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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 09:33 PM
Original message
Guess which American president has done the most for Indians in the 20th
century? Go on, guess.

Did you guess William Jefferson Clinton? You guessed correctly!

Guess who has a comprehensive policy to improve the lives of Indians living on reservations?

John F. Kerry. http://www.johnkerry.com/issues/native_americans/index....

http://www.nativetimes.com/index.asp?action=displayarti...

Guess who doesn't? (What a hard question, eh?)

Yep, George W. Bush.

I challenge anyone here to actually find a single thing on his re-election website about Native Americans (Indians). I tried. Nothing doin'. What's funny, though, is that there's a whole tab on his website called "Compassion" and when you do a search it comes back as "Compassion Search: Could find 0 items." ROFL!

I know most of you might be wondering what kind of a minor issue THIS is, but it really isn't.

"On average, American Indians and Alaska Natives are 2.6 times as likely to have diagnosed diabetes as non-Hispanic whites of a similar age.5 The available data probably underestimate the true prevalence of diabetes in this population. For example, 40 to 70 percent of American Indian adults age 45 to 74 were found to have diabetes in a recent screening study in three geographic areas.6 Data from the Navajo Health and Nutrition Survey, published in 1997, showed that 22.9 percent of Navajo adults age 20 and older had diabetes. Fourteen percent had a history of diabetes, but another 7 percent were found to have undiagnosed diabetes during the survey.7

Type 2 diabetes is becoming increasingly common in youth. Researchers studying 5,274 Pima Indian children from 1967 to 1996 found that the prevalence of type 2 diabetes in girls ages 10 to 14 increased from 0.72 percent in the period 1967 to 1976 to 2.88 percent in the period 1987 to 1996.3 Reports include an increasing incidence in First Nation populations in Canada.8"

from http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/americanindian/in...

And there's this visual: http://www.cr.nps.gov/nagpra/DOCUMENTS/RESERV.PDF

http://www.rgj.com/news2/stories/news/975292156.php

Just thought this was an interesting issue. And one that, in my opinion, is long overdue for some attention. Don't the ancestors of the original inhabitants of this land deserve whatever they need to be healthy, autonomous, and successful? Did you know the US government spends about $6000 per person (on average) for health care for US citizens, but just $1600 per person (on average) for American Indians?



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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 09:34 PM
Response to Original message
1. Something had better be done. We have a terrible history
where the native tribes are concerned and are still failing them even now. :(
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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 09:37 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. Yep
I just got back from a long trip in the west and, while I KNEW about the problems, there's nothing like seeing them up close and personal to really make you cry and feel ashamed. I was in Navajo Nation for a while and the Hopi Indian Reservation within it and I paid a long visit to the Crazy Horse Memorial in South Dakota. THAT place made me cry a LOT. I ended up feeling it was really disgusting that we carved the faces of US Presidents in the mountains there. That land is considered sacred.

:(
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faithnotgreed Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 09:43 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. thank you for sharing that... + "compassion" could find 0 items is
also worth sharing with everyone

though clearly that is funny yet tragic whereas the entire treatment of native americans is just tragic
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WindRavenX Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 09:45 PM
Response to Original message
4. In every single way...
...the difference between W and JFK could not be more stark, despite the fact both come from the most wealthy and privileged families in America.
The difference is, despite the enormous amount of wealth Kerry has, he still cares for people. W just spits upon the unwashed masses :eyes:
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brainshrub Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 09:48 PM
Response to Original message
5. If I was Native American
I wouldn't trust a white man farther than I could throw him.

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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 09:49 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Pfffffft
I wouldn't, either.

I don't trust MOST white men as it is, and I am a white woman! LOL!

I am married to a white man, in the interest of full disclosure. A man who wouldn't take advantage of another human being if you paid him to.

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HEyHEY Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 10:05 PM
Response to Reply #5
12. Fuck, I AM a white man and I don't trust em
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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 10:07 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. LOL!
You don't trust yourself?

