Monday, March 31, 2008

More distorted truth about the Cherokee Nation

Another example of how this is trying to be *spun*...all of these *stories* fail to include, that these 1. Freedmen are not Cherokee by Blood, they do not have a Cherokee Ancestor on the Dawes Roll; 2. Indian Tribes are sovereign Nations and as such have the right like any other country to determine who is or is not a Citizen 3. Freedmen with Cherokee by Blood or Ancestry and that are on the Dawes Roll are citizens of the Cherokee Nation.

Most articles like this are written by Freedmen or their supporters and continue to distort the facts of what is really going on. We just think you should be Cherokee to be a Citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

The Freedmen's identity is not within the Cherokee Nation regardless of how they came to be associated with the Indian Tribes - their identity is with other freed slaves and they should push to retain that identity rather than trying to *become* Cherokee. They can still get all the benefits they get from the Cherokee Nation through the U.S. Government, that after all is where we get the funding for those benefits. However, Watson would like to see all that funding cut and it is in fact the Freedmen that are pushing for Watson's Bill in congress.

http://www.morungexpress.com/index.php?news=5076

"In the United States, the Cherokee Nation voted earlier this year to exclude the Cherokee Freedmen. These are black and multiracial Indians who fled slavery and found sanctuary with the tribe and then were forced west with their Cherokee brethren to Oklahoma along the Trail of Tears. Cherokee leaders argue that it is their tribal right to determine who is a member of the tribe. But for the 2,800 disenrolled Freedmen, the decision is a wounding blow to their identity, not to mention their well-being. As a result of the decision they will lose their share of tribal housing, healthcare, voting, and other rights. The decision has sent shudders through mixed-race Indians from other tribes. They worry that Native American tribes have absorbed discriminatory attitudes long directed against them by whites."

And Watson wants to continue the ethnic cleansing by terminating the Cherokee Nation

We should atone for our 'aboriginal sin'

03/29/2008

Morning Sentinel

http://kennebecjournal.mainetoday.com/view/letters/4884582.html

We usually think of ethnic cleansing and apartheid as occurring in other lands. But we have our own historical brand of these offenses against humanity. Under the banner of "Manifest Destiny," our Europe-derived ancestors decimated the Native American population and displaced the survivors to undesirable tracts of land.

The "apartness" of these peoples has been buttressed, not by military checkpoints, but by an indifferent Bureau of Indian Affairs and a complacent public. Indian reservations are among the poorest areas of rural America, with the poverty-associated problems of inadequate education and unemployment.

A small spark of justice was ignited in January when Appeals Court Judge James Robertson ruled that the Interior Department "unreasonably delayed" its accounting for billions of dollars owed to Indian landholders.

The Blackfeet Nation claimed in Cobell v. Kempthorne, filed in 1996, that the government has mismanaged more than $100 billion in oil, timber and other revenues held in trust since 1887.

The judge said that a remedy must be found for this breach of fiduciary duty over the past century. It remains to be seen how fully the government complies with the court's finding.

Professor Jay Adler has called our treatment of native people our "aboriginal sin."

It may not be possible to return all their land, but we can continue the process of atonement initiated by Robertson's ruling and restore to Native Americans some greater equality of opportunity and dignity.

Charles W. Acker
Whitefield

Friday, March 28, 2008

Earth to Newt...

Ok, this is a little off topic here....:) However, I saw a speech Mr. Gingrich gave to the American Enterprise Institute, I think it was yesterday...

Among his comments, I'm paraphrasing here: The problem with Native American Culture, among others, is their Culture...once again promoting the white idea we live differently and therefore need again to be brought up to white standards...always amazes me how they continue to want to spend our tax money and then blame us for not making enough to supply their enormous insatiable appetite for more money....

Well, Duh!!

Again paraphrasing, he believes that common ownership of property and no entrepreneurial activities is the failing of the Native American Community to come out of what? poverty....

Well, Newt, apparently you need to go back and read your history of American (European) and Native American history ...

