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Can We Really Repay the Native Americans?

By , Burlington , KY

Can we truly repay the debts that we owe to the Native Americans? Can we repay years of being looked down upon and forced out of their homes?

When I asked these questions to some peers of mine, the answer usually came in the form of,”later…?” or “with money.” To them, I would say that I disagreed. I believe that we cannot repay the entirety of a race that was torn apart, but I do think that we can give them back their self-respect and pride. During my research, I found on almost every site that they liked to mention the importance of pride and respect and the significance of those virtues to their culture. After reading this, I got the idea that if we could restore their self-respect, that could be a potential motivator for their communities and encouraging a change.

 

Critics argue that right off the bat, that we should give the Native Americans money, yet looking at the facts says otherwise. For example,on the website Indian Country Media Network, the Native American artists they interveiwed all said that they like having a voice. It seemed as if one of the most important things to them was just gaining respect and being heard within other racial groups. It seems as if one of the biggest wants in the community is just respect. Evidence in the article https://indiancountrymedianetwork.com/culture/arts-entertainment/four-native-artists-create-murals-for-oklahoma-citys-bricktown/ suggests that in their current situation, the Native Americans just want to be respected and acknowledged. Yes, land and money may keep them satisfied-for land could be used to make new housing and get them off reservations and money could pay for repairs and new resources- but who knows how they’ll use that money or land is an important attribute as well.

 

Even though land and money may be a need, I think that it may not be used without a proper say in the matter. Without a voice, the Native American cultures could waste the money or land- just use the resource until it runs dry, then be back at the same situation they are at now. With this in mind, I decided to build on the idea that the Native Americans could come out of the hole they are in now. Just with some “pushes” per say. Then I thought of how much I’ve come out of my shell at school when I was able to start spreading some of another culture around. I was able to start to appreciate my heritage and my race. So I thought,” this could be the push they need.” So I created the idea that in the different schools across the country could view nearby tribes, through murals and plaques, spreading the culture and having people become more aware. Each plaque would describe the tribe and their culture, as well as the smaller, lesser known tribes. This would be a way for the people of the USA to start giving the Natives the attention they need, and help them back on their feet. And I do think we can give them more physical resources, just after they’ve regained a self-respect and knowledge of the resources given to them.




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