Should government today officially apologize for the past injustices to indigenous peoplesShould government today officially apologize for the past injustices to indigenous peoples?
I am not completely certain what good it would do for government to do this. I do not think it would solve any of the problems faced by indigenous people and I do not think it would make up for the past injustices.
For example, if the US apologizes to Native Hawaiians for overthrowing their monarchy and taking over their islands, what would change? It would not improve the health or the economic status of the Hawaiians. Nor, I think, would it make the Hawaiians say "oh, that's alright then. I'm not angry anymore."
So I'm not sure that an apology would serve any purpose.
I have problems with judging the past by today's standards. The one exception would perhaps be slavery; as many Americans still suffer from the long term effects of that institution. Otherwise, one does not hear those of British heritage apologizing to the people of India or South Africa. One must remember that the people of the past acted according to what they considered right at the time. Our present standards of right and wrong are entirely different, of course; but aside from acknowledging that perhaps we got it right this time, an apology serves no useful purpose.
On the other hand, I don't see what harm it does. It's not about assigning blame, or white guilt, or anything like it in my opinion. It's about formally acknowledging and coming to terms with our past and helping to close and begin to heal some ugly chapters in our history. Especially in an era where state school boards are deciding to pick and choose what history they wish to acknowledge and how (Texas), it becomes even more important that the truth is not whitewashed or glossed over, much less revised.
The consensus seems to be that any apology would be merely empty words. There is no doubt that the government of our United States acted atrociously, but an apology would mean nothing as it makes nothing better. For those who think it's the principle of the issue, the principle would amount to little more than saying "Nanny, nanny boo boo."
Apologizing to those who were wronged should have taken place long ago. The people that were truly mistreated have long since passed on. I am not certain what would be gained from apologizing to the descendants of these people.