INDIAN ALLEY INITIATIVE by Tom Grode

securedownloadThe purpose of the Indian Alley Initiative is to help mobilize one hundred thousand online signatures for a We The People petition titled  Petition for Follow Up from White House Regarding the Native Apology Contained in H.R. 3326 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act Based on Items Six and Seven in the Apology.

Werdin Place aka Indian Alley is part of Skid Row according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the western border of the 14 block Toy District which emerged as a distinct Downtown Los Angeles district during the 1970’s.

On May 6, 2004, Senator Sam Brownback from Kansas presented in the Senate the six page long Senate Resolution 37 titled JOINT RESOLUTION OF APOLOGY TO NATIVE PEOPLES.  (  S.J.RES.37.IS][PDF] )

On December 19, 2009, President Obama signed the 67 page long H.R. 3326, 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act.  On page 47 was the following:

Sec. 8112. (a) High Priority National Guard Counterdrug Programs- Of the amount appropriated or otherwise made available by title VI under the heading ‘Drug Interdiction and Counter-Drug Activities, Defense’, up to $15,000,000 shall be available for the purpose of High Priority National Guard Counterdrug Programs. (b) Supplement Not Supplant- The amount made available by subsection (a) for the purpose specified in that subsection is in addition to any other amounts made available by this Act for that purpose.

apology to native peoples of the united states

Sec. 8113. (a) Acknowledgment and Apology- The United States, acting through Congress–

(1) recognizes the special legal and political relationship Indian tribes have with the United States and the solemn covenant with the land we share;

(2) commends and honors Native Peoples for the thousands of years that they have stewarded and protected this land;

(3) recognizes that there have been years of official depredations, ill-conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes;

(4) apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native Peoples by citizens of the United States;

(5) expresses its regret for the ramifications of former wrongs and its commitment to build on the positive relationships of the past and present to move toward a brighter future where all the people of this land live reconciled as brothers and sisters, and harmoniously steward and protect this land together;

(6) urges the President to acknowledge the wrongs of the United States against Indian tribes in the history of the United States in order to bring healing to this land; and

(7) commends the State governments that have begun reconciliation efforts with recognized Indian tribes located in their boundaries and encourages all State governments similarly to work toward reconciling relationships with Indian tribes within their boundaries.

(b) Disclaimer- Nothing in this section–

(1) authorizes or supports any claim against the United States; or

(2) serves as a settlement of any claim against the United States.

Sec. 8114. (a) Any agency receiving funds made available in this Act, shall, subject to subsections (b) and (c), post on the public website of that agency any report required to be submitted by the Congress in this or any other Act, upon the determination by the head of the agency that it shall serve the national interest.

The signed 2009 apology is dramatically shorter and less detailed than the 2004 Senate Resolution.

On September 22, 2011, the White House launched We The People, a White House petition system where petitions will receive an official response from a White House policy expert if the minimum number of online signatures is reached.  The number of online signatures required within thirty days of the posting of the petition began at five thousand, then went to twenty-five thousand on October 3, 2012, then went to one hundred thousand on January 16, 2013.

On December 19, 2012, Navajo Mark Charles organized an internet streamed gathering across the street from the Capital Building where the 2009 apology in H.R. 3326, 2010 DoD Appropriations Act was read out loud in multiple Native languages.

On January 3, 2013, Mark Charles initiated the following We The People petition:

Call on Pres. Obama to retract the inadequate Apology to Native Peoples buried in H.R. 3326, 2010 DoD Appropriations Act

On Dec. 19, 2009 President Obama signed H.R. 3326, the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, which included an Apology to Native Peoples of the US (sec. 8113).

This apology is inadequate and disrespectful because:

– It is enclosed in an appropriations act
– It contains no specific acts of repentance or commitment to change
– It mentions no specific injustice, tribe or broken treaty
– It ends with a disclaimer
– The WH Press Release contained no mention of the apology
– In 3 years neither the White House nor Congress has announced, publicized or read this apology

We the people call on President Obama to retract this apology and instead join the conversation for reconciliation that was initiated in front of the US Capitol on Dec. 19, 2012.

