Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

March 15, 2023

American Indian Genocide Museum in Austin

American Indian Genocide Museum at South by Southwest, SXSW, Conference Expo in Austin, Texas

By Steve Melendez President/ Co-Founder
American Indian Genocide Museum

We are here today at the SXSW Conference and Expo here in Austin, Texas telling our story because we know if we don't, no one else will. We are here today to bring awareness that past injustices are still being experienced today. We are here today to bring awareness that the racism of the past is still the cornerstone of American laws. Gone perhaps are the scalp bounties paid for Indian men, women, and children but, on the other hand, not one treaty has ever been honored.

Sanitizing history was at the heart of residential boarding schools. The brainwashing that was encompassed in the motto, "kill the Indian, save the man," ripped the children from the arms of their mothers, killed the pride self-esteem, and the very spirit of an entire generation of our people.

Traumatized, the young were taught that everything about them was wrong -- their long hair, clothing, language, their very existence was wrong. The boarding school tactic was meant to erase all memory of past wrongs done to their parents through traumatic childhood indoctrination.

Gone also from Texas history are the words of Stephen F. Austin, " These Indians and the Karanquas may be called the universal enemies to man ... they killed all the nations that came into their power, and frequently feast on the bodies of their victims --- the approach of an American population will be the signal of their extermination for there will be no way of subduing them but for extermination."

The Houston Archeological Society dug up the Midden mounds (Ancient trash piles) of the Karanawka and concluded, " There is no evidence that the Karanawka who lived along the Texas coast were cannibals"

W.W. Newcomb in his book, 'The Indians of Texas', said, "Some of the atrocities attributed to these Indians are undoubtedly rationalizations ... It is much easier to slaughter men and appropriate their land if you can convince yourself that they are despicable, inferior, barely human creatures."

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