LaNada War Jack on Alcatraz Island
Indigenous Peoples’ Day 2018
Published October 7, 2018
Editor’s Note: This guest commentary was first published on October 12, 2015.
Only in America are we forced to celebrate the genocide of our own Indigenous people. The US Congress enacted laws to make our ceremonies, songs, dances and languages illegal and sent their soldiers out to find and kill us. They sought out the leaders demanding their heads, put out bounties and also for the women and children. The Congress then passed law to hold hostage and indoctrinate all the remaining Native children across America into government and Christian boarding schools. Many children died and were physically and sexually abused initiating the cycle of dysfunction on reservations replicating the social ills of this country.
This history is never taught in our educational system but we are forced to live with this genocidal holiday and bad policies that further promote colonization and oppression of our people to the present day.
We do not have representation in the system that controls us and even if we did, the other two wings of the same bird are still holding us in its claws. Apparently, the American government and social institutions of this country expect us to be silent, go along, continue to be brainwashed, Christianized, indoctrinated and colonized forever! Time to wake up, rise up and stand strong for the occasion of getting rid of Columbus Day! This is an insulting symbol and a tribute to furthering oppression, violence, death and inevitable destruction of our Mother Earth.
Directly connected to this exploitation is the “Papal Bull” which is exactly what it sounds like which declared our Native people as “Pagans” and not Christians, a man-made belief system developed by early Europeans and the Catholic Church. Therefore Natives were not entitled to own lands. Also known as the “Doctrine of Discovery” this is the very foundation and justification for war, colonization and present day Indian law that formulates the process of continued theft. We need to personally extract and arm ourselves about the truth and true history of this country and represent ourselves as knowledgeable and positive role models.
As Native people, we have endured great harm done to us by the violent and colonial powers and yet we have to stand up against all that has impacted us including the historic generational trauma. We are the true people of peace, we must never become who they are by becoming violent and continue to strengthen our culture, identity and spirituality. We must resist oppression, speak up, be knowledgeable and stay strong against this continuing war against us and all life.
We must get rid of Columbus Day Forever and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day!
Dr. LaNada War Jack is a tribal citizen of the Shoshone Bannock Tribes. She resides on the Fort Hall Reservation, Idaho. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley in 1971. In 1969, together with Indian students throughout California, she was a leader of the Alcatraz Island Takeover in protest of the federal government’s ill treatment of Native people and broken treaties. Dr. War Jack was on the founding board and executive board of the Native American Rights Fund. She served as an elected councilwoman for her tribes and served on many local and national boards. Dr. War Jack completed her graduate work at Idaho State University with a Masters in Public Administration and a Doctorate of Arts Degree in Political Science.