Veterans Ask Native Americans for Forgiveness

Powerful images (and words) from an amazing ceremony held yesterday. Wes Clark Jr., the son of retired Army general and former supreme commander at NATO, Wesley Clark Sr., literally knelt before tribal elders in a plea for forgiveness. His statement (below) is powerful too.

Has corporate media paid any attention at all to this event?

I hope this kind of energy and spirit can grow beyond Standing Rock. I think that come January, we’re going to need it.


Wes Clark Jr.'s statement:

“Many of us, me particularly, are from the units that have hurt you over the many years. We came. We fought you. We took your land. We signed treaties that we broke. We stole minerals from your sacred hills. We blasted the faces of our presidents onto your sacred mountain. When we took still more land and then we took your children and then we tried to make your language and we tried to eliminate your language that God gave you, and the Creator gave you. We didn’t respect you, we polluted your Earth, we’ve hurt you in so many ways but we’ve come to say that we are sorry. We are at your service and we beg for your forgiveness.”

Source, including video


Is someone cutting onions in here?

Holy crap, that’s intense.


If you have to ask…


Proves how simple and powerful it is to acknowledge that wrong was done – even if not by you personally – and ask forgiveness on behalf of one’s ancestors.

It’s the ‘female’ version of “I’m sorry”, which our country denigrates on both a personal and political level. You don’t have to take personal responsibility for directly causing someone else’s pain, you just have to recognize that they are equal to you, and hurting, and that’s a bad thing.


Not that I’ve seen. I saw it on either The Young Turks or Democracy Now (and then cried my eyes out). It’s pretty sad if this isn’t getting any mainstream media attention. Everyone in this country should see it.


I agree. But I suppose it so thoroughly upends an engrained hierarchy that it just doesn’t compute. I suspect these vets also strike most corporate media workers as left-wing loonies, and thus as far-fringe weirdos, and thus as people who don’t merit any attention.


Wes Clark Jr is a contributor to The Young Turks. That’s probably where you saw it.

I haven’t really seen much Standing Rock coverage in the MSM. They don’t seem to be fond of protests or of religious people who aren’t right-wing, so they would try to bury this story as much as possible.


Thanks, didn’t know that about him.

D Now covered it too (and has also done fantastic and influential coverage of Standing Rock, some of which did break thru the corporate filters).


I agree that this is a powerful act on many levels. It shows compassion. It demonstrates the strength of contrition and that mending bad blood can be as powerful and far more constructive than vendetta. And it takes off the rose-tinted glasses of history.

That said, I think this is a matter of identity, not blood. Lets say someone tries to genocide my ancestors. And then let’s say that person’s decedents repudiated their genocidal forebearers as soon as or before they reached adulthood. While I would admire their personal integrity in rejecting their evil heritage, I wouldn’t forgive them if they asked because they’re not the one’s that need to ask forgiveness, having had no choice in their parentage. But if they took up the mantle of their heritage and affirmed their place in the tribe they were born to, then they would carry also the responsibility for their genocidal ancestors’ evil deeds, and then they would be in a position to ask forgiveness for their actions. Since Wes Clark Jr. and these veterans have assumed that mantle, to me that seems the source of the power of this action. But then I’ve never believed sharing blood (as opposed to love, commitment and sacrifice which is what family is to me) was worth anything, just an accident of nature in an indifferent universe. Even so, I do recognize that people of many supernatural faiths ascribe a mystical significance to blood, and so may see it as somehow carrying a sort of moral fate.

Anyway, regardless, this is a honorable act of conscience. It’s encouraging to know sublime goodness can still exist in these increasingly evil times.


@milliefink Thanks. I agree with others that it won’t get much coverage and we might never have seen it if you hadn’t shared it.


Imagine the rage if president Obama had done this.

Now imagine the hilarity if it was Trump.


Powerful, moving, and absolutely the right thing to say. People ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it.[quote=“Boundegar, post:11, topic:90736”]
Now imagine the hilarity if it was Trump.

Notable that he’s attending the Army-Navy game in Baltimore this week, as though he has ANY connection whatsoever with either team or their parent services. Besides, trump is already known to Native American tribes in America–he wouldn’t be welcome:

As Native American activist and author Gyasi Ross of the Blackfeet Nation explained to me, “Trump’s racism is neither creative nor intelligent.” Rather, Trump simply follows a “template” for “racist bullying.” Ross added that Trump’s outrageous claim that “Mexicans are rapists and drug dealers in 2015 was identical to the way he contended that Native Americans would bring the biggest organized problem since Al Capone in 1993.”

I think Obama would have been an excellent one-term president. If his goal from day one was to make the people who like him happy, not give a shit about making the people who don’t like him unhappy, fighting for real progressive principles, and not caring about being everybody’s buddy or wanting to be reelected, he would have been exactly what we needed. Instead, he is more about preferences than principles, and will only step up if people (it doesn’t matter which people) don’t like him.

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