“Right here now at the United States…we have experienced the longest running holocaust in the world,” said Zandra Apple, member of the Lakota tribe at South Dakota and student contact of the First Nations Student Association.
Imagine what happens when outsiders invade your homeland, cut down the forests, contaminate the food supply and bring vicious disease to your people—that is exactly how the Native Americans were treated when the Europeans came and took the natives’ land away.
While most people are aware of this part of the Native American history, little know that the groundless exploitation of the Native Americans are still taking place right now in America. To raise students’ awareness on the issues important to Native Americans, the First Nations Student Association is going to host a day of storytelling, film and speakers on May 22, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m. in the N Building at Room 201.
“Traditional communities do not often voluntarily give up or sell the resources on which their communities are based until their communities have been destroyed. They also do not willingly allow their land bases to be damaged so that other resources can be extracted.
It follows that those who want the resources will do what they can to destroy traditional communities,” stated the movie “END: CIV,” which is going to be shown during the Holocaust of Indigenous Nations event on Tuesday.
“END: CIV” is a documentary based on part of “Endgame,” a best-selling book by Derrick Jensen, an American author and activist.
The documentary looks at our culture’s addiction to systematic brutality and environmental exploitation and dissects the causes underlying the collapse of civilizations.
Franklin Lopez, director of “END:CIV,” focused a part of the documentary on the indigenous people and how their reservations are being destroyed by resource-hungry non-natives, such as the Koch Brothers who are contributing to the infamous dirty oil coalition. In a nutshell, the Koch industries are building pipelines underlying America’s breadbasket—states with desirable soil and climate that oftentimes produce an agricultural surplus—that runs a high risk of contaminating water supply and food source.
Such exploitation also goes against the Native American strong belief to conserve our common mother, our mother earth. Like the Native American Proverb put it—Treat the Earth well: We did not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we are borrowing it from our children.
Another program of the day will be the showing of the clip of the lecture given by Eloise Cobell at BC in 2004. Cobell is a Native American who sued the federal government for resources they have taken illegally from Native Americans after the government’s refusal to pay the natives their rightful share of revenue generated off of the oil non-natives extracted from their reservation. Besides the two videos, the First Nations Student Association has also invited traditional storyteller Roger Fernandes and activist Deborah White Plume on campus and share with BC their very own experiences and culture.
Fernandes will be telling stories that have been passed on orally from one Native American generation to the next while Plume, who has raised national awareness on the dirty oil situation, will give a lecture on “Defending our Lakota Land.”
Currently there are 119 self-proclaimed tribal members in attendance at BC but few are aware of the situation at their land bases.
The purpose of the event is to educate both the Native American population here at BC and all the other students about and give them an idea of what is actually happening to the natives. “A lot of Native Americans are not aware of what is really happening.
“I have no clue as to what is actually happening there until I meet Zandra,” said Ramona Sabourin, club advisor of the First Nations Student Association, tribal member of the Three Affiliated Tribes of North Dakota and program coordinator of the Health Sciences and Wellness Institution here at BC.
The First Nations Student Association was first established in 2003 when Apple came to BC in pursuit of her Associate Degree. Not being able to find visible self-proclaimed Native American students on campus concerned Apple. She wanted to start a club to see if other natives would come forth, and fortunately they did.
“Every higher education institution should have a First Nations Club. The federal government allows us to get higher education money to go to school and we should be recognized…because the whole United States was built on the foundation and the back of Native American property and real estate,” stated Apple.