I try not to paint with a broad brush, but you know what Michael Moore says about white people and black people, etc. Everytime he's been screwed around, it's been by a person the same color as him. So he doesn't understand all the race-based fear....
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EndElectoral Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 09:49 PM
Response to Original message
6. Curious which way the general Indian population has voted?
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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 09:50 PM
Response to Reply #6
8. Freepers
posted an article which was supposed to say they are split 50 50 but the article actually didn't have anything about that! It was only in the headline! It came up when I was doing a google search. Not gonna post it here, not worth the time.

I am still trying to find some numbers to see how they voted in 2000. Anyone know of any good search terms, I'm not having much luck here.
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pinto Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 10:20 PM
Response to Reply #8
17. here's a start (link to Native American Times), some interesting #'s.
and info about Native American participation in the primaries/causes.

<snip>

Poll results from North Dakota, specifically tribal manual canvassing, revealed an amazing total of 11.7 Native American votes cast in the election. North Dakotas Native American population is close to 4.6 percent of the states total population.

Almost five times more people cast votes in this years caucus then the 2000 caucus election. Close to 2,200 people voted in 2000 and 10,508 voted on February 3 this year. Of the 10, 508 votes cast this year, 1230 votes were cast by Native Americans in four major reservations and seven of the states largest cities.

What happened at the polls on Tuesday proves that Indian Country is ready to go to battle. And we are going to continue to fight in each of our home states right through to the General Election, Hall said. The 2000 Presidential election proved that out of the millions of votes cast, a President can be elected by only 500 or so votes. Indian Country has to be ready to go to the polls and re-claim the right to determine our own destiny. If we don't, we lose. It's just that simple.

http://nativetimes.com/index.asp?action=displayarticle&...

thanks for the post.
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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 11:04 PM
Response to Reply #17
24. Thank you for that article and link!
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GreenPartyVoter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 10:13 PM
Response to Reply #6
16. Not sure, but I was and am real impressed with Winona LaDuke
who ran as the Green party's Veep last time around and would dearly love to see her as Sec'y of the Interior.

http://voices.cla.umn.edu/newsite/authors/LADUKEwinona....
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Yupster Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 11:06 PM
Response to Reply #6
26. The Sioux saved Tim Johnson
last election. The reservations went overwhelmingly Democratic, over 90 %.
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ashling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 09:57 PM
Response to Original message
9. Guess which president has created the most jobs for Indians
on the Asian subcontinent?
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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 09:59 PM
Response to Reply #9
10. I give up
Edited on Sun Jul-18-04 10:00 PM by Moonbeam_Starlight
on edit: wait, bush?

By the way, I'm in Texas, too, the Dallas area
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ashling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #10
14. BINGO!
Even his fundraising is done from India.

I'm not in Texas yet, but I will be home in about 2 weeks (yea!)
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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 10:09 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. Geez seriously?
(about the Indian stuff?)
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ashling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 10:26 PM
Response to Reply #15
18. They outsourced
some fundraising calls. I can't find the link, but it was in the news a while back.

Then again, maybe the codiene from this cough syrup is getting to me.
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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 10:03 PM
Response to Original message
11. While I'm at it, the story of the Crazy Horse Memorial:
From http://www.crazyhorse.org /

Native American Leaders chose Crazy Horse for the mountain carving because he was a great and patriotic hero. Crazy Horse's tenacity of purpose, his modest life, his unfailing courage, and his tragic death set him apart and above the others.

He is a hero not only because of his skill in battle, but also because of his character and his loyalty to his people. He is remembered for how he cared for the elderly, the ill, the widowed, and the children. His dedication to his personal vision caused him to devote his life to serving his people and to preserving their valued culture.

Crazy Horse died young, his life tragically cut short. His spirit, however, remains as a role model of selfless dedication and service to others. Today, his values and his story serve as an inspiration for people of all races.

