Sunday, June 29, 2008

Cherokee Nation Raises the Bar on Indian Health Care

Hastings Indian Hospital Operations

As the Cherokee Nation continues to move forward with the negotiations to assume operations at the Hastings Indian Health Service facility, I wanted to offer a perspective from the Claremore Indian Hospital service area.

Rogers County Cherokees only have Indian Health Service (IHS) for clinic, hospital, inpatient contract health and outpatient contract health. Cherokee Nation only provides Behavioral Health services and Public Health Nursing Services in Rogers County.

Rogers County Cherokees do not have the luxury of picking and choosing between Cherokee Nation and Indian Health Service as their public health provider. Every day, Rogers County Indians are faced with shortages of funds, providers and services created by the lack of flexibility inherent to Federal Indian Health Service guidelines.

IHS facilities have incredible staff unable to shine under the umbrella of Federal bureaucracy.

Cherokee Nation Health Services has constantly performed better than other Oklahoma IHS facilities, from my experience. And, the level of care is comparable to private physicians in the area.

As a recent participant in the IHS negotiations, I want to thank the team of staff who gave up weeks of their lives to move this incredible opportunity forward on behalf of the Cherokee people and other tribes served by the Hastings Indian Hospital. Chief Smith's administration has kept the Tribal Council well informed about each step of the negotiations and process.

The Cherokee Nation provides a comprehensive health care system which equates to better care for the patient, expanded health services for the same dollar, additional funds and opportunities which are unavailable to Federal agencies.

If the Cherokee Nation had the opportunity to assume operations of the Claremore Indian Hospital, Indians in Rogers County would finally obtain the level of care they deserve with Cherokee Nation at the helm.

I fully support the Cherokee Nation assuming operations at the Hastings Indian Hospital.

Cara Cowan Watts
Cherokee Nation Tribal Council

(letter sent to the Tahlequah Press)

State targets Minority Children for removal from homes

Published: Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Minority children more likely to be removed from homes by state
By Jerry CornfieldHerald Writer

OLYMPIA – American Indian and black children are more likely than white children to be removed from their homes and placed in the state’s child welfare system, according to a report released today by the Department of Social and Health Services.

Hispanic children also landed more frequently in state-run care than white children, states the report.

The Washington State Institute for Public Policy compiled the data after tracking 58,005 children referred to Child Protective Services from 2004 to 2007.

“The report confirms what our social workers and our community partners are experiencing,” Robin Arnold-Williams, secretary of the Department of Social and Health Services said in a prepared statement.

To read the full report, go to

More California disenrollments

Tribe denies 50 members profits from casino

San Pasqual band says some lack Indian blood
By Onell R. Soto
June 28, 2008

A long-simmering dispute within a North County Indian band boiled over yesterday when the tribe withheld casino profit checks from about 50 people, claiming that one of their ancestors was adopted and that as a result, they're not really Indians.

The San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians, which operates the recently expanded Valley View Casino, also fired several people from tribal jobs and leadership positions after questioning their membership and said it would evict them from homes on tribal land.

“Old issues that have been sleeping in the background for 15 years have resurfaced,” tribal Chairman Allen Lawson said earlier this week.

Some of those who face exclusion from the 300-member tribe say greed is the reason they were targeted. Each tribal member gets a monthly check of nearly $4,000 from casino profits.

“It's sad because it's all about the money,” said Angela Martinez-McNeal, the tribal secretary, whose background is now questioned. “We know who we are. We've been through this.”

To be part of the San Pasqual band, people have to be at least one-eighth “blood of the band.” That limits membership to people who have a great-grandparent who is or was a full-blooded San Pasqual Indian.

“There has to be a proven degree of blood,” Lawson said. He wouldn't talk about the dispute yesterday, calling it “an internal tribal issue.”

Outside the tribal offices, a security guard blocked the driveway while a tribal member checked identification. A couple of sheriff's deputies watched from their patrol car, parked under a tree half a block away.

“We're here to keep it peaceful,” Sgt. Bob Bishop said.

Membership has become a touchy issue for tribes across the nation, especially since the growth of Indian casinos.

But it goes beyond money and extends to how people think about themselves and their families, said Tom Gamboa, an American Indian studies professor at Grossmont College in El Cajon.

“You grow up with that identity and then all of a sudden, when they say, 'No, you're not a part of us,' boy, that's harsh,” Gamboa said.

In this case, the local head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs said the tribe's actions are wrong.

Although many tribes resolve membership disputes on their own, the BIA decides those issues for San Pasqual, said James Fletcher, Southern California superintendent for the bureau.

Because the bureau hasn't had a chance to rule on this latest move, the tribe can't cut off monthly checks, fire people or kick them out of their houses while asserting that they're not tribal members, Fletcher said.

“They're members until such time as the BIA changes its mind,” he said.
And that won't be easy, because the head of the agency ruled 13 years ago that the ancestor in question was a full-blooded Indian.

“It will take something substantial to change that,” Fletcher said.
He said he has reported a “potential violation” of revenue-sharing rules to the National Indian Gaming Commission.

If the gaming commission finds that the tribe hasn't followed its plan for distributing casino profits, it can issue fines or take harsher action, a spokesman said.

The core of the long dispute is whether Marcus Alto Sr., who died in 1988, was adopted.

Three members of the five-member tribal enrollment committee said in letters to Alto's more than 50 descendants that a recently completed anthropological report concluded he was, and that they aren't proper members of the tribe.

Yesterday's flare-up is the latest in a string of membership feuds between San Pasqual tribal factions. In 2005, the BIA rejected an effort to add 212 members. At that time, the enrollment committee said it had found the people proposed for membership had more Indian blood than earlier thought.

The dispute led to a 10-day protest vigil at the tribal headquarters and heated exchanges.

The San Pasqual band has a tragic history.

It's made up of descendants of a village of about 100 people evicted at gunpoint from the San Pasqual Valley by sheriff's deputies in the 1870s to make way for white settlers. Their homeland is now the San Diego Wild Animal Park.

Over the ensuing decades, members of the tribe moved to cities and other reservations and married non-Indians. The federal government finally establishing a reservation on five parcels in Valley Center in 1910.

The San Pasqual Indians “got what pieces of land were left after the good farmland was taken,” anthropologist Florence Shipek said in a 1994 interview. “They got one of the rawest deals of anybody, because they've been separated for so long. They didn't even get a piece of their own land.”

Onell Soto: (619) 593-4958;

Friday, June 27, 2008

Oh, my, foiled by no Street Address - Where are these city officials?

(well, let's see if they can make it any harder for Native Americans to vote...*5 1/2 miles sw of Steamboat* is better than a P.O. Box?)

P.O. boxes problematic for rural voters
Native Americans foiled by lack of street address

Jun. 26, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

When is your address not your address? In the area of election law, it's when you use a post-office box number.

Three Native American legislative candidates are the subject of challenges to the signatures they gathered to qualify for the Sept. 2 primary-election ballot. Among the issues being cited for tossing their nominating petitions is the fact that some of the signers used P.O. box numbers instead of an actual street address.

That interpretation of the law creates a barrier for rural voters, especially Native Americans who live on reservations, supporters of the three candidates said at a news conference Wednesday.

"The consequences of these lawsuits can be devastating," said Isidro Lopez, vice chairman of the Tohono O'odham Nation.

It could undermine any confidence Native Americans have in the electoral process, he said.

State Sen. Albert Hale's petition signatures are being challenged by Royce Jenkins, a resident of Kykotsmovi on the Hopi Reservation. Jenkins is the likely GOP nominee for state Senate in District 2, which is represented by Hale, D-Window Rock.

Mark Haughwout, a Flagstaff Democrat seeking a seat in the House of Representatives, is challenging the validity of the signatures on the petitions of two of his opponents: state Rep. Albert Tom, D-Chambers, and Christopher Clark Deschene of Window Rock.

The challengers say their opponents' petitions contain signatures of unregistered voters as well as P.O. box addresses that are not allowed by state law.

Earlier this week, the county elections officials who must validate petition signatures said that most of the petitions submitted by the three Native American candidates were invalid due to a variety of reasons, including the use of P.O. boxes.

But supporters of the three said it is unfair and shortsighted not to accept P.O. box numbers as addresses.

Many rural residents have only a P.O. box and lack a physical street address, supporters say. And the courts and county recorders, who have to validate petition signatures, have offered up a mixed record on whether the P.O. box numbers are permissible. (see what we have to put up with?)

Rep. Tom Chabin, the fourth Democrat in the District 2 House race, is not party to any of the challenges. But he's aware of the problems posed by the requirement that those voters who lack a street address must write in a physical description of their residence's location.

One resident of the Navajo Reservation indicated his address on a Chabin petition this way: "5 1/2 mi. s/w of Steamboat."

