LADONNA HARRIS & MARISA CARR
The Right To Be Free From
Throughout his life, Robert F. Kennedy was passionate about his country and it meeting its obligations to Native Americans. He believed that the US was still paying Native Americans back for this country. Robert Kennedy was not just a concerned bystander, in his role as Attorney General, he ensured that the administration protected the right to self-determination for the tribes. Not only was he in favour of Native Americans having autonomy over their own lives, but saw self-determination as an essential tool to preserve Native American culture and society.
A commitment to equality was central to Robert’s ethos. This manifested itself in his grave concern for the lives of Native Americans living on reservations. His speech at the University of Kansas recognised the severity of starvation on reservation, that also had unemployment as high as 80% and extremely high suicide rates among young people . Robert knew that these living conditions weren’t acceptable and the importance of taking actions to defend human rights.
This lesson plan will explore Robert F. Kennedy’s legacy of working towards full equality for Native Americans. As we build a bridge between the past and the present and reflect on the work of the advocates of then and now, we should keep one question in mind: what do we do next?
DEFENDERS: THEN AND NOW
BECOME A DEFENDER
The activities listed below are suggestions for how students can become human rights Defenders in their classrooms and beyond.
More than 4 in 5 Native American women suffer from domestic violence.
Write to your United States Representative and Senators to explain why you believe that the Violence Against Women’s Act is important for Native American women. Explain the loophole in the Violence Against Women’s Act is in relation to children.