My fellow chiefs and I would like the white man to know that the red man has great heroes, too.
-- Henry Standing Bear, 1939



Korczak tells Crazy Horse's Story


Marble model copyright Korczak, Sc. When asked "where are your lands now?" Crazy Horse pointed and said:
"My lands are where my dead lie buried."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Crazy Horse Memorial is a nonprofit cultural and educational humanitarian project dedicated to the Native Americans of North America.

The foundation has three major goals: the mountain carving, the Indian Museum of North America, and the Indian University (and Medical Training Center) of North America.

Sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski wrote the following explanation of why Native American leaders chose Crazy Horse for the mountain carving:

Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse was born on Rapid Creek in 1842(?). While at Fort Robinson, Nebraska, under a flag of truce, he was stabbed in the back by an American soldier and died September 6, 1877 -- age 35.

Crazy Horse defended his people and their way of life in the only manner he knew.

BUT --

Only after he saw the Treaty of 1868 broken. This treaty signed by the President of the United States, said, "As long as rivers run and grass grows and trees bear leaves, Paha Sapa -- the Black Hills -- will forever be the sacred lands of the Lakota Indians."

Only after he saw his leader, Conquering Bear, exterminated by treachery.

Only after he saw the failure of the government agents to bring required treaty guarantees, such as meat, clothing, tents and necessities for existence which they were to receive for having given up their lands and gone to live on reservations.

Only after he saw his people's lives and their way of life ravaged and destroyed,

Crazy Horse has never been known to have signed a treaty or touched a pen.

Crazy Horse is to be carved not so much as a lineal likeness, but more as a memorial to the spirit of Crazy Horse -- to his people. With his left hand thrown out pointing in answer to the derisive question asked by a white man, "Where are your lands now?" he replied, "My lands are where my dead lie buried."

May 29, 1949
Korczak Ziolkowski, Sc.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

To be carved on the mountain in letters three feet high:



WHEN THE COURSE OF HISTORY HAS BEEN TOLD
LET THESE TRUTHS HERE CARVED BE KNOWN:
CONSCIENCE DICTATES CIVILIZATIONS LIVE
AND DUTY OURS TO PLACE BEFORE THE WORLD,
A CHRONICLE WHICH WILL LONG ENDURE.
FOR LIKE ALL THINGS UNDER US AND BEYOND
INEVITABLY WE MUST PASS INTO OBLIVION.

THIS LAND OF REFUGE TO THE STRANGER
WAS OURS FOR COUNTLESS EONS BEFORE:
CIVILIZATIONS MAJESTIC AND MIGHTY.
OUR GIFTS WERE MANY WHICH WE SHARED
AND GRATITUDE FOR THEM WAS KNOWN.
BUT LATER, GIVEN MY OPPRESSED ONES
WERE MURDER, RAPE AND SANGUINE WAR.

LOOKING EAST FROM WHENCE INVADERS CAME,
GREEDY USURPERS OF OUR HERITAGE.
FOR US THE PAST IS IN OUR HEARTS,
THE FUTURE NEVER TO BE FULFILLED.
TO YOU I GIVE THIS GRANITE EPIC
FOR YOUR DESCENDANTS TO ALWAYS KNOW--
"MY LANDS ARE WHERE MY DEAD LIE BURIED."
Korczak Ziolkowski, Sculptor
Crazy Horse Memorial, Black Hills, S. D.


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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 10:31 PM
Response to Original message
19. Our nation is built on the extermination of Native Americans...
Not to discount the measures taken by Clinton and proposed by Kerry, but they are mere crumbs compared to what really needs to be done to reconcile this thread of atrocity upon which our nation was founded.

In order to come to grips with this horrid part of our history, we have to fully acknowledge it for what it is. But to do so, would result in the ultimate unraveling of everything we believe our nation to stand for.

