Best 21 of Robert A. Williams quotes - MyQuotes

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Robert A. Williams
By Anonym 15 Sep

Robert A. Williams

Today what we see is tribes moving into the 21st century and facing real 21st century problems of globalization, of multi-national, national resource development, of jobs, tribes have elected leaderships. They're elected to do a lot of things.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Robert A. Williams

One of the prime backers of land bill was a Republican Congressman, a Paul Gosar. And when he was challenged by an Apache on this bill, he said, well, you know, Indians are wards of the federal government. This happened recently.That congressperson is obviously stuck in the 19th century when he thinks about Indians. How is that person going to legislate and treat Indians fairly and respect their rights when he has this sort of infantilized image of Indians as not being, you know, up to the same level of responsibility as everybody else?

By Anonym 13 Sep

Robert A. Williams

In fact, George Washington had been an Indian fighter since the French and Indian War. And a lot of folks, particularly in the red states, the Southern states that had suffered a number of Indian depredations wanted to remove all the Indians to Canada. Let them go with the English. And Washington said, well, you can try , but better, he said, more expedient to negotiate treaties with them because, and again this is what the founders believed to a man, Indians are a vanquished race. They won't be here two to three generations.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Robert A. Williams

Case of Johnson v. M'Intosh is continued to be cited today by the Supreme Court. Even Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the most liberal member of the court, in footnote one of opinion she wrote several years ago involving the Oneida Nation cites the Doctrine of Discovery. The court never questions it.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Robert A. Williams

Many of the situations that we've talked about whether it's the San Carlos, whether it's the Navajo fighting for their land rights or fighting to develop their land to try and provide decent jobs on the reservation. The backdrop to all that, the reason that we have those battles is that history of dispossession. The story isn't over for American-Indians. ... You know, how could any tribal member think about giving away something that means so much to the tribe?

By Anonym 13 Sep

Robert A. Williams

Congress passed the 1887 General Allotment Act. And that act ended up dispossessing tribes of 90 million acres. That history of dispossession was also accompanied by a history of forced assimilation whether it was in residential schools, whether it was in dismantling traditional tribal governance structures. And the justifications for that is that you're not as good as us. Our systems are better. Our modes of education. Our ways of owning land, our ways of working have been continually cited to Indians as the reason for these government policies.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Robert A. Williams

The case of Johnson v. M'Intosh is exactly why Congress can pass legislation as it did with the Rio Tinto land mine deal because Congress took the land from the tribes, ignores their sacred connections to it, their cultural connections and does whatever it wants with it. Congress terminated tribal status for more than 100 tribes. Basically said, you're not a tribe anymore and we're not going to pay attention to the treaties. The Supreme Court has held that when Congress breaches a treaty with an Indian tribe it's not judicially reviewable. It's called a political question.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Robert A. Williams

If you're an Indian, you could be very anxious about some of the Supreme Court's decisions, some of the decisions of policy makers, so maybe a little bit of irony there. But I think our "Savage Anxieties," when I titled the book, I really wanted to focus people on the challenge that tribes in this country, as well as indigenous peoples around the world, are confronting Western civilization with.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robert A. Williams

Until we start attacking the root of the historical problems of discrimination against Indians, and those Indians begin in these stereotypes, that Indians are less civilized than us, they're less able to exercise self-governing functions. Until we get to the roots of those problems, we're not going to change legislation. We're not going to change the hearts and minds of the Supreme Court.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Robert A. Williams

That Indians are lawless people, I would change that because it's probably the most harmful stereotype.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robert A. Williams

When Europeans came to the New World the first thing they said is, well, Indians don't appreciate property. They're savage. They're backwards. They're uncivilized. ... Nothing could be farther from the truth. Tribes have very clear conceptions of their traditional boundaries, they maintain their rights and their claim sovereignty over the lands according to their own honored traditions and tribal elders. And so, you can go out there on the reservation, and there might be a reservation boundary established by the United States. But then there's traditional land boundaries.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robert A. Williams

Western civilization has been at war with tribalism for 3,000 years. And that war was brought to the New World by the English colonists. A very early point in American law Chief Justice John Marshall is asked to decide the status of Indian tribes. And what he does. He calls them savages who lack the same rights as the white people who came over here, the Europeans, and colonized their land under this, what many Americans might regard as an obscure legal doctrine called the Doctrine of Discovery. But it is still the most important doctrine in American constitutional law.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robert A. Williams

What John Marshall says is that right of occupancy can be taken away by purchase, conquest or any other means. So the reason that this case Johnson v. M'Intosh is so important is it really sets the foundation for this radical approach to understanding the basic human rights of Indian people to hold and control the lands that they occupy. It gives the US government the right to relocate, it stands at the bottom of the ethnic cleansing campaigns, for example, in the removal era.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robert A. Williams

US law and international human rights law have radically diverged in the past years in terms of the recognition of indigenous people's rights. International human rights law now looks at not whether or not the tribes have formal ownership or legal title in a Western legal conception might have it, but rather they look at the tribe's historical connection to that land.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robert A. Williams

What I tried to show is that this idea of this fundamental conflict between savagery and civilization goes back to the very beginnings of Western history. I go back to the Greeks, I go back to the Romans. You can read Homer. And of course Homer has his great heroes involved in this myth, this wonderful mythic contest with savage tribal peoples, half-human monsters on distant parts of the world.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robert A. Williams

What this ideology, what this myth about savagery did was really excuse America for the disappearance of the Indian. It wasn't our fault. They were just an inferior race. And so John Marshall adopts that. And the tragedy and the present-day circumstances of that decision are that those racial attitudes are so deeply embedded in these foundational principles of American Indian law.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Robert A. Williams

One was a horrible case called Oliphant v. Suquamish Indian Tribe which denied tribes the right to criminally prosecute non-Indians who commit crimes on their reservations. That decision has had horrible consequences for law enforcement on Indian reservations. But in that opinion Justice William Rehnquist cites language from the 1830s to explain why whites didn't trust tribes to exercise criminal jurisdiction. They were savages.

By Anonym 15 Sep

Robert A. Williams

The Navajo, for example, regard their traditional lands as within the four sacred peaks. One of those sacred peaks is the San Francisco Peaks where the ski resort, one of the holiest, sacred mountains in Navajo cosmology. I mean, it's considered a horrible desecration. I mean, you know, put it into another cultural context and you wouldn't be able to think of that being, with any other racial group. But for Indians because, you know, we think they really don't care about land or they have primitive ideas or they don't have ownership, we completely disrespect that.

By Anonym 13 Sep

Robert A. Williams

African-Americans were dispossessed of the land by being brought over here in slave ships, whereas Indians were on the land and fought literally wars against Europeans for control of that land. And that history of dispossession, you know, if you look at the treaties, it's very interesting. Everyone thinks that Indians were ripped off in their treaties. If you look at the first round of treaties from about 1800 to the Civil War, tribes secured over 150 million acres. I think it may have been 144 million acres in those treaties. That's a large amount of real estate.

By Anonym 14 Sep

Robert A. Williams

Savagery was a word that Westerners used to, again, to consciously differentiate them from non-Westerners, to assert that superiority, that cultural superiority. It goes back to the British Empire, and again, you know, what was the purpose of the British Empire? To bring civilization to the savage no matter where they were, whether it was India or Asia or Australia or whatever. It's that civilizing mission that characterizes so much of the history of Western colonialism.