The injustices committed against Native Americans should come to an end

The+picture+displays+the+entrance+to+the+Morongo+reservation.+

Janina Akporavbare

The picture displays the entrance to the Morongo reservation.

The fight between Native Americans and Americans will always be about an infinite desire for finite land. There is also the fact that Americans have robbed Native Americans of opportunities, as the United States government fails to maintain the schools that they opened to educate Native Americans and falsely conveys history. 

When the first Jamestown colonists arrived in America in 1607, their disrespect and exploitation of the Native Americans began the trail of abuse. Fast forward to 1871, the Indian Appropriation Act transformed Native Americans from hostile foreigners who occupied American land to prisoners of war sentenced to confinement camps nicknamed “reservations.” Nearly a century later, the approximately 1,144,000 Native Americans that reside in the United States still remain figuratively and literally in captivity. 

The Morongo Agua Caliente Tribe once inhabited a region that began in Oregon and stretched all the way down to Mexico. Milovan Pompa, a member of the tribe, is a friend of Jacqueline Cordes (‘21). He passes down wisdom to his pupils, reminding them to take care of the land that they inhabit as well as the many creatures that dwell there. Unfortunately, his tribe is no stranger to the abuses that the United States has committed against the Native Americans. 

Milovan said, “A major injustice that the United States’ government has committed against the Native Americans is [the issue of] land. All the treaties made have been broken. Native Americans practice taking what we need and sharing it, but the whites came in and took and took and took. The government needs to honor the treaties they made and give Native Americans back their land.”   

Americans currently occupy stolen land that needs to be given back. We can work to give back the land through expanding reservations or making new reservation land. Though this may upset the population at first, it is what needs to be done. 

The land that Native Americans currently occupy is barely habitable for animals. Their houses are overcrowded, filthy, and lack all commodities like running water and telephones.   

Not only must the United States government return land to Native Americans, they must undo the other injustices that they have committed.

Native American communities are at a huge disadvantage. The unemployment rate of adults in tribes rests at a staggering 85%. This rate is so high because Native Americans are not given the opportunity to succeed in the workforce due to poor education.

Schools that the United States’ government has opened to educate Native Americans are festered with rats and mold; their buildings date back to the Great Depression era. The schools have also sunk into a state of extreme poverty. Native American children who attend the Little Singer Community School in Navajo County, Arizona have to carry their chairs from class to class because the school can not afford to have chairs for every student in each classroom.    

The government needs to fund the schools in order for the students to prosper. Education is a key way in which Native Americans can regain stability. 

Given all these facts though, the war between Native Americans and the United States may seem simple. People think giving the Native Americans land and money will make everyone happy, which is far from the truth. To begin with, many people do not know that these injustices are going on.

The president of the United States, Donald J. Trump, believes that Native American Heritage Month should also honor the white men who stole their land. Native American history month was established in order to celebrate, acknowledge, and honor the rich culture of Native Americans and raise awareness about the challenges they are facing. The holiday should not be about the white men who stole their land.

Americans have apparently received poor education about Native American history. School systems need to use textbooks that convey the correct historical content. Furthermore, it does not even appear that people are seeking the Native American narrative. 

Michelle Gerken, humanities department faculty, said, “I do not think that most Americans are seeking the Native American’s story.”

Milovan said, “Look into the mirror. How would you like it if this was happening to you, your family? This is a problem for all of humanity.”

The Native American story is an important and vital narrative. No longer shall we ignore Native Americans  and label them as “extinct.”

One can assist by donating to charities that support Native Americans, spreading awareness, learning proper American and Native American history, volunteering at reservations, and/or shopping or eating at restaurants run by reservations.

2020 brings a new era, and the government should strive to right the many wrongs they have committed against the Native Americans by:

Honoring the treaties by giving Native Americans back their land, giving federal funding to Native American schools, and educating the population on Native American history.