The Ongoing Tragedy Of The Native Americans
Start writing a post
Politics and Activism

The Ongoing Tragedy Of The Native Americans

A history of institutional sex crimes, mass murder, and racism.

613
The Ongoing Tragedy Of The Native Americans

National interests will always be a pivotal component in determining the significance of human rights. The United States of America has always projected itself as the defender of human rights, and the American public has maintained a woefully uninformed bias that their country is the least worst in human rights abuses upon people within the country itself. Unfortunately, such biased cultural beliefs ignore the ongoing suffering of the Native Americans. The US media will constantly highlight human rights abuses in foreign countries, such as the honor killings in the Middle East, the rape crimes in India, and worker abuse in China, but an examination of the rampant sexual assault, rampant rapes, and high death rates of Native Americans by predominately non-Native people is absent from US corporate news stations. This is not an accident; US news outlets simply don't care about the suffering of the Native Americans and work to maintain the projection of the US being a country that is more benign than foreign nation-states. As such, the ongoing mass rapes, sexual assault, and high death rates of Native Americans throughout the country are ignored.

The rampant rape crimes upon Native American women have historical precedent. US scholars continue to be apologists for the rampant sexual assaults ongoing to this day including gang rapes, child rapes, and other forms of violent sexual assault. By devaluing the history of rampant sexual violence committed by predatory US citizens upon Native women and Native children, the current perpetrators of ongoing systematic rape crimes upon them have been allowed carte blanche access to continue sexual violence thanks to the utter apathy of their situation by the general US public, lack of scrutiny of the ongoing sexual violence, the slow change of US laws that abuse Native American peoples, and lack of financing for tribal lands. The extent of the history displays the explicit apathy for their suffering and is a byproduct of racism against Native Americans by denying their history and human rights. If the history of sexual violence against Native Americans doesn't matter, even despite the ongoing rape epidemic against them, then how can the US possibly be a defender of human rights?

There are usually attempts to blame Native Americans for their own suffering, this is the general response from the US public thanks to the history of racism and discriminatory laws passed against Native Americans living in tribal lands. In 86 percent of the reported cases of rape or sexual assault, the perpetrators were non-Native men. Entire communities of Native American women have reported that they have never met another Native woman who wasn't raped according to Amnesty International's interviews of Native communities. This is the result of chronic underfunding of tribal hospitals regarding rape kits, lack of state enforcement, ongoing racism, and discriminatory -- almost predatory -- laws passed that have effectively kept Native Americans in a state of helplessness. Regarding the state of helplessness to widespread sexual violence and especially systematic rapes throughout the United States: the Major Crimes Act (1885) granted federal authorities jurisdiction over certain serious crimes, including rape and murder, committed in Native American territories. While a scant number of tribal jurisdictions among the 550 federally recognized tribes retain concurrent powers, it can hardly be enforced due to the lack of funding. Native communities live in a continued state of lawlessness in these areas because of the lack of funding and lack of state response to protecting Native civilians despite having jurisdiction. The states with optional jurisdiction have not received proper funding by the US Congress, so many tribal lands are underfunded as a result. This has led to a state of perpetual lawlessness in many communities and increased difficulty between state and tribal officials in protecting the rights of the Native people from crimes of rape and murder. The Indian Civil Rights Act (1968) limits the penalty which can be imposed by tribal courts for any offense -- including murder and rape -- to a maximum of one year's imprisonment and a fine of five thousand dollars; this has resulted in tribal courts being less likely to prosecute serious crimes pertaining to sexual violence.

Moreover, the 1978 Supreme Court decision of Oliphant v. Suquamish ruled that tribal authorities cannot have any jurisdiction over non-Indian US citizens; this effectively denies rape victims due process and equal protection under the law. State and federal governments that have exclusive jurisdiction over tribal lands usually don't follow up in protecting the tribal lands through due process and don't prosecute the perpetrators of rampant sexual violence (Maze of Injustice: Chapter 4, pages 29 - 30.). The lack of action from State and federal authorities, lack of funding for tribal governments and police, and laws explicitly preventing due process have allowed non-Native US citizens to enter these areas and commit rampant child rapes, gang rapes, and numerous forms of sexual violence upon Native women and especially Native children. In some cases, kidnapping of children through blindfold, raping them, and then washing their bodies before sending them back to tribal lands where they cannot say for sure whether the rapes happened on tribal land or not and therefore don't have a right to due process. The US government and the US media have effectively kept silent about these deplorable human rights abuses of Native Americans, including silence over incidents of child rape and gang rape to maintain the illusion of the US being "less worse" than foreign countries in their sexual abuse of women.

The United States' rampant abuse of Native Americans doesn't begin and end with the legacy of sexual violence against Native women and children. Scrutiny has been conducted upon the US police agencies for the high death rates of unarmed Black men, but little to no scrutiny occurs over the unarmed deaths of Native American men who suffer a higher kill ratio than even Black men. Native men have no media coverage over their wrongful deaths and have more institutional barriers -- purposeful institutional barriers -- preventing their families from ever receiving justice even after their deaths. Native children often go into foster care and drop out of schools by approximately tenth grade; this is largely due to the historic destruction of Native American family life. US history books and contemporary media continue to ignore cultural genocide of Native Americans throughout the 1870s-1890s, in which nuns of Christian boarding schools would torture -- through various cases of sexual abuse, malnourishment, forced heavy labor, and sometimes murder -- Native children as young as 5 years of age to force them to forget their native heritage and culture. This was conducted upon Native American children by the tens of thousands and resulted in rampant sexual abuse and child deaths in Christian boarding schools throughout the United States. In the 1970s, due to the popularity of eugenics movements in certain US States that blamed social ills upon peoples ethnic backgrounds, there were massive sterilization campaigns of Native American women that were conducted without their consent and conducted concurrently with coerced abortions by the IHS. The result was over approximately 3,000 sterilizations and an unaccounted for number of coercive abortions of Native women by the IHS under the terms that they weren't accountable to federal regulations when operating on Native American lands. California, in particular, has a record of forced sterilizations of over 20,000 people subsidized through federal funding of Native American women, Black women, and Latina women. It effectively resulted in the sterilization of approximately 25-50 percent of the Native American population.

