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TribalCrit and American Imperialism

The second tenet of TribalCrit rests on the belief that “the policies of the United States are rooted in imperialism, White supremacy, and a desire for material gain” (Brayboy, 2005, p. 431). Miller (2011) credited Walter Williams with discovering the genesis of United States Imperialism. The scholar claims that there were similarities between federal Indian policies and America’s desire to establish an overseas empire. Miller (2011) and Feagin (2010) claim that it is essential to understand that the push westward across America was based on the concept of assimilating or exterminating American Indians and claims that our current racial hierarchy is a result of past hostilities.

The intentional assimilation policies enacted by the federal government sought to fold American Indians into white culture. The American government moved west with little regard to maintaining the peoples’ cultures they were trampling resulting in cultural genocide against American Indians (Banks, 1995). Settlers moving west also subjected American Indians to the idea of Norman Yoke (Brayboy, 2013). The Lumbee scholar attests that the Norman Yoke is an economic concept originally coined by Adam Smith, and is based on the idea that “individuals not only have the right to utilize and exploit natural resources on lands that are considered “vacant,” but they have a moral obligation to do so” (Brayboy, 2013, p.93). Both Manifest Destiny and the Norman Yoke were propagated by the United States government to justify stealing land from Indigenous peoples that became part of the cultural genocide that contributed to the intergenerational impacts of historical trauma and continues to haunt Native communities.

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