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A Brief But Spectacular take on Indigenous cultures and struggles


Notice: Transcripts are machine and human generated and lightly edited for accuracy. They may contain errors.

Judy Woodruff: Albert Bender is a writer, activist and attorney of Cherokee descent currently based in Tennessee. He has long been an advocate for Native American cultural preservation and justice.

Tonight, he shares his Brief But Spectacular take on upholding indigenous cultures.

Albert Bender, Writer/Activist/Attorney: A thousand years ago, Nashville and Middle Tennessee was the site of the largest Native American population in the entire Southeast.

Some archaeologists have even remarked that the ancient population of Nashville was so vast and so huge that you can't walk anyplace in Nashville without walking in the footsteps of ancient Native Americans.

And growing up was a realization of the tragic aspects of Cherokee history and Native American history. My great-great-grandfather, he was killed fighting white settlers. One of my first memories was hearing about the Trail of Tears and the historic conflicts that Native American people had been engaged in with the onrushing tide of white settlers.

The whole idea of my becoming an attorney was to engage in a legal practice that would assist in the promotion of Native American rights and Native American sovereignty over the years. We have been able to bring these issues to the forefront and make mainstream Tennessee aware of ancient Native American history and how it factors in with modern-day history.

The preservation of these ancient sites is for the betterment of all people in the society. I think that the ideological standpoint of the majority of the U.S. population is headed in the direction of seeing greater justice for Native American peoples and all oppressed peoples of this country.

What you have to have is hope. And I have so much hope.

My name is Albert Bender, and this is my Brief But Spectacular take on indigenous cultures and struggles.

Judy Woodruff: And we thank you for that, Albert Bender.

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