Cartography of Cultural Genocide: Maps of Ideology and Violence

After the arrival of thousands of U.S. veterans, the long-standing Dakota Access Pipeline protests culminated in a small victory on Sunday when President Obama ordered the Army Corps of Engineers halt work on the pipeline. Victories like the one on Sunday and the President’s previous order in September have been overlooked, though. The BBC has called the protests the largest gathering of Native Americans in a century; why then do they feel so invisible? What accounts for the lack of media coverage at Standing Rock?

In October, the Daily Intelligencer interviewed Amy Goodman, host of the independent news site Democracy Now!, speculating how it is possible that “in this oversaturated age for a mass-protest movement to fly under the radar” on “the battle over the building of the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline,” and Goodman suggested a larger, systemic problem:

“I dare say the lack of coverage may be because this is a largely Native American resistance and protest. This is an under-covered population generally.”

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Indigenous Youth and the Looming Threat of Cultural Genocide in Minnesota

On August 20th, the Star Tribune published a story highlighting the incredible disparity between Native Americans and the rest of Minnesota in foster care placement. According to Stahl and Webster’s article, American Indian youth are ten times more likely to end up in foster care in comparison to the rest of the state. On average, two indigenous youth are sent to foster homes in Minnesota every day, the highest rate in the nation.

The sheer number of Native American children being sent to foster care in the United States is creating a significant problem. In 1978 Congress passed the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). At the time, it was an attempt to keep Native American youth in tribal communities by placing them with Native foster families whenever possible. Now nearly thirty years later, Minnesota has a shortage of Native American foster homes to house the increasing number of children being taken from their home.

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The Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Report: Does it Change Anything?

trc02On December 15th, the Canadian Truth and Reconciliation Commission issued its final report. It documents the treatment of indigenous children in Canadian residential schools over the course of more than twelve decades. More 150,000 youth were sent to the schools. The report estimates that more than 3,200 never came home. In June, Beverly McLachlin, chair of the TRC commission, labelled the residential schools cultural genocide.

To many, the report and its finding are an astounding admission to the culpable role the Canadian government played in the destruction of several generations of indigenous culture. The release of the report raises an interesting question: can this be a positive sign of Canada coming to grips with its troubling past?

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