The parallels to the plight of the Palestinian people and Native Americans have been drawn by many. Speaking in San Francisco, Tony Gonzales of the American Indian Movement (AIM), ”with a common legacy of bantustans (homelands) – Indian reservations and encircled Palestinian territories – Native Americans understand well the situation of Palestinians.”
Gyasi Ross, writing “Why I, As A Native American, Support The Palestinian People,” explains the following:
As a Native person of this country, I’ve come to the conclusion that I must support the Palestinian people and the pursuit of an autonomous Palestinian state.Although many view both Native Americans and Palestinians as “indigenous and displaced people,” this is not the reason that I feel a sense of kinship with Palestinians.Instead, this fraternal feeling for my brothers and sisters in Gaza and on the West Bank is due to a much more basic and primal feeling of fear: the realization that what befalls one oppressed group inevitably befalls others.Indigenous people, as well as other oppressed groups worldwide, regardless of race or religion, have a vested interest in learning from the genocidal atrocities that the U.S. government initiated on Native Americans. Every person who strives for humanity also has a strong interest in preventing those same atrocities from occurring in another place at another time to another group of people — in this particular situation, to the Palestinians.Palestinians, like Natives, are captives in their own lands. They, too, have no place to go, no geographical recourse. Lebanon, Syria and Egypt have all shown their callousness to Palestinian people and have used them like human chess pieces against Israel.Short on options, Palestinians, like Natives, have no choice but to continue to be a thorn in the side of the oftentimes apathetic and oppressive governments that have come to power by whatever means available.
Native American peace activists are becoming an increasingly visible presence at protests against the War in Gaza. For many, Ross’s words sum up the motivation and reasons for support.
(Article by Mike Ahnigilahi)