American Policy: 1600s/1700s - Native Tribes were treated as separate governmental entities with which the Europeans made numerous treaties....few were ever followed or enforced...Tribes were literally rounded up and put on *reservations* and in some cases, the Indians were not even allowed to leave the reservations!! This, I remind you was done by the early American Government....so this was Native America's fault?

Native American culture included - hunting, fishing and farming always able to take care of their families. In the case of the Cherokee they were farmers in the South Carolina area....and what did the Americans do in 1838? They moved the entire Tribe to Oklahoma...then in the 1870s the Dawes commission gave their land to individual Indians...then in the early 1900s...they decided to tax that land and let the individual Indians sell their property...and due to sneaky practices, most lost their land....all documented in Angie Debo's book see previous post on where to purchase same.

The American government had set up a trust relationship to lure the Indians onto reservations. The US Government would take care of them....you want to blame someone, try blaming government Indian policies...don't look at the mess you created and blame Native Americans. Yeah, some tribes are isolated, that's what the folks and government wanted in those days they were rounding everyone up...now you complain we're isolated...hmmmm....

We're constantly at the whim of Congress - take a look at the Watson Bill....hope, where?? Native American Tribes have never gotten a fair shake when it comes to the US government, you've always wanted our land, took it and then can't figure out what Native Americans are doing wrong....

I say, just leave us alone....get off our backs...take your thumb off us....we can't afford you....

We can't fly with the Eagles when we're surrounded by turkeys....

Saturday, March 22, 2008

and herein lyes the problem with dealing with the Freedmen

When Cherokee Citizens raise any questions about Freedmen citizenship, we are immediately called racist - but as you can see from this article Blacks can freely complain or criticize any other ethnic group without fear of reprisal.

Obama's problem with white voters

James Pennington, American Thinker

The racial dimension of Barack Obama's electability problem is now apparent, but no prominent Democrat dares discuss it openly. Similarly expect no discussion of the subject in the major media.

The white working class vote

I am not referring to the ongoing and intense discussion of The Reverend Jeremiah Wright. Wright is a separate problem for Obama. Whether Obama has been, or will be, permanently weakened by his long and close association with Wright, or has soared above it with his Philadelphia speech, is not the subject of these thoughts.

Something much simpler than the answer to that question has been starkly apparent for some time, certainly since well before the Wright eruption: Consistently, and by large margins, Obama has lost the white working class vote to Clinton in all states critical to the Democratic ticket this November. The lurking suspicion - impossible to verify or refute - is that much of Clinton's handsome portion of this demographic will not go to Obama in the November election.

This has grave implications for a Obama, at least in Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Working class whites have voted heavily for Clinton in these states (or, in the case of Pennsylvania, will soon do so). The return of the Reagan Democrats, not the odious fulminations of Reverend Wright and their consequences, is what is now driving Democratic Big Wigs to the bourbon cabinet. Predictably, the media either refuses to acknowledge this now established voting pattern or, in some cases, actually denies its existence.

The latest example of denial is by Dan Balz, staff writer for the Washington Post, who remarked in his March 17, 2008 article purporting to analyze the white male vote, that Wisconsin (where Obama did relatively well among white males overall) and Ohio (where Clinton crushed him, 66-33%, among white working class males) are "states with striking similarities." It appears Mr. Balz has not looked at the two states closely and thoughtfully. In the crucial details of racial demographics, Ohio and Wisconsin are worlds apart; and it is through these details that Obama's white working class problem can be understood.

A tale of two states

Here are some pertinent facts about Wisconsin and Ohio: Wisconsin has about 5.5 million residents, Ohio about 11.3 million. Wisconsin is about 89% white and 5.7% black, while Ohio is 85% white and about 11.5% black. The small (but statistically significant) difference in percentage of blacks living in the two states was the least part of Obama's problem in Ohio. Obama's real difficulty in Ohio - and it has been a consistent one for him in similar states - is the widely dispersed and interwoven location of the two racial groups in that state, versus their relative isolation from each other in Wisconsin. Here, I warn the reader, we are entering emotionally rough terrain for those schooled only in the mandatory American racial catechism of the last forty years.

