Senator Sam Brownback, R-KS, has been introducing an apology resolution to American Indians in the Senate since 2004. It was nothing more than just a general statement of apology and did not create any potential for lawsuits oor offer to pay any form of reparations. Still, it took until December 2009 for the resolution to pass.
Then, inexplicably, President Barack Obama signed the Native American Apology Resolution on Dec. 19 as part of a defense appropriations spending bill WITHOUT telling any Indians or tribal leaders.
I just ran across this January 2010 news report on the issue in Inidan Country Today:
“. . . The resolution originated in Congress and had passed the Senate as stand-alone legislation in the fall. The House ended up adding the resolution to their version of the defense bill in conference.
Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., originally introduced the measure intending “to officially apologize for the past ill-conceived policies by the U.S. government toward the Native peoples of this land and re-affirm our commitment toward healing our nation’s wounds and working toward establishing better relationships rooted in reconciliation.” His bill passed the Senate in 2008 and 2009.
The version signed by Obama became watered down, not making a direct apology from the government, but rather apologizing “on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on Native peoples by citizens of the United States.”
The resolution also includes a disclaimer: Nothing in it authorizes or supports any legal claims against the United States, and the resolution does not settle any claims.
Even with the more general language, the apology is historic, but the White House has made no announcements to date about it. Nor has Obama expressed an apology to any tribes or Indian citizens, despite saying on the presidential campaign trail that he thought an apology was warranted.”
” . . . The resolution Obama signed specifically “urges the President to acknowledge the wrongs of the United States against Indian tribes in the history of the United States in order to bring healing to this land.
So, by signing the document as part of the defense spending bill, did Obama fulfill the resolution? Or, does he have an obligation to say the apology out loud and to let tribes know he signed the resolution? . . . .”