Others contend the space for writing in such descriptions is so small as to be unusable. And for many rural residents, the P.O. box is the way they identify their residence.

The matter will be decided in a pair of ballot-challenge lawsuits to be heard Friday in Maricopa County Superior Court.

Meanwhile, Maria Weeg, executive director of the state Democratic Party, said the party will pick up the legal fees for the three candidates.

"I am actually taking a position in a primary," she said.

But not because she's trying to show favor to specific candidates, she said. Rather, this is a matter of principle.

Chabin said he fully supports his party's backing his opponents.

"I encouraged the party to do it," he said. "Native American voters are important to the party."

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a Maine law

February 20, 2008 12:02 PM PST

Supreme Court strikes down law targeting online cigarette sales

Posted by Declan McCullagh

The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a Maine law that slapped severe restrictions on sales of cigarettes via mail order and the Internet.

In their opinion (PDF) on Wednesday, the justices said a 1994 federal law trumped the Maine statute restricting sales and shipments of tobacco.

The 1994 federal law in question says that no state may enact a law "related to a price, route, or service of any motor carrier...with respect to the transportation of property."

That seems pretty clear: cigarettes are property, and the Maine regulations targeted motor carriers transporting them. But Maine says that "public health" concerns--namely, preventing kids from ordering smokes online--justified its rules.

One part of Maine's regulations said that only Maine-licensed retailers may ship tobacco to state residents. Another section said that only licensed shippers may transport cigarettes to Maine residents.

In his opinion, Justice Stephen Breyer didn't buy it. He wrote:

Maine's inability to find significant support for some kind of "public health" exception is not surprising. "Public health" does not define itself. Many products create "public health" risks of differing kind and degree. To accept Maine's justification in respect to a rule regulating services would legitimate rules regulating routes or rates for similar public health reasons. And to allow Maine directly to regulate carrier services would permit other States to do the same.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg concurred with the opinion, but said that the 1994 federal law was written to deal with the trucking industry--and Congress probably never envisioned the growth of online commerce (meaning, presumably, the rise of sites like and Ginsburg wrote:

State measures to prevent youth access to tobacco, however, are increasingly thwarted by the ease with which tobacco products can be purchased through the Internet...While I join the court's opinion, I doubt that the drafters of the (1994 law), a statute designed to deregulate the carriage of goods, anticipated the measure's facilitation of minors' access to tobacco. Now alerted to the problem, Congress has the capacity to act with care and dispatch to provide an effective solution. (Well, Congress as usual goes *overly broad* when trying to do something - they just stop all shipments via the mail, not just to kids but to everyone - they don't craft a narrow provision protecting minors (which they say is their purpose) - they just stop everyone in their tracks - and our taxes pay for this incompetence - all of the other carriers UPS, FedEx etc have made deals with the states not to ship these goods, rather than requiring proof of age - they just stop everyone from doing business over the Internet and this hurts Native American retailers)

The case was decided narrowly on federal preemption grounds, and the court did not discuss the Jenkins Act or arguments related to the dormant commerce clause. Also, for the record, the specific language at issue in the Maine statute didn't single out Internet sales (it's just that its effect was pretty Internet-specific).

Unintended consequences of H.R. 5912 - that Slippery Slope


Thomas Jefferson once said that `The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.' While the intended purpose of this bill, to prevent minors from accessing certain tobacco products, is certainly something we can all agree upon, I fear that H.R. 5912 is another step in the natural progress to which Mr. Jefferson once referred.

States have criminal laws in place to prevent minors from purchasing tobacco products and as a strong believer in this cause, I am a proud cosponsor of Congresswoman Blackburn's bill, H.R. 5513, the `Stop Adolescent Smoking Without Excessive Bureaucracy Act of 2008.' However, unlike her bill H.R. 5912 takes a questionable approach towards addressing the problem that could have unintended consequences. First, since the USPS would have to open packages to verify its contents, H.R. 5912 presents constitutional concerns involving the Fourth Amendment's protection against unreasonable search and seizures. Because of these criminal and constitutional concerns, it would certainly be more appropriately handled by the Judiciary Committee.

As a practical matter, simple tasks such as mailing cigarettes to military service members overseas would be made illegal through this bill. As the USPS has made clear, the resources needed to search for tobacco products would have to be diverted from other priorities such as confiscating illicit drugs and child pornography. Furthermore, this bill would make illegal consumers' ability to seek refunds for tobacco products through the mail. Given the myriad of tobacco regulations throughout the country, this bill proposes making it illegal to ship samples to officials sanctioned to administer tests to ensure legal compliance. That is why I offered an amendment to allow for the mailing of tobacco products under exceptional circumstances and withdrew it after receiving assurances that these concerns would be addressed before floor consideration.

As Founding Father James Wilson once said, `Government, in my humble opinion, should be formed to secure and to enlarge the exercise of the natural rights of its members; and every government, which has not this in view, as its principal object, is not a government of the legitimate kind.' H.R. 5912 is an example of a move further from, not closer to, Mr. Wilson's description of the purpose of the federal government.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Aimed Directly at Native American Internet Smoke Shops

(And this bill is another try in the long standing dispute between NY and the Seneca Tribe Smoke Shops in NY among others -

Yo Newt! See these are isolationist tactics, not a free market-

Yo Congress - get a grip you really think you're going to stomp this out - think back to the 1920s prohibition on Booze - and we still have booze; ah, I see, it's the tax you want, not the health care issue - ah, it's the money again - if they collect the tax, you'll let them use the USPS - amazing - you can't close the borders but you can close down the Native Americans business ventures - tobacco has been around and was actually used for *money* in the late 1600s and early 1700s - it's still here and probably will be for another 1000 years - now companies are firing folks if they smoke, then forcing their spouses to quit smoking even though the spouse didn't work for the company - think this is getting a bit out of hand? Anyone? Anyone?

Remember the Boston Tea party - when we had some courageous folks that dumped all that tea in Boston Harbor? Where are you taking us? You're taking us down the wrong path - this is really getting to be a sickening sight to read about - can't smoke in your own home - whose guarding the hen house here? This is really getting crazy - this is a guardianship over everyone not just the Indians anymore - and a dilution of our personal freedoms)


2d Session

H. R. 5912
To amend title 39, United States Code, to make cigarettes and certain other tobacco products nonmailable, and for other purposes.


April 29, 2008
Mr. MCHUGH (for himself, Mr. WAXMAN, Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Mr. TOM DAVIS of Virginia, Mrs. CAPPS, and Mr. MORAN of Virginia) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform


To amend title 39, United States Code, to make cigarettes and certain other tobacco products nonmailable, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


(a) In General- Chapter 30 of title 39, United States Code, is amended by inserting after section 3002a the following:

`Sec. 3002b. Nonmailability of certain tobacco products

`(a) In General- Cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and roll-your-own-tobacco--

`(1) are nonmailable matter;

`(2) shall not be--

`(A) deposited in the mails; or

`(B) carried or delivered through the mails; and

`(3) shall be disposed of as the Postal Service directs.

`(b) Civil Penalty-

`(1) IN GENERAL- Any person who violates subsection (a)(2)(A) shall be liable to the United States for a civil penalty in an amount not to exceed $100,000 for each violation.


`(A) IN GENERAL- The Postal Service may determine that a person has violated subsection (a)(2)(A) only after notice and an opportunity for a hearing. Proceedings under this paragraph shall be conducted in accordance with section 3001(m).

`(B) PENALTY CONSIDERATIONS- In determining the amount of a civil penalty under this paragraph, the Postal Service shall consider--

`(i) the nature, circumstances, extent, and gravity of the violation;

`(ii) with respect to the violator, the degree of culpability, ability to pay, and any history of prior violations; and

`(iii) such other matters as justice may require.

`(3) CIVIL ACTIONS TO COLLECT- The Postal Service may bring a civil action in an appropriate district court of the United States, in accordance with section 409(g)(2), to collect a civil penalty under this section.

`(4) DISPOSITION OF AMOUNTS- Amounts received in payment of any civil penalties under this subsection shall be deposited as miscellaneous receipts in the Treasury of the United States.

`(c) Orders- Upon evidence satisfactory to the Postal Service that any person is, for commercial or money-making purposes, engaged in the sending of mail matter which is nonmailable under this section, the Postal Service may issue an order which--

`(1) directs any postmaster, to whom any mailing originating with such person or his representative is tendered for transmission through the mails (other than a mailing that consists only of one or more sealed letters), to refuse to accept any such mailing, unless such person or his representative first establishes to the satisfaction of the postmaster that the mailing does not contain any matter which is nonmailable under this section; and

`(2) requires the person or his representative to cease and desist from mailing any mail matter which is nonmailable under this section.

