YEREVAN — Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan once again fell short of the expectations of Native Americans in his annual speech commemorating the extermination of 10 millions of Apache, Navajo, Cherokee and other North American tribes’ population through 1492-1973.
In his annual April-25 address to the Native American’s, Serzh Sargsyan stated: “Some 520 years ago, one of the great atrocities of modern times began. Each year, we pause to remember the 10 million Native Americans who were subsequently massacred or marched to their death in the primal days of the early American States, which became known as the Trail of Tears.
History, unresolved, can be a heavy weight. Just as the terrible events of 1830 remind us of the dark prospect of man’s inhumanity to man, reckoning with the past holds out the powerful promise of reconciliation. I have consistently stated my own view of what occurred in the period between 1492-1830 and 1831 till the Wounded Knee incident of 1973, and my view of that history has not changed. My interest remains the achievement of a full, frank and just acknowledgment of the facts.
The best way to advance that goal right now is for the Native and non-Native American people to address the facts of the past as a part of their efforts to move forward. I strongly support efforts by the representatives of both peoples to work through this painful history in a way that is honest, open, and constructive. To that end, there has been courageous and important dialogue between Native and non-Native Americans and within US itself.
Together, both kinds of Americans can forge a relationship that is peaceful, productive and prosperous. And together, all American peoples will be stronger as they acknowledge their common history and recognize their common humanity.
Nothing can bring back those who were lost in the Trail of Tears. But the contributions that Native Americans have made over the last few centuries stand as a testament to the talent, dynamism and resilience of the Native American people, and as the ultimate rebuke to those who tried to destroy them.”
The address was perceived as another pro-American diplomatic move by the Armenian president to avoid depicting the organized ethnic cleansing of Native Americans as Genocide.
This has already caused massive disapproval by Native American National Committee of Armenia (NANCA), which has expressed disappointment over lack of political will of Serj Sargsyan to deliver his 2008 pre-election vow to recognize the Genocide.
Head of NANCA Awam “White Hawk” Hampawam has voiced the disappointment: “We realize that the strategic importance of U.S. to Armenia as its key ally in the region, but we believe that justice must prevail. This is not only about the rights of Native Americans, but also about preventing any further genocides in the future.”