Truth Be Told

I am currently writing a book about the Doctrine of Discovery along with Dr. Soong-Chan Rah. There is a crowdfunding campaign to support the writing process with reward levels that includes SIGNED COPIES of the book once it is released! Click here for more information.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The Declaration of Independence, the Washington Redsk*ns and merciless Indian Savages

Last week I visited the National Archives in Washington DC and personally viewed the original document of the Declaration of Independence. Did you know that 30 lines below the famous quote "All men are created equal" the founders of this nation referred to Native Americans as "merciless Indian Savages?"

This dichotomy highlights the bi-polar character of the United States of America. We are a nation that built its reputation on freedom and claims to stand for “liberty and justice for all.” But our foundations are clearly based on the dehumanization of others. And rather than acknowledging this, we have instead chosen to cling to a narrative of exceptionalism, a myth of manifest destiny and the lie of promised lands.


As a Native man one of the excuses I often hear for people’s ignorance regarding Native issues is "there are no Native Americans in my context." I tell them, “Yes. That was by design. Your nation was intentionally constructed so you would never have to be faced with the reality that there were people here prior to Europe's colonization.”

This is why our schools teach that America was "Discovered". It is why reservations were created. It is why the apology to Native peoples in 2009 was buried in an appropriations bill and never publicly mentioned by the White House or Congress. And it is why the professional football team located in our nation's capital continues to utilize the racist mascot "Redsk*ns."

The United States of American has gone through incredible lengths to keep the public narrative regarding the indigenous peoples of this land in mythical terms.  Because, the moment we stop being caricatures and become people, our nation must face the uncomfortable reality that the only reason it ever stated "All men are created equal" is because it has an incredibly narrow definition of who is actually human.


I have proposed an idea for a national "Truth Commission" to create space where the truth of our history can be taught. If you would like to read more about this proposal please see my article "The Doctrine of Discovery- A Buried Apology and an Empty Chair". To receive updated information regarding this proposal you can also sign up for our Truth Commission e-mail list. - Mark Charles

5 comments:

Mark Charles said...

Last week I visited the National Archives in Washington DC and personally viewed the original document of the Declaration of Independence. Did you know that 30 lines below the famous quote "All men are created equal" the founders of this nation referred to Native Americans as "merciless Indian Savages?"

Anonymous said...

Not to take away from this wonderful entry, but could you please not use bipolar in that manner? Especially when you're taking about how words can hurt. I think the word you were looking for was "racist." Thank you for discussing this topic.

blackcrow said...

Genocide and hate since 1492

Duane Clinker said...

I think this is an important statement. One of the justifications for revolution was that the King had not protected the people (a.k.a. invaders), from the natives.

More and more, as a white, I am seeing more clearly that the country was actually founded as a settler state from the very beginning. It more and more seems to me that the context for the "freedom talk" and "human rights", etc. was clearly the often unstated but ever present white racism, which in some ways may have been even more than racism inasmuch as it wasn't just saying that the "white race" merely superior to others, but that others were actually sub-human. It is also revelatory I think that "white" as a "race" of humans doesn't seem to even exist biologically, and was not named as a "race" at all prior to the need to defend and explain African slavery and Native American conquest.

Sheila Manning said...

What part of 'merciless Indian savages' was not true. I'm a member of a tribe that was most likely included in that term. The English were not accustomed to the warfare contucted by Indian tribes. So it was an accurate description.