Vox Populi: A Public Sphere for Politics and Poetry
What a sight. The extraordinary coming together of Natives and veterans at Standing Rock culminated with a deeply moving forgiveness ceremony where vets sought atonement for U.S. military aggression against Natives. “We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke,” said Wes Clark Jr., who took a knee at the head of other supplicant vets. “We’ve come to say that we are sorry.” From one observer, “This is how healing begins.” Many of the vets will reportedly now move on to Flint, where vital water is likewise threatened and “people are suffering.”
“Many of us, me particularly, are from the units that have hurt you over the many years. We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faces of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. When we took still more land and then we took your children and then we tried to make your language and we tried to eliminate your language that God gave you, and the Creator gave you. We didn’t respect you, we polluted your Earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness.”
Text by Abby Zimet. First published in Common Dreams.
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Vet Tatiana McLee hugs Sioux Water Protector