The Trump effect on the lives of Native Americans and other Indigenous Peoples

Trump is a racist and a bigot, and his statements and actions against Native Americans in the US show it.

The US president-elect has portrayed Mexican immigrants as murderers and rapists, accused a US judge of Latino ancestry of racial bias, and opined that most American Muslims are harboring, or are themselves, terrorists. In a political rally, he derisively called US Senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas Warren” and insulted her Cherokee heritage. In a Senate hearing, Trump called out a Native American tribe for not looking like “real Indians.” Furthermore, he has been pushing for taxing of Native American reservations and has been pushing for the construction of more pipelines that will pass through Native American territories.

Photo courtesy of Little Redfeather Design/Heal The Earth

But it isn’t only Native Americans who are in danger from Trump’s presidency. His slogan of Putting America First should worry Indigenous Peoples the world over. Because Trump does not believe in climate change, he will disregard America’s commitment to reduce global emissions and protect the environment (on a side note, however, the US failed to fulfill it’s environmental commitments even under Obama’s presidency). American companies from the extractives and energy industries will probably have a heyday.

Already billions of dollars worth worth of minerals, oil and gas are being extracted from ancestral lands, and Indigenous Peoples are being harassed, displaced and killed by these companies in collaboration with local governments. Environmental disasters have followed in their wake. If Trump pushes for more income from American companies from their extractive and energy businesses and disregards the effects these industries have on the environment and the lives of Indigenous Peoples, the consequences will be staggering.

Trump’s statements before winning the presidency have also proven his fascist bent, and now he has control of the world’s most powerful military (read: bully). Throughout history the US has used its military to intimidate, dominate and invade other countries, although in recent years this has been in the guise of bringing democracy to supposedly undemocratic countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. But we all know that the US has used its military to protect its own interests, couching it in a very diplomatic language.

Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines call for an end to US imperialism, October 2016. (Photo by Mark Ambay III/IPMSDL)

Trump will likely use the American military much the same way, except more brazenly. He won’t say he’s doing it for democracy, he’s going to say he’s doing it because he’s Putting America First. Indigenous resistance to American companies that operate on ancestral lands will meet with violence from the US military or its local military counterparts. Trump will make the recent government security actions on the violent Dakota Access Pipeline dispersal of Water Protectors a tea party.

But hey, having Trump as president does not mean the world’s about to end (well, I’m hoping). Donald Trump just won the US presidential elections, and his term will start on January 2017, yet his victory has already united many people in America in opposition against him, and this trend will continue. Trump will push for more global plunder and militarization, and this will galvanize Indigenous Peoples’ resistance  on a world scale against US neoliberal economic policies that destroy indigenous lives. As global exploitation and oppression of peoples the world over continue under Trump, greater unity between  Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples will be forged in the fight for self determination against US imperialism.

And therein lies the beauty in all this.