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Location: Redding, CA, United States

Monday, January 19, 2009

One final entry on the inauguration and transition for President Barack Obama.

I have listened to many newscasts on the transition from President Bush to president Obama in the last several weeks and, particularly today, and cannot help but wonder when will this country see all of America's people: the Native American, Asian American, African American, Mexican American, white American, and all those who chose this country as a place to come to as a refuge from the lands that treated them poorly and did not give them the opportunities that they find here

I'm happy that Barack Obama was elected to be the President of the United States. As has been pointed out all day long, he is the first black American to hold that office, but the thing that strikes me the most is that these commentators and people from all different walks of life: those who work in politics, those who work in the news, those who hold blue-collar and white-collar jobs, hold this election up as being the turning point in American history. The turning point where America recognizes its “minority populations" and has recognized the black American experience as being the benchmark for righting the wrongs of the past 300 years.

All of the wrongs that were pointed out on television today: the murder of innocent children, the beatings, lynching of people whose only crime was being the wrong skin color, the segregation of people from using water fountains, riding on public transportation, being able to vote, were not unfortunately, only perpetrated against the African-American. Those who studied history and those of us whose history is being studied remember that our relatives to, were victims of genocide, of separation from family, sent to boarding schools where our elders, mothers and fathers were beaten for speaking their own language. This is not to diminish in any way the tragedy of the black experience in America, nor is it to diminish the fact that the United States now has a black man as its president. It is only to point out that the American Indian, the first people of this country, are still waiting for a benchmark to be established that shows that we also, have reached a turning point with our relations between our tribes in the United States government.

Today we celebrated the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, another great American hero taken from the people way too soon. His famous "dream speech"has been evoked by many of the speakers today in discussing the election of President Obama, some even going so far as to say that this was the dream of Dr. King. I would hope that the new president combines that dream with his own and then listens to the dreams of those of us who carry the dreams and hopes for the future for our tribal people.

I will watch the inauguration of Barack Obama with a sense of wonder, with a prayer that all things go well for our newly elected president, and with the hope that one day, America will come full circle and correct the wrongs of the past, however many years it will be, and we may all witness a true healing of the land that is now America, when an American Indian is sworn in as president of the United States.

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