For at least the last two generations America's racial policies have been predicated on a near religious belief that increased contact between the races will produce harmony, good feelings and positive relationships. Our experience during this period has been uniformly the opposite. Urban white liberals have fled the public schools by the hundreds of thousands, self-segregation by blacks on university campuses is widespread, resentment in the workplace (by both races) ubiquitous etc. In his Philadelphia speech Obama himself referred - perhaps the first such reference by a black politician without open contempt - to the concerns that many white Americans have about blacks.

The salient fact is this: in settings where the two races deal more directly with each other, and get to know each other better, through shared public schools, workplaces, public conveyances, universities, etc., they seem to like each other less, not more.

This fact is laid bare, at least for anyone willing to see it, by the Democratic primary results thus far.

Consider the following additional facts about Wisconsin and Ohio, those states with "striking similarities."

In Wisconsin more than 75% of the black population resides in the Milwaukee area, a metropolitan area that accounts for only 32% of Wisconsin's total population. This means that in Wisconsin the white portion of 68% of the state's population (which is more heavily white than the state as a whole because of the concentration of blacks in Milwaukee) rarely if ever encounters blacks. Thus, for a high proportion of Wisconsin whites, blacks are abstractions, approached most closely by turning on Oprah.

Now consider Ohio: to begin with, the black population, in percentage terms, is nearly double that of Wisconsin (11.5% versus 5.7%). But its dispersion within and among the white population is the real difference between the two states' racial demographics. In Ohio 80% of the state's 11.3 million residents reside in the eight largest metropolitan areas (Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo, Akron, Dayton, Youngstown and Canton). These cities contain, in the order listed, 24%, 51%, 43%, 24%, 28%, 43%, 44% and 21% black residents. Thus, in Ohio a very high percentage of the white population, particularly its working class component, has regular contact with blacks, or, if living in outer suburbs, has direct contact with other whites who do.

The widely disparate residential patterns of the races is obvious: in Wisconsin, the vast majority of whites live, work, shop, and send their children to school in a world that includes few if any blacks; in Ohio the reverse is true, and the races regularly brush up against each other in all these categories of daily life. Judging from how well Obama did among white voters in these states (satisfactorily in Wisconsin, abysmally in Ohio) increased racial familiarity is not a boon to the Illinois Senator.

The sad truth about racial interaction

Good debaters (and those on the ideological Left) will point out that I have linked two phenomena causally (racial interaction, on the one hand, and disinclination by working class whites to vote for a black candidate, on the other) without actually demonstrating cause and effect. But fortunately it does not take a Ford Foundation grant and a two year study to see what is happening. In this year's Democratic primary results the two phenomena - extensive racial interaction and poor outcomes for Obama among working class white voters - have been so universally conjoined that cause and effect can be reasonably presumed.

Without exception, the Wisconsin pattern (little interracial contact) and the Ohio pattern (much more such contact) have correlated with identically opposite results throughout the Clinton/Obama battles: every state outside the South where Obama carried the white vote and won the primary or caucus was one with a small to negligible black population (Wyoming, Vermont, Wisconsin, Maine, Washington, Nebraska, Minnesota, Kansas, Utah, North Dakota, Idaho, Alaska and Iowa); in every state where a substantial and widely dispersed black population regularly interacts with whites, Obama lost the white vote and lost the primary: Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. I have omitted the candidates' home states (New York for Clinton, Illinois and Hawaii for Obama). Pennsylvania, where Clinton has a commanding lead, will follow the Ohio pattern, as will Florida and Michigan in the increasingly unlikely event of do overs.

Simply put, blacks and whites are not doing well together in America, circa 2008. Obama's battle with Clinton, all the pretty rhetoric notwithstanding, is remorselessly exposing that undiscussed fact. Obama is hurt by this - severely it would appear - in states where the races interact extensively, particularly at the working class level; while, in states with few blacks, the lamentable state of America's race relations is masked and Obama does reasonably well among white Democrats.

