The National Congress of American Indians
TITLE: Requesting the Smithsonian to Create a Space Within the National Museum of the American Indian to establish a National American Indian Holocaust Museum
WHEREAS, we, the members of the National Congress of American Indians of the United States, invoking the divine blessing of the Creator upon our efforts and purposes, in order to preserve for ourselves and our descendants the inherent sovereign rights of our Indian nations, rights secured under Indian treaties and agreements with the United States, and all other rights and benefits to which we are entitled under the laws and Constitution of the United States, to enlighten the public toward a better understanding of the Indian people, to preserve Indian cultural values, and otherwise promote the health, safety and welfare of the Indian people, do hereby establish and submit the following resolution; and
WHEREAS, the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) was established in 1944 and is the oldest and largest national organization of American Indian and Alaska Native tribal governments; and
WHEREAS, the Native peoples of this land are the original inhabitants of what now constitutes the United States, and conservative estimates number the American Indian population at approximately 10 million and in 1500 and reduced to barely 237,000 in 1900; and
WHEREAS, the means of this immense population reduction were caused intentionally or by disease, which was intensified by forced migrations, deprivation of nutrition and neglect after relocation to unfamiliar, barren lands; and
WHEREAS, there are currently 566 federally recognized Indian tribes and many more that were killed into extinction, and the many years of genocide against American Indians is commemorative of an assault on all of humanity; and
WHEREAS, the definition of genocide is the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group, and the definition of holocaust is a mass slaughter of people, especially through genocide; and
WHEREAS, American Indians today, as descendants of these original atrocities have great resilience but still as a group of people suffered from intergenerational trauma and continued hostile climates from the failed aforementioned policies; and
WHEREAS, American Indians were the subject of systemic federal policies that deprived them of land, liberty, livelihood, and life; and
WHEREAS, once an expanding nation found attractive the land occupied by American Indians for centuries, the land was often simply taken, and frequently by force; and
WHEREAS, American Indians, displaced by the taking of the lands of their fathers and mothers, then had their liberties further violated through forced relocation, including the young separated from their families to be sent away for schooling and assimilation; and
WHEREAS, establishing an American Indian Holocaust Memorial Museum would not only illuminate a vital chapter in American history, but would also implore that such a holocaust should never happen again; and
WHEREAS, as life is created in the four elements, which is used to express the vitality of the Native spirit to survive, to create a center for healing from these atrocities; and
WHEREAS, establishing an American Indian Holocaust Memorial Museum would be an important step towards reconciliation and intergenerational healing from these atrocities.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the NCAI hereby requests the Smithsonian to create space for a National American Indian Holocaust Museum to educate the general public about the history of mistreatment and destruction experienced by Native peoples, their cultures, and their languages; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NCAI requests National Museum of the American Indian to make it part of their “Fourth Museum,” the traveling virtual exhibit; and
BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that this resolution shall be the policy of NCAI until it is withdrawn or modified by subsequent resolution.
The foregoing resolution was adopted by the General Assembly at the 2013 Annual Session of the National Congress of American Indians, held at the Cox Business Center from October 13–18, 2013 in Tulsa, Oklahoma with a quorum present.