November 25, 2009. In yet another setback to the 222 year old Middle American Peace Process and the search for a permanent treaty between the United States and Native Americans, Barak Obama has apparently turned his back on earlier pledges to put an unconditional end to increased Euro-American settlements on Indian land.
Instead, the President has announced that he will only seek to halt establishment of new settlements while allowing the “natural expansion” of already existing settlements, even those formed illegally under U.S. and international law.
“Certainly, we are going to prevent any new settlements from being created on the Pine Ridge or Navajo reservations – or, indeed, on any of the land still occupied by Native Americans,” the President announced yesterday in the Rose Garden. “But natural expansion cannot and will not be stopped. It is a necessary step in maintaining the integrity of the United States as a Euro-American state whose citizens – many of whom fled here from other parts of the world to escape persecution – deserve to live in peace and security.”
Native American leaders were swift to condemn the President’s announcement, which they perceive as reneging on Mr. Obama’s promise to institute a categorical halt to further settlement.
“Once again, the government of the United States has shown that it is not serious about achieving a permanent agreement,” said Wilbur Between Lodges, President of the Oglala Dakota Tribal Council. The Oglala are widely considered one of the most radical Native American opponents of American expansion, even going so far as to claim that the United States was responsible for the murder of the tribe’s last war chief, Crazy Horse, a charge the U.S. vehemently denies .
“Mr. Obama’s statement makes it clear that the U.S. intends to go on stealing Indian land and resources, even in the face of international criticism,” Wilbur Between Lodges said. “Eventually there’s going to be nothing left to steal.”
While the President remained silent in the face of criticism of his announcement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quick to reply. “The rejection by Native-American extremists of President Obama’s generous offer to prevent new settlements on Indian land is proof once again that we have no partner for peace on the other side of the negotiating table,” she told Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News last night.