Indian group objects to Texas Buffalo Soldier specialty license plate saying “we’re forced to relive an American holocaust” and “there are similarities between the all-black cavalry & the Confederacy.
First the controversy about Confederate license plates in Texas was quickly quelled after black leaders cried foul and now we have the president of the American Indian Genocide Museum objecting to the Buffalo Soldier specialty license plate being proposed. There is a great deal of irony in both instances because black leaders opposed the Confederate license plates on the basis of the racial injustice and degradation of blacks at the hands of whites in the South and the Buffalo Soldiers, an all-black cavalry, who helped to fight Native Americans in the Indians Wars from 1867-1888.
Black leaders in Texas appealed to Gov. Rick Perry to scrap the specialty license plate glorifying the Confederacy and warned they “would remind black Americans of a legalized system of involuntary servitude, dehumanization, rape and mass murder,” according to the Houston Chronicle.
“I feel the same way about the Buffalo Soldiers. When we see the U.S. Cavalry uniform, we are forced to relive an American holocaust,” said Steve Melendez, a member of the Paiute Nation of Pyramid Lake and president of the American Indian Genocide Museum. “I think they are well-intentioned, but the message they are giving to me is offensive.” Source
Paul Matthews, founder and chairman of the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum doesn’t see any similarities between the Buffalo Soldiers and the Confederates because, “you are comparing military units in the U.S. Army with a mission to protect and defend America against all enemies, both foreign and domestic, to the Confederate army with a mission to destroy America,” Sen. Rodney Ellis and Matthews wrote in a joint letter to Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson, according to the Houston Chronicle.
It is rather interesting that the black leaders in Texas can cry foul to the Confederate license plates, but embrace the Buffalo Soldiers specialty plate. The Native Americans feared the Buffalo Soldiers because that was the mission the white man sent them on, to hunt the Native Indians and wipe them out. There is no dancing around the issue. It is what it is. I completely understand the position of the Native American leaders. I guess the question should really be, why do we feel we need to have specialty license plates glorifying any one group from the darkest periods in American history? That’s bound to offend another group.