Quite a quandry for our "civilization", eh?
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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 10:59 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. I agree it is quite a quandry
Edited on Sun Jul-18-04 11:00 PM by Moonbeam_Starlight
there is a federal lawsuit playing out right now over some land that comprises hundreds of thousands of acres in Utah, Nevada, etc. (Dang cannot remember the name of the tribe!!) and the feds offered them something like $146 million, but some in the tribal leadership have said HELL no, we want our LAND back!

Can you imagine trying to do that? How would that WORK anyway? There are cities and homes and businesses and factories there, etc. How would that even happen?

On edit, I'd like to see more dialogue on this topic. Seems like when I was a kid, Native American issues were in the news a lot (70s) but they have all but disappeared off the national radar now and have for a while!!!
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:23 AM
Response to Reply #22
33. The reason that they were on the news in the 1970's...
... was because of the rise of a rather militant Native American movement that sought to re-establish their own sovereignty over their own affairs, and to oppose the US government by force of arms, if necessary.

That movement has been largely undermined and replaced by the issues of "Indian casinos" opened by people with 1/16 Native American blood, while the plight of those living on reservations continues to decline as time passes by.

Your example of "money for land" is just yet another episode of the same sordid play -- as soon as the white man discovers that there si some resource to exploit on Native American lands, they will find a way to swindle them out of it. It might be a monetary offer (which, of course, would then be placed in the "stewardship" of the Bureau of Indian Affairs), or it might just be some exercise of "eminent domain". In any event, you can be certain that the Native Americans (meaning the vast majority actually living on that land) will come out on the losing end of the equation.
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CatWoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 10:34 PM
Response to Original message
20. Hah!!!
Chimpy doesn't need Tonto's vote.

Look at how he's treating Blacks. He doesn't need the brothers either.

He doesn't do Indians or blacks.
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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 10:57 PM
Response to Reply #20
21. Serious topic
but thanks for making me chuckle!

He doesn't do Indians or blacks, indeed!!!

Votes? He doesn't need their STINKIN' VOTES, all he has to do is go around telling the Amish that God speaks through him!

Have I fallen into the Twilight Zone???
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CatWoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 11:02 PM
Response to Reply #21
23. BTW: I have a nephew that we call "Moonbeam"
:D
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Moonbeam_Starlight Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 11:05 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. Really?
I chose that name because it's what people expect liberals to be named! So it was sort of tongue in cheek, but Moonbeam is so nice, I almost changed my middle name to it.

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jukes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 11:31 PM
Response to Original message
27. Moonbeam_Starlight
Edited on Sun Jul-18-04 11:32 PM by jukes
Thank you very much for an extremely pertinent post.

the living conditions on reservations is appalling, a scaled down version of the disenfranchisement & genocide practiced against our oldest citizens.

the bigotry & intolerance displayed towards amerinds who leave the reservation is a continueing & unaddressed blight on this country.

thank yahweh i've got enough french blood to "pass." "jefferson" native americans are scorned by both camps.
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sofa king Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Jul-18-04 11:56 PM
Response to Original message
28. I've worked for American Indians for six years.
Now that it looks like I'm out of the business, I'd like to take this moment to reflect upon three and a half years of George W. Bush as the Great White Father.

First and foremost, let's get something straight. No President has ever done much more than pay lip service to the state of American Indians, and President Clinton was in my opinion no exception. Nevertheless, he probably was the most pro-Indian President, with Richard Nixon of all people coming in a close second place.

The sad fact of the matter is that every President has to be patiently informed that Indian tribes are sovereign entities, that the continental United States was purchased almost in its entirety from American Indians, that the purchase agreements were explicitly made without statutes of limitations or other forms of abrogation because the Indians didn't trust the Americans, and true to their instinct we broke those agreements and are now entirely liable for those agreements which we have broken and not yet redressed. American Indians exist in poverty not because they are indigent or alcoholic or broken in spirit; they are in the state they are in because you, I and all other American citizens are willing to flaunt the rule of our own law because it is inconvenient and the Indians cannot fight back. It's easy to ignore them, and someone dies every single damned day because we do.

