March 21, 2003
Deidra Suwanee Dees
Letter to First Lady Mrs. Laura Bush
D e i d r a S u w a n e e D e e s
H a r v a r d U n i v e r s i t y
D o c t o r a l S t u d e n t
March 21, 2003
First Lady Mrs. Laura Bush
1600 Pennsylvania NW
The White House
Washington, DC 20500
Dear Mrs. Bush:
As a biracial Native American born into Muscogee Nation, I studied Middle Eastern political science, international studies and the Arabic language at the University of South Alabama, and Native American studies at Cornell University. I am now pursuing my doctoral degree in Education at Harvard University. As I work on my dissertation, I am overcome by the moral and political issues surrounding President George W. Bush leading the United States military in the invasion of Iraq. My research on European colonization and Native American history coupled with my family’s teachings on Muscogee history bring me to oppose this war seeing it as yet another act of aggression by descendants of the white people who killed my ancestors. This war of your husband’s and his father brings to my mind horrible atrocities committed by your grandmothers and grandfathers against my people, painful results including eradication and exclusion which we still live with today. For example, how many Native American nations are represented in your Congress? How many Native American nations are represented in your United Nations? How is Native American sovereignty represented in your government today?
May I remind you that the land you and your husband are sleeping on tonight was stolen from legitimate sovereign powers of indigenous nations under the guise of “justified wars” called Manifest Destiny and Christianization. These facades were brought to the forefront of my consciousness when I heard your husband say he wanted to “liberate the Iraqi people” which I believe is yet another façade. In David Wallace Adams’ book Education for Extinction, he examines the façade of how white American policymakers manipulated indigenous peoples and the educational system for their own end, cloaking their intentions in a shroud of charity-pretending to hold the best interest of Native Americans at heart. But in reality, Adams writes, the intent of their hearts was, “We must either butcher them or civilize them, and what we do we must do quickly,” -an intention that can be extrapolated to what Iraqis are facing at present.
As I prepare a warrior basket for one of our Muscogee warriors coerced to fight in the United States military on the warfront in Iraq, I come to you because you are a woman who cares deeply about humanity and social justice. I beseech you as a mother, a giver of life, to influence your husband in reconsidering the morality of loosing lives on both the coalition and the Iraqi sides of this war. I ask you to consider influencing him to end this war immediately and to seek other alternatives to resolve his grievances with the Iraqi regime, knowing there are many viable alternatives to continuing this full-scale war. I beseech you and your family to turn away from following the colonial actions and egregious genocide of your ancestors knowing now the tragic outcome upon Native American people, a similar outcome that could befall the Iraqi people. Thank you for your consideration.
Ms. Deidra Suwanee Dees
cc: President George W. Bush