`(d) Prima Facie Evidence of Purpose- For the purposes of this section, the repeated mailing of matter which is nonmailable under this section by any person or the advertisement by any person that the person will mail cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, or roll-your-own tobacco in return for payment shall constitute prima facie evidence that such person is engaged, for commercial or money-making purposes, in the mailing of matter which is nonmailable under this section.

`(e) Coordination of Efforts- In the enforcement of this section, the Postal Service shall cooperate and coordinate its efforts with related activities of any other Federal agency or of any State or local government, whenever appropriate.

`(f) Actions by States Relating to Certain Tobacco Products-


`(A) IN GENERAL- Whenever the attorney general of a State (or an official or agency of a State or local government designated by the State) has reason to believe that any person has engaged or is engaging in mailings to residents of that State in violation of subsection (a)(2)(A), the State (or designee) may bring, in an appropriate district court of the United States, a civil action to enjoin such mailings or to enforce subsection (b).

`(B) OTHER RELIEF- A State, through its attorney general (or an official or agency of a State or local government designated by the State), may in a civil action under subparagraph (A) also obtain damages equal to the amount that would be owed as State and local tobacco taxes by residents of the State and such further and other relief as the court may deem appropriate.

`(2) RIGHTS OF THE POSTAL SERVICE- The State (or designee) shall serve prior written notice of any action under paragraph (1) upon the Postal Service and provide the Postal Service with a copy of its complaint, except in any case where such prior notice is not feasible, in which case the State (or designee) shall serve such notice immediately upon instituting such action. The Postal Service, in accordance with section 409(g)(2), shall have the right (A) to intervene in the action, (B) upon so intervening, to be heard on all matters arising therein, and (C) to file petitions for appeal.

`(3) EFFECT ON STATE COURT PROCEEDINGS- Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to prohibit an authorized State official from proceeding in State court on the basis of an alleged violation of any general civil or criminal statute of such State.

`(4) LIMITATION- Whenever the Postal Service institutes a civil action for violation of subsection (a)(2)(A), no State may, during the pendency of such action instituted by the Postal Service, subsequently institute a separate civil action for any violation of subsection (a)(2)(A) against any defendant named in the Postal Service's complaint.

`(g) Definitions- For purposes of this section--

`(1) the terms `cigarette' and `roll-your-own-tobacco' have the meanings given them by section 5702 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986;

`(2) the term `smokeless tobacco' has the meaning given such term by section 2341 of title 18; and

`(3) the term `State' includes the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.'.

(b) Administrative Subpoenas- Section 3016(a) of title 39, United States Code, is amended in paragraphs (1)(A) and (2) by inserting `3002b or' before `3005(a)'.

(c) Enforcement of Postal Service Orders- Section 3012 of title 39, United States Code, is amended--

(1) in subsection (a)--

(A) in paragraph (1), by striking `section 3005(a)(1) or' and inserting `section 3002b(c)(1), 3005(a)(1), or'; and

(B) in paragraph (2), by inserting `3002b(c)(2) or' before `3005(a)(3)';

(2) in subsection (c), by inserting `3002b(c) or' before `3005(a)' each place it appears; and

(3) in subsection (f), by inserting `3002b(c) or' before `3005' each place it appears.

(d) Semiannual Reports- Section 3013 of title 39, United States Code, is amended--

(1) in paragraph (1), by inserting `3002b(b) or' before `3005'; and

(2) in paragraph (3), by striking `section 3007 of this title' and inserting `section 3002b(c) or section 3007, respectively,'.

(e) Clerical Amendment- The table of sections for chapter 30 of title 39, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 3002a the following:

`3002b. Nonmailability of certain tobacco products.'.

(f) Effective Dates-

(1) IN GENERAL- Except as provided in paragraph (2), the amendments made by this section shall take effect on the 60th day after the date of the enactment of this Act, and shall apply with respect to any mail matter mailed on or after such 60th day.

(2) SEMIANNUAL REPORTS- The amendments made by subsection (d) shall apply beginning with the report submitted for the reporting period in which occurs the 60th day after the date of the enactment of this Act.


(a) In General- Sections 3007(a)(1), 3012(b)(1), and 3018(f)(1) of title 39, United States Code, are amended by striking `409(d)' and inserting `409(g)(2)'.

(b) Effective Date- The amendments made by subsection (a) shall take effect as if included in the enactment of the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (Public Law 109-435).

Scientific Evidence Shows Secondhand Smoke Is No Danger

For the full article:

Propaganda Trumps Science

The 1992 EPA report is an example of the use of epidemiology to promote belief in an epidemic instead of to investigate one. It has damaged the credibility of EPA and has tainted the fields of epidemiology and public health.

In addition, influential anti-tobacco activists, including prominent academics, have unethically attacked the research of eminent scientists in order to further their ideological and political agendas.

The abuse of scientific integrity and the generation of faulty "scientific" outcomes (through the use of pseudoscience) have led to the deception of the American public on a grand scale and to draconian government overregulation and the squandering of public money.

Millions of dollars have been spent promoting belief in SHS as a killer, and more millions of dollars have been spent by businesses in order to comply with thousands of highly restrictive bans, while personal choice and freedom have been denied to millions of smokers. Finally, and perhaps most tragically, all this has diverted resources away from discovering the true cause(s) of lung cancer in nonsmokers.

The Cig's all about the money..

(This is an old story and I'm not sure where it came from...apparently Oklahoma is working along these lines with a long standing dispute with the Cherokee Nation. Something seriously wrong with this scene. Health care costs are going up along with everything else, check out the gas prices, and will continue to go up whether folks smoke or not - you need to regulate the Health Care COSTS - they're going to keep going up until you regulate the health care industry - and we were all told it was those nasty trial lawyers that were raising the costs of health care - now it's the smokers that are doing it - just another example of Congress sticking their head in the sand and blaming someone else for their short falls.)

Critics say the new “cigarette surveillance program” amounts to the use of “police state” tactics and wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce. ...

Starting today, state Department of Revenue agents will begin stopping Tennessee motorists spotted buying large quantities of Cigarettes in border states, then charging them with a crime and, in some cases, seizing their cars.

Critics say the new “cigarette surveillance program” amounts to the use of “police state” tactics and wrongfully interferes with interstate commerce. But state Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr says his department is simply doing its job, enforcing a valid state law while protecting Tennessee retailers who properly pay state taxes.

Agents have already been watching out-of-state stores that sell Cigarettes near the Tennessee border to “get a feel where problem areas are,” Farr said.

While declining to be specific, the commissioner said “problem areas” are generally along interstate highways with exits near the Tennessee border.

The idea is for the monitoring agent to spot a person buying Cigarettes in volume at an out-of-state market, then departing in a vehicle with Tennessee license tags. Starting today, monitoring agents spotting such a suspect will call an arresting agent who will stop the car when it enters Tennessee, he said.

The agents will work “in roving teams at random times,” he said.

“This shows once again that Reagan Farr and the Department of Revenue are More interested in turning Tennessee into a police state than doing their job of collecting taxes,” said Drew Johnson, president of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research.

Farr said the program is partly an “education initiative” to make people aware of tobacco tax provisions in state law and a response to complaints from Tennessee tobacco retailers about “streams of Tennessee license plates crossing the border” from out-of-state retailers.

“I don’t think (Johnson) or anyone else wants to see the commissioner of revenue deciding which laws passed by the Tennessee Legislature to enforce and which not to enforce,” Farr said. “If that were the case, they (legislators) could just tell the commissioners ‘get me $11 billion’ wherever you think best.”

Tennessee’s cigarette tax went from 20 cents per pack to 62 cents per pack effective July 1. All eight states that border Tennessee have lower tax rates, meaning smokers can save up to 45 cents per pack — $4.50 for a 10-pack carton — by purchasing out of state.

The border states with the lowest cigarette taxes are Missouri with 17 cents and Mississippi at 18 cents. The highest is Arkansas with 59 cents.

Kentucky and Virginia both tax Cigarettes at 30 cents a pack, North Carolina at 35 cents, Georgia at 37 cents and Alabama at 42.5 cents.

Under state law, bringing More than two cartons of Cigarettes into the state without paying Tennessee taxes is a “Class B” misdemeanor, carrying punishment of up to six months in jail and/or a $500 fine. Bringing 25 or More cartons is a “Class E” felony, with minimum penalty of one year in prison and a maximum of six years plus a fine of up to $3,000.

In addition, the specific state statute dealing with untaxed Cigarettes provides that vehicles used to transport More than two cartons “are considered contraband and are subject to seizure,” says a Department of Revenue statement.

Farr said that agents have been instructed to seize any vehicle carrying More than 25 cartons of Cigarettes without Tennessee tax stamps. In cases where three to 24 cartons are involved, he said vehicle seizure is “at the officer’s discretion.”

Rep. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, said he sees inconsistency in the enforcement program.