Don't believe me? Go consult Felix Cohen's Handbook of American Indian Law, the definitive resource on the subject. Anyone who tells you Felix is wrong is one more heartless wannabe lawyer who thinks that eroding the rule of law is tantamount to changing it.

However, more than anyone, it was Richard Nixon who took the first truly positive steps toward Indian self-determination and restitution. I seriously doubt it was intentional or well meant, but in those days the courts were making their rulings without the concept of "fairness," which in Indian law usually means fair for non-Indians at the expense of Indian rights. Nixon had to do something, and he did.

Ford and Carter didn't change things much. Reagan and Gale Norton's mentor James Watt were a fucking disaster, Bush the Smarter didn't care at all, and Clinton slowly but surely improved things for American Indians to a slightly less disgraceful state.

However, most of Clinton's truly positive steps, such as streamlining land-into-trust regulations, improving Indian health care and law enforcement, and making tribal land eligible for federally subsidized luxuries such as running water, electricity, and telephone lines were made in the twilight of his second term.

Then along came George W. Bush. Bush's very first statement on Indian affairs was made during his campaign, sometime in early 2000. When a reporter asked the Yale scholar what he thought of Indian sovereignty, he brightly eschewed two centuries of Constitutional law and said, "I think tribes should be subservient to state governments."

It was all downhill from there (except of course when his damage control people came forward, lied, and said that Bush really did know and care about Indians).

One of the very first things that Bush did for American Indians was to suspend all regulations published in the Federal Register between November, 2000 and January 20, 2001. The regs remained suspended for six months, until Bush permanently rescinded many of the regulations which would have helped Indians the most.

Also about that same time, six months into his term, Bush got around to actually nominating an Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs, a highway planner named Neal McCaleb who met the two most stringent requirements: McCaleb was an Indian, and he was a Republican. It's impossible to know how good he actually was as an Assistant Secretary since his boss, Gale Norton, didn't permit him to actually do much of anything for or against Indians.

The United States is in a lot of trouble right now because when we bought America with allthose ironclad treaties, we paid the money to the Indians but kept it in trust for them. Then, we stole it and spent it on things like bailing out Chrysler. When it went to court, Judge Royce Lamberth--the same guy who sits on that double secret terra-ist court--was so appalled at the state of Indian records that he started placing federal officials (under both Clinton and Bush) in contempt of court. In December of 2001, Lamberth discovered that BIA records were wide open on the Internet. Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton responding by shutting down the BIA website.

Two and a half years later, it's still shut down. Indian tribes looking to contact the BIA now have to use expensive telephone and fax communications with their bureaucratic overlords.

Oh yeah, and the Bush Administration is working hard to pass legislation which prevents most of that $100 billion or so of Indian money from actually being paid back to the Indians. It would be inconvenient to return the stolen money to its rightful owners, even if the United States did guarantee it would be there.

Another great thing Bush did goes back to rescinding the Clinton regulations. Indian trust land is land held by the federal government for Indians, both individuals and tribes. Again (and stop me if this sounds familiar), when we set Indians up with reservations, we promised them we wouldn't steal their land anymore. Then, we stole their land. Even though it's still their land, we've now graciously offered Indians the opportunity to buy their own land back and place it back into trust in the hope that America won't steal it again. What the heck? Those Indians all have gymnasium-sized casinos in the most inhospitable and untrafficked territory this nation can provide, so they can afford it, right?

Bush pulled the regulations which allow that land to go back to its rightful owners. Then, the BIA announced that they were reexamining the regulations, which was good because Indians weren't all that happy with them anyway. But the BIA isn't reexamining the issues that make Indians unhappy. Instead, they are trying to make the process more fair for state and local governments. That's only fair, because the land that state and local governments stole from the Indians long ago now generates tax revenue for state and local governments, and it wouldn't be fair for Indians to get their fucking stolen land back without paying for it AND compensating the thieves for the lost revenue, once the thieves have been given ample opportunity to oppose and delay the process. And as far as I know, three years later, the regulations have yet to be finalized. Virtually no land has been taken back into trust for Indians since Bush took office.

