The contributors here are all Native Americans, and they respond to their history with anger, courage, poetry and resilience. They have survived, despite everything. They are not going away. They are proud, and they want their audience and their day in the court of history and justice. It's important that we listen to what they say. We need to face our true history squarely, especially at times like these when a large segment of our nation embraces a self-serving inaccurate myth about our past.
The dictionary included examples of holocaust incidents among groups of people. Beyond the formally named twentieth-century Holocaust of European Jews, Cambodians, Africans, and AIDS victims were listed with varying merits. American Indians were strangely absent from any of these examples. This was, after all, the American Heritage Dictionary. How could the editors have overlooked such a key example from within America's own borders?*Imagine being a child again. Envision being eleven years old, thinking of your friends and life with ease and being full of nonstop questions. Imagine being a carefree spirit and still having innocence in your life, still loving without reason, and having thoughts of the world as complete in your own eyes. Then imagine that everything that makes you who you are is being attacked. You are told that the way you dress, the way you speak, and everything you were taught about your heritage is evil and wrong.*The American Indian Holocaust did happen. Perhaps not in the same way the holocaust happened for the Jews, nor for the people in Rwanda, nor for the Puerto Ricans at Carlisle, nor for the Asians at Heart Mountain, nor for all culturally oppressed, assimilated people everywhere in the world. But it did happen and bits and pieces of this oppression are evident in all Indian communities today. That these grave injustices happened to many groups, not just one, and in various ways, should finally be confronted.*We've never been apologized to for the loss of our people during the gold rush, we've never been apologized to for the theft of our land under the General Allotment Act of 1887, we've never been apologized to for the loss of language and the attempted extinction of our culture by the boarding schools, and on and on and on. We cannot trust the federal or state governments to help us protect what is ours, and that is precisely why we are the agents or our survival.*Cultural genocide is the new genocide. It impacts us in ways we can't often predict, which makes it more insidious. It we do not learn how to talk the federal government's talk, so to speak, we will never have a voice in decisions made about us. This creates a dilemma for some because there is a fear that exists of becoming too much like white people. This is the struggle: how do we understand their world and still exist in ours', I think the answer is what it has always been-balance.