December 29, 2008
By REBECCA ADAMSON
Indian Country Today
Atlas Greenspan shrugged, recognizing a possible flaw in his market ideology. To say finally that hard rains must fall on everyone just won’t do.
Comparisons drawn from the natural world cannot describe the last gasp of Western free market capitalism. This was a philosophy and an enforcing apparatus that separated human endeavor from any natural order, including the natural order of animal presence and household and community provisioning. Just as we’ve stopped taking account of the four-leggeds and winged beings and fish who can offer companionship and guidance to our otherwise isolated human species, what has happened in today’s market is that it’s stopped taking account of human nature. But unlike poor marginalized animals, it is more human nature to fight back.
The fight that compels me here is populist backlash. If tens upon tens of millions of decent, middle-income citizens figure out that they’ve been duped by bail-out taxes that still have left them penniless, jobless, homeless, healthless and half-educated – anything could happen. That is why the first item on President Obama’s Native agenda should be a serious, sonorous, respectful and seemly apology. This is a great country built on the richness of diverse cultures. When they choose to hold governments accountable, they will find that the honor of this nation remains in a mutual relationship with the indigenous Nations. Middle-class America is just waking up to the special interests that run government, the same interests we’ve all seen grab our resources in the past. Well governments set precedents, good and bad.
In the past year, Canada apologized for drafting Native children into boarding schools; the Australian prime minister apologized to the “Stolen Generation” of Aborigines; Malaysia granted its first-ever recognition of indigenous land rights; Guatemala formally recognized indigenous peoples, including the Mayans; and in a development some of us thought we’d never see, given Japan’s long denial of ethnicity on its islands, the Japanese Diet passed a resolution recognizing the indigenous Ainu and calling for their support. The U.S. can get in step with these developments through an apology to its first peoples.
For more information on Tides Center project First Peoples Worldwide, see www.firstpeoplesworldwide.org.