Indian Country Today raises a question that badly needs asking: Where’s the outrage over New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s crack that New York Gov. David Paterson should “grab a cowboy hat and a shotgun” and go collect cigarette taxes from the Seneca Nation? (See previous post here.)
When New York Mayor Bloomberg asked Gov. Patterson to act like a cowboy to shut down the Seneca tobacco industry, little was heard from mainstream America to condemn such an outrageous statement.
As Indian Country Today’s editorial points out:
The image of the cowboys shooting and killing Indians, defending settlers and moving them off their lands is the stuff of American legend. Indians were the villains of American expansionism and it created Manifest Destiny to justify their elimination. …
Bloomberg’s blindness to our history must not be limited to only him. The rest of America seems not to care very much.
If the mayor had suggested that the Klu Klux Klan be sent in to collect taxes in Seneca territory, there would be outrage. His suggestion for the governor to act like a cowboy is comparable to sending in neo-Nazis to settle the “Jewish problem.”
Shocking as that may sound, this is the image from a Native American perspective.
Maybe someday it’ll be the image from a human perspective. But not, apparently, quite yet.