The Jan. 15 Forum article on Cass County Sheriff Paul Laney's involvement in the DAPL protests contained some disconcerting information, in the form of a direct quote by Laney, wherein he said the protest "became the mecca for every eco-terrorist . . . [and] 140 years of perceived Native American oppression came together there."
In terms of the latter portion of the quote, Laney seems to be in need of taking a genuine course in U.S. history; Native American oppression by white society ever since the arrival of the first European colonists is historical fact, not misplaced Native American "perception". His use of 140 years goes back only to Custer's defeat in 1876, which ignores all white oppression since that date, but of more importance, before that time.
I doubt the Cherokee and other Native Americans of the Five Civilized Tribes of the southeast U.S. would deem the Trail of Tears-which in actuality lasted from 1830-50-as "perceived" oppression. And I doubt the Native Americans who were removed from their family's and tribes by force and white-icized would characterize their experience as misplaced "perception."
Likewise, in his use of the terms "eco-terrorist", Laney is using the well-known tactic of demonizing a particular group-the protesters-by identifying them as something other than protesters; i.e. every eco-person is not a protester, but a terrorist.
Perhaps Laney will take the route of many public officials with foot-in-mouth disease, and claim he was misquoted, or that the quote was taken out of context, or that he misspoke, etc. However, I would argue that the quote shows Laney's true perception of his experience; Native Americans were not really oppressed-ever- and all people concerned about the current state of U.S. ecology are terrorists.
Hempeck lives in Hendrum, Minn.