Native Americans: 'Our New Overlords'

How right-wing rumors get started

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Barack Obama's announcement that the U.S. would support the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People has ignited fear among some members of the far right. The declaration, which is not legally binding, asserts that "indigenous peoples have the right to own, use, develop and control the lands, territories and resources" that they traditionally owned or occupied, according to Talking Points Memo. Such provisions have caused Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association to declare on his blog that "President Obama wants to give the entire land mass of the United States of America back to the Indians. He wants Indian tribes to be our new overlords." A few days later, World Net Daily blogger Eugene Koprowski added fuel to the fire by suggesting that the UN resolution could "accomplish something as radical as relinquishing some U.S. sovereignty and opening up a path for the return of ancient tribal lands to American Indians, including even parts of Manhattan."

Needless to say, some find Fischer's and Koprowski's assumptions that the President intends to return the entirety of the United States, starting with Manhattan, to Native Americans, a bit unrealistic. This week, liberal bloggers react to the overreaction.

  • This 'Kooky' Theory Will Gain Traction  Joan McCarter at Daily Kos fears it won't be long before the assertion that Native American tribes will soon be "our new overlords" from the fringe into the mainstream right dialogue. "This is only slightly less kooky than good ol' Colorado governor candidate Dan Maes' great UN-taking-over-American-cities-with-bicycles conspiracy theory, but mark my words, it's going to get traction," McCarter predicts. "Pretty soon we’re going to be seeing it on Beck and then Limbaugh and before you know it, Michele Bachmann will be introducing resolutions on the House floor about it."
  • Part of the Republican Plan  Tom Levenson at Balloon Juice wonders if the uproar over the UN Declaration isn't just a tactic in the Republican Party’s attempt to "destroy Obama's presidency." He writes:
Look, this is fun and all, and yes, people spending even seconds seriously considering the notion that Barack Obama could or would just hand over chunks of the US to whoever he wants need medical help (where are those damn meds, honey?), but as usual, this isn’t about what the folks weighing in so ponderously on Fox say it is.
  • 'No Good Reason Not to Support' the Declaration  Appalled by the immediate surge of opposition, Salon’s Alex Pareene explains why the US’s commitment to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People is a good thing, calling it:
A non-legally binding promise to finally treat indigenous peoples with some small amount of decency after hundreds of years of the government murdering them and expelling them from their homes and forcibly relocating them to barren desert ghettos and now just letting them live in conditions of appalling, abject poverty. Bush refused to sign on to this, because, I dunno, it was from the U.N., and it might lead to frivolous lawsuits, or something? It's a non-binding Declaration that basically says "we will be nice to indigenous people," there's no good reason not to support it.
  • Just Another Group of People to Hate  Zandar at No More Mister Nice Blog thinks the "Obama is giving Manhattan back to the indians" rumor is just another product of the fringe's penchant for fear mongering.
Bonus for the wingers, an all-new (all old) group of people to hate in Native Americans. Combine the specter of "Oh noes, reparations!" with the fever dreams of "He's not really one of us", add a layer of "One World UN Gubment!" and stir in a big sticky glob of good ol' racism and you get "Obama is gonna give Manhattan back to them!
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