Although politically incorrect, it is probable that Christianity played a prominent role in the horrific destruction of Native American lives and family structure. The boarding schools that tortured children were Christian boarding schools, the torturers were devout nuns, the mass deaths of Natives were celebrated as a curse from God upon the "heathen" Natives throughout US history, and the level of apathy towards their situation may come from Christian morality itself. The intrinsic failure of Christianity could be thus: The belief that original sin exists creates circular reasoning because people intrinsically believe that they're capable of committing horrific crimes due to some intrinsic evil nature within humanity which is labeled by Western culture as "human nature" as the chief term. The second, and most important component, is Jesus's forgiveness of all crimes: This concept, more than anything, is a carte blanche to commit any human rights crime; it is not a peaceful doctrine because you don't need to feel responsible for committing horrible crimes upon others. The only person that you have to answer to is Jesus Christ by accepting him into your heart, therefore, it effectively functions as a self-forgiveness system. After committing the horrible crimes, you're forgiven by either the Church or -- if you believe in open interpretation -- through your own prayers and you can continue believing that humans are ubiquitously sinful and commit to "human nature" by committing atrocities. While that may seem shallow, it is important to note that serial murderers and serial child rapists have sought Jesus's forgiveness, expect to be in heaven after death, and the pastor who has made it his life goal to serve and teach the faith has the same expectation. Along with that expectation is that any person, including children, who aren't Christian will be going to hell for the crime having a different set of opinions and beliefs. Therefore, there can never be any culpability or any sort of morality from this intrinsically broken system of moral ethics.

The lack of scrutiny and media coverage over the full extent of the destruction of the Native American family life, unarmed shootings of Native men by US police forces, cultural genocide, systematic rape campaigns in contemporary times, forced sterilization campaigns in the 1970s, child abuse at the hands of Christian boarding schools in the 1870s, historic genocides of the past, and dehumanization of the victims of the present is likely due to the unwillingness of Western culture to grapple with the utter failings of Christian morality. Despite the West's persistent attempts to tacitly label the rest of the world to have been ignorant savages before the colonial period and the US's attempts at depicting the same for the Native Americans by overemphasizing the Northeastern tribes and ignoring the plurality of the 550 Native cultures beyond that region, it remains the truth that Christianity is primarily responsible for these thoroughgoing genocide and hatred for all non-Western cultures. Attempts at building "objectivity" by trying to find common happenstances between colonialists and the natives usually means ignoring systematic rape crimes against the Native Americans, ignoring the actual numbers slaughtered in genocides throughout US history, and trying to dehumanize the Natives under the "noble savage" stereotype to justify Western aggression. It is the same for the West's exploitative practices of the Middle East and Asia; evidently the West is content to demonize people in India for rape crimes and people in the Middle East for honor killings, but the murder rates and sexual violence of the Native Americans is thoroughly ignored by the US media, and Natives are repeatedly treated as an afterthought that continue to be ignored, contributing to their ongoing suffering as a result of neglect, to be viewed as lesser humans because they aren't granted the same protections under US law. Yet, even when they are granted protections, it's poorly enforced due to lack of funding and apathy towards their situation. Moreover, the US media attempting to portray the main perpetrators as distinctly Native men and lack of coverage of the overwhelming amount of non-Native men who take advantage of the lawlessness created by federal and State legislations shows an ongoing effort to continue an explicitly racist history.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Featured

To The Classes That Follow

I want you to want to make the most of the years that are prior to Senior year

258
To The Classes That Follow
Senior Year Is Here And I Am So Not Ready For It

I was you not that long ago. I was once an eager freshman, a searching sophomore, and a know-it-all junior. Now? Now I am a risk taker. Not the type that gets you in trouble with your parents, but the type that changes your future. Senior year is exciting. A lot of awesome things come along with being the top-dog of the school, but you, right now, are building the foundation for the next 4 years that you will spend in high school. I know you've heard it all. "Get involved", "You'll regret not going to prom", "You're going to miss this". As redundant as these seem, they're true. Although I am just at the beginning of my senior year, I am realizing how many lasts I am encountering.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

The Power Of Prayer Saved My Best Friend's Life

At the end of the day, there is something out there bigger than all of us, and to me, that is the power of prayer.

1608
Julie Derrer

Imagine this:

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Why Driving Drives Me Crazy

the highways are home

1243

With Halloween quickly approaching, I have been talking to coworkers about what scares us. There are always the obvious things like clowns, spiders, heights, etc. But me? There are a number things I don't like: trusting strangers, being yelled at, being in life or death situations, parallel parking. All of these are included when you get behind the wheel of a car.

Keep Reading... Show less
Baseball Spring Training Is A Blast In Arizona
Patricia Vicente

Nothing gets me more pumped up than the nice weather and the sights and sounds of the baseball season quickly approaching.

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

Impact Makers: Melanie Byrd

Find out how this TikTok star gets women excited about science!

4778
Impact Makers: Melanie Byrd

How it all began

Keep Reading... Show less

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Facebook Comments