“This administration has been very willing to turn a blind eye to illegal aliens pouring into our state, yet, when a natural Tennessean brings a couple of cartons of smokes across the state line, they want to arrest them,” Campfield said.

He and Johnson both said the program appears to involve the state in interstate commerce, an area where the federal government is granted sole authority by the U.S. Constitution. Johnson said he hopes an arrested motorist will file a lawsuit against the program, and further predicted the state would lose.

Farr said the program does not run afoul of federal restrictions on state interference with interstate commerce.

“We’re not regulating the purchase of anything in another state,” he said. “We’re regulating the possession of contraband in Tennessee.”

An Arrow-shot Against Antismokers

Elio F. Gagliano, MD
Article Published: 18/07/2008

A study on lung cancer sure to disappoint anti-smoking crusaders comes from the May 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine, where we find a study by Ping Yang, MD, a Professor of Epidemiology at the Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota, entitled "Alpha1-Antitrypsin Deficiency Carriers, Tobacco Smoke, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, and Lung Cancer Risk".

Dr. Yang and his colleagues analyzed the impact of alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) on the incidence of pulmonary carcinoma and found what I call an arrow-shot against the anti-smokers. That is: AATD is a risk factor for the development of lung cancer independentl of smoking status. Such a finding contradicts the anti-tobacco activists who claim and propagandize that lung cancer is caused by cigarette smoke, and nothing but.

Alpha 1-antitrypsin is a protective protein produced by the liver. Its function is to protect the lungs from the neutrophil elastase enzyme, which can disrupt connective tissue. Deficiency of this protein is a genetic disorder.

for the full story:

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


This case could very well indicate how a Freedmen Case would fair in the Supreme Court, although the 1866 Treaty and subsequent Congressional modifications are not addressed in this case:

certiorari to the united states court of appeals for the eighth circuit
No. 07–411. Argued April 14, 2008—Decided June 25, 2008

(relevant portions of the case to this discussion are included here, for the full opinion:

This case has a clear discussion of Tribal Jurisdiction. The lower court opinion was reversed by the Supreme Court.

"The “fighting issue” in the tribal trial court, the Eighth Circuit underscored, “was whether the bank denied the Longs favorable terms on a deal solely on the basis of their race or tribal affiliation.” 491 F. 3d, at 891. The Longs maintained that the Bank initially offered them more favorable terms, proposing to sell the mortgaged land back to them with a 20-year contract for deed. Thereafter, the Bank sent a letter to Ronnie Long withdrawing its initial offer, “citing ‘possible jurisdictional problems’ posed by the Long Company’s status as an ‘Indian owned entity on the reservation.’ ” Id., at 882 (quoting Letter from Charles Simon, Vice President, Bank of Hoven, to Ronnie Long (Apr. 26, 1996), App. 91). In the final agreement, the Bank promised no long-term financing; instead, it gave the Longs only a two-year lease with an option to purchase that required a large balloon payment within 60 days of the lease’s expiration. When the Longs were unable to make the required payment within the specified deadline, the Bank sold the land to nonmembers on more favorable terms." (after so many years of dealing with this family, although the court cites defaults by the parties, one wonders why, with a BIA loan guarantee program the Bank would only agree to a *purchase that required a large balloon payment within 60 days"? In light of the fact that the Longs had suffered some business set backs with the loss of 500 head of cattle in a SD blizzard, certainly not within their control)

"In their complaint, the Longs alleged that the Bank allowed the non-Indians “ten years to pay for the land, but the bank would not permit [the] Longs even 60 days to pay for their land,” and that “[s]uch unfair discrimination by the bank prevented the Longs and the [Long] Company from buying back their land from the bank.” App. 173. Although the allegations about the Bank’s contracts to sell to nonmembers were central to the Longs’ lawsuit, those transactions with third parties were not the wrong about which the Longs complained. Rather, as the tribal trial court observed, the contracts with nonmembers simply supplied “evidence that the Bank denied the Longs the privilege of contracting for a deed because of their status as tribal members.” App. to Pet. for Cert. A–78 to A–79 (emphasis added)."

Tellingly, the Bank’s principal jurisdictional argument below bore no relationship to the position the Court embraces. The Bank recognized that the Longs were indeed complaining about discriminatory conduct of a familiar sort. Cf. Jones v. Alfred H. Mayer Co., 392 U. S. 409, 413 (1968) ( 42 U. S. C. §1982 “bars all racial discrimination … in the sale or rental of property”). In Hicks, 533 U. S. 353 , this Court held that tribal courts could not exercise jurisdiction over a claim arising under federal law, in that case, 42 U. S. C. §1983. Relying on Hicks, the Bank insisted that the Longs’ discrimination claim could not be heard in tribal court because it arose under well-known federal antidiscrimination law, specifically, 42 U. S. C. §1981 or §2000d. 491 F. 3d, at 882–883. The Tribal Court of Appeals, however, held that the claim arose under Lakota common law, which resembled federal and state antidiscrimination measures. See App. to Pet. for Cert. A–54 to A–55, and n. 5.3

This appears to indicate that this type of action would be better brought in the Federal Courts, although there is no indication the outcome would be any different.

"Such regulation is outside the scope of a tribe’s sovereign authority. Justice Ginsburg asserts that if “[t]he Federal Government and every State, county, and municipality can make nondiscrimination the law governing . . . real property transactions,” tribes should be able to do so as well. Post, at 8. This argument completely overlooks the very reason cases like Montana and this one arise: Tribal jurisdiction, unlike the jurisdiction of the other governmental entities cited by Justice Ginsburg, generally does not extend to nonmembers. See Montana, supra, at 565. The sovereign authority of Indian tribes is limited in ways state and federal authority is not. Contrary to Justice Ginsburg’s suggestion, that bedrock principle does not vary depending on the desirability of a particular regulation."

Although this discussion pertains to Tribal Jurisdiction - it would seem that a discrimination suit in State or Federal Courts would not be precluded - although few Indians believe they will fair well within those jurisdictions and thus often prefer to seek redress in Tribal Courts.

"But again, whether or not we have permitted regulation of nonmember activity on non-Indian fee land in a given case, in no case have we found that Montana authorized a tribe to regulate the sale of such land. Rather, our Montana cases have always concerned nonmember conduct on the land. See, e.g., Hicks, 533 U. S.,at 359 (Montana and Strate concern “tribal authority to regulate nonmembers’ activities on [fee] land” (emphasis added)); Atkinson, 532 U. S., at 647 (“conduct of nonmembers on non-Indian fee land”); id., at 660 (Souter, J., concurring) (“the activities of nonmembers); Bourland, 508 U. S., at 689 (“use of the land”); Brendale, supra, at 430 (“use of fee land”); Montana, supra, at 565 (first exception covers “activities of nonmembers”).1 "

"This general rule restricts tribal authority over nonmember activities taking place on the reservation, and is particularly strong when the nonmember’s activity occurs on land owned in fee simple by non-Indians—what we have called “non-Indian fee land.” Strate v. A–1 Contractors, 520 U. S. 438, 446 (1997) (internal quotation marks omitted). Thanks to the Indian General Allotment Act of 1887, 24 Stat. 388, as amended, 25 U. S. C. §331 et seq., there are millions of acres of non-Indian fee land located within the contiguous borders of Indian tribes. See Atkinson Trading Co. v. Shirley, 532 U. S. 645 , n. 1 (2001). The history of the General Allotment Act and its successor statutes has been well rehearsed in our precedents. See, e.g., Montana, supra, at 558–563; County of Yakima v. Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakima Nation, 502 U. S. 251, 254–255 (1992) . Suffice it to say here that the effect of the Act was to convert millions of acres of formerly tribal land into fee simple parcels, “fully alienable,” id., at 264, and “free of all charge or encumbrance whatsoever,” 25 U. S. C. §348 (2000 ed., Supp. V). See F. Cohen, Handbook of Federal Indian Law §16.03[2][b], pp. 1041–1042 (2005 ed.) (hereinafter Cohen)."

"Our cases have made clear that once tribal land is converted into fee simple, the tribe loses plenary jurisdiction over it. See County of Yakima, supra, at 267–268 (General Allotment Act permits Yakima County to impose ad valorem tax on fee land located within the reservation); Goudy v. Meath, 203 U. S. 146, 140–150 (1906) (by rendering allotted lands alienable, General Allotment Act exposed them to state assessment and forced sale for taxes); In re Heff, 197 U. S. 488, 502–503 (1905) (fee land subject to plenary state jurisdiction upon issuance of trust patent (superseded by the Burke Act, 34 Stat. 182, 25 U. S. C. §349) (2000 ed.)). Among the powers lost is the authority to prevent the land’s sale, see County of Yakima, supra, at 263 (General Allotment Act granted fee holders power of voluntary sale)—not surprisingly, as “free alienability” by the holder is a core attribute of the fee simple, C. Moynihan, Introduction to Law of Real Property §3, p. 32 (2d ed. 1988). Moreover, when the tribe or tribal members convey a parcel of fee land “to non-Indians, [the tribe] loses any former right of absolute and exclusive use and occupation of the conveyed lands.” South Dakota v. Bourland, 508 U. S. 679, 689 (1993) (emphasis added). This necessarily entails the “the loss of regulatory jurisdiction over the use of the land by others.” Ibid. As a general rule, then, “the tribe has no authority itself, by way of tribal ordinance or actions in the tribal courts, to regulate the use of fee land.” Brendale v. Confederated Tribes and Bands of Yakima Nation, 492 U. S. 408, 430 (1989) (opinion of White, J.)."

