Dear Black People of America,
Can you tell the descendants of America's first nations what they have to look forward to?
The U.S. Senate just approved a resolution that apologizes for past injustices committed against "American Indians," just like the House of Representatives recently did for you.
I mean, surely your lives are much better now, ever since July, 2008, when the House apologized to you? You know, in that "nonbinding resolution" they passed, apologizing for the injustices of slavery and the Jim Crow era?
Oh, okay, wait a minute. To say that a "resolution" of this sort is "nonbinding" means, basically, that the legislative body that resolves to do something isn't bound by that resolution to actually do much of anything -- beyond the initial act of apology, that is.
So it's been over a year since the House of Reps apologized to you, the black people of America. Has the House, or any other government branch or office, followed up on this apology with anything that really matters? Anything that actually changed your life somehow?
Because if that did happen, I imagine Native Americans would like to hear about it, so they can have some idea of what to look forward to.
Here's the entire story on the latest racist -- oops, I mean, race-related -- federal "resolution" of this sort. As posted on The New York Times site, by way of the Associated Press, the article contains one, single paragraph:
The Senate has approved a resolution apologizing to American Indians for years of “ill-conceived policies” and acts of violence by United States citizens. Lawmakers said the resolution, included in a military spending bill, was a symbolic gesture meant to promote a renewed commitment to tribal communities. It was introduced by Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, and Byron L. Dorgan, Democrat of North Dakota. The Senate approved a similar resolution in 2008, but the House did not act on it. Lawmakers are also developing legislation to improve health care and public safety on reservations.
"Included in a military spending bill"? That's not like, an afterthought, is it? And a bitterly ironic one at that, given the kind of bill it was tucked into?
As I guess you can tell, I'm pretty cynical about these "symbolic gestures." At least with this one, some future efforts at actual, material follow-up seem to be in the works. Surely the results of those efforts will turn out to be every bit as significant, and compensatory, and revitalizing for indigenous communities as the generous outpouring of money and other resources that have been pumped into black communities in the past year or so.