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Is an apology that’s not said out loud really an apology? What if the person expressing the apology doesn’t draw attention to it?

Those are the questions Native American nations asked following the non-apology apology tucked away in an obscure corner of the 2010 Defense Appropriations bill, signed by President Obama with no publicity.

Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., originally introduced the measure intending “to officially apologize for the past ill-conceived policies by the U.S. government toward the Native peoples of this land and re-affirm our commitment toward healing our nation’s wounds and working toward establishing better relationships rooted in reconciliation.” His bill passed the Senate in 2008 and 2009.

It then got watered down. Nothing in it authorizes or supports any legal claims against the United States, and the resolution does not settle any claims.

So, this “apology” was never said out loud and did not offer any amends.

It did inspire a book of poetry, however. The book is Whereas, by Layli Long Soldier.


Long Soldier knows from sorry. She knows failed apologies and she knows successful ones. Click here to listen to her read a poem inspired by a successful one from her father.

Published by Keith R Wilson

I'm a licensed mental health counselor and certified alcohol and substance abuse counselor in private practice with more than 30 years experience. My newest book is The Road to Reconciliation: A Comprehensive Guide to Peace When Relationships Go Bad. I recently published a workbook connected to it titled, How to Make an Apology You’ll Never Have to Make Again. I also have another self help book, Constructive Conflict: Building Something Good Out of All Those Arguments. I’ve also published two novels, a satire of the mental health field: Fate’s Janitors: Mopping Up Madness at a Mental Health Clinic, and Intersections , which takes readers on a road trip with a suicidal therapist. If you prefer your reading in easily digestible bits, with or without with pictures, I have created a Twitter account @theshrinkslinks. MyFacebook page is called Keith R Wilson – Author.

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