"The sale of formerly Indian-owned fee land to a third party is quite possibly disappointing to the tribe, but cannot fairly be called “catastrophic” for tribal self-government. See Strate, 520 U. S., at 459. The land in question here has been owned by a non-Indian party for at least 50 years, Brief for Respondents 4, during which time the project of tribal self-government has proceeded without interruption. The land’s resale to another non-Indian hardly “imperil[s] the subsistence or welfare of the tribe.” Montana, supra, at 566. Accordingly, we hold the second Montana exception inapplicable in this case."

*Disappointing*? Ah well, I'll let that one go. It is a well established principle in English land law, that fee simple land is alienable by the owner without restrictions, although there are some exceptions that have been carved out relating to condos and homeowner associations. See Debow, *And Still The Waters Run*, The Betrayal of the Five Civilizes Tribes, on the allotment process and how it was abused and used to defraud Indians out of their allotments.

"Even the courts below recognized that the Longs’ discrimination claim was a “novel” one. 491 F. 3d, at 892. It arose “directly from Lakota tradition as embedded in Cheyenne River Sioux tradition and custom,” including the Lakota “sense of justice, fair play and decency to others.” 440 F. Supp. 2d, at 1082 (internal quotation marks omitted). The upshot was to require the Bank to offer the same terms of sale to a prospective buyer who had defaulted in several previous transactions with the Bank as it offered to a different buyer without such a history of default. This is surely not a typical regulation. But whatever the Bank anticipated, whatever “consensual relationship” may have been established through the Bank’s dealing with the Longs, the jurisdictional consequences of that relationship cannot extend to the Bank’s subsequent sale of its fee land."

This is how the two cultures clash.

Not only is regulation of fee land sale beyond the tribe’s sovereign powers, it runs the risk of subjecting nonmembers to tribal regulatory authority without commensurate consent. Tribal sovereignty, it should be remembered, is “a sovereignty outside the basic structure of the Constitution.” United States v. Lara, 541 U. S. 193, 212 (2004) (Kennedy, J., concurring in judgment). The Bill of Rights does not apply to Indian tribes. See Talton v. Mayes, 163 U. S. 376, 382–385 (1896) (emphasis added) (this would eliminate the Freedmen's 13th Amendment Claim) . Indian courts “differ from traditional American courts in a number of significant respects.” Hicks, 533 U. S., at 383 (Souter, J., concurring). And nonmembers have no part in tribal government—they have no say in the laws and regulations that govern tribal territory. Consequently, those laws and regulations may be fairly imposed on nonmembers only if the nonmember has consented, either expressly or by his actions. Even then, the regulation must stem from the tribe’s inherent sovereign authority to set conditions on entry, preserve tribal self-government, or control internal relations. See Montana, 450 U. S., at 564.

This is where in contract arrangements, the jurisdiction would be better settled in writing by the parties involved in the agreement - of course the Bank carries all the weight, if you don't agree to their terms they don't make the loan - but it does not appear, even though the Bank was fee owner of the land, that they have dealt in a non discriminatory manner with the Longs - at least a $750,000.00 balloon payment within 60 days after a business set back of loosing 500 cows. At the least that appears to be unreasonable and unconscionable.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Chief Chad Smith Responds

Chief speaks on issues

Tahlequah Daily Press
Editor, Daily Press:

Thank you for allowing me to respond to some issues with the Cherokee Nation that have recently been of concern to letter writers who have made assertions based on error or lack of facts.

First, the name of Sequoyah Schools has changed only once in the past nine years since I have been principal chief, and that was to drop the word “High” from Sequoyah High School because we offer grades that are not high school. My dad and son graduated from Sequoyah. My daughter attends there now. I have made Sequoyah Schools a heartfelt priority and it has transitioned from a school of last resort to a school of choice for more than 400 students a year. Sequoyah students are excelling in every aspect of school life, from academics to sports. Our talented girls' basketball team powered their way to three consecutive state championships. Our students earned more than $2.2 million in scholarships this year, including eight who received Gates Millennium Scholarships, more than any other school in Oklahoma. There are no plans to change the name of this school of which we are so proud. The excellence of Sequoyah is an example a very good job being done by this administration, staff, teachers, students and families.

Second, am I trying to takeover and run W.W. Hastings? No. The staff at Hastings does a good job. We recognize this, and that is why we are offering positions to all of Hastings' staff. The Cherokee Nation knows about health care. In fact, the Cherokee Nation already operates a much larger health care system than Hastings and employs hundreds of physicians, nurses, dentists and other health care practitioners. And we do it very well. Our health system and patient base has grown and continues to thrive. We now provide more than $137 million in health care funding, an increase of almost three times the amount spent on tribal health care in 2000. More than two million patient visits have been scheduled in the past seven years at Cherokee Nation health centers, taking a tremendous burden off city, county and state health organizations. We recently built new health centers at Muskogee and Nowata and expanded facilities at Sallisaw.

Every three years, our tribal health care system voluntarily undergoes a rigorous national accreditation process through the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care, one of the most respected national accreditation organizations in the country. We have maintained that certification for nearly two decades. The certificate is a symbol that an organization is committed to providing high-quality health care and that it has demonstrated that commitment by measuring up to the Accreditation Association's high standards. The purpose of assuming operations at Hastings is to integrate our health care systems so we can provide more, better and responsive services to our Indian people.

One writer wanted to know why we didn't put this to a vote of the Cherokee people. Federal law provides tribes the option of assuming the administration and operation of health services and programs within their jurisdiction. Assuming operation of Hastings is a decision to improve health care for our people, based on study and careful consideration. The Cherokee Nation Constitution approved by the people delegates those decisions to the executive and legislative branches. The tribal government would grind to a stand still if it were required to hold a vote on every decision that comes before the administration or council. If the writer wants to vote on the issue, the Constitution provides for an initiative petition to request issues be put before the Cherokee people. Those provisions are available to the writer, just as they were available to the Cherokee people who circulated a petition receiving 3,000 signatures asking for a vote on the citizenship issue. The Cherokee people in March 2007 voted for the third time in 30 years to require Indian ancestry to be a citizen of the tribe.

One writer questions why I care about state proposals to require English-only, when I'm not a fluent Cherokee speaker. This is not about me or my wants. I have seen the disastrous impact on our people and language by the federal requirement of English-only when the [Bureau of Indian Affairs] ran our schools. Our tribal council also unanimously voted to oppose this legislation. We want the opportunity for tribal languages to flourish without the fear of recrimination that has existed in the past. I do not want our state to take a step backward. The reality is that English-only policies hurt our greatest form of intelligence: our language.

Finally, a writer wrongfully asserts I was elected without the support of local Cherokees. The certified results of our Election Commission, which are available to the public on our Web site, show I would have been elected if only local votes were counted.

During my tenure of the past nine years, our administration and council have worked together to dramatically improve every aspect of our government. I invite the writer and the general public to visit Displayed there are our annual reports, election results and other information that will allow us to discuss policy issues and what is good for the Cherokee people, rather than make personal attacks.

Chad Smith, Principal Chief

Cherokee Nation

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Off topic - my preferred energy alternative

I've not seen any discussions regarding the costs for an alternative energy/transportation source of a horse or horse and buggy...

No discussions as to whether or not the cities in CA are willing to add horse trails along side the bike lanes for in city travel with a horse and/or horse and buggy?

No discussions as to whether or not the cities of CA would be willing to grant permits for the keeping of such in a backyard big enough to house a horse for transportation purposes?

No discussions as to whether or not Congress is willing to subsidise those who wish to use this energy alternative, tax credits or US, State or Municipal reimbursement of costs associated with this energy alternative?

This would also cut down on the costs of lawn mowing and fertilizer for the yard.

Boy, would that be nice....

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I see a mess developing here

The following article can be located at:

IHS considers stopping funds for tribes requesting patient copays

Posted: June 20, 2008
by: Rob Capriccioso

In each of IHS' 12 area offices, agency officials have been busily explaining to tribal officials that treaty rights calling for federal trust responsibility are upended when copays are required of tribal members. Tribal officials have also been told that tribes that require copays could end up seeing a large number of their clients choose to go to other IHS clinics that don't require copays, and thus risk losing already-limited funds.

