Communist Party USA

  Over the years there has been an ever-growing Native American movement to reclaim land stolen over the centuries. This struggle has been ongoing for decades but has picked up speed with successes over the past few years. Some of the recent history of this movement is in order. The LandBack movement was officially begun in 2018 by Aaron Tailfeathers, a member of the Kainai Tribe of the Blackfeet Confederacy of Canada. LandBack rapidly became a hashtag on clothes, beadwork, and other art. In 2020 in response to protests at Mount Rushmore the Indigenous organization NDN Collective drafted the LandBack Manifesto entitled: “The Reclamation of Everything Stolen from the Original Peoples.” The LandBack campaign was officially launched on Indigenous Peoples’ Day in 2020. The Manifesto covers land, language, ceremony, food, education, health, governance, medicine, and kinship. But the basic LandBack issue is simple: “Give us the land back.” For many and perhaps most of the Indigenous, getting the land back is first one of economics, as the stronger an Indigenous nation is economically, the stronger it is in all other aspects of its existence: working at well-paying jobs, maintaining language and tradition, being able to hunt, engaging in farming, accessing clean water, building schools and adequate, sustainable housing, strengthening sovereignty, and expanding jurisdiction. All the above are also morale and spiritual builders. So far, campaigns have been directed at public lands, including national parks and, where feasible, private lands. These objectives have not sought the vacating of anyone’s home. But again, first it is about getting Indigenous lands back into Indigenous hands while working on all the other issues. There are so many facets to this struggle. This fight is not new but one that has been dreamed about and pursued in various ways for centuries, indeed since colonial times. The difference now is that more attention is coming from non-Native society. Indigenous activists are seizing the time to increase and strengthen demands. Also, LandBack campaigns are taking place not just in the U.S. but in Canada and in the Mapuche struggle in Chile. The objective is decolonization of the land There are specific, striking examples of lands heading in the direction of decolonization and being placed under Tribal jurisdiction. Each tribal landback issue is unique. But each Indigenous nation’s fight is part and parcel of a broader struggle by Native people across North America and beyond. The following examples illustrate the complexity, diversity, and similarity of these struggles. Again, these quests are directed mainly at federally held land. In 2015 the Mashpee Wampanoag reclaimed 300 acres of ancestral land after decades of efforts. The acreage was placed in federal trust status, which meant that the land could not be taken away without federal approval. This gave the tribe sovereignty over the land, enabling it to build housing and a school and have a tribal police force on the land. Subsequently, in a shocking about-face, the federal government under Trump reversed this decision and the land’s ownership was in legal limbo. But, on December 22, 2021, the Biden Interior Department under Deb Haaland reversed the Trumpite decision and reinstated the Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation. A great victory for Native America! In 2019 the United Methodist Church returned ancestral land in Upper Sandusky, Ohio, to the Wyandotte Nation of Oklahoma. The Wyandotte Indian Mission had been established there in the early 1800s by an African American Methodist missionary, John Stewart. In 1819 the federal government had promised by treaty the Wyandotte Nation 148,000 acres in Kansas. But when the Wyandotte arrived in Kansas, there was no land available. In 2020 the Haudenosaunee…

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LandBack is leading to real victories