In 2009, the U.S government quietly released the congressional resolution of “Apology to Native Peoples,” hidden inside the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. In response, Layli Long Soldier authored WHEREAS, a book of pioneering poetry, which went on to receive the 2016 Whiting Award. Soldier, a member of the Oglala Lakota Nation, grew up in Arizona where she now teaches English at Din College of the Navajo people, the first tribally-controlled college in the United States. In an interview for On Being with Krista Tippett, Solider describes her early influences growing up Lakota, and how a heartfelt apology from her father, who was often absent during her childhood, can demonstrate the freedom of a genuine apologies. While the government’s apology falls short of what is needed to recognize and reconcile with the native peoples of the United States, perhaps WHEREAS and discussions like those happening with Tippett can bring much needed attention to the issue.
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