Bush heroically froze funding to the Indian Health service instead of cutting it. That's good, because the IHS is already underfunded by about three billion dollars a year. The fact that this policy actually kills American citizens by denying them access to even the most basic health care is rarely mentioned by the White House.

Neal McCaleb didn't last very long as Assistant Secretary for Indian Affairs. In December of 2002 he retired. Six months after that the White House finally managed to find the other Indian Republican, barbecue restaraunt mogul "Famous" Dave Anderson. Six months after that the Senate approved his nomination. Two months after that, Dave actually went to work. Two months after that, Aurene Martin, the twenty- (or maybe now thirty-) something lawyer who has actually been running the BIA since 2001 casually mentioned to Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell that Dave had recused himself from the three most contentious issues in Indian affairs: land into trust, federal recognition, and gambling. Dave spends a lot of his time traveling to Indian schools and giving uplifting speeches to the students. The fact that it costs Dave more money to travel to one of those places than the federal government is willing to pay for an Indian student over the course of an entire year is rarely mentioned.

Probably Dave's most important contrubution to Indian affairs was the hiring of some $500 an hour motivational speakers to teach BIA officials how to send a positive message to American Indians. Isn't $500 an hour close to what it costs to give people ambulance rides? As I recall, one Indian reservation in Montana is a four and a half hour ambulance ride to the nearest hospital.

Oh, and then there's homeland security. There are twenty some tribes which have land which either adjoins a foreign border or the open sea. In keeping with the President's stated (and untruthfully retracted) policy of trying to keep tribes subservient to states, border tribes are free to ask state governments for some of those insufficient federal homeland security funds. I believe one tribe in America has actually got funds from a state government, and that's rather a miracle since tribes don't pay state taxes and are expected to patrol their borders themselves. They can't, and for the most part, they don't.

Fortunately, the United States isn't in danger of being attacked by long haired people of pigment who would like to cross our borders and pass into the unguarded interior of the country. As I said there are only twenty or so of those totally unguarded places, anyway.

And of course, there's nothing like cutting funds to law enforcement to keep people docile and happy. Bush tried to do that--in 2001, 2002, 2003, and 2004. Congress saw otherwise and held the funding below that of inflation instead. And, since Bush doesn't give a fuck about Indians, he didn't notice.

Bush is serious about leaving no child behind--except Indian children. The federal government runs exactly two school systems. One is for our children whose parents, civilian or military, are based overseas. The other one is for American Indian children. Overseas schools compared to BIA schools were funded per student at ratio of about 9:4 under Bill Clinton. That gap has widened every year since Bush has been in office.

But technically, we're not really leaving Indian children behind since they had the shittiest schools to begin with. They're still in the back of the bus, right?

You want to know what I really think? Clinton sucked when it came to righting the wrongs to which we subject American Indians to every day, and he was the best thing that ever happened to American Indians. At least he tried. Bush has taken his theories of "compassionate conservatism"--or leaving people to fend for their fucking selves no matter what we owe them by law--to scintillating heights with American Indians.

Chances are John Kerry isn't going to do jack shit, either, because you people out there don't care at all whether he does or not. He doesn't have to do anything except say he'll do something, and since there are plenty of Indian-hating assholes out there who are willing to speak up when you aren't, I can almost guarantee you he won't help them unless he is a man of truly admirable character. I hope we get a chance to find out if he is.

I loved my job, but to have to walk into that place every single day and ask myself, "okay, what's Bush gonna do to fuck over the Indians today?" was enough to drive me to the depths of suicidal depression. In its own stupid way, I nearly became one more of the myriad unnamed victims of this country's--and especially this President's--studied neglect of some of its finest people. So if you want citations, well, forget it. Once upon a time I got paid for that, until I soaked up so much pain and injustice I nearly burst.

