Friday, May 23, 2014

Cedric Sunray: NCAI Falls into the "SAFE ISSUE" Trap With the Redskins "Controversy"

This April 29 posting made me say…Really?
“NCAI condemns Donald Sterling’s appalling comments regarding African Americans. There is no place in modern society for that kind of hatred and discrimination. We also want to applaud the many athletes, sportscasters, corporations, and individuals who have spoken out against Sterling and his comments. It is encouraging to see so many people standing together and declaring that this behavior is unacceptable.”
 While there is no question the statements which have been made by National Basketball League (NBA) Los Angles Clipper’s owner Donald Sterling are beyond reprehensible, it seems highly ironic that the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) would make such comments when member tribes of the organization, such as the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, created a wholesale, heavily funded campaign targeting the forced removal of their own tribal members based on their race (i.e. Cherokee Freedmen). Especially in light of the fact that the NCAI took zero steps to condemn or place sanctions on the tribe for the racist propaganda campaign they undertook. In fact, NCAI came out supporting the tribe’s “sovereignty” to do so.

As stated via resolution by NCAI during the federal government’s attempt to withdraw funding from the CNO during the Freedmen contestations,
“This alarming, inappropriate and unacceptable overreach undermines sovereign tribal governments and sets a dangerous precedent to all Indian tribes and nations … it has been the historic policy of NCAI to object to any legislation or federal action which diminishes, limits or reduces sovereignty of federally recognized tribes or nations.”
It seems there is a continued willingness of tribes and tribal organizations to shy away from real issues directly impacting Indian Country such as internal racial discrimination (…think of not only the Five Civilized Tribes Freedmen prohibitions, but also the Office of Federal Acknowledgement’s (OFA) continued stoppage of federal recognition petitions for tribes in the South and East who are perceived or do have some Black ancestry), disenrollment (…think of the over 50 tribes in the country who have disenrolled their own tribal members over the last dozen years) , and sacred site desecration (...think of the Poarch Creek’s building of a casino on the ceremonial Hickory Grounds which contains burials). The same unwillingness to go after blatant, non-justifiable, horrific issues such as these is correspondingly set aside for pursuits which are much safer in nature, such as the NBA’s Donald Sterling, the National Football League’s (NFL) Washington mascot, etc.
USET, like NCAI, has fallen into the “safe” issue trap. While being opposed to many identifiable historic “non-federal” tribes in the East and South (many of whom USET’s own affiliated tribal members attended federal Indian boarding schools with), they have had no problem going all the way down to Colombia to assist the indigenous people there.


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