But one of the most important issues at hand, according to Demaray, is the fact that Congress could view widespread tribal copay collection as a big reason to further limit the agency's budget.

''We see this as kind of a slippery slope,'' Demaray said. Some Congress members, he noted, would like to see Indians paying for all of their health care needs out of their own pockets, despite treaty rights and federal trust responsibility.

The Senate's passed version of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act already contains language that would make tribal beneficiary copays lawful nationwide. IHS is opposed to the provision.

Some tribal health officials noted that tribes that don't require copays might be happy to go along with IHS' position since, if monies were limited to other tribes, more funds would theoretically be available to tribes that have followed the rules.

Nixon's *new* Indian Policy

Building on Nixon's 'new' Indian policy

Posted: June 20, 2008
by: Editors Report
Indian Country Today

A mystery of modern Indian policy is why President Richard Nixon introduced self-determination policy. Until Nixon's Indian policy, termination and assimilation ruled in Indian affairs. One might argue that federal Indian policy has not lived up to his vision.

During the 1950s and '60s, Indian activists lobbied hard against termination policies and for a new direction in Indian affairs. NCAI and Indian leaders were ultimately successful in organizing congressional opposition to termination policy. But they were less able to influence the Democratic and more liberal Kennedy and Johnson administrations in the 1960s.

Neither John F. Kennedy nor Lyndon B. Johnson were willing to make treaty relations the basis of Indian affairs, and neither were willing to reject termination policy. (emphasis added)

Termination policy is formally defined as the severance of the government-to-government relation with Indian tribes, and the ending of the trust relation of the federal government toward Indian governments, Indian assets and indigenous rights. Stewart Udall, Johnson's Interior Department secretary, once indicated that the administration was not proposing immediate termination, but rather that their policies were geared toward long-range termination goals.

Kennedy and Johnson did not view treaties as the basis of Indian relations. They saw Indians as U.S. citizens but did not emphasize treaty rights, indigenous rights or trust relations. To them, Indians were a poor minority in need of government aid and civil rights. The reconfiguring of Indians as a minority group reflected an unwillingness during the 1960s to engage in Indian affairs from the government-to-government point of view. Anti-poverty programs were designed to lift Indian people economically and socially into American society, not to support indigenous identity or communities, or to recognize and strengthen government-to-government relations. (emphasis added)

Indian activism of the 1960s had little conceptual or substantive effect on the development of Indian policies. That is not to say that the anti-poverty and civil rights agendas of the Kennedy-Johnson administrations did not support tribal communities; many tribal communities took advantage of the government programs and worked for self-determination through sub-contracting, which eventually evolved into the present-day emphasis on contracting between tribal governments and federal agencies.

Nevertheless, the Kennedy-Johnson policies remained steadfastly in an American melting pot and political redistributive mode, where Indian communities were part of America's ''unfinished business'' of economically and socially including Indian people and communities into the American mainstream. Such policies were assimilative and did not overtly recognize or support indigenous rights while emphasizing American citizenship and economic inclusion. (emphasis added)

Shortly after he took office, Nixon laid out a new direction in Indian affairs. He was the first president in the modern era to affirm treaties as the basis of the relation between American Indian communities and the federal government. This aligned American Indian policy with history, the legal reading of treaties, and the viewpoints of most American Indian community members who support treaties as the legal basis of agreed relations with the United States.

Nixon also suggested to Congress that termination policy be formally rejected. Indian communities should enjoy their legal and historical rights without the fear of termination. Economic success by an Indian community should not lead to termination. Nixon rejected assimilation as the primary focus of Indian policy, and was willing to recognize and support the building of stronger tribal governments that would express tribal culture. (emphasis added)

During the 1950s and in the Eisenhower administration, Nixon was vice president. Eisenhower supported the termination policy that was orchestrated largely by congressional House committees. Vice President Nixon probably had little influence in Indian policy, but did not officially deny termination policy. However, in 1970, Nixon directly challenged and dismantled the termination policies of the Eisenhower administration. Nixon left a legacy of self-determination policy, but presidential policies since his time have made few conceptual improvements. Several administrations have only paid lip service to self-determination policy. (emphasis added)

Nevertheless, Nixon's Indian policy is the ground rule upon which every subsequent administration has had to recognize, if not actively implement.

Tribal Membership a Tribal issue not a Congress issue

Published June 20, 2008 09:37 am -

Freedmen a tribal issue

Editor, Daily Press:

My take on the Freedmen issue is this:

First, the Cherokee Nation has a sovereign right to determine its citizens, just like the United States, France, China, or anywhere you go. Am I against the Freedmen citizenship? No, I’m not. But I am for tribal sovereignty.

The Cherokee Nation has treaties and trade agreements with France and Great Britain, dating back to the 1700s. If those two foreign nations can recognize the Cherokee people as a separate, individual nation, then why can’t our own federal government do the same? Why does our federal government think it has a just responsibility to put its nose in something that doesn’t regard it?

The U.S. has bigger fish to fry – like trying to find ways to lower gasoline prices, dealing with the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and taking care of the many bigger problems here at home in the states – than to worry about something as minor as the Freedmen issue. The Freedmen vote was the Cherokee people exercising their sovereignty; they had spoken as to who is Cherokee, and who isn’t.

The new cliché says it all: “The Cherokees should decide who’s Cherokee, not Congress.” Just like our government, they decide who’s American and who’s not, but nobody will ever hear of Native Americans trying to sue the federal government because they allowed, or disallowed, a Hispanic, Cuban, French, German, or anyone else American citizenship, because that’s the government’s sole right as an individual nation.

Same goes for Native American tribes. If a person isn’t Native American, then he or she doesn’t belong in a Native American tribe. It’s that simple.

Anthony D. Gritts, Keetoowah Band of Cherokee member

Not a Risk - the Right Way to Resolve the Issue

Published June 20, 2008 09:44 am

Tribe's actions risky

Editor, Daily Press:

The Cherokee people in Oklahoma know that Chief Smith and his administration called for and pushed the Freedmen legislation through our tribe. (it was put to a vote, for heavens sakes, we didn't *have to vote* one way or the other - but the vote was democratic - so again he's blaming the Chief - this is just so ridicules) Smith, along with his paid “Team Cherokee” slate, carried petitions and organized rallies against the Freedmen, throughout the 14 counties. What did not happen was an informed presentation of both sides of the issues and any discussion of consequences was ignored. (Say, what? - What part of *they are not Cherokee* doesn't Sean understand?)

Sovereignty is based on retained rights. By signing the Treaty of 1866, we treated away the right to exclude the Freedmen. (What is it that folks can't get about *Congress with subsequent acts, modified that Treaty, which they could do and which they did!) The consequences of such an action has already been litigated twice in the Seminole I and II cases. The Seminole went unrecognized for three years and they are still hurting from the federal cost. (I agree this is outrageous, but it was Congress that did this not the Seminole - this is not necessary or right or *God's white path* to treat people like this...and don't' forget, these are all US Citizens as well - of course we don't treat our US Vets much better - not to mention when ever congress does this type of thing, they themselves violate treaties as well - you see, the Tribes were promised to be *taken care of* by the US when they lost all their land and were moved onto reservations, except the Five Tribes whose land was parcelled out among the individual Indians, who were later swindled out of it) (we are not the Seminole's by the way)

The people’s voice is of the utmost importance in any democracy, but what leadership ignores standing law and puts their people’s jobs and livelihoods at risk? (so what part of the people's voice did the Chief ignore - there was a democratic vote on the issue - the Chief followed that vote) There are legal ways to accomplish the same goals: passing a bill through Congress first, like the Osage, or passing a blanket blood quantum similar to the Eastern Band of Cherokees, at 1/16th by blood. (so is Mr. Nordwall saying what we've done is not legal? This is just shear nonsense - and yes, another good way to terminate the tribe is with this blood quantum nonsense - Mr. Nordwall supports total control by Congress into the internal affairs of the Cherokee Nation - this is contrary to court opinions and current congressional acts - Congress has spoken on the Freedmen issue, they just don't like the result.)

