Cultural Encounters: A Journal For The Theology Of Culture Volume 11 Number 1 (Winter 2015) - Page 5

VOLUME 11, NUMBER 1 A JOURNAL FOR THE THEOLOGY OF CULTURE rule women on the basis of biology, so too should the elites of society rule everybody else. This became important not just for Native communities but also for European societies, because a big thing that was making people very anxious was that many European women were starting to leave their communities and hang out with Native peoples, because they could see they were getting a better deal elsewhere. Many times when European women were taken captive, once they were freed, they didn’t want to go home. And one person actually complained, “Why is it that when Native people are taken captive, they do want to go home, but Europeans don’t want to go home?” The problem with Native society was that it was posing an alternative to European societies. It was posing an egalitarian option that said you didn’t actually have to live under conditions of domination, because we tend not to live under those conditions unless they seem natural and inevitable. If you see another way to live, you’ll probably want to live that way. So it became important to destroy Native communities not just to take away Native lands and resources but also to secure the hierarchy in European societies, to make them seem natural and inevitable by destroying the alternative that Native nations represented. And these policies continue on in many different ways. We often see these as past events; but, of course, Native peoples are still living the legacy of boarding school abuses, the legacy of sexual abuse, alcoholism, et cetera, that came from boarding school abuses. But also this theft of Native children continues on today. When the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) was passed, fully 25 percent of Native children had been taken from their homes and put into white homes. And if you look at foster care, the rate at which Native children are taken from their homes is often sixteen hundred to nineteen hundred times higher than non-Native peoples. That’s how often Native children are taken from their homes. We had a case just recently in which the protections preventing Native children from being taken were weakened even further. I want to give one of many examples to show that this logic of sexual violence happens in many arenas that we often might not think about. If you think of sexual violence as saying your body doesn’t deserve integrity, there are many policies that represent this, particularly those of environmental racism. The majority of energy resources are on or near Native lands. So, Native lands bear the brunt of all the destructive impacts of environmental extraction. In addition, all nuclear testing happens on or near Indigenous lands. For instance, in the Marshall Islands, atomic bombs were detonated that were much more powerful than the bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And the islands were not evacuated, so the life expectancy rate 4