A Letter To The President of The United States
From an Indigenous Girl

photograph of Abraham Lincoln Statue in Washington DC
photo from Pixabay

Dear President Biden,
(Or whomever is reading this letter before the President)

My name is Shaelee Irene Singer and I am 20 years old. I am an Indigenous-American who attends Portland State University. I have two (at times, five) jobs and I am enrolled full-time. I am one of our hard working Americans who would do anything just to keep a roof over their heads. I am a proud Navajo Student studying Applied Linguistics in order to solve language-based social issues and bring them to light.

I still remember that day in 2009 when you became our Vice President for President Obama. I was only 6 years old, and I had so much optimism at such a young age that you were going to care for the American people over profit. I remember in 2017 when Trump ‘won’ the election, I was 14 years old and terrified of what my future held for me as I grew up in a low-income household. I am a first generation college student, and I was so scared that my chances of going to college were going to go away.

During your 2020 campaign I was one of your biggest supporters. I was 17 years old during this period, and knew that my voice could make a difference. I vouched for you, begged people (including my parents) to vote for you, and spoke highly of you because at that point in time I actually believed you were going to help us, the American people. I had trust in you that you were going to take steps to give BIPOC the justice that we deserve.

My grandparents Irene and Samuel Singer were taken from the Navajo Reservation by the American government to Chemawa Indian School in Salem, Oregon. There, my grandparents met in their teenage years while working on the Christmas tree farm the school ‘provided’. I was told by my grandmother, her and my grandfather were forcibly given American sounding names. They were violently assimilated into American culture at the cost of having their cultural identities wiped. My father and my grandparents worked at Chemawa until their retirement, and I even went to preschool there. I was born and raised in Salem, Oregon and was essentially assimilated unknowingly while growing up because of not being around my people, my language, and my culture.

For hundreds of years Indigenous-Americans were subjected to brutal genocide and we still have yet to receive justice by our federal government. You claim that you’re, “going to continue to work across the aisle to deliver for the American people” (November 9, 2022). When you use the term ‘American people’, who is it that you are referring to? The White, upper and middle class Americans?
I am extremely disappointed in your views and opinions of Palestine and Palestinian people, who are the Indigenous people of Gaza. The Israeli Colonial State was placed in Palestine by Europe. In no way I identify as being anti-semetic, but I am an anti-zionist. In no world someone should be killed for their religious beliefs. What have you learned from Hitler’s actions? Or are you just wanting to become like him? With what is happening right now in Palestine, I cannot help but compare it to the Holocaust and the Indigenous-American genocide.

I urge you President Biden to call for a ceasefire in Palestine. If our country’s morals revolve around freedom, then why can’t we help Palestine be free? I hope that someone (even just a mail-worker or receptionist) in the White House reads this letter, and that my voice is heard. Please President Biden, I hope you make the right decision.

Thank you,

Shaelee Irene Singer


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