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To progress on a path towards social equality and racial justice, we must continue to challenge the dominant and systemic structures that make equivalence an unachievable status for many subgroup populations.

In 1776, the U.S. Declaration of Independence was created declaring that “all men are created equal.” However, there was a clause in the Declaration of Independence referring to Indigenous people as “Indians that are merciless savages.”

Native Americans were “granted” U.S. citizenship in 1924, even though they had self-sustaining governing systems and inhabited this land for hundreds of years, prior to the establishment of the U.S. government by foreign nations.

American Indian warriors have fought and died in World War I on behalf of the United States, even though Indigenous people as a collective whole were not recognized as citizens. Native Americans are also the largest proportion of representation in military services and the Navajo Code Talkers were an essential force to World War II.

Historically, many U.S. policies have contributed to historical trauma within American Indian communities. Therefore, we must continue to challenge the status quo regarding the treatment of all citizens. After all, the highest form of patriotism is to ensure that all individuals experience equality and freedom.

Karla Bird,

Browning

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