As a Native person of this country, I've come to the conclusion that I must support the Palestinian people and the pursuit of an autonomous Palestinian state.
Although many view both American Indians and Palestinians as "indigenous and displaced people," this is not the reason that I feel a sense of kinship with Palestinians.
Instead, this fraternal feeling for my brothers and sisters in Gaza and on the West Bank is due to a much more basic and primal feeling of fear: the realization that what befalls one oppressed group inevitably befalls others.
Indigenous people, as well as other oppressed groups worldwide, regardless of race or religion, have a vested interest in learning from the genocidal atrocities that the U.S. government initiated on American Indians. Every person who strives for humanity also has a strong interest in preventing those same atrocities from occurring in another place at another time to another group of people -- in this particular situation, to the Palestinians.
Palestinians, like Natives, are captives in their own lands. They, too, have no place to go, no geographical recourse. Lebanon, Syria and Egypt have all shown their callousness to Palestinian people and have used them like human chess pieces against Israel.
Short on options, Palestinians, like Natives, have no choice but to continue to be a thorn in the side of the oftentimes apathetic and oppressive governments that have come to power by whatever means available.
By comparison, Natives have been fortunate. We have used gaming revenues and population explosions to gain political strength. Palestinians have chosen -- rightly or wrongly -- to use different methods. Although one might feel compelled to view the suicide bombings employed by a small minority of Palestinians as "wrong," one must also recognize that many Palestinians have been working nonviolently for a just political solution, which the Israeli government spurns.
My sense of kinship with Palestinian people thus comes from a reminder of my own people's suffering, and from an interest in stopping such suffering from happening ever again.
"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere," Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said.
So when I see such injustices carried out anyplace, I think of my young nieces and nephews, living in fear that their homes could one day be raided -- possibly with their parents being used as human shields, as in Jenin, in the West Bank.
I get the same uneasy feeling that I got upon first viewing photos of the dead Jewish children at the hands of the Sonderkommando, the same feeling as when I first watched "The Killing Fields" and saw the bodies of thousands of dead Cambodian children. It's the same feeling I got when my mother told me about the 7th Calvary's massacre of Indian women and children at Wounded Knee on Dec. 29, 1890.
There are enough similarities among these events that people should awaken to the pain and agony of blood being spilled -- whether that blood be Palestinian,American Indian,Black, Israel or yours.