But the states with extensive racial interaction are precisely those that Democrats regularly carry, or need to carry, to win. Of course in several such states whites in general vote sufficiently Democratic to overcome the now obvious disinclination of working class whites to vote for Obama (e.g., Massachusetts, New York, California). But that is not true of the critical states mentioned above and, possibly, several others.

Candor

Michelle Obama attended Princeton and the Harvard Law School. Taking her at her word, interacting with whites in these rarified settings did little to improve her feelings about her country, including, presumably, the whites who made up the majority of her classmates. Given America's current rules of racial engagement - which allow negative views of whites by blacks to be expressed but forbid the reverse - Mrs. Obama felt free to express herself publicly (though now, no doubt, wishes she had been less candid).

On the other side of the divide, the only remaining permissible venue for white expression of racial grievance is the voting booth. Where social policy, proximity, and numbers create mandatory interaction by whites and blacks in settings less elegant than Princeton and Harvard, white disenchantment engendered by that interaction finds its outlet in elections.

The theory that greater familiarity is an antidote to mutual antagonism holds only if each party likes what it sees in the other as the familiarity develops. This does not appear to be the case with either principal race in America. The consequences are playing out at the ballot box. Doubters of this reality should not only consider Mrs. Obama's words, but take a look at the racial demographics of states outside the South where her husband won the white vote (and the state), and compare them with the racial demographics of the states where he lost the white vote (and the state).

Whether this voting pattern will persist is a matter on which no guess is ventured. Whether the Wright fiasco will worsen it for Obama is unknowable. That the pattern does exist is an indisputable fact.

http://www.americanthinker.com/printpage/?url=http://www.americanthinker.com/2008/03/obamas_problem_with_white_vote.html

By Contrast

This is what Native American Tribes go through - they have no Native American Caucus or Delegate in Congress to run to for help...this case has been ongoing for at least 10 years...with still no resolution....

American Indian plaintiffs ask gov't for $58B in long-running suit

March 20, 2008 22:05 EDT

http://www.wlos.com/template/inews_wire/wires.national/22d46125-www.wlos.com.shtml

WASHINGTON (AP) -- American Indian plaintiffs are telling a federal court that the government owes them 58 billion dollars for more than a century's worth of mismanaging funds.
The lawsuit, which is itself more than a decade old, was originally filed by Blackfeet Indian Elouise Cobell. It claims the government has earned billions since 1887, from money held in trust from American Indian lands that should have been deposited into individual Indian trust accounts.

In a January decision, Judge James Robertson said the Interior Department accounting for billions of dollars owed to American Indian landholders has been "unreasonably delayed." He had asked the plaintiffs for their input in the case.

The government proposed paying 7 billion dollars partly to settle the Cobell lawsuit last year, but the offer was rejected.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Promises, Promises

Rahall Introduces Bill Upholding Federal Trust Relationship with Indian Country

WASHINGTON, D.C. 3/17/2008

http://www.nativetimes.com/index.asp?action=displayarticle&article_id=9416

Working to address one of the top concerns aired by Indian tribes before the House Natural Resources Committee, Chairman Nick J. Rahall (D-WV), introduced legislation Thursday mandating that the Administration consult with tribes on policies that directly affect their lives.

“Normally, I would be pleased to offer a bill that strengthens the government-to-government relationship between the United States and Indian country. But today, I am disappointed that such legislation is even necessary,” Rahall said. (Congress should pass a law that requires all congresspersons to be certified in Native American Studies prior to proposing any laws affecting Indian Governments or holding any hearings regarding Native Governments)

“When the federal government interacts with Indian tribes, it does so on a government-to-government basis. This, combined with the history of treatment of Indian tribes by the United States, imposes a moral obligation on the federal government to consult with Indian tribes before enacting policies that have a direct effect on them. Yet, this Administration has shown a clear disregard for that legal, political and moral responsibility,” he continued.

The Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments Act (H.R. 5608) reaffirms and puts into statute much of Presidential Executive Order 13175, signed in November 2000 by President Clinton, which requires consultation with Indian tribes on a government-to-government basis – an order that the current Administration has flagrantly ignored. A January 2008 Interior Department Guidance Memo that was issued without any tribal input, and that changed federal policy toward Indian tribes, is the latest example of this Administration’s disregard for its responsibilities.

“Far too often, the Bush Administration has taken and continues to take actions that have serious and negative consequences on Indian country, without any consultation at all from the tribes themselves. Clearly, this should not be the case,” Rahall said. (and what about Watson's Bill?)

The Rahall legislation will require the Department of the Interior, the Indian Health Service, and the National Indian Gaming Commission to enter into a true consultation process with Indian tribes and Alaska Natives before new policies or actions are taken that will directly affect them.

“In the end, this bill will ensure that the United States, as a government, sits at the table with Indian tribal governments when decisions are to be made affecting the lives of our First Americans. We cannot afford to repeat the mistaken policies of the past where the federal government makes decisions and policies in a vacuum,” Rahall said.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Congress seeks BIA freedmen clarification

By JIM MYERS World Washington Bureau3/19/2008

http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?articleID=20080319_1_A9_spanc00421

WASHINGTON -- Members of Congress are seeking clarification from the Bureau of Indian Affairs on the current status of the Cherokee Nation freedmen descendants and why the agency has not done more to end that long-running controversy. (The Dawes tried to end the controversy long ago - but the Freedmen either sued or raised such a ruckus for land allotments, that the Dawes then added them as Freedmen - Actually it looks like the Curtis Act did take care of this issue - Congresswoman Watson just refuses to accept that - Freedmen are listed with no blood quantum)

Four lawmakers, including two House committee chair men, met with BIA director Carl Artman last week.

U.S. Rep. Diane Watson, D-Calif., the most vocal congressional critic of the Cherokee Nation and its efforts to deny citizenship to descendants of former slaves, said both the tribe and the BIA need more oversight on the issue.

Watson expressed concern that freedmen descendants now are being treated as temporary members of the Cherokee Nation.

They are not being issued cards they could use to receive certain benefits, she said. "From what I understand they haven't issued one," Watson said. (Which card?...there's a blue tribal card and a white BIA card.....by all means let's create more divisiveness in the Nation.)


Another issue raised at last week's meeting with Artman involved what some see as different approaches by the BIA on the issue with the Cherokee and Seminole nations.

Watson has introduced legislation to strip the Cherokee Nation of its federal funding to get the tribe to give up on its efforts to rescind citizenship of the freedmen descendants.

Others at that meeting included Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee; and Mel Watt, D-N.C., a key player on the issue for the Congressional Black Caucus.

Watson said a letter will be sent to Artman to get his responses in writing.

Frank and Conyers did not respond to requests for comment.

Nedra Darling, a spokes woman for Artman, confirmed that the meeting with the four lawmakers took place but said some of the issues raised by the lawmakers should be addressed by the Cherokee Nation. (Cherokee Chief, Chad Smith, has invited Congresswoman Watson to meet with him long before this meeting, she has neither accepted nor responded to sit down and discuss these issues.)

On the issue involving the Seminole Nation, Darling said that tribe sued the BIA over the freedmen descendants issue and did not have its own court system, unlike the Cherokee Nation.
"There lies the difference," she said.

Last year, Artman said an 1866 treaty between the U.S. and the Cherokee Nation affirmed the citizenship rights of the freedmen, adding that the government would consider taking the tribe to court to make sure it lives up to that treaty. (you need to read Angie Debo's book to see what happened to all the Cherokee land...I mean, let's live up to those treaties....:))

Mike Miller, a spokesman for the Cherokee Nation, issued comments Tuesday offering assurances again that the 2,867 freedmen descendants who were reinstated last year pending the outcome of ongoing litigation continue to receive health care and other services provided to tribal members. They also have the right to vote, Miller said.

