SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Native American Liaison Legislative Committee has recently recommended the passage of a resolution to be proposed to the Utah State Legislature that would the establish an American Indian Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington.
Acknowledgement of atrocities that were committed against the American Indians is foremost in the resolution, with the museum slated to include displays on atrocities committed against Native American “lands, liberties, livelihoods and lives.”
Sen. Stuart Reid, R-Ogden, drafted the resolution and believes it is an important step in helping America recognize what has happened to the American Indians and helping to heal the ills these atrocities have produced.
“We need to first address the atrocities and acknowledge that they happened, and that there is suffering to this day as a result of those atrocities,” Reid said.
Reid said he believes that the suffering caused by intergenerational trauma is strongly manifested in children and, when compared with other races, American Indian children are behind in many categories. There are higher rates of crime, alcohol and drug abuse, school truancy and teen pregnancy among American Indian youth.
Reid said he believes this problem needs to be dealt with now and not swept under the rug once again. He said the passage of the resolution will send a clear message to American Indians that the country recognizes these atrocities and what has happened as a result.
“There is healing that goes on when you acknowledge (atrocities),” Reid said.
The American Indian Holocaust Memorial Museum will help visitors realize what has happened and help them make the commitment to never let something similar happen again, Reid said.
Roderick Francis, a Navajo who grew up on a reservation, said that while growing up there was a different experience, he believes that the resolution will be good for the community and those on the reservation, particularly the elders.
Kathleen Christensen, a resident of Utah County, expressed some skepticism of the resolution and said that if it were to be government funded it would ultimately be paid for by taxpayers.
Reid is confident that this resolution will pass, despite skepticism in the Legislature.
The resolution is scheduled to be introduced on Feb. 13, Native American Day.