Vice President Kamala Harris denigrated European explorers who discovered the Americas during a speech Tuesday at the 78th annual convention of the National Congress of American Indians.
“Since 1934, every October, the United States has recognized the journey of European explorers who first landed on the coasts of the Americas,” said Harris. “But that’s not the whole story. That was never the whole story.
“These explorers ushered in a wave of devastation for tribal nations – committing acts of violence, stealing land and spreading disease,” she continued. “We must not shy away from this shameful past, and we must bring it to light and do all we can to lessen the impact of the past on Indigenous communities today.
Harris also claimed that the president BidenThe Build Back Better program will have “a significant impact on the Indian country”.
After citing statistics on missing Native American women and girls and asserting that Native American voting rights were stripped, Harris said, “Native Americans are more likely to live in poverty, to be unemployed and often have to. difficulty in obtaining quality health care and affordable housing. “
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“This persistent inequity, this persistent injustice is not fair. And the pandemic has only made things worse, ”she added.
Harris said Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion infrastructure bill would help with many of the problems Native Americans face.
“This bill represents the biggest infrastructure investment our country has made since before World War II and presents, at this time, an important opportunity to strengthen the Indian country,” she said.
On Monday, Biden became the First president to mark the second Monday in October as Indigenous Peoples Day with a presidential proclamation.
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“For generations, federal policies have systematically sought to assimilate and displace Indigenous peoples and eradicate Indigenous cultures,” Biden wrote. “Today we recognize the resilience and strength of Indigenous peoples and the immeasurable positive impact they have had on all aspects of American society. “