The Suquamish and S’Klallam Tribes have put out a joint statement denouncing the violence that took place at the nation’s capitol Jan. 6.
“Tribal leaders were saddened by the events that occurred in the nation’s capital on Wednesday. We can’t say we were shocked. President Trump has been empowering white supremacist and anti-democratic sentiments throughout his campaign and his presidency. As Indian people, we know the impacts and dangers of racism, as past federal policies attempted to assimilate us into the ‘American’ mainstream in a vain attempt to erase our presence in this nation and deny us our legal rights,” reads the opening of the statement.
On Jan.6, as Congress convened to confirm the results of the presidential election, a mob of Trump supporters broke into the capitol in an attempt to disrupt the proceedings and possibly do harm to Democrat and Republican leadership. Five people have died due to the violence, including two Capitol Hill police officers.
The statement notes that the nation has rejected the influence of white supremacy.
“Most Americans have now repudiated white supremacism, as we saw in the nationwide Black Lives Matter protests following the killing of George Floyd and in the landslide rejection of Trump’s re-election bid,” reads the statement. “An angry mob should not distract us from the fact that millions of Americans voted for change. With the help of Native peoples, Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris will be inaugurated president and vice president on January 20, and they have already named a Native American woman, Rep. Deb Haaland, to lead the Department of the Interior. White supremacy is a failed belief system, and it will not stand.”
Many of the folks who have been arrested for the attack have been found to have ties to extremist organizations, such as Proud Boys, or follow the QAnon conspiracy theory.
The tribal statement also calls on current and incoming leadership to uphold the values of honesty, fairness and justice, values that tribal leadership hopes to uphold as well.
“Just as we tribal leaders are held accountable to our people’s expectation that we are honest, fair and just, we rely on the President, Congress and the Supreme Court to tell the truth and to uphold the law, including treaties, many of which were signed in the very same U.S. Capitol that was desecrated by the anti-American mob on January 6, 2021,” reads the statement.
By far the most condemning part of the statement calls on leadership to be upfront about our nation’s past when it comes to white supremacy and to remember to hold sacred the our democracy, Constitution, treaties and people.
“This is our history, this is the truth. Stop telling lies to our children. Remember, our Constitution is sacred, our treaties are sacred, our democracy is sacred, and our people are sacred. Let’s start treating them as such,” the statement concludes.