PERRY: Aurora lawmakers insist the Native American tribute is divisive and an affront to God. Really.
Boy, have I ever been wrong the last 834,423 times that I said, “this is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in Aurora.”
Monday night was the spookiest sight from Colorado’s most spectacular city council yet.
On what seemed like a relative yawn for a group that makes the Denver School Board look like a Microsoft board meeting, all new hell broke loose in a study session when the subject of the recognition of land was addressed.
Earth recognitions have been around since I wore bell bottom corduroys in the 1970s.
It is a public acknowledgment that land or labor or something of value can and should be given to someone, often who has never given it up voluntarily.
In Aurora’s case, the proposal was to recognize that the lands in Colorado and Aurora on which we value, sell, farm, plant and build roads were not given to us or bought from us. European invaders stole it in small pieces and took huge lands from the indigenous peoples who had lived here for thousands of years, even before “Columbus sailed the blue ocean…”
The proposal was to publicly acknowledge that neither we, nor the French, nor the British, nor the Spaniards were there first. And that those who were here had very different lives from the ones they were forced into after the Europeans overran the whole continent.
Denver does. The Auraria Campus does. Hundreds of governments here and around the world are doing it. It is not about imposing guilt, shame, or blame, but simply observing the truth in hopes of increasing our understanding of our shared, real history and the real results of it.
In the world of controversial, hyperpartisan, carotid artery bulge scrums that grab headlines all day, those acknowledgments have become as controversial as mandates to shovel your sidewalk after it snows.
With professional sports teams and even schools in Colorado acknowledging the unhealthy cruelty of taxing mascots like “redskins” and “savages,” also acknowledging the stolen culture of victims isn’t a bad idea.
Not, however, in Aurora.
Council member Danielle Jurinsky couldn’t seem to spout adequate slander quickly enough in offering land acknowledgment to Aurora.
“I can’t even believe this is happening to the city council,” Jurinsky said. “The only way I would support this would be if we also recognized that this is in fact God’s country. I am categorically against this.
Tonight, the Aurora Council considered passing a land acknowledgment — a statement read before events and meetings acknowledging how the land Aurora sits on today was seized from Native Americans.
It went…about as well as expected…
“This is God’s country!” pic.twitter.com/IkLfdbjZTs
— Max Levy (@maxamillianlevy) August 16, 2022
She continued that God was the rightful owner. She did not say, however, whether that should be her god, the gods of the native citizens whose land European settlers took over, or the gods of the Chinese and blacks whom some of those settlers kidnapped and enslaved for build railroads and do things for free.
Jurinsky wasn’t the only one who saw nothing but recognized Aurora’s past and the past of those who were driven from their homes.
Councilwoman Angela Lawson questioned the wisdom of acknowledging that Native Americans were pushed out when she felt that “the land was taken from all racial groups.”
She said she considered this divisive.
It’s unclear what definition of “indigenous” she thinks describes the nations and tribes that existed in the Colorado area for more than 20,000 years. Their survivors, and all the experts I’ve met, have been clear that no one told the European invaders, “Go ahead. Take charge and force us into squalid pockets of ownership.
Council member Françoise Bergan closed the high-level discussion by chuckling at the idea for two reasons. She didn’t like the idea of Aurora being expected to proclaim this land acknowledgment at certain city council meetings and major public events.
“Why would we do this more than once?” she asked.
Its biggest beef, however, was the wording of the acknowledgment, which, like hundreds like this used by hundreds of other organizations, acknowledged that this land had been “stolen” from its original citizens. .
“I can’t stand this,” she said.
Leaders of Indigenous nations and credible historians all agree, however, European invaders did not borrow, buy or beg for the land. They stole it and forced their victims to suffer one of the cruellest racial calamities in human history.
Not so long ago, the “natives” of Colorado outright looted the property of hundreds of thousands of Native Americans, murdered them a few at a time and also en masse in the Sand Creek Massacre .
Not only did white invaders steal the land of many indigenous nations, but the cruellest of white masters then kidnapped their victims’ children and forced them into “schools.” There they were indoctrinated, sexually and physically abused, and even murdered.
Acknowledging the history of Colorado and the West makes the notion rather vapid compared to credible criticism of the practice as a dishonest exchange for reparations.
Despite what you or your grandparents learned in school about our benevolent American history, what happened here in Colorado and across the continent was little different from what Russia is doing to Ukraine right now. moment.
Acknowledging reality is not something that divides or harms a community and its society. It’s like growing up, which seems to regularly elude this city council.
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