In fact, you can all go to hell, as far as I'm concerned. You didn't really give a damn when Clinton was President and though I tried my hardest, nothing changed, then or now. But this President, when he meets his maker, is gonna find himself in a special corner of Hell called Pine Ridge, South Dakota. And I hope his spirit gets to remain there until it gets better.

There, I feel better now, even if not one of you reads this. Thanks for your patience.
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On the Road Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:17 AM
Response to Reply #28
30. Yes, Thanks
and at least you know you know a few DUers did read what you wrote and were enlightened by it.

One of my favorite things about DU is the unique experiences we are able to share with each other. And like a lot of other people, I've always felt underinformed about American Indian issues.
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Solly Mack Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:22 AM
Response to Reply #28
31. Read and appreciated.
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Astarho Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:42 AM
Response to Reply #28
32. Very good post
Unfortunatley you are right. Politicians usually just pay lip service to the Native peoples and then some actively work to screw them even more *cough* McCain *cough*

All too often policitians just talk in vague promises. An example from Kerry's own homepage:
John Kerry will work to improve homeownership and to build safe, affordable housing in Indian Country.

Unfortunately Kerry does not give specifics on just how he will do this. Repealing the Bennet Freeze Act would be a good way to start, so it's no longer illegal for people to repair their own homes.

I hope Kerry makes some real changes for the better, but I'm not counting on it.
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IrateCitizen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:37 AM
Response to Reply #28
34. I'm glad you wrote this, sofa_king...
... and even more glad I read it.

I've been aware for some time that the state of Native affairs within the US is deplorable, but your post helped bring into focus exactly how deplorable it really is -- even if it really just touched upon the depths to which we continue to exploit those from whom we first stole the land that is now "America" in the first place.

In fact, when you think about it, our entire nation is founded on the extermination campaign (yes, I said extermination and I meant it, because that's what it really was) against Native Americans. Our earliest settlers would have perished in the New World had it not been for the hospitality of the Native peoples, and we repaid their hospitality with little more than consistent deceit and thuggery (not really anything new for Western Civilization, after all). Of course, to openly acknowledge this basic fact would mean to rip apart the very foundation upon which our country was supposedly founded, and therefore it is impossible for us to acknowledge it.

In any event, thanks for helping to highlight the way in which we continue to screw over Native Americans to this day (at least those who refuse to adopt Western culture in favor of their own), and how we can hardly characterize Clinton as the "best" on Indian affairs, because he was really quite shitty on them, and only the "best" when compared to the absolute barbarity exercised against Native Americans by nearly all other Presidents throughout our nation's history.
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tkmorris Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:40 AM
Response to Reply #28
35. Post (well, reply) of the week.
Seriously. I really don't know jack-all about NA issues compared to a few folks I know, but everything I do learn is maddeningly unjust. Even at that I know more than about 95% of the population. They don't know and they don't care. In fact, their apathy is active; attempt to engage the local know-it-all in conversation on this topic and he/she will suddenly remember a root canal appointment. People don't WANT to know, then they'd have to admit the scope of the injustice and do something about it.
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moondust Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:36 AM
Response to Reply #28
37. Incredible post.
Thanks sofa king. Very informative and well said. God bless you especially for your service to Native Americans.

I care. I give what I can to AIEF but always feel I'm just squeezing my little eyedropper of colored water into the lake.

Hopefully a universal health care plan will at least correct much of that particular strain of deprivation.

I get sick when I see (most typically) Republicans abusing the power of government for the benefit of those who need it least while ignoring, indeed sometimes killing, so many Americans in real dire need.

Peace.
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RoyGBiv Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 03:15 AM
Response to Reply #28
39. Uneven Ground

Excellent post. I'm glad you took the time.

