Professor Shawon Kinew was interviewed by the Harvard Gazette on the subject of the recent Supreme Court ruling affirming that a large portion of eastern Oklahoma remains Native American Lands, specifically, the land of the Muskogee (Creek) Nation, and the name change of the NFL franchise in Washington, D.C.
"This is a moment to reckon with the history of American land, how it was seized, how it was tilled, and the human toll of these practices.
When George Floyd was murdered by police officer Derek Chauvin, this injustice was carried out in Minneapolis, on Ojibwe and Dakota land, not far from where President Lincoln hanged 38 Dakota men in 1862. This is a city that benefits daily from its most famous son, Prince, one of the great American artists of all time, a Black man. There is something of an allegory for America in Minneapolis. This is a place that could not be without stolen land, genocide, slavery, and without the contributions of Black and Indigenous Americans.
In both the NFL and Oklahoma, Black and Indigenous presence and histories intersect. The Washington football team and Supreme Court decisions are the result of decades of activism, born of the American Civil Rights Movement that brought Black and Indigenous peoples together.
In this confluence of events in 2020 is a call for greater historical consciousness, to understand North America’s violent history and its living legacy, from slurs that dehumanize to the ongoing denial of fundamental rights — human rights, treaty rights. It is a particularly important moment to honor and celebrate Black Natives, whose identities and histories are often erased."