On this day in 1987, President Ronald Reagan gave his famous “Tear Down this Wall” speech in Berlin. Although Reagan was addressing the Communist bloc, it’s worth noting that this Republican president publicly challenged the idea of using walls to separate or isolate people, stating, “The wall cannot withstand freedom.” Use this anniversary to talk about the needs of U.S.-Mexico border communities and how wall rhetoric and militarization threatens safety and freedom for the millions who call the region home or arrive seeking protection. Cite the values of opportunity, safety, and community.
Tag: indigenous rights
Arrest of Queen Lili`uokalani
On this day in 1893, U.S. Marines overthrew the independent indigenous kingdom of Hawai`i and subsequently arrested Queen Lili`uokalani. American business leaders and the children of missionaries wanted the islands to be annexed by the United States. Pres. William McKinley authorized the annexation five years later. It’s important to discuss this anniversary as part of the United States’ larger history of violating Indigenous peoples’ rights. Cite the values of Voice, Economic Security, and Community.
American Indian Movement at Wounded Knee
On Feb. 27, 1973, members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) began their occupation of Wounded Knee, the site of the 1890 massacre in South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. The occupation lasted 71 days and called attention to living conditions and mistreatment from federal and local agencies. Use this anniversary to talk about the values of opportunity and voice for Native American communities.
State of Indian Nations
Each year, the president of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) presents the State of Indian Nations around the same time as the U.S. president’s State of the Union. To facilitate direct engagement, a member of Congress is also invited each year to deliver a congressional response.
Today is Super Bowl Sunday in Glendale, AZ. While the big game is best known for entertaining commercials and snack spreads, the media event surrounding it has also created opportunities for cultural strategies, from Beyoncé’s iconic halftime show to activism for NFL teams to drop offensive and disparaging Native American mascots. Cite the values of voice and equity.
The Longest Walk
On this day in 1978, Native American activists launched The Longest Walk, a 3,200-mile spiritual walk across the country to support tribal sovereignty and challenge anti-Indian legislation that limited water rights. Today, supporting indigenous-led campaigns to protect water rights and ancestral lands remains urgent. When discussing this anniversary, cite the values of voice and opportunity.
On this day in 1887, U.S. President Grover Cleveland signed the Dawes Act into law, imposing private land ownership on American Indians. This was intended to break up tribes as communal units and threaten tribal sovereignty. Use this anniversary to advocate for racial and economic justice for Native Americans. Cite the values of voice and opportunity.
Trail of Tears
On this day in 1839, the Cherokee people reached the end of the “Trail of Tears,” a forced death march from their ancestral home in the Smoky Mountains to the Oklahoma Territory.
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Discuss racial justice by citing the values of voice, equity, and community.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was born on this day in 1933. Before becoming the second woman on the Supreme Court, the late Justice had a long legal career as an advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. As a cultural icon, her impact transcended courts. When discussing her legacy, it’s also important to note her mixed judicial record on issues of race and criminal justice, with particularly damaging decisions for indigenous rights. Cite the values of economic opportunity and voice.