Idle No More: Off The Reservation

Far too often, non-Indigenous peoples say Indigenous peoples need to get over the claim that white people reference and frame Indigenous life and lifestyles in negative ways.  The problem is that it’s a fact that white people reference and frame Indigenous life and lifestyles in negative ways.

For those of you who doubt it, how do you explain away Hillary Clinton’s recent comments while campaigning?  Don’t take my interpretation as gospel.  Take a look at how CNN reported her comments.

Reported by CNN_IMAGE 1
Hillary clarified her comments about men “off the reservation” by stating that she wasn’t going to “deal with [men’s] temper tantrums or their bullying or their efforts to try to provoke [her].”

If you aren’t familiar with this common phrase, you should know that it’s a reference to the Indigenous peoples of North America who were restricted to reservations created by the Canadian government (in Canada) and the American government (in the U.S.).

In the 1800s, when the term “off the reservation” was used, it was with contempt and hatred for Indigenous peoples who refused to stay on the government-created reservations. In fact, it was believed that an Indigenous person who wasn’t “on the reservation” was out to wage war on Americans.

“The acting commissioner of Indian affairs to-day received a telegram from Agent Roorke of the Klamath (Oregon) agency, dated July 6, in which he says: ‘No Indians are off the reservation without authority. All my Indians are loyal and peaceable, and doing well.” (Baltimore Sun, July 11, 1878)

Yes, if Indigenous peoples were “off the reservation” they were supposedly hellbent on putting white people in peril for their lives.  Those who were “off the reservation” were allegedly rogue Indians who were the scourge of the continent.

It’s bad enough when the media uses the term, and it’s bad enough when everyday people use the term, but when someone hoping to win the Presidential nomination for their party uses the term, it’s time start asking what kind of President would that person make if elected into power.

American voters, before throwing your support behind one candidate or another, ask yourself if the candidates who use racial slurs are the kind of candidate you would like to see representing your country.  If the answer is “No” then it’s time to start paying attention to what candidates are saying, and peek underneath those comments to see what’s hiding within their agenda.

Elyse Bruce

SUGGESTED READING

CLINTON: EXPERIENCE WITH MEN ‘OFF THE RESERVATION’
http://www.4029tv.com/politics/clinton-experience-with-men-off-the-reservation/39283900

CLINTON:  I’M VERY EXPERIENCED WITH MEN WHO GO ‘OFF THE RESERVATION’
http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-dem-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/04/hillary-clinton-men-reservation-222645

HILLARY CLINTON: I HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH MEN ‘OFF THE RESERVATION’ LIKE DONALD TRUMP
http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/29/politics/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-off-the-reservation/

HILLARY CLINTON:  I HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH MEN ‘OFF THE RESERVATION’ LIKE DONALD TRUMP
http://www.kitv.com/story/31850620/hillary-clinton-i-have-experience-with-men-off-the-reservation-like-donald-trump

SHOULD SAYING SOMEONE IS ‘OFF THE RESERVE’ BE OFF LIMITS?
http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2014/06/29/326690947/should-saying-someone-is-off-the-reservation-be-off-limits

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