Cherokee cultural preservation is no answer to exclude the Freedmen and only raises more questions. Why would Smith’s administration allow adopted whites for eight years? (*adopted* is only used on the Dawes Roll and it used in reference to those that had intermarried - so there was a Cherokee married to a white and they were considered Cherokee by Intermarriage, that is the way they are referred to on the Dawes cards) Why terminate the Delaware and make them Cherokee? (Congress did this by lumping the Delaware with the Cherokee, they are however, still a separate Tribe even today - Congress may not recognize that, but the Indians do) We have culturally accepted many people into our tribe, based on the tenets of God’s law, which is inclusive of all his creation. We must stay on God’s white path. (God's white path doesn't include cutting off funds to thousands of Cherokee's to force them to include non Cherokee onto their rolls. Congress is not God, by the way)

Smith’s administration and slate members are quick to blame others for issues they can resolve today, if they wished. Instead, they showboat and put Cherokee jobs, health care, social services, housing and education programs at risk by pursuing their legislation, right to the end. They are gambling with your jobs, against 100 years of precedent. (Earth to Sean! Where is the risk of waiting for the outcome of a court decision? This isn't anymore riskier than going to the market - then we all know what to do, once the courts have decided - until then we've got two competing theories that just keeps going and going and going and going at least for the length of my life time - should we not get it settled before our grandchildren need to deal with it? )

I believe this issue speaks volumes about Smith and his slate’s leadership. Tribal preservation is more important than a chief’s political aspirations. Your jobs and the economy of northeastern Oklahoma shouldn't be put at risk by political theater orchestrated by Smith and his paid slate. (The Cherokee Nation has the right to govern their internal affairs - so are the Chief's aspirations any different than any other member of the Congressional Black Caucus? Give it a rest Sean! Let the Courts decide.)

Sean Nordwall, Cherokee citizen Scottsdale, Ariz. (and apparently part time in San Clemente, CA - Sean quit being part of the problem and bring some solutions to the table)

Editor’s note: Chief Smith has written a letter responding to these and other issues, which will be published in the Sunday Press.

(The real problem with those of us that live outside the Cherokee Nation is and I think Sean's letter shows this to be a prime example, we're always trying to fit in with those in the 14 counties of the Nation in Oklahoma, although because we have moved away or at least our parents moved away from Oklahoma, many back there consider us traitors - what the Chief has done for those of us outside the 14 counties is helping us to develop communities within our areas and giving us a voice on the council - I don't know about Sean, he's rather young, but traveling back and forth to Oklahoma, like many back there prefer that we do, to *be Cherokee* is just unreasonable and at the current price of gasoline practically impossible; or to move back to the 14 counties to *be Cherokee* and even then many reject those that do so - SO THANK YOU, CHIEF SMITH, FOR GIVING US OUR CULTURE WHERE EVER WE LIVE! I don't know how all this will turn out but at least for the time being we can be Cherokee even if we don't live in Oklahoma or speak Cherokee)

Monday, June 16, 2008

CA Tribes and Public Law 280

Calif. tribe, sheriff battle over sovereignty

Blood has been shed over who will enforce law on reservation

By David Kelly
June 15, 2008

SAN JACINTO, Calif. - After leading the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians for nearly three decades, Robert Salgado is facing one of his greatest challenges - to set aside years of suspicion and to trust the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

It hasn't been easy.

For the past three weeks, the two sides have met behind closed doors to prevent the kind of violence that led to the deaths of three tribal members in shootouts with deputies in May.

Salgado says the path for the sheriff's department is clear.

for the rest of the story:,0,927903.story?page=1

Native Mothers and Children at Risk with this ruling

Court strikes down portion of child welfare law

By Nick Hytrek Journal staff writer

The Iowa Supreme Court on Friday ruled a portion of the state's Indian Child Welfare Act unconstitutional, saying that it violated parents' substantive due process.

The court said that the state's law infringed upon a Sioux City mother's parental rights to choose her child's adoptive parents. The ruling leaves the bulk of the Iowa ICWA in place, addressing only a section that the court said placed too high a burden on parents wishing to deviate from the law's child placement preferences.

"While providing additional rights to the tribe is the prerogative of the state, those rights may not come at the expense of the parent's or child's rights," the court wrote in its 20-page ruling.

The court returned the case to Woodbury County and directed the district court to consider whether the mother can deviate from placement preferences under federal ICWA placement rules.

The federal Indian Child Welfare Act gives family members and American Indians preferred status in the placement of American Indian children in foster care or adoptive homes. Iowa's ICWA also requires tribes to be notified of all hearings in such cases.

The mother, an enrolled member of the Tyme Maidu Tribe of the Berry Creek Rancheria in California, gave the child up for adoption in 2006 and chose an Arizona couple as the adoptive parents.

The tribe challenged numerous Woodbury County Juvenile Court rulings, saying the court did not follow ICWA requirements during parental rights termination proceedings. The tribe's main argument was that it should have been given notice before custody of the infant was transferred from the mother so that the tribe could assert its right to preferred placement under Iowa law.

Courts in other jurisdictions, the Supreme Court said, have found good cause under federal law to deviate from placement preferences where the parent sought to place her child with a non-American Indian family. Under Iowa's ICWA, a parent's request is not sufficient to deviate from the preferred placements.

"The state has no right to influence her decision by preventing her from choosing a family she feels is best suited to raise her child," the court wrote. (True, but is she really *choosing* or being heavily influenced by the State Child Protective services? I seriously doubt this is a genuine choice here. Let's consider whether after years of Native abuse by whites, this mother decides her child would be better raised by *whites*, is that really a choice? or a choice she will regret in later years? Is a *choice* made under duress a real choice? If the courts really considers the child in this case, retaining contact with his Native Heritage will be of paramount concern. Choice in these types of cases means *you will choose as the State tells you*, which is really no choice at all.)

Attorneys representing the tribe and the mother declined to comment because the case is still pending. The child continues to live with the prospective adoptive parents.

To read the full opinion, go the Iowa Judicial Branch Web site at and click on "Supreme Court Most Recent Opinions."

Native American Ministries come into their own

Native Americans form affinity group at SBC

By Norman Jameson
BR Editor
Baptist Press

Representatives from about 15 of the largest tribes in the nation created the Fellowship of Native American Christians (FONAC) during a meeting June 9 preceding the Southern Baptist Convention in Indianapolis.

Native American leaders initiated FONAC at a 2007 meeting in San Antonio when they decided to create a group to increase networking, fellowship, leadership and ministry opportunities. They adopted a constitution June 9 and elected Emerson Falls of the Oklahoma Creek Nation as president. He is pastor of Glorieta Baptist Church in Oklahoma City.

Other officers include Donnie Coulter, vice president, who works with First Nation's people in Canada; Lumbee Timmy Chavis, treasurer; pastor of Bear Swamp Baptist Church in Lumberton; Bruce Plummer of the Assinboine Nation and a missionary and pastor in Montana, secretary; Gary Hawkins of the Oklahoma Creek Nation, assistant treasurer.

Ledtkey McIntosh, national missionary with the North American Mission Board, encouraged formation of a Native American Fellowship to assist in starting a church planting network among Native Americans.

"We see this fellowship as being broader, including information sharing and fellowship," said Mike Cummings, director of missions in the Burnt Swamp Association, a Lumbee Indian association centered in Lumberton, with churches from Maryland to South Carolina.

"In creating FONAC we see it as that place where we all come to find out what the issues are, what the needs are. This will facilitate our coming together as native people and finding out about life in the native community in America."

More directly, the organizers grew from the church-planting concept to creating a fellowship "to make some noise about our presence in this denomination," Cummings said. Too often, Indians are "an invisible people."

One of the loudest noisemakers possible came just the day after FONAC organized when Johnny Hunt, a Lumbee Indian, was elected president of the Southern Baptist Convention. His ethnicity was never an issue.

FONAC will meet in conjunction with the annual Southern Baptist Convention each year. There are just over 450 Indian churches nationwide, according to Plummer. "We want to be Indians reaching Indians."

To date, Plummer said, Southern Baptist efforts have been "relatively ineffective" since less than one percent of the Indian population has been reached after 75 years of trying. "We can draw strength from one another and reach Indians rather than white missionaries which traditionally have been doing the work," he said.

At one time there were as many as 800 identifiable tribes in America, a number that has dropped to 500. There are 6.5 million Indians in America and collectively Indians are one of fastest growing ethnic minorities. Plummer, from a family of seven, has eight children.

As many as 50 million Americans contain a recognizable degree of Indian blood, he said.

Instead of being a part of the mission field, Indians want to be "full partners with you in the mission force," said Larry Locklear, pastor of Island Grove Baptist Church in Lumberton, N.C.

Plummer said Indians in the west, particularly, see Christianity as "white man's religion."

"There is only one God," Plummer said. "He died for Indians just like anyone else. But they ask me, 'If God really loved us and wanted to save us, why did it take 1,500 years for Him to come and tell us?' Hearing it from an Indian makes a significant difference." (Because the white man was interpreting things and they closed out the Native American)

Locklear said Burnt Swamp Association has been doing mission projects across the nation for more than 20 years. "But a lot of our emphasis has been going to the same places doing the same thing over and over," he said. "With a network to better connect resources with needs we could do a better job."

Chavis said North Carolina's Lumbee worked directly with members of the United Houma Nation to help in Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

In American, Indian populations are the "poorest of the poor." They have the highest suicide rate, the highest school dropout rates and live in the toughest social conditions, said the new officers.

