excerpted from: Lindsay Glauner, The Need for
Accountability and Reparation: 1830-1976 the United States Government's
Role in the Promotion, Implementation, and Execution of the Crime of
Genocide Against Native Americans , 51 DePaul Law Review 911-961,
911-917 (Spring 2002)(349 Footnotes)
The opposite of love is not hate; it's indifference.
The opposite of art is not ugliness; it's indifference.
The opposite of faith is not heresy; it's indifference.
The opposite of life is not death; it's indifference.
Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies.
On September 8, 2000, the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)
formally apologized for the agency's participation in the "ethnic
cleansing" of Western tribes. From the forced relocation and
assimilation of the "sauvage" to the white man's way of life
to the forced sterilization of Native Americans, the BIA set out to
"destroy all things Indian." Through the exploration of the
United States' Federal Indian policy, it is evident that this policy
intended to "destroy, in whole or in part," the Native
American population. The extreme disparity in the number of Native
American people living within the United States' borders at the time
Columbus arrived, approximately ten million compared to the approximate
2.4 million Indians and Eskimos alive in the United States today, is but
one factor that illustrates the success of the government's plan of
No longer can we remain indifferent and justify these acts of
genocide committed by the United States government, its agencies, and
its personnel against Native Americans as a result of colonization or
the need to establish a prosperous union. Instead, the United States
government, its agencies, and those involved with carrying out the
measures designed to inflict genocidal acts against the Native American
population must be held in violation of customary international law, as
well as conventional international law, as proscribed in the Convention
on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide
The term "genocide" was coined by Raphael Lemkin in 1944
and was derived from the Greek word genos, which means tribe or race,
and the Latin word cide, which is commonly found in words such as
homicide, infanticide, and fratricide. In his first enunciation of
"genocide," Lemkin defined the term in two different ways: (1)
"the practice of extermination of nations and ethnic groups as
carried out by invaders" and (2) "[the] destruction of the
national pattern of the oppressed group; the other, the imposition of
the national pattern of the oppressor." Currently,
"genocide" is commonly defined as "acts committed with
intent to destroy in whole or in part a national, ethnical, racial or
The crime of "genocide" is recognized as one of the most
heinous international crimes under customary international law. A
practice is proscribed as a crime under customary international law
through the existence of the following: (1) uniformity of state
practice, (2) generality of state practice, and (3) the opinion that
state practice is required by law. Customary international law also
recognizes any crime that is universally condemned by the international
community as a jus cogens international crime, which gives rise to
obligations erga omnes. In accordance with customary international law,
an obligation erga omnes requires a state party to extradite or
prosecute perpetrators of these crimes found within its territory.
Because the international community has universally condemned genocide,
as evidenced in part by the ratification of the Genocide Convention, it
has risen to the level of a jus cogens international crime. As a result,
any individuals, agencies, or states that commit genocide must be held
On December 9, 1948, the United Nations General Assembly approved a
draft of the Genocide Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of
Genocide, and since then 135 states have ratified the Convention,
including the United States. According to the Vienna Convention on the
Laws of Treaties, conventions are binding and enforceable against all
states that have signed and ratified the specific convention. Therefore,
in accordance to Article IV of the Genocide Convention, which requires
all parties to prosecute those charged with genocide, conspiracy to
commit genocide, direct andpublic incitement to commit genocide, attempt
to commit genocide, and complicity in genocide, regardless of their
capacity as a ruler or public official, in a competent tribunal within
the State where the crime took place or in a competent international
tribunal that has proper jurisdiction over the case, any persons or
agencies that commit acts of genocide within the territory of the United
States must be held accountable for their crimes.
Even though the crime of genocide remains universally condemned by
the international community, the United States government, its agencies,
and its personnel have been effectively granted de facto immunity. The
time has come to hold the perpetrators of these acts of genocide
accountable and to formulate a system of reparation for the victims of
these heinous international crimes, in order for the world, as well as
the victims, to realize that justice does prevail in the international
This Comment will address the demise of Native Americans' livelihood,
reproductive rights, and identity at the hands of the United States
government, its agencies, and its personnel. Because the United States
had a direct role in perpetrating genocidal acts against Native
Americans, it must be held accountable for these acts. The international
community must hold these agencies and persons responsible, and an
apology and reparations must be awarded to Native Americans for their
grave losses. While the need for reparations is clear, the method used
to provide these reparations remains at issue.
Part II of this Comment will explore the evolution of the crime of
genocide as proscribed under both customary and conventional
Part II will also address how international law is applied in the
United States, specifically the Convention on the Prevention and
Prohibition of Genocide and customary international law.
Part III will explore the demise of Native Americans at the hands of
the United States.
Part IV will analyze how the United States government, its agencies,
and its personnel committed acts of genocide against Native Americans.
Part V will explore the implications of these acts of genocide on
Native Americans today and the appropriate method of reparation.
In conclusion, Part VI will address the role of truth and justice in
aiding the victims' healing process.
*As a Native American and being of twenty-five percent Native
American blood, the stories of my ancestors inspired me to research the
atrocities committed by the United States Government, its agencies, and
its personnel against western Native Americans.