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Preface I begin my story at Fort Sill, a US Army post near Lawton, Oklahoma. Maybe because it is instilled in my memory as the place where Native men, women and even children were incarcerated—some for as long as 27 years—for the crime of being Apache. Incarcerated after having been starved into submission , forcibly removed from their homelands and brought to this place. Maybe because Fort Sill is where the Skull and Bones society of Yale is accused of grave robbing, exhuming, stealing and then desecrating the bones of Goyathlay, or Geronimo, the great Apache chief. Or perhaps because today the Comanche people are asking Fort Sill management not to destroy Medicine Bluff, a sacred site of their people. A small request, it would seem, at the only active military installation still remaining from the Indian Wars of the 1800s and at the largest artillery range in the world. I do not hate the military. I do despise militarization and its impacts on men, women, children, and the land. The chilling facts are that the United States is the largest purveyor of weapons in the world, and that millions of people have no land, food, homes, clean air or water, and often, limbs, because of the military funded by my tax dollars. Countless thousands of square miles of Mother Earth are already contaminated, bombed, poisoned, scorched, gassed, bombarded, rocketed, strafed, torpedoed, defoliated, land-mined, strip-mined, made radioactive and uninhabitable. I despise militarization because those who are most likely to be impacted or killed by the military are civilian non-combatants. Since the Second World War, more than four fifths of the people killed in war have been civilians. Globally there are some 16 million refugees from war. I will say as a personal note that I come from a family of people who love peace. My father, Vincent Eugene LaDuke (who was known most of his life as Sun Bear), was a conscientious objector to serving in the Korean War, and he spent eleven months in prison for his beliefs. My mother Betty LaDuke and stepfather Peter Westigard took me to many anti-Vietnam War demonstrations as a young child in a conservative county. Winona LaDuke xvi I have opposed every war since my childhood, and will likely oppose the next war before it even begins. I believe, however, that there can be a righteous reason to fight, and I respect those who have served their nation, their People. I believe that veterans should be treated with honor and dignity, despite the military policies of this country. I decided to write this book because I am awed by the impact of the military on the world and on Native America. It is pervasive. Native people have seen our communities, lands and life ways destroyed by the military. Since the first European colonizers arrived, the US military has been a blunt instrument of genocide, carrying out policies of removal and extermination against Native Peoples. Following the Indian Wars, we experienced the forced assimilation of boarding schools, which were founded by an army colonel, Richard Pratt, and which left a history of transformative loss of language and culture. The modern US military has taken our lands for bombing exercises and military bases, and for the experimentation and storage of the deadliest chemical agents and toxins known to mankind. Today, the military continues to bomb Native Hawaiian lands, from Makua to the Big Island, destroying life. The military has named us and claimed us. Many of our tribal communities are named after the forts that once held our people captive, and in today’s military nomenclature Osama bin Laden, the recently killed leader of al Qaeda, was also known as “Geronimo EKIA” (Enemy Killed in Action). Harlan Geronimo, an army veteran who served two tours in Vietnam and is the great grandson of Apache Chief Geronimo, asked for a formal apology and called the Pentagon’s decision to use the code name Geronimo in the raid that ended with al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s death, a “grievous insult.” He was joined by most major Native American organizations in calling for a retraction and apology. The Onondaga nation stated, “This continues to personify the original peoples of North America as enemies and savages. . . . The US military leadership should have known better.” The analogy from a military perspective is interesting. At the time of the hunting down of Geronimo, over 5,500 military personnel were engaged in a 13-year...


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