Cummings pointed out the experience of eastern and western Indians can be vastly different. "On the east coast we don't know reservation life at all," he said. Seven reservations in Montana cover one-seventh of the state and at one time, Indians in the west were confined to the reservations.

for more information on Native Ministries - that look and feel Native:

Eagle's Wings Ministry:

Wiconi International:

Huh, amazing what Congress can Do

(BIA must be on Indian Time - Dorgan and Congress run on wall time - cultural difference there.)

Washington in brief

Posted: June 13, 2008
by: Jerry Reynolds
Indian Country Today

Dorgan demands a hurry-up from Interior on N.D. oil, gas approvals

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., issued a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs report June 6 excoriating the BIA as a constant obstacle to energy development on tribal lands in North Dakota, along with a letter to Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne demanding immediate action to surmount the problems.

Interior has responded, and efforts are going forward to schedule a meeting between Kempthorne, the North Dakota senator and North Dakota tribal leaders, according to a Dorgan spokesman.

On June 11, 1996, Arizona Sen. John McCain, the current Republican entry in the November presidential elections, addressed the BIA's managerial follies over the trust funds as then-chairman of the SCIA: ''The days of BIA mismanagement may be numbered. ... Patience in Congress is very thin.''

The Dorgan report and letter to Kempthorne made it plain that if Congress or McCain have any patience left for bureau management practice 12 years later, he does not. Continuing an often frustrated campaign to reform the bureau during his tenure as SCIA chairman - and notwithstanding the home-state focus of the report, his letter asserts for Kempthorne that he seeks bureau-wide reform for the benefit of every tribe - Dorgan stated that the BIA's ''demonstrated incompetence'' is canceling any opportunity for North Dakota tribes to prosper from proven energy resources on their lands.

The specific incompetencies alleged in the report are dramatic understaffing in BIA realty compared to expressed levels of interest in tribal oil and gas development, a 49-step lease and permit compliance process compared with a four-step process for private lands in North Dakota, and critical leadership vacancies nationally and in North Dakota.

In his letter to Kempthorne, Dorgan explained that 49 lucrative oil-drilling rigs operate on private lands that border the Fort Berthold reservation on three sides, but only one operates within it. ''Frankly, none of this makes any sense to me. To have aggressive oil development occurring virtually everywhere except on Indian lands is denying Native Americans the opportunities they should expect to be receiving.''

Dorgan also continued a theme that emerged, more vehemently, at a recent committee hearing: ''The BIA is a bureaucratic mess that needs to be reorganized and re-energized. If that proves impossible, then maybe it ought to be replaced with an organization that will take effective action to help improve the lives of American Indians.'' (hmmm, but replace it with what? or is this just a call to change *people*? maybe the BIA in the past has met so much flak from the folks in ND over trying to help the Native populations there, they just gave up - ND and SC by the way have been the very worst of the worst on their Native populations)

Committee subpoena promised for OMB over BIA jails

In unscheduled remarks before a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs hearing June 6, Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said he hopes to invoke the committee's subpoena powers to force release of a report on BIA jails.

The Office of Management and Budget, the White House liaison with Congress on all-important fiscal and management allocation issues, withheld the report in May after numerous prior delays, Dorgan said. He implied that the Interior Department and its subordinate agency, the BIA, steered the decision to suppress a public-interest, taxpayer-funded report that happens to be highly critical of them. ''It is outrageous and arrogant of the BIA and the Interior Department to withhold it.''

He added that it's ''tough luck'' if the OMB doesn't like being subpoenaed. (hmm, just amazing what Congress can do, just amazing, where have they been all these years?)

He said a vote of the committee to issue the OMB a subpoena could come at the next SCIA business meeting, which has not been scheduled.

BIA detention facilities became the subject of withering criticism from Interior's Office of Inspector General in 2004. In the turbulent wake of the ''Neither Safe Nor Secure'' reports, other critics have cited a shortfall in congressional funding of BIA law enforcement as a leading reason for the mostly grim findings. Dorgan and other lawmakers have responded in part by pressing agency officials to account for a perceived lack of fight in their funding requests to the administration.

Gila River ratifies U.N. Declaration on Indigenous Rights

The Gila River Indian Community Council on May 21 became the first federally recognized tribe known to have ratified the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of Sept. 13, 2007, according to an online release from Shannon Rivers, an Akimel O'odham (formerly Pima) tribal community member.

The sole priority claimed by Rivers for Gila River could not be verified to a perfect certainty before press time, but council secretary Kristina Morago confirmed a 12 - 0 vote of the Gila River governing body for a resolution affirming the declaration. The resolution ''recognizes and affirms'' the U.N. declaration ''as an expression of the minimum [emphasis in the original] standards of recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples and members of the Gila River Indian Community.'' It also authorizes ''all steps necessary'' for the governor to carry out the resolution's intent.

The declaration, acclaimed by indigenous peoples worldwide, is not legally binding on national governments. But only four U.N. member nations, including the United States, have declined to ratify it.

In language suited to the singular occasion, Rivers hailed the vote as ''a precedent-setting, hallmark move of commitment and solidarity with Indigenous Peoples worldwide ...''

He credited the efforts of numerous groups and individuals leading up to the occasion, and noted that community members have worked behind the scenes with ''neighboring relatives, concurrently affirming its inherent right to self-determination and standing in solidarity with the Pee-Posh, Salt River, Thono O'otham, Ak-Chin and O'othams relatives located south of the United States-Mexico border.''

Rivers gave it as his hope that the declaration's 46 articles become customary law, and invited other first nations to follow Gila River's example.

A press release from the governing community council had not become available at press time.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Our Spirits Don’t Speak English

Rich-Heape Films Releases New Documentary

“Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School”

Dallas — Street Date June 10, 2008 —Native American owned Rich-Heape Films announces the release of “Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School,” a documentary that examines an educational system that was designed to destroy Indian culture and tribal unity.

When it began in 1879, the philosophy of the Indian boarding school system was “to kill the Indian and save the man,” the mission statement of Captain Richard Henry Pratt, founder and superintendent of Carlisle Indian Industrial School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania until 1904.

Jim Thorpe (Sauk and Fox), the iconic hero survived the boarding school system. Grace Thorpe (Sauk and Fox), his daughter, in her last interview before she passed away on April 4, 2008, discusses boarding school experiences in the new documentary.

The battle against and the victory over the boarding school monster is told by educators, former and current students who were interviewed at Carlisle; Sherman Indian School, Riverside, Calif.; Sequoyah High School, Tahlequah, Okla.; Anchorage, Alaska; and other locations.

One of the most compelling is an interview with Andrew Windy Boy (Chippewa/Cree), from which the title is taken.

Windy Boy, who attended boarding schools in the late 1960s and early 1970s, talks about the assault on his culture.

“[They] took me to the boarding school where I wasn’t allowed to talk my native tongue or practice my native ways.

“I didn’t know any other language so whenever I’d talk, it would come out. Cree would come out. And whenever I’d talk, I’d get hit.

“We met Andrew Windy Boy in 2002 while on the Summit Lake Paiute Reservation in northern Nevada. Andrew’s oral history of his boarding school experience was the inspiration for this film,” says Steven R. Heape, Cherokee Nation Citizen and executive producer of Rich-Heape Films.

“Andrew’s story is not one you will find or hear in the public school system. He and other survivors of the boarding school system truly have my respect for what was endured just for being an Indian child. This is a story that must be told and not forgotten,” Heape said.

In addition to Grace Thorpe, participants include Henrietta Mann (Southern Cheyenne), Ph.D., endowed chair in Native American Studies at Montana State University – Bozeman, and Daniel R. Wildcat (Yuchi of the Muscogee Nation), Ph.D., co-director of the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Center and member of the faculty of American Indians Studies.

Gayle Ross, renowned Cherokee storyteller and Great Granddaughter of Chief John Ross, is host and narrator of the film.

August Schellenberg narrated the opening introduction statement.

Screenwriter of the film is Dan Agent (Cherokee/Choctaw), former editor of the Cherokee Phoenix from November 1999 through 2006, original story by Karl Tipre.

“Our Spirits Don’t Speak English; Indian Boarding Schools” is the latest addition to the Native-owned film company’s portfolio of award winning films, that includes “Trail of Tears: Cherokee Legacy,” released in 2006 and chosen “Best Documentary Feature” at the 31st Annual American Indian Film Festival.

For a link to a trailer and an excerpt of the interview, visit

“Our Spirits Don’t Speak English: Indian Boarding School” and other Native American productions by Rich-Heape Films may be purchased at or call toll free 1-888-600-2922 or (214) 696-6916.


For more information, press only:
Steven R. Heape, (214) 696-6916,

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