From The Atlantic:
The jewels of America’s landscape should belong to America’s original peoples.
Received this intro via email today….
By David Treuer
The national parks—sometimes called “America’s best idea”—were intended to be natural cathedrals, places of worship where visitors could seek spiritual refuge. But the story of their creation is far darker and bloodier than their serene vistas might suggest. The parks were founded on land that once belonged to Native Americans like me, and many were created only after we were forcibly removed by invading armies, or by treaties signed under duress.
Reparations for the losses that Native Americans have endured for centuries must take the shape of land. In my cover story for The Atlantic, I argue that the national parks should be returned to America’s original peoples—that all 85 million acres of federally protected land should be entrusted to a consortium of tribes.
Doing so would be a noble act. Despite America’s many sins, it still has the chance to make amends. Placing the national parks under collective Native control could be part of this reconciliation process, one that would benefit us all. This transfer isn’t just an opportunity for Native people to return to their ancestral lands. It is an opportunity for America to live up to its highest ideals—of dignity, honor, compassion—and to become a more perfect union.