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Uncle Sam’s shameful treatment of today's American Indians

One hundred and thirty four years after the Battle of Little Bighorn, the United States is still cruelly punishing the native Americans for their resistance to white encroachment in the lands west of the Mississippi. We treat Iraqis and Afghans better than native Americans.

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I have a friend, a retired Marine Corps lieutenant general, who has a provocative theory. He says that when the United States goes to war in a foreign country, its armed forces – win, lose, or draw – leave behind a spirit of goodness and decency, which, despite the violence of war, leavens society, improving the lives of women and the poor.

The jury is still out on Iraq and Afghanistan. But wars in Vietnam, Germany, Japan, and Korea tend to confirm his theory. There remains, however, a glaring exception that should shame all Americans. One hundred and thirty-four years after the Battle of Little Bighorn, we still cruelly punish the native Americans for their resistance to white encroachment in the lands west of the Mississippi.

A few years ago I was fishing the Little Bighorn, a trout river flowing through the Crow Indian Reservation in south-central Montana. Lush, green, irrigated crops grew on either side. Well-heeled fishermen pumped cash into the area. A railroad ran into the reservation, giving the Crow additional income from leases to coal-mining companies.

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