On February 2, 2013, the thirty days ended without Call on Pres. Obama to retract the inadequate Apology to Native Peoples buried in H.R. 3326, 2010 DoD Appropriations Act getting the required twenty-five thousand online signatures.

Here is the Petition for Follow Up from White House Regarding the Native Apology Contained in H.R. 3326 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act Based on Items Six and Seven in the Apology.

————————————————————-

Petition for Follow Up from White House Regarding the Native Apology Contained in H.R. 3326 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act Based on Items Six and Seven in the Apology.

It seems no one in Indian Country knows or understands why this Apology has been handled the way it was handled. Here is some speculation by Native blogger Mary Pember from her December 13, 2011 post “The Quiet American Apology”:

“I think that the U.S. is terrified to make too much of the 2009 apology for fear of setting off something like Canada’s 2006 $2 billion compensation package for aboriginal peoples who were forced to attend residential schools.  In 2008 Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper publicly apologized to former students of the schools; the country also established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address the consequences of these institutions.

Between 1870-1996, over 150,000 aboriginal students attended Canada’s more than 130 residential schools.  During approximately the same time period, the United States operated more than 100 similar schools with tens of thousands of students.  Some Bureau of Indian Affairs residential schools are still in operation.

The record of these schools in the U.S. has been painfully similar to the Canadian experience:  students were often abused and mistreated.”

The World Council of Churches (WCC), which works closely with the Roman Catholic Church, represents about 600 million Christians in 520,000 congregations.  In February 2012, the Executive Committee of the WCC formally renounced the Doctrine of Discovery. Based on two Papal Bulls in 1452 and 1455, the Doctrine of Discovery became the religious and legal basis for European colonization of indigenous peoples.

In its repudiation, the WCC encouraged member churches to develop Advocacy Plans on behalf of indigenous peoples. It is the hope of this petition that it will become part of a local congregations Advocacy Plan.

Here are the questions being asked in this petition:

Does the White House believe the public awareness and education surrounding this 2009 apology initiated by the 2004 Senate Resolution to be sufficient?  If not, does the White House have any plans to help the American people understand the historic nature of this apology that has taken place?

In addition, is the White House considering a retraction given the circumstances surrounding the offering of this apology and its aftermath?

This petition requests you put the answers to those questions in the context of Items 6 and 7 in the signed 2009 apology:

(6) urges the President to acknowledge the wrongs of the United States against Indian tribes in the history of the United States in order to bring healing to this land; and

(7) commends the State governments that have begun reconciliation efforts with recognized Indian tribes located in their boundaries and encourages all State governments similarly to work toward reconciling relationships with Indian tribes within their boundaries.

Thank you.

———————————-

A simple website is being designed so people can read the petition and send in their email address.  Once fifty thousand email addresses have been received, the petition will be put on We The People with the hope that fifty thousand online signatures within a few days of being posted will result in publicity and momentum to guarantee at least one hundred thousand signatures within thirty days.

After the petition is put on the website and prior to going onto We The People it will be subject to possible revision through input by Native Tribal Governments.

The official name of Indian Alley is Werdin Place.  The additional street sign Indian Alley honors the work done by the United American Indian Involvement (UAII) in the 1970’s and 80’s to reach out to Native Americans on Skid Row as well as honors the struggle of Native Americans who would congregate in the alley outside the UAII.

The UAII is now located a mile west of Skid Row.

A FOLLOW UP ARTICLE WILL APPEAR SOON ON THIS SKID ROW BEAUTIFICATION COMMUNITY BLOG.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT INDIAN ALLEY WITH PHOTOS CLICK HERE

By Tom Grode

Blogger’s note: The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Trees on San Pedro Street Project editrix, Ms. McNenny. This is a Community improvement blog and not faith-based.

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