Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights 2020

Friday, January 16, 2009

Apartheid Borders: Palestine and Indian Country

By Brenda Norrell
Censored News
Photo of California border wall by Jay Johnson Castro, Jr.

Julia Good Fox, Pawnee, describes the parallels between the ongoing genocide in Palestine, carried out by Israel with US support, and the genocide of Native Americans by the colonizers of the US. Good Fox describes the theft of land by the invaders, human rights abuses and complicit media. Margo Tamez, Lipan Apache, describes the onslaught of Homeland Security at the Texas border as another Apartheid Border Wall is under construction, during the broadcast on Censored Blog Talk Radio.
Good Fox, professor at Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas, spent two weeks in Israel and Palestine as a member of the Third World Delegation, which was joined by a Quaker delegation. In this segment, rebroadcast with permission from American Indian Airwaves, Good Fox describes her first reality in Israel and the militarization of the region, with young armed soldiers a constant presence.
Good Fox was a member of the Third World Delegation, which she describes as a delegation of color. She said people of color received different treatment from the soldiers. "Our group was often singled out."
During the fact-finding mission, Good Fox was present at the Apartheid Wall, where every Friday, Palestinians protest. "We were tear-gassed," Good Fox said. Although there were European politicians present with her, the group was shot at with metal rubber-tipped bullets.
While there, Good Fox remembered her own Native American ancestors and what they experienced at the hands of the soldiers. She listened to the stories of the Palestinians who were forced from their villages and farmlands by Israel. In a wave of memory, she realizes that this is what happened to her own Native American ancestors. She realized what they would have felt when they were forced to leave their homes for the last time.
"We saw the similarities when we were in Palestine."
Good Fox said in the ongoing invasion of Palestine, she feels outrage "that Israel, with United States sponsorship, is allowed to get away with this."
The one-sided media in the United States is also responsible, she said.
While in Palestine, she watched as people were taking care of their parents, going to school and trying to live normal lives. They were defenseless against Israel, she said.
"It is the largest prison in the world. The people are just sitting ducks for this big show of military might."
While meeting with people forced to evacuate their villages, she listened to the stories of farmers and villagers now barred from their village by a fence. Where they once farmed, Israelis now picked fruits. In another community, she describes the destruction of a Palestinian village, in ruins now, where Israelis swim.
"It was the only time I broke down and cried." Walking on that trail, she remembered her own Native American ancestors as they were forced out of their villages and took one last look.
Good Fox describes the human rights violations being committed by Israel with support from the United States, including the murder of women and children, high fatalities, incarcerations and destruction of property. There is also a great deal of environmental damage.
Of Palestine and Indian Country, she said there are striking similarities of abuse. It centers on land theft. The shrinkage of Palestinian controlled land follows the pattern of the US seizure of American Indian lands. There is another similarity as well. Palestinians are discouraged from speaking Arabic in public, as Native Americans have long been forced to stop speaking their own languages.
Families have also been separated by the Apartheid Wall cutting through their own territories, in the same manner that the US/Mexico Apartheid Wall is now slicing through the Indigenous communities along the US/Mexico border, including the homelands of the Tohono O'odham. Both Apartheid Walls, in Palestine and the US, now violate Indigenous patterns of migrations.
Referring to Elbit Systems in Israel, she points out that the same corporation constructing the Apartheid Wall in Israel now has a contract for construction of the US/Mexico Border Wall.
Good Fox points out the media coverage of Palestinians has failed to report the struggle for self-determination and sovereignty. In a similar manner, the media has also been unsympathetic to Native Americans' struggle for self-determination. Another parallel between Palestine and Indian Country are the "unrecognized villages," in northern Palestine. In the same manner, some Indian Nations in the US remain unrecognized by the US government.
There are similarities as well between the US Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). In Palestine, she said common men and women distrust the PNA and said it is not serving the best interest of the Palestinians.
In Palestine, she said people wake up one day and there is a bulldozer at the door. Homes are being demolished and the homes are all gone within a week.
Good Fox hopes now, following the fact finding mission, there will be an exchange of information about cultures, with Native Americans sharing their own experiences with the ongoing colonization.
But it is clear that what is happening in Palestine is genocide, she said.
Good Fox also describes how the colonization continues in the United States, with American Indian children forced to say the Pledge of Allegiance to the US in schools. In Oklahoma, there is a movement by SPIRIT, which opposes elementary schools that compel Indian children to dress up like the pioneers who stole Native American lands. Meanwhile, in the US, schools continue to promote a curriculum of genocide and colonization.
Good Fox points out that Native Americans are taught to identify with the US and military. At the same time, many Native Americans know little of their own treaties and cultures.
"That is a form of genocide."
Although the United Nations has issued documents recognizing the rights of Palestinians, there has been no enforcement.
Good Fox encourages those who want to understand the parallels between the genocide in Palestine and Indian Country, to undertake research, become involved in human rights, read literature and become informed from sources outside the mainstream press. There are also internships and opportunities to volunteer in Palestine. Further, Native Americans can have dialogues with their own tribal councils and share facts.
In closing, Good Fox points out that the millions of dollars that the US is sending to fund Israel's military could be used at the university where she is a professor, Haskell Indian Nations University, and other schools. It could also be used to fund the Indian Health Service.
Pointing out the high rate of Native Americans joining the US military, she asked, "Why are we supporting the US military?"
In the next segment of the Censored Blog Talk Radio program, Margo Tamez speaks on the Texas border wall under construction and Homeland Security, rebroadcast with permission from Kehaulani Kauanui's radio show, Indigenous Politics. Tamez describes Homeland Security's attempts to seize her family's land in south Texas and how Lipan Apache women have risen up to fight the US oppression. The complete Tamez interview can be heard at
American Indian Airwaves is produced by Coyote Radio, with hosts Corey Dubin, Marcus V. Lopez, and Larry Smith.
Listen to Julia Good Fox and Margo Tamez on Censored Blog Talk Radio at:

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