By Levi Rickert
Opinion. On Monday, tribes across Indian Country commemorated Indigenous Peoples Day on Alcatraz Island in New York and hundreds of tribal communities in between. The commemorations and celebrations included song, dance, and speech intertwined with truths acknowledging the struggles Indigenous peoples face today.
The next day, Vice President Kamala Harris, the first black, Asian, and female vice president of the United States, addressed the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI).
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The vice president told NCAI delegates:
“Since 1934, each October, the United States has recognized the journey of European explorers who first landed on the shores of the Americas. But that’s not the whole story. That was never the whole story.
These explorers ushered in a wave of devastation for tribal nations – perpetrating violence, stealing land and spreading disease.
We must not be afraid of this shameful past, and we must bring it to light and do all we can to deal with the impact of the past on Indigenous communities today.
All of this – speaking of genocidal practices – from the Vice President was too much for Fox News.
On Fox News Primetime, hosts Rachel Campos-Duffy and Jesse Watters devoted part of their program to calling out the vice president for saying America should come to terms with its shameful past. Campos-Duffy was joined by her husband, former Wisconsin congressman Sean Duffy (R), a Fox News contributor, in defending the lost traveler. Soon their defense of Columbus turned into an attack by the Native Americans.
“Christopher Columbus, by the way, is the first victim of cancel culture,” Campos-Duffy said, then opined that Native Americans “were just as brutal” as Columbus and other European colonizers.
The former congressman suggested that liberals also judge Native Americans by their past.
“They burned villages, raped women, seized children, took people they defeated, took their land, scalped people,” the former Republican congressman said. “It was a horrible time all over the world. But they want to apply the ‘woke’ standard they have today on Christopher Columbus, but no one else in the world!”
In Congress, Duffy represented Wisconsin’s 7th congressional district which includes eight federally recognized tribes. With his worldview on Native Americans, one can be happy that Duffy is no longer able to vote on laws that impact tribal nations, because he is certainly no friend of Native Americans.
His wife wasn’t done with Native Americans Wednesday night.
“And the lie isn’t just about our past,” Campos-Duffy said. “The real lie is about the conditions of Native Americans right now. The conditions of Native Americans have everything to do with government dependency, cycles of poverty and alcoholism, and family breakdowns, and those are things Democrats don’t want to talk about.
She went on to say that Democrats tell Native Americans that “everything you’re going through has to do with white people and the racism of the past.”
“It also has to do with government policies,” she continued.
“Yeah, they’re just gonna try to send more slush funds to the reservations, and make them look like victims, and then make them keep voting Democrats,” Watters added.
Crystal Echo Hawk (Pawnee), founder and executive director of IllumiNative, an Indigenous-created and led initiative to challenge the narrative surrounding Indigenous people, called the rhetoric dangerous.
It’s “incredibly harmful and dangerous and very clearly rooted in racism and white supremacy,” Echo Hawk wrote in a statement. “Instead of allowing people to perpetuate a revisionist history that erases the true history of this country, we need to start calling it what it was: genocide. For so long, Americans have chosen to omit us and forget us from history and the present. They take us back to grossly inaccurate stereotypes to perpetuate the discrimination and oppression of Native Americans that began with their “founding fathers”. But we know these are lies that non-Natives tell themselves to feel better about, even proud of, the ugly truth of this land – and their ancestry.
It’s hard to imagine these three talking heads would get a pass if they had to do a segment on any other racial group. Imagine what would happen if they sat there and invoked stereotypes of black people or Hispanics. For some reason Native Americans have become their fodder and Indian Country should be outraged.
Fox News’ assessment that Native Americans are government-dependent alcoholics is complete nonsense. An honest look at American society would reveal an abundance of non-native alcoholics and greedy corporations that seem to depend on government handouts and handouts.
The Fox News Primetime exchange reinforced why I never watch Fox News, which has hurt America more with its constant barrage of lies, hate, and outlandish propaganda.
Vice President Harris should be commended for acknowledging America’s shameful past.
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