On Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" the program made light of the article in USA Today concerning the issue of disenrollments. Although the show was a parody, it made light of an issue that is hurting tens of thousands of people.
Can you imagine what kind of backlash the show would have recieved if it made light of the Jewish Holocaust or the situation in Rwanda? What this show didn't consider is that the disenrollments are actually a euphemism for terminations and genocide, which was the official policy of the US until the early 1900's.
What seems to be a well kept secret is the facts that surround California Indian Tribes and their historical interactions with the US Government. In 1948 the California territory began to be settled by immigrants from the US and other areas after having been taken from Mexico at the conclusion of the Mexican American War. In 1849, the discovery of gold created one of the largest movements of human beings in world history as people from around the world rushed to California to prospect for their personal fortunes.
In 1850, California became a state. It was one of the fastest statehood approvals in US history, largely because of the gold. Also in 1850, the new governor of California authorized the payment of cash rewards for the killing of California Indians. Yes, you heard it right. The state of California used its money to pay anyone who had a gun to kill as many Indians as they saw fit, and these new settler's did the best they could to collect that money. These murderers were able act without any fear of justice being brought to bear against them
What resulted was the reduction of the California Indian population by nearly 50% in just one year. That was an estimated 177,000 Indian men, women and children slaughtered at the behest of the government. The monetary reward system was abandoned in a couple of years, but the decline in Native populations continued to slide at an alarming rate.
By 1900, the estimated population of Native peoples in California finally bottomed out at 10,000 people. The Native's that were left alive were still considered to be a nuisance to the fine men and women of the state, so the government purchased small parcels of lands for northern California Tribal people and negotiated some treaty reservations for some Southern California Indians and sent the survivors to them by force.
This wasn't the end of the saga either. The government still wasn't satisfied with letting the Native people live in peace. In many cases, the children of the Native people were forcibly removed from their homes to be sent to places with fancy names like "The Sherman Indian School," so that they could be properly educated as civilized people. The government's plan was to brainwash the children of the surviving Native's so that they could break their will once and for all.
Today, the government doesn't actively attempt to murder, enslave or brainwash the Native people. Instead, the government is allowing the Tribal people to do it on their behalf. The disenrollments are simply an extension of the genocidal termination policies of the past, but with less blood on the ground. The results are still the same though, because once a Native is disenrolled from a Tribe, he is no longer considered eligibile for the programs designed to help Native Americans. His stastistical expense to the government is eliminated. The Tribal authorities that did this to him are rewarded with casino profits and immunity from lawsuits for violating his civil rights. The Tribes get to do whatever they want to their own people without fear of any justice being brought to bear against them. Hmm, doesn't that sound familiar?
Genocide Light is what we have here today.
To view the Comedy Central clip, click here. For the record, regardless of how inappropriate I personally find the clip, I would never support any type of censorship to prevent it from being shown. It's just unfortunate that such an important issue finally gets national attention in such a disrespectful manner.