In 1992, as a nontraditional student in my last semester of college, several things happened that changed my life’s interest forever. For a required history course, I selected American History, and that class opened my heart and mind to the real story of American and Indian relationships – history that is still not taught in many elementary or secondary schools in the U.S. Then in the spring, I attended a luncheon for graduating nontraditional students where I learned, through discussions at my table, that in 1948 the U.N. General Assembly passed Resolution 260 against genocide. Yet the U.S. did not sign it until 40 years later in 1988 during the Reagan administration because of the legal implications against the genocide inflicted on Native Americans. And when it was finally signed, it was only after it had been significantly altered to benefit the government. But the fact remains that what was done to Native Americans fits the definition of genocide.
This realization of genocide against Native Americans was the driving force behind writing this book which is a culmination of 30 years researching documents from hundreds of years old through present time, as well as online work and related travel. Other authors have focused in depth on a particular era or subject related to Native Americans, and through their efforts and my research, it is my hope that there will be an increased awareness of the centuries of struggles endured by Native Americans. Some tribes have ceased to exist, but those that remain work to strengthen their religions, cultures and governments. Their story continues through time into the struggles of the 21st Century.
“Native American Resilience: A Story of Racism, Genocide and Survival” covers significant aspects and events of Native American history from beliefs to lifestyles, Eurocentric invasion and colonization to today’s issues – continuing discrimination, missing and murdered indigenous women, boarding schools, health issues and appropriation to urban integration and reclamation of graves and artifacts – to name but a few. The information and stories provided in the chapters are thoroughly documented. My personal analysis is provided at the end of each chapter, as well as at the end of the book in my reflections, both clearly separated from the research.
It is my intention and hope that by providing a factual, holistic look at Native American history, readers will discover or reaffirm for themselves the truth of the past and present lives of the First Americans. It is also my hope that they will then be motivated to do something to help right these wrongs in whatever way works for them. For me, it was writing this book and designating that all proceeds from its sale be donated to The American Indian College Fund in Denver, Colorado.