What happened in a ceremony last week may have been too little, too late but it was nonetheless an unexpected, yet a very welcome moment of healing at the Lakota Sioux Standing Rock Reservation.
Dozens of US military veterans officially traveled there and asked Native elders for forgiveness, for genocide, stolen land and endless broken treaties, on behalf of the US Military with the Lakota Nation, from the the 19th century to the present. Quoting Wes Clarke, Jr., the son of former Presidential Candidate, US Army General Wesley K. Clark:
“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… 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.” As sang the King of Soul, Sam Cooke in the early 1960s: “It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.”
Let us ensure that this vital moment does not simply fade away, as another broken promise to our Native American brothers and sisters.