Tuesday, June 15, 2021

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Article Index

 

V. REDRESSING THE EFFECTS OF FORCING AMERICAN CITIZENSHIP UPON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES


There is no significant evidence that many Indigenous people today believe that status as an American citizen promotes genocide or is otherwise problematic. Indeed, the recent trend seems to be the development of a deep appreciation for and acceptance of American citizenship and the rights associated with it. For most Indians, then, when it comes to questions about American citizenship, there is nothing in need of redress. Nonetheless, there remain Ongwehoweh and the descendents of Ongwehoweh who would believe that retaining exclusive Indigenous citizenship is critical to the preservation of sovereignty and a distinct way of life. Accordingly, for the treaties with the United States to have meaning, the United States must recognize this exclusive Indigenous citizenship. To give full effect to the right of all peoples to self-determination, corrective action must be taken.

If the United States ever decides to purge itself of its colonial and genocidal legacy toward Indigenous people, it should withdraw those policies and laws that continue to have a colonial and genocidal effect. Only if America remains committed to effectuating the destruction of the Indigenous nations should it refuse to take immediate efforts to decolonize its federal Indian control law. Given the relatively few numbers of Indigenous people that might be committed to the preservation of a distinct political existence, it is unlikely that America would suffer great harm by doing so.

 

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