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It's time for the United States to grow up

Many people in the United States are upset because the United Nations Commission on Human Rights has not selected the United States to be part of that august body. The United States has always prided itself on its human rights record, but now, the other countries of the world are saying, 'The pot is calling the kettle black.'

That has made all of Congress mad ... mad enough they have decided not to pay their dues which are in the billions. Isn't this a bullying tactic? If they can't get their way, then they're not going to pay their dues? What would their response be if it was another country that would not pay its dues? Not very mature action, I would say.

What the United States forgets is that many of the other countries of the world have governments and cultures hundreds, even thousands, of years older than the United States. At a little more than 200 years, the United States is still a very young country and government.

What the United States continues to want to forget, and hide under the rug, is its continuing derogatory treatment of the Indigenous peoples of this continent. It continues to conveniently forget the Indigenous peoples had governments and cultures thousands of years old before the United States was even born.

Fortunately, for American Indian people, other countries of the world have not overlooked that fact and are appalled at the treatment the United States continues to give to American Indian nations.

The non-Indian population of the United States doesn't want to hear this, or is totally unaware of what is continuing to happen to American Indian nations by their own government.

For example, the non-Indian people living in western South Dakota are continuously reminded by Lakota people of the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868. Yet, the usual response is, 'That's over a hundred years old and you lost the war anyway.'

Most non-Indian people judge everything based on war.

If the argument is that a treaty is too old, then the U.S. Constitution is also more than a hundred years old. Does this mean the U.S. Constitution is too old? The argument doesn't fly, but it makes other countries leery of signing any agreements with the United States. (Does this bring to mind the most recent U.S. abandonment of the Kyoto Accords on the environment which affect all countries of the world?)

The United Nations Human Rights Commission has listened to the Lakota peoples' complaint over the breaking of the 1868 Treaty, and the dire consequences to the Lakota Nation which continue.

Just this past December, the Lakota delegate, Tony Black Feather, gave to the Special Rapporteur Miguel Alfonso Martinez, petitions signed by more than 200 Lakota people and their supporters requesting assistance regarding the transfer of treaty land to the state of South Dakota under the 'Mitigation Act.' This is a law that was repealed by Congress in 1999, but surreptitiously pushed through a second time as a rider in that same year by Sen. Tom Daschle, D.-S.D.

The UN Human Rights Commission also receives requests from many other tribes across the country who experience the same things under the guise of federal law.

Most Americans find it hard to believe that anyone would not want their way of life because of their wealth of material possessions. From a Lakota perspective, it is very difficult to like something if it is forced on you, especially if it is so opposite from the values you possess.

But the federal government, the American education system and the media have succeeded in not telling the American public the whole truth.

Ask yourself this question: Why would American Indian people continue to go to the United Nations and present their complaints over and over, for more than two decades, if there was not some semblance of truth in their complaints?

Surely crackpots would have grown old or become too tired of their quest. The fact that more and more American-educated Lakota people are speaking up about the injustices they see and know tells the world that something is terribly wrong.

The United States, in its arrogance, brought on this banishment from the Human Rights Commission all by itself. Then to show the world that it really is a narrow-minded, very immature nation, the Congress decides not to pay the dues.

Tsk-tsk, United States, another wrong thing to do. That action only proved the lack of global understanding and/or the ability to conceive the idea that some people might want a different way of life. Acting with more maturity, paying their dues and trying to find out, in a respectful manner, why the other countries did not vote for them would have shown integrity and a willingness to be a part of the world community.

It's time for the United States to grow up.