Culture Wars/Current Controversies

Our people were always armed

From Lingit Latseen
by Vince Rinehart

Armed members of the American Indian Movement during the 1973 siege at Wounded Knee.

Gun control is not for Native people. It is for people who can’t or won’t take on the sacred duty to protect their families, their people, their lands and their way of life. When I was 13 I attended a gathering of the tribe’s warriors with my grandfather. All able bodied men reported to the center of the village with their weapons to be inspected by the War Chief to assess the ability of the tribe to protect itself. No Native person should support expansion of power for the US to take away, ban or regulate the sale or possession of firearms by Native people. They don’t want us to be able to protect ourselves anymore. They say that they will take care of that. But we know better. Tribes have long memories.

I think one of the most outrageous myths perpetrated even by indigenous peoples today is that indigenous peoples have been or should be pacifists.

The idea that in the 21st century or in today’s society that we don’t have the right to defend our people, our lands, our way of life; is a colonial lie.

It’s good that we’re angry, it’s good and it’s right,
Because so many of our women have been raped in the night,

Never again will we run, from any outside threat. Our ancestors were always armed, our ancestors would defend our people, would defend our land, would defend our way of life….

-Savage Fam in their song, Autumn

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