"CDIB cards are given out by the U.S. government," he said. "Only people who can show documentation of degrees of Indian blood can receive them by federal law."

Miller also urged Congress members to avoid a rush to judgment based on misinformation. "We are a diverse and open tribe," he said. "We have thousands of African-Americans and more than 1,500 descendants of former slaves who are citizens."

Jim Myers (202) 484-1424
jim.myers@tulsaworld.com

(my comments in redish brown)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Continuation of Curtis Act from 1898 to 1901

An act to provide for the final disposition of the affairs of the Five Civilized Tribes in the Indian Territory, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That after the approval of this act no person shall be enrolled as a citizen or freedman of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, or Seminole Tribes of Indians in the Indian Territory, except as herein otherwise provided, unless application for enrollment was made prior to December first, nineteen hundred and five, and the records in charge of the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes shall be conclusive evidence as to the fact of such application; and no motion to reopen or reconsider any citizenship case, in any of said tribes, shall be entertained unless filed with the Commissioner to the Five Civilized Tribes within sixty days after the date of the order or decision sought to be reconsidered except as to decisions made prior to the passage of this act, in which cases such motion shall be made within sixty days after the passage of this act:

Curtis Act of 1898

An act for the protection of the people of the Indian Territory, and for other purposes.

By 1896, June 10, ch. 398, ante, p. 81, it is declared to be the duty of the United States to establish a government in the Indian Territory which will rectify the existing inequalities and afford needful protection to the lives and property of citizens and residents therein.

For a review of laws relating to the Indian Territory see 1889, March 1, ch. 333, note 1 (ante, p. 39). See also 1895, March 1, ch. 145, ante, p. 70.

See also 1897, June 7, ch. 3, ante, p. 87, relative jurisdiction of courts, etc., in Indian Territory.

Muscogee (Creek) Nation, appellant vs Donald Hodel et al,

This is a July 15th, 1988 case in the United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit.

No. 87-5377
cite as 851 F2d 1439 (D.C. Cir. 1988)

Another lower court decision that discusses in depth the Oklahoma Indian Welfare Act (OIWA) - also discusses an interplay between the OIWA and the Curtis Act

Again the online opinions for the DC Appeals court only go back to about 1996 depending on which site you search.

Allen Harjo et al, plaintiff vs Thomas S. Kleppe, et al, defendants

This is a Sept 2, 1976 case from the US District Court, District of Columbia which gives an excellent discussion of the Five Tribes Act.

Civ. A. No. 74-189
Cite as 420 F.Supp. 1110 (1976)

This case is brought by four members of the Creek Nation for declaratory and injunctive relief; main issue was the DOI only dealing with the Creek Chief and refusing to recognize the Creek council;

page 1113 item 28 of this case states: "The Act of October 22, 1970, pertaining to selection of principal officers of the Five Civilized Tribes of Oklahoma, was intended to facilitate tribal self-determination and had no effect on the legal authority of the legislative branch of the Creek national government and under federal and Creek law the Creek national legislature retains the authority to make the initial decision controlling the expenditure of Creek funds for tribal purposes....federal officials acted illegally in recognizing the principal chief as the sole embodiment of the government in the Creek Nation."

Sorry I've not found a link to an online copy yet...this is a lower court opinion and they usually don't go back as far on the web as Supreme Court cases. This case also cites the Debo books quite heavily.

Five Tribes Act 1906

Five Tribes Act - April 26, 1906

Section 28: That the tribal existence and present tribal governments of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole tribes or nations are hereby continued in full force and effect for all purposes authorized by law.

It is this one sentence set forth by the 59th United States Congress that keeps our Nation in tact today.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The 5 Civilized Tribes?

and what made the Five Civilized Tribes, Civilized you ask?

