Brett A. Chapman Profile picture
Native American attorney continuing the legacy of my relative Standing Bear who was the first Native American to win civil rights in the United States
4 May
I wrote Harvard a letter demanding they return my Ponca ancestor Standing Bear’s tomahawk. No answer. Today, my story airs on Boston NPR’s All Things Considered and I just got confirmation a resolution for repatriation will be introduced in Nebraska Legislature. They will hear me
And I want to give credit to Sen. Tom Brewer of the Nebraska Legislature with whom I am working on the resolution. He is an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe and the first Native American ever elected to the state legislature in Nebraska. Very grateful and appreciative!
My ancestor himself said the tomahawk was an “heirloom” that “came down to him from former generations of Poncas” when he he presented it to his lawyer who helped him win his freedom in 1879. It was given to Harvard without his knowledge. This heirloom belongs solely to us Ponca!
Read 7 tweets
4 May
When everyone rushed to declare Santorum’s white supremacy and racism, I declared a failure to link his comments to the real injustice—the ongoing dispossession of Native American land. His “wilderness” myth of American exceptionalism defends the state by whitewashing land theft!
Instead, all those denouncing him focused on Native American “contributions to America” like an Iroquois influence on the Constitution or corn. The only “contribution” that matters is every last acre of land as the injustice of land dispossession that began then never stopped!
You can have this mythical nation if its founded on empty land. This is a key national myth. It requires erasure of Native Americans. It has been ongoing since then. One side is not more enlightened than the other when both center and frame the nation as good—both erase injustice
Read 4 tweets
2 May
One of the most common arguments I see in this DC statehood deal is “reuniting the Dakotas.” When Dakota Territory (ND and SD) was formed in 1861, West Virginia was just Virginia. Today WV has fewer people than Idaho and Nebraska. Why does nobody call for reuniting the Virginias? Image
The only reason I can think of is because Virginia is a pretty competitive state; one that Democrats absolutely cannot afford to lose and that adding WV to it would make it even more competitive?
To me, this little game under the pretense that “population” of some states (SD, ND, WY, ID) but not others (VT, ME, NH, DE) matters erases the fact the system is broken. This “fix” perpetuates—and doesn’t not address—the ongoing injustice of dispossession of Native American land
Read 5 tweets
29 Dec 20
Today is the 130th anniversary of the Wounded Knee Massacre. If anyone has heard of one massacre of Native Americans, its this because it happened last. Though last, it was not the worst nor was it rare. Read this thread for just a small selection of similar massacres few know of
In 1863, American soldiers in Lincoln's Union Army brutally murdered over 400 Shoshone men, women, and children during the Civil War at the Bear River Massacre—the single greatest loss of Native American lives in U.S. history
In 1864, soldiers in Lincoln's Union Army found a village of 500 Cheyenne and Arapahos during the Civil War who believed they were under U.S. protection by treaty. Instead, the Army slaughtered over 200—mainly women, children and the elderly—at the Sand Creek Massacre
Read 5 tweets
9 Apr 20
Today rapid testing devices and supplies for a testing capability of 9000 are slated to go out to Native American health facilities. Testing expected tomorrow. This thread is about an unexpected move by the administration for Natives and a narrative that was needlessly buried 1/
On April 2, Dr. Birx announced that the Trump administration was giving Native American health services priority access to the new 15-minute Abbott rapid coronavirus tests that received FDA approval just days earlier. A positive Politico article follows.…
Citing Politico, Kaiser Health News gave a pretty remarkable headline considering whenever Americans need valuable resources, historically they take it all and leave nothing for Natives. This narrative—basically the truth—of course dies here…
Read 10 tweets