If anyone is interested, a pretty good analysis of broad history of the relationship between the federal government and tribal sovereignty, focusing a great deal on more recent issues, is a book called Uneven Ground by David Wilkins and K. Tsianina Lomawaima. It was published in 2001 and has quite a bit on things that took place in the 1990's.

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Toucano Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 12:08 AM
Response to Original message
29. Thank you for sharing this. n/t
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Zan_of_Texas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:35 AM
Response to Reply #29
36. Thanks, sofa king.
I talked with a long-time progressive, ground-breaking journalist the other day. He must be 75. I was complaining that sometimes it seems no one hears the great research and stuff I do.

He said that he knew what I meant -- that sometimes it feels like he is playing a guitar with no strings.

I heard you. Your guitar has strings.

The U.S. was founded by stealing the land of those already here, often violently. We stole the slave labor of Africans. We built the transcontinental railroad -- oops, no, the Chinese did that. We are making the world safe from weapons of mass destruction -- oops, we are the ONLY nation to ever use atomic weapons.

Now we are engaged in economic colonialism around the globe. AND, have 725 military bases around the world. The US has a total of 1,389,000 men and women on active duty. Payroll for these uniformed personnel is nearly $80 billion a year.

Yet, we have this fantasy that as a nation we are generous, kind, wonderful people.

Meanwhile, rather than roll around in pits of guilt, we could at least move toward full participation for everyone -- we could ACT like our founding documents had some meaning.

Nope. We don't even play fairly on voting. We "let" Native Americans vote like we "let" Black Americans vote.


Sorta kinda.

EDITORIAL OBSERVER

Indians Face Obstacles Between the Reservation and the Ballot Box

By ADAM COHEN
NEW YORK TIMES
June 21, 2004
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/06/21/opinion/21MON4.html?t...

When Edna Weddell, a Yankton Sioux tribal elder who gets around with a walker, tried to vote in South Dakota this month, a poll worker stopped her. She had to produce a photo ID first, she was told. Ms. Weddell's granddaughter pointed out that South Dakota law allows voters who do not have an ID with them to sign an affidavit instead, but the poll worker would not budge. Ms. Weddell was forced to retrieve her ID from home before she was allowed to vote.

That story is one of many circulating in South Dakota about Native Americans illegally turned away or harassed when they tried to vote on June 1. Another woman says that when she voted on the Pine Ridge reservation, she saw an Indian walking out of the polling place visibly upset. "They won't let me vote because I don't have a photo ID," he told her. There are more reports like this, and at least one of white election officials improperly opening a ballot box in an Indian area after the polls closed.

South Dakota has a long history of anti-Indian voting rights violations, involving many of the same tactics that were employed against blacks in the pre-civil-rights-era South: county officials who try to prevent Indians from registering, district lines deliberately drawn to keep Indians from being elected to public office, and harassment and intimidation of Indian voters and candidates.

These battles have traditionally been local, but they have begun to reverberate beyond South Dakota. The state's roughly 16,000 Indian voters, who lean heavily Democratic, have become an improbable national political force. Tim Johnson was elected to the United States Senate in 2002 by 524 votes, on the strength of late returns from Pine Ridge. Another Democrat, Stephanie Herseth, won a hard-fought battle for the state's at-large Congressional seat this month by less than 3,000 votes. This fall, when the re-election battle of Tom Daschle, the Senate minority leader, will likely be the highest-profile Senate race in the country, the Indian vote will again be pivotal.

<SNIP>

The article also says that obstacles are frequent. County officials give insufficient blank registration cards out; slippery non-requirements for drivers license become a requirement; and use other techniques to increase hurdles for Indians voting in South Dakota. The New York Times says, "the mistreatment of Indian voters is simply a discredit to American democracy."
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Tight_rope Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:42 AM
Response to Original message
38. That was an easy guess for me.
I'm reading his book and I can honestly say that I'm falling deeper in love with him with every word I read as I turn every page. I is American's BEST President. The Chimp is of course the worst!
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