Thursday, March 31, 2005

Onondaga Nation Propagates a Culture of Hatred

In a sympathetic story about the Onondaga Nation's recent land claim against the State of New York, Syracuse Post-Standard columnist Sean Kirst unwittingly reveals the face of naked racial hatred that permeates Onondaga culture and tradition.

Kirst describes the uncertainty felt by Onondaga "tadodaho" Sid Hill when he decided to file the land claim. He wasn't positive that it was the right thing to do. But Hill's uncertainty didn't arise out of concern for how the claim would affect hundreds of thousands of state residents. Hill's uncertainty came from whether or not the resolution of the courts would justify the race hatred taught to Onondaga children.
The danger, he said, lies in what could be lost. Generations of children at Onondaga have grown up with stories of the stolen land, until that tradition intertwines with cultural identity. No one can guess how a court action might turn out, and rejection of the claim would kill whatever hope comes from the old stories, which is the burden Hill will carry to the courthouse today.
If that's too ambiguous for you there's also this:
"You grow up hating white people because of the history," he said.
The Onondagas make the disingenuous claim that they've filed the land claim in order to force the state to clean up polluted areas, especially Onondaga Lake.
What the Onondagas want, he said, is fair negotiations - as well as a "seat at the table" when it comes to regional planning decisions that might detract from air and water quality, or might allow unchecked sprawl to swallow up more woods and farms.
But the Onondaga reservation itself is a polluted environment, and it's gotten that way without any help from non-Indians, as I've pointed out here. Centuries of bile and brooding have given the Onondagas a legacy of hatred and discontent. Onondaga tadodaho Sid Hill is right to have second thoughts about the lawsuit his tribe has filed. But not for the reasons he thinks.