Debate of the Month

Resolved, indigenous peoples should receive reparations from the U.S. government. 

The mass-extermination and forced displacement of Native American populations for centuries are often considered the worst atrocities committed in American history. As modern society strives to celebrate diversity and practice inclusion, some Americans feel that the best way to reconcile with their violent past is to compensate indigenous populations. Reparations could manifest themselves as monetary reimbursements, land grants, or congressional recognition of tribes, which grants groups a degree of sovereignty.

In the U.S., various indigenous groups have already been granted money as part of lawsuit settlements. Proponents of this policy believe the tangible action taken to correct historical injustices would strengthen trust between Native Americans and the U.S. government. Additionally, it would aid those who are affected by poverty caused by historical discrimination and provide moral closure for the perpetual guilt that tarnishes the American legacy. However, some Native Americans do not feel that reparations, especially monetary compensation, would do them justice. They argue that their removal from their territory meant a break with their traditions, culture, and identity and that this could never be mended by a government payment or even small grants of land. Furthermore, many feel that reparations would let society forget the injustice faced by Native Americans and consider their issue resolved. Others argue that reparations could even make indigenous groups dependent on the government. How should America reconcile with Native Americans? Would government reparations suffice in healing the damages faced by indigenous groups?

Pro:

  • After centuries of discrimination, reparations would help indigenous groups economically.
  • This would improve the trust between the U.S. government and Native Americans.
  • This would help heal the American legacy of injustice towards American Indians.

Resources

https://www.cnn.com/2012/11/26/politics/american-indian-settlment/index.html

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/06/decades-after-government-seizure-of-children-indigenous-canadians-will-receive-compensation

https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/09/27/495627997/u-s-government-to-pay-492-million-to-17-american-indian-tribes

 

Con:

  • Reparations do not acknowledge the deeper, more personal scope of American Indian removal.
  • Discrimination against Native Americans would not end with reparations.
  • Reparations have the potential to make individuals dependant on the government.

Resources:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2014/06/10/why-native-americans-dont-want-reparations/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.6d76734a8428

https://splinternews.com/canada-is-giving-reparations-to-indigenous-survivors-i-1819446980

https://nationalpost.com/opinion/jesse-kline-3

Debate Style of the Month – Team (aka Lincoln-Douglas or Tag Team)

Team debates are identical to traditional debates except for pairs of two (or sometimes even three) elect to speak together. Time limits and rules do not change, despite there being two people speaking.

Check out past debate topics.