Where’s the Senate Torture Report on All the Violence Done to Natives?

On Wednesday, the Indian Country Today Media Network published an op-ed I wrote on the Senate’s so-called Torture Report. Here is an excerpt:

In the wake the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s use of torture, we are all being asked to think historically. Many have seen this moment as an opportunity to set the historical record straight with California Senator Diane Feinstein calling the use of torture by the CIA “a stain on our values and our history.” “History,” the Senator said, “will judge us by our commitment to a just society governed by law and the willingness to face an ugly truth and say ‘never again.”

But viewing the legally sanctioned use of torture in the early 21st century as a blip on the historical record of the United States is to ignore its longer history of the state using law to justify violence. This is the ugly truth we are unwilling to face. Because to do so would require Americans to recognize the historical connection between the history of legally justified violence towards Indigenous people in the 19th century with our Global War on Terror in the twenty-first. Let me explain.

In the summer of 2008, I was working on a book about a conflict known as Modoc War, 1872-1873, California’s so-called last Indian war. One of the most significant events in the history of U.S.-Indian violence in the nineteenth century, is largely forgotten today. Shortly after I began researching the book, I received an email informing me that the Modoc War had come up in conjunction with the use of enhanced interrogation techniques in the U.S. Global War on Terror. What was this all about? Was there an actual connection here, or was this just some random happenstance of the Internet? I was surprised by what I found.

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/12/17/wheres-senate-torture-report-all-violence-done-natives

Recent Interview on New Books in Native American Studies Podcast

If you aren’t aware of the New Books Network, you should be. It is a wonderful series of podcasts in which authors engage in thoughtful and informed conversation about their recent books with interviewers who have actually read the book their discussing!

I’ve been a big fan for years. So imagine my delight when Andrew Bard Epstein invited me to be a guest. Last week we had a great conversation and today, he published the interview. Here is Andrew’s teaser:

If George Armstrong Custer had kept off of Greasy Grass that June day in 1875, Vine Deloria, Jr.’s manifesto might well have been called “Canby Died For Your Sins.”

The highest ranking U.S. military official to be killed in the so-called “Indian Wars,” General Edward Canby’s death at the hands of Modoc fighters in 1873 unleashed a campaign of ethnic cleansing and guerrilla resistance later colloquialized as the Modoc War. An international sensation at the time and iconic in the decades following, the Klamath Basin struggle has been largely overshadowed in contemporary historical memory.

In his razor-sharp account Remembering the Modoc War: Redemptive Violence and the Making of American Innocence (University of North Carolina Press, 2014), historian Boyd Cothran not only reconstructs this dramatic story but traces how various actors–pushed and pulled by the demands of an acquisitive capitalist market–transformed the memory of the war into a redemptive tale of American innocence, a recasting of colonial violence that still shapes U.S. self-perceptions today.

You can listen to the whole interview below and you can check out other interviews on New Books in Native American Studies!