Gratified to read in today's New York Times that, in some of the health care reform proposals currently being scrutinized by Congress, special provision is made for improved medical benefits for American Indians. Until now, too many have been receiving wards-of-the-government type medical care which -- almost by definition -- translates into subsistence-level subvention.
When we treated with the tribes to give up their hereditary freedom and sovereignty and submit to the authority of the United States, we signed countless covenants promising to preserve their integrity and protect their well-being; representations since honored more often in the breach than in the observance.
It takes but little reading of American history to recognize that had we breached as many treaties with, and solemn commitments to, nations around the world as we have with Native Americans, we would be a global pariah. Health care reform is the least we can now bring to them, while benefitting society at large as well.