Rep. Tom Cole, a Chickasaw Indian, is pushing for an apology from Congress to Native Americans on behalf of the United States for centuries of mistreatment.
Cole offered his proposed apology as an amendment to H.R. 1328, the "Indian Health Care Improvement Act Amendments of 2007." That multi-billion dollar proposal, introduced by Rep. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and 57 other members, has not been scheduled for a vote yet.
I will reprint the entire amendment here because it's a fascinating, and noteworthy, proposal. I will point out that Cole specifically states that nothing in the amendment authorizes reparations to Native Americans from the U.S. government.
This is the full text of Cole's amendment:
TITLE III--MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS
SECTION 1. APOLOGY TO NATIVE PEOPLES OF UNITED STATES.
(a) Findings.--Congress finds that--
(1) the ancestors of today's Native Peoples inhabited the land of the present-day United States since time immemorial and for thousands of years before the arrival of people of European descent;
(2) for millennia, Native Peoples have honored, protected, and stewarded this land we cherish;
(3) Native Peoples are spiritual people with a deep and abiding belief in the Creator, and for millennia Native Peoples have maintained a powerful spiritual connection to this land, as evidenced by their customs and legends;
(4) the arrival of Europeans in North America opened a new chapter in the history of Native Peoples;
(5) while establishment of permanent European settlements in North America did stir conflict with nearby Indian tribes, peaceful and mutually beneficial interactions also took place;
(6) the foundational English settlements in Jamestown, Virginia, and Plymouth, Massachusetts, owed their survival in large measure to the compassion and aid of Native Peoples in the vicinities of the settlements;
(7) in the infancy of the United States, the founders of the Republic expressed their desire for a just relationship with the Indian tribes, as evidenced by the Northwest Ordinance enacted by Congress in 1787, which begins with the phrase, ``The utmost good faith shall always be observed toward the Indians'';
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