Oregon, California, Peter Burnett discussed on All Things Considered


Mount Sinai dot or GE on the brain There show talk doesn't just mean talking. It also means listening. It's a challenge to allow different points of view to be heard and still keep a strong grip on the truth. We do our research. If we here lies masquerading his opinion. We have to call that out. Brian Lehrer Show weekdays. 10 a.m. to noon on 93.9 FM and AM 20 W n I c Worldwide mobilization against racism has reached a Nobel Peace Prize winning aid organization Doctors Without Borders That organization has provided critical care to people in some of the world's most desperate and dangerous conflict zones for decades. But over the past month, more than 1000 current and former staffers have signed a letter charging the organization with racism and white supremacy. Tomorrow, the group's international board plans to vote on a raft of measures to begin dismantling what even top officials there agree is a pattern of institutional racism. NPR's Nurit Eisenman reports. One of the staffers who signed the letter alleging racism within doctors Without Borders is Margaret Ninguna. She's a Cameroonian immigrant who had a long career in the U. S. Has a social worker before she joined Theeighty Group in 2017. I thought it was a great organisation, given the work that we're doing in countries that have Experience war on from me. The possibility that she faced racial discrimination from them did not cross my mind that all but no gonna says the micro aggressions began literally the moment she reached her first posting. Ah hospital run by the aid groups in south Sudan, suitcases still in hand, No Guna and another new arrival, also an American of African descent. Walked into the office of a top official, a white female. You know, talking to two people when we say hello. So this woman she not us, you know, she turned looked at awesome. Continue talking over the following weeks again and again. No gonna would notice white staffers treating white colleagues one way warmly, respectfully well, for people like her with black skin and an African accent when they weren't being ignored. You have everything that you do have been put on other microscope. Everything that you do is question but no gonna says the situation was far worse for local South Sudanese staff. For them. A job with doctors without Borders was too precious to risk complaining even when white staffers would talk down to them and berate them. You know, it was just very traumatizing to see that to hear that because coming from Cameroon It brought back the colonia mentality. Christos Christou is president of the International Board of Doctors Without Borders. He questions how widespread incidents of outright racism are across the organization's many missions. He says. There is no question the organization is built on a problematic model, essentially the idea of the white savior white doctor going and providing that system to bar people in Africa. There's a little African team and so increase, too, is calling for a total rethink the whole way off, distributing the decision making power but also their sources. But how much of this talk will translate into progress on the ground? Africa. Stewart is the president of doctors Without Borders US board. She points to her own election back in 2017 as a sign of the appetite for change. Consider she notes who raised her a surgical scrub back My mom who could not go to nursing school and her bastard daughter and with a Black Panther dead named Africa. I mean, this is was not born for this. But she also notes that earlier measures that she and others have pushed like a plan adopted by the International Board to increase the pay parity between international staff and local staff. It's taken years to actually implement. It feels like we're part of the solution, but it also feels like, damn it. How long does it take to wear down a mountain parrot? Eisenman NPR news. So who gets to be memorialized in California? There are several schools and streets named after the state's first governor. But what about the native Americans and black people he terrorized? Well this week. We're profiling, statues, memorials and buildings that deserve a second look to see who we honor in America and who we have allowed ourselves to forget. Today, Peter Hardiman Burnett As governor of California, he endorsed the genocide of Native Americans. He also tried to pass a law outlawing African Americans in this state. Author Gregory Noakes has researched and written extensively on Burnett. His book is called the troubled Life of Peter Burnett, and he joins us now welcome. Well, I thank you very much, Ilsa and pleasure to be here. So let me ask you. I mean, before Burnett made it out here to California. He was a young man pushing West. Tell us how he came to live in Oregon first. He was a self taught attorney living in Missouri, and he had a fairly distinguished career there. Here's one defense attorney for Joseph Smith after the Mormon War in 18 38. But he will want to be rich, and he made all these investments and went heavily into debt, and he heard there was free land out in Oregon. So we organize his own wagon train, which actually was the first major wagon train in 18 43 to come to Oregon. And he enters politics in Oregon and in his role I understand in the Legislature, they're he uses a law that bans slavery in Oregon to actually allow slavery there. How did he do that? Well, he did. It was a very tricky maneuver in his party come from a slave owning family brought a couple slaves of his own into Oregon, although one of them drowned on the way and or get it all previously passed a law banning slavery outright. So he passed what became Oregon's first exclusion law banning African Americans coming door again. There's been no such law before, and it's part of the exclusion law. There was a tricky provisions that slave owners would have 23 their slaves after three years. And that was unusual wording, by implication allowed slave owners tohave slaves for three years, right. And so this was change rather quickly, But it did create a window for some slave owners to bring slaves to Oregon in that period. Well, the gold rush, of course, brings him to California. He helps found the city of Sacramento. He has elected the first governor of California. And he was able to get laws and policies on the books that effectively subject gated Native Americans in this state. What were those policies? One of those was a law passed in 18 50 called the Act for the government and protection of Indians and that word protection underlying Because provided for apprenticing native Children toe white people where they could obviously be used his servants or slaves, and then for a vagrant Indians so called vagrant Indians to be hired out to the highest bidder. And it pretty much is like slavery in that period and this apparently involved in his 20,000 native Americans who are were used in that way. And there were also massacres that occurred during his tenure as governor as well, Right massacres of native Americans. Oh, yes, right. You could fit in. You know, the one that's stuck out in my mind that I wrote about was ability Island Massacre and Lake County in 18 50 when as many as 300 promo, Indians, innocent Indians, men, women and Children. Were massacred by the U. S. Calvary, and he had no comment on these or just kind of didn't call out troops to defend them. So in that sense, it was kind of a passive endorsement of extermination. Well, it seems that Burnett has Been reduced to a footnote in California history. I mean, I grew up in California I never learned about him. A lot of people don't know his name despite passing places that bear his name daily. Why do you think that is? He must have made a tremendous first impression because we've only touched on a few of the offices that he held over the years. People followed him, but he didn't deliver on his promises..

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