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Assimilation, A Product Of Genocide
~ Joelle Clark
Cultural assimilation is the process in
which a minority group or culture comes
to resemble those of a dominant group.
The term is used to refer to both individuals
and groups; the latter case can refer to a
range of social groups, including ethnic
minorities, immigrants, indigenous peoples, and other marginalized groups such as sexual minorities who adapt to being culturally dominated by another societal group.
The United Nations defines genocide as "any of the following acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group, as such" :
- Killing members of the group
- Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group
- Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part
- Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group
- Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group
Now unless you live with your head in the sand still believing the fairytales that Thanksgiving is celebrating the pilgrims and Indians first year of cohabitation and that Pocahontas was madly in love and wanted to go to England .
As well as various other myths that are force fed generations of children of all races in the U.S. then you know that all of these have been done and continue to be done to our Indigenous Nations. We live in and are allowing this genocidal behavior to continue in the United States.
I believe that the product of genocide that hurts my heart the most is the lateral violence in our native communities. That we lash out at each other and create divisions when we need to be coming together and building a community that is all inclusive of those who truly are native.
Now that nasty word assimilation comes into play.I can't count the number of times I have heard one of our people accuse another of being assimilated just because they have a difference of opinion.
Many people believe that getting a education means you are or will become assimilated.
Here is my belief on that and yes, I am well aware that I may step on toes.
To me assimilated has little to do with education, it's a spiritual issue. When indigenous peoples lose their languages and become separated from the basic spiritual beliefs of their nation many who turn to other belief systems or have none at all do become assimilated. They become assimilated because tribal spiritual beliefs are nor were ever a religion, they were and are a way of life. They were and are one of the foundations of native communities.
One of the worst examples of assimilation and lateral violence is the corruption of tribal councils. Sadly they are one of the examples of assimilation that those who oppose education use. But if you Google Corruption and Native Tribal Council you will find it's rampant amoung Tribes. Those who steal from their own people don't do so because they are educated, they do so because they have lost touch with the basic spiritual beliefs of their nation. I have yet to encounter any Tribe that doesn't have the belief that taking care of the people, the elders and the children is the job of the warriors and leaders. Their welfare is supposed to come before your own personal needs if the people have chosen you to lead.
So if your tribe has a 'have and have not' situation then you most probably have
people in office that have spiritually left your nation.
There are many indigenous people who are well educated and serve their nations because they still have that spiritual connection to the foundation of their people.
I know many who have learned how to use the colonizers ways to benefit the people and I know that the one thing governments fears is well educated indigenous populations.
So keep your languages and Spiritual foundations strong. Stand up and take back your tribal governments. Claim your sovereignty. Make the U.S. Government honor the treaties. Their constitution says that Treaties are the supreme law of the land.
Hold them to their own laws.