They had a farming culture - the plains Indians are the nomads but Cherokees usually lived in small houses near a stream and were farmers...thus they were civilized...

from Wikipedia:

All human civilizations have depended on agriculture for subsistence. Growing food on farms results in a surplus of food, particularly when people use intensive agricultural techniques such as irrigation and crop rotation. Grain surpluses have been especially important because they can be stored for a long time. A surplus of food permits some people to do things besides produce food for a living: early civilizations included artisans, priests and priestesses, and other people with specialized careers. A surplus of food results in a division of labour and a more diverse range of human activity, a defining trait of civilizations.

from me: so I guess those in fields other than farming are uncivilized.....:)

TREATY WITH THE CHEROKEE, 1846

guess the Dawes took care of this:

ARTICLE 1.

That the lands now occupied by the Cherokee Nation shall be secured to the whole Cherokee people for their common use and benefit; and a patent shall be issued for the same, including the eight hundred thousand acres purchased, together with the outlet west, promised by the United States, in conformity with the provisions relating thereto, contained in the third article of the treaty of 1835, and in the third section of the act of Congress, approved May twenty-eighth, 1830, which authorizes the President of the United States, in making exchanges of lands with the Indian tribes, “to assure the tribe or nation with which the exchange is made, that the United States will forever secure and guarantee to them, and their heirs or successors, the country so exchanged with them; and if they prefer it, that the United States will cause a patent or grant to be made and executed to them for the same: Provided, always, That such lands shall revert to the United States if the Indians become extinct or abandon the same.”

Treaty of New Echota - 1835

ARTICLE 16.

It is hereby stipulated and agreed by the Cherokees that they shall remove to their new homes within two years from the ratification of this treaty and that during such time the United States shall protect and defend them in their possessions and property and free use and occupation of the same and such persons as have been dispossessed of their improvements and houses; and for which no grant has actually issued previously to the enactment of the law of the State of Georgia, of December 1835 to regulate Indian occupancy shall be again put in possession and placed in the same situation and condition, in reference to the laws of the State of Georgia, as the Indians that have not been dispossessed; and if this is not done, and the people are left unprotected, then the United States shall pay the several Cherokees for their losses and damages sustained by them in consequence thereof. And it is also stipulated and agreed that the public buildings and improvements on which they are situated at New Echota for which no grant has been actually made previous to the passage of the above recited act if not occupied by the Cherokee people shall be reserved for the public and free use of the United States and the Cherokee Indians for the purpose of settling and closing all the Indian business arising under this treaty between the commissioners of claims and the Indians.

The United States, and the several States interested in the Cherokee lands, shall immediately proceed to survey the lands ceded by this treaty; but it is expressly agreed and understood between the parties that the agency buildings and that tract of land surveyed and laid off for the use of Colonel R. J. Meigs Indian agent or heretofore enjoyed and occupied by his successors in office shall continue subject to the use and occupancy of the United States, or such agent as may be engaged specially superintending the removal of the tribe.

Worcester vs Georgia - 1832

and Georgia just wouldn't give up...

31 U.S. 515

from the Syllabus:

The act of the Legislature of Georgia passed 22d December, 1830, entitled "An act to prevent the exercised of assumed and arbitrary power by all persons under pretext of authority from the Cherokee Indians," &c., enacts that:

All white persons residing within the limits of the Cherokee Nation on the 1st day of March next, or at any time thereafter, without a license or permit from his Excellency the Governor, or from such agent as his Excellency the Governor shall authorize to grant such permit or license, and who shall not have taken the oath hereinafter required, shall be guilty of a high misdemeanor, and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by confinement to the penitentiary at hard labour for a term not less than four years.

Cherokee Nation vs Georgia - 1831

Interesting language out of this case, click on the case name above for the full text.....long since been eliminated from the National Conscious...basically this case said Georgia as a state couldn't enter and take Cherokee land - unfortunately Georgia just took it anyway...


