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It was, and still is a great tragedy. What is to be done? I know if I rob another man I have to answer for my crime and make reparation for my crime. It is my belief, and the evidence is overwhelming, that a crime was perpetrated against humanity on this continent that resulted in a holocaust that is unparalleled in human history. Every attempt has been made to hide the evidence and create a propaganda campaign that would impact a United States citizen's ability to comprehend what happened here.
It is time for honest and sincere public apologies from every institution, religious and political, that were perpetrators and willing participants in the extermination and disenfranchisement efforts directed at our people. These institutions owe reparation for the damage that has been done so that we can heal and recover. History books need to be changed to present the true history of the advance of western civilization and what the advancement of that civilization did to our people.
We started back to Michigan thanking the Creator for allowing us to make the journey and process some more of the residuals that have impacted our personal lives. We want to go back and have the time and opportunity to gather as many pictures of my grandparent as we can. We want our children to have the knowledge we didn't have when we first got married. My wife and I know what ignorance can do to a relationship and we are grateful every day the Creator has led us in our effort to find healing and recovery.
We want to network with all of our relatives working in this effort and offer what help we can to advance the effort of truth, reconciliation and reparation.
We want to broadcast all we can to ensure the world knows what took place here, so that the world will know that the image the United States of America has tried to project around the world regarding how it established itself on our land is different from the one we know.
We want the Louisiana Purchase and every other transaction involving the sale of our land to be regarded as illegal because the land did not belong to any of the entities who made the transactions and the land returned or reparation made to us as the original owners.
We want the remains of all of our relatives returned to us, so that we can give them the ceremony they deserve.
Most of all we want the truth. We want all the documents that established the policies for our extermination and internment from wherever they are stored; not on micro-film, but in hard copy form.
We want the right of self determination and the true definition of sovereignty to be extended to our Tribal Nations.
We want a seat in this society that is equal to any other.
We should not be forced to pay taxes to live on the land where we were once the only inhabitants.
Our young people should be able to get a free education in any academic institution on the continent, so that we can enjoy the benefits such education would employ. We know that the treaties included the agreement to provide education, but have never been abided by or acknowledged.
We want the blood quantum standard assigned by the United States government and enforced through the Bureau of the Interior abolished, us knowing that our bloodlines would be much stronger were it not for an invasion and also knowing we need to bring all of our war-torn children home.
I feel better today. I went to the place where my grandfather and great aunt suffered so much. I put semma down in their memory and in the memory of all those present and past who suffer and have suffered because of what they and their relatives went through at this institution.
I don't know if what I did was enough, but it is all I knew to do. I believe the experience completed a circle that I needed to travel. I will continue to do all that I can for all humanity knowing that our ancestors avowed that what happens to one happens to all. My intentions are not to castigate, but to educate and bring a greater sensitivity and comprehension of what the truth really is.
The truth will set us all free.
Citizen of the Nations
October 10, 2012
Warren Petoskey is a tribal citizen of the Little Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, based in Harbor Springs, Michigan. He authored "Dancing My Dream," an autobiographic book that depicts overcoming challenges he faced in modern society. He and his wife, Barb, reside in Gaylord, Michigan.
posted October 11, 2012 8:59 am edt