It's time to face our American Holocaust with Historian Benjamin Madley

I have to say, after this week’s guest, I’m pretty embarrassed. And if you live in America, you should be, too. While America has pointed the finger with disgust at the genocides conducted by ISIL, German, and Bosnian powers— for example— we have yet to come to grips with our own Holocaust: The several millions of Native American families we slaughtered, enslaved and tortured in order to occupy and control their land and resources.

This invasion and genocide doesn’t even show up in our culture— from classrooms, to memorials to even Wikipedia— we don’t even recognize it as a genocide, even though it meets every criteria. We have isolated ourselves from this narrative, responsibility and even the remaining Indian populations themselves, who we’ve cast off into camps far from us. Even our national conversation on racism, doesn’t include Native Americans.

While the people of Germany, have their “Nazi past” front and center in classrooms, socially, with memorials and with political support we, as a nation, have continued to somehow escape the same atonement. Isn’t it time? Much like the importance of facing your demons as an individual, this country needs a big revision to our national story and the blind levels of patriotism we smack the world with. A humble country would be a stronger one. We’ve seen when the opposite happens and only a social movement can turn the tide. 

This week’s guest, UCLA Professor Benjamin Madley, documents the state-sanctioned genocide of the California Native American population like no one else has. In this week’s very emotional conversation, we approach a subject far too neglected: Our own government-sponsored ethnic cleansing.