Nothing symbolizes the complex character of the United States of America more than race. It is fair to say that we have come far in matters racial. Of course, we can point to the first Black president of the United States. And yet, we cannot fairly invoke pride in America without an ongoing willingness to look behind the curtain of how far we’ve come in matters racial.
After seeing the short film, “Honor the Treaties,” a point came to me that isn’t mentioned in this poignant film. It’s a who and why question. I can’t recall it getting air time in issue talk.
Can you name one iconic Native American leader? There are barely any famous Native Americans, much less prominent influential ones. Blacks – indeed, all Americans – have Barack Obama, Martin Luther King, Jr., Thurgood Marshall…. Famous Black political voice runs the gamut: Jesse Jackson, Malcolm X, hey, even Al Sharpton. Celebrity Black influence speaks way louder than a whisper in the wind: Oprah Winfrey, Muhammad Ali, Maya Angelou, Denzel Washington….
If you can name any famous or influential Native Americans, compare them with the long list of analogous Black Americans. Are there matters racial to discuss in such a catalog?
Back to the film “Honor the Treaties.” Aaron Huey, a photojournalist, activist, and white guy, observes that even if the guards have gone away, Indians still live in prisoner of war camps called reservations. He admits that Native Americans should be telling the story. He wishes they had enough visibility to do so. See “Honor the Treaties.” It shows so much behind the curtain in only 14 minutes.