On Tuesday, June 2, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released a 365-page report that officially found that the Government of Canada was guilty of having committed “cultural genocide” against seven full generations of their Aboriginal People beginning in the mid 19th century and continuing up to and including the present.
The Lakota People’s Law Project asserts that, much in the way of the Canadian Commission, it should not only seek to repair the past crimes of the federal and state governments, but also explore the many ways in which those crimes are adversely affecting Native people currently. For example, the American People do not know that, of the 3,141 Counties in the entire United States, of the 11 absolutely poorest counties, 7 of those 11 counties are located on the nine Lakota Reservations in the State of South Dakota.
“It is time for our United States Government to fully investigate, officially acknowledge, and take active steps to overcome the consequences of the systematically criminal policies that it – and its state governments – have persistently perpetuated against our American Indian population,” said the Lakota Nation’s Chase Iron Eyes, the Chief Legal Counsel for the Lakota People’s Law Office. “Such a public reckoning is long overdue.”
The Lakota People’s Law Project, the only Indian-advocacy group that has worked actively, for ten years, alongside tribes in South Dakota to put a stop to South Dakota’s systemic and persistent violations of ICWA, has demonstrated that the racist attitudes of the boarding school era linger in South Dakota today.
“The bottom line is that white people believed and continue to believe their form of civilization is superior and that Indian culture is inferior,” Sara Nelson of LPLP said. “We are witnessing rapacious natural resource extraction companies continue to plunder mother nature, contribute to climate change and imperil the very future of the human family. To claim superiority over a culture that commanded masterful husbandry of natural resources, lived sustainably, and left no footprint on this continent is absurd. If we are all going to survive on this planet, we must humbly face the crimes of the European model, correct the injustices, and work together on sustainable models that respect the laws of nature.”