in Washington to bury Kennewick Man.
And this is a story near the end of December that was on OPB:
This is a case where I am very thankful that Senator Patty Murray stood up for the rights of native people. That has not happened very often in the USA. Also I find the disrespect of “scientists” towards this tribe appalling.
When I searched the web for other victories for native people, I did NOT find them. We white folk still have a long way to go to respect the native peoples who were the first inhabitants of this USA before it was even a nation. I will continue to stand with native people and all people. They are my brothers and sisters. I will not let fear or division separate me from them. I will continue to look for a few cracks, so that the light can shine through for all humanity.
I am also a person who believes in karma, so that what you put out in the world you get back. For me, it is time that native people got their due and that the injustices of the past end. We, Caucasian Americans, started out our history in the USA killing native people, taking their land, moving them, destroying their food and water sources, etc. We are a new generation. This is the 21st century. We white folk do NOT have to repeat the sins of our fathers and mothers. I know better, and I believe there are others who feel the same as I do.
Since I also believe in numbers and the saying “three times is a charm”; last year we got our three times is a charm, as far as native people in the USA is concerned. I hope and believe it is time to turn the page and not continue to relive the horrific past we white folk have perpetrated on native people. It is time to grow up. We no longer have to be a white nation of thieves stealing native people’s land, food sources, water, and even their dead (through Kennewick Man), so that we (white folk) can have and do what we want with what is rightly theirs!