From the Indian Law Resource Center:
‘No Thanks’ to Congressional Apology
The Senate has just passed a resolution that apologizes to American Indians and other Native Americans for the wrongs done by citizens of this country. But a genuine apology means you won’t do it again, and this resolution does nothing at all to stop or correct the on-going wrongs that the federal government inflicts on Indian and Alaska Native nations.
Unfortunately our government still takes Indian land without paying for it, still refuses to account for the Indian money it holds, still violates its treaties with Indian nations without making amends, and still maintains a body of policy and law that is so discriminatory and racist that it should have been discarded generations ago.
To make a real apology, Congress needs to stop doing the things that it is apologizing to Indian nations and other Native peoples for. Americans generally do not know that the federal government continues to treat tribes and Alaska Native nations this way, and the evidence is that the public does not support or condone this mistreatment.
It is astonishing to most Americans that the federal government is still taking Indian land and resources – without due process of law and without fair market compensation, sometimes with no compensation at all. Of course, the Constitution says that Congress may not take anyone’s property except with due process of law and with fair
market compensation. But these rules are not applied to most land and resources owned by Indian tribes, and the government takes the land and resources at will. Obviously, this is wrong. Today, the government is trying to drive Western Shoshone Indians off their homelands in Nevada without a semblance of due process and with a payment of about 15 cents per acre. This is gold mining land, but that doesn’t make it alright to take it from its Indian owners. There are other present day cases. A few years ago, Congress confiscated part of the reservation that was shared by the Yurok Nation in California and turned it over to another tribe. Congress gloated at the time that it could do this without paying compensation because of Congress’ so-called “Plenary Power” over Indians and their property.