I was deeply saddened and disturbed by the article on the genocide of Native people in California ("An American Genocide," Oct. 27). Not surprised as the genocidal policy against Native Americans in this country is no secret. Reading the details was sickening and certainly the irony that we are witnessing the same kind of deceitful and murderous policy regarding the Dakota Access Pipeline is not lost. So, reparations come to mind and my first suggestion is to give California back to the Native nations here. It's the least we can do and we all might be better off.
I was heartened by Elizabeth Smith's excellent column ("A Bridge to Openness, Candor and Healing," Oct. 13) regarding the movement toward real dialogue and connection that is happening in Humboldt County as of late regarding issues of racism, inequality, white privilege and police relations with the community. We have an opportunity now to face up to the persistent racism in our county and country and create movement toward healing and real change.
It's clear that since the U.S. was founded on repression, slavery and genocide, we still have a lot to do to heal those deep wounds and inequities. Let's avail ourselves of this opportunity to do so now.
Lynn Kerman, Eureka
I am pleased with Jerry Rhode's article ("An American Genocide," Oct. 27) because it doesn't mince words or avoid the unpleasant and murderous interactions between white people and Indians. Painful as it may be for white people to admit, our relationships with the people who were in North America first have been murderous and acquisitive almost 100 percent of the time.
Months ago the North Coast Journal published a different article by a different author that characterized the white people's actions against the local Indians as being "thoughtless" ("Murder in Arcata," Oct. 8, 2015). That one word stuck in my craw as I knew from history that white actions with Indians were rarely thoughtless. The words that spring to my mind are murderous, malicious, hateful, acquisitive, genocidal, dishonest, etc. Rarely were the Indians treated with respect, dignity, honesty and thoughtfulness.
Thank you for publishing a realistic though painful article about our white-Indian relationships.
Kathleen Kelcey, McKinleyville
As we learn from Mr. Rohde's crisp summary, the American genocide in Humboldt matched the Nazis in efficiency: both took only about seven years! But no wonder: The Founding Fathers, led by Jefferson, had already set the pattern of duplicity, on the one hand promising respect and embracing the Iroquois system of representative democracy in the U.S. Constitution, but simultaneously murdering, deracinating and tricking the tribes into extinction.
This same schizophrenic deceit stamps our national character today, if anything, more brazenly: Under the banner of human rights and freedom, we destroy country after country, with something like the signature chortle of Hilary Clinton over the mutilated corpse of the pan-African Nationalist Mouamar Khaddafi: "We came, We saw, he died!"
Though we borrowed from Iroquois civics we did not let the tribes live long enough to understand an even more important part of their living philosophy: reverence and respect for Mother Earth. A Klamath Indian, Chenawah Weichawah, alias Lucy Thompson, describes in her book To the American Indian some of the world she grew up in before it was destroyed: intimate knowledge of life forms and their values for humans, awareness of maintaining life's delicate balance through thoughtfulness and ceremony. An illustration of this I always remember: rattlesnakes guarded her grandmother's house when the family went away, then slithered back in their holes when it returned.
These beliefs, although long-buried under poverty and humiliation, are not dead. In fact, the indigenous presidents elected this century in Bolivia and Ecuador have inserted the Rights of Mother Earth in their constitutions, and have brought them to the United Nations for consideration.
However, the American Genocide may be our undoing. Though climate change is upon us with a fury, Standing Rock is looking more and more like another Wounded Knee.
Ellen Taylor, Petrolia
The Indian massacre legacy remains present here. The blood of women and children still flow. It is a fact, Humboldt has a very high rate of reported child abuse cases, almost twice the state's average (2015, Cssr.berkely.edu).
How many of us have seen the aftermath of sexual exploitation, chaffing and blood on privates, unexplained sexual acting out, of our children? How many of us have gone to law enforcement only to be told we are making false allegations? How many of us have spoken through the DA's security glass, only to be redirected back to law enforcement?
There is no statute of limitation for child sexual abuse and sexual assault. When was the last time a child sexual predator was charged and convicted? How many of us are turning a blind eye?
Alyssa Farmer, Eureka