Reparations, Landback, and Reconciliation – A Path Forward

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A letter to the Editors of Little Red Letter:

As we think about how to bring justice, liberation and decolonialization to our state and nation there are several things that are foremost in my mind. This is a nation of people, citizens and immigrants who, for the health of our souls, the consistency of our intellect and the quality of life for our descendants will need to all be treated with dignity, fairness, and respect.

The wealth of this nation has been built on the labor of enslaved citizens, on the resources derived from land stolen through genocide and repression, and on the exploitation of immigrants. Only through honest understanding of both the greatness and the sins that got our country to where it is today can we move into the future together as a free people.

White supremacy is the leading ideology of America. It’s the reason that police kill black men and women, the reason that our education system is failing, the reason that the pandemic killed a much higher proportion of people of color than white people, and the reason for extreme racial wealth disparities. 

When people respond to the charges that we are teaching Critical Race Theory with denials, with facts that we aren’t, I cringe.  For although this is true, it is also wrong.  We need more education about the accurate history of America, more understanding of the reality of America, and a free and open debate about what path to take on the future.  

The US can take the lead in sharing wealth and power.  We must move away from the elite protections of privilege, of influence, and of resources.  

The form that reparations take can be varied, but I envision free quality lifelong education, real availability of healthcare, housing, transportation to all. Credit card interest should be capped at 5% and all student loans should be eliminated.   All Federal land should be returned to the management of Native Nations, and then the discussion of other land can begin.  This is a wealthy country, the problem is that the wealth is in the hands of the few, not the people who make this country great.

If we are to save this planet, if we are to ensure the blessings of posterity for our children, then we need to be visionary, be courageous.  We have done it before.

By Dave T.