30 U.S. 1

from the Syllabus:

The Cherokees are a State. They have been uniformly treated as a State since the settlement of our country. The numerous treaties made with them by the United States recognise them as a people capable of maintaining the relations of peace and war; of being responsible in their political character for any violation of their engagements, or for any aggression committed on the citizens of the United States by any individual of their community. Laws have [p2] been enacted in the spirit of these treaties. The acts of our Government plainly recognise the Cherokee Nation as a State, and the Courts are bound by those acts.

from Marshall's opinion in the case:

Though the Indians are acknowledged to have an unquestionable, and heretofore unquestioned right to the lands they occupy, until that right shall be extinguished by a voluntary cession to our government, yet it may well be doubted whether those tribes which reside within the acknowledged boundaries of the United States can, with strict accuracy, be denominated foreign nations. They may, more correctly, perhaps, be denominated domestic dependent nations. They occupy a territory to which we assert a title independent of their will, which must take effect in point of possession when their right of possession ceases. Meanwhile they are in a state of pupilage. Their relation to the United States resembles that of a ward to his guardian.

They look to our government for protection; rely upon its kindness and its power; appeal to it for relief to their wants; and address the President as their Great Father. They and their country are considered by foreign nations, as well as by ourselves, as being so completely under the sovereignty and dominion of the United States that any attempt to acquire their lands, or to form a political connexion with them, would [p18] be considered by all as an invasion of our territory and an act of hostility.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Report on Health and Health-Influencing Behaviors Among Urban Indians

Greetings Urban Indian Health Community-

The Urban Indian Health Institute is proud to release its ground breaking report titled:

Reported Health and Health-Influencing Behaviors Among Urban American Indians and Alaska Natives.

The report finds additional evidence that American Indians and Alaska Natives living in urban areas face major hurdles in reaching health status similar to their fellow Americans. Findings from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a national telephone survey conducted yearly and coordinated by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), show America Indians and Alaska Natives living in selected urban areas were more likely to report difficulty accessing health care, had higher rates of risk behavior, and experienced worse health outcomes than the general population. Income differences were shown to play a role in explaining some of the health disparities, but differences in some reported health indicators were not income dependent.

To down load a copy of the report, please visit our website: http://www.uihi.org/

For addition information, please contact: Maile Taualii MaileT@uihi.org

Maile Taualii, MPH
Scientific Director
Urban Indian Health Institute
Seattle Indian Health Board
PO BOX 3364
Seattle, WA 98114
Phone: 206-812-3030
Email: MaileT@uihi.org

Watson should fight for IHS not Termination of Tribes

(Urban Indian Clinics serve those not Indian or those self ID'd as Indian - which means they are not Citizens of a Federally Recognized Tribe - no wonder Indians have inadequate health services - Federal Recognition of the Juaneno Tribe of San Juan Capistrano takes us closer to an Indian Clinic http://www.juaneno.com/)


Increasingly Urban AI/AN Population Faces Poverty, Barriers To Health Care
By Matt Pueschel

Posted: 25-February-2008
http://www.usmedicine.com/dailyNews.cfm?dailyID=368

WASHINGTON—A new report released in November by the Urban Indian Health Commission and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation illuminated concerns over rising health disparities in American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) living in urban areas.

Entitled "Invisible Tribes: Urban Indians and Their Health in A Changing World," the report details how nearly 67 per cent of the country’s 4.1 million self-identified AI/AN now live in metropolitan areas and how many are poor with high rates of chronic ailments but lack the means to access health care. There are only 34 urban Indian health organizations (UIHOs) across the country, but they receive only 1 per cent of the Indian Health Service (IHS) budget. In FY ’06, IHS provided about $32.74 million that went toward serving about 100,000 Indian people in the urban programs. In FY ’07, about $33.691 million from IHS went to serve about 175,000 patients in the programs.

Over the last 30 years, more than one million AI/AN have left reservations and moved to cities in search of better opportunities. "This change in lifestyle has left many in dire circumstances and poor health," the report said. "American health care and America’s leaders largely ignore these people. A large proportion of urban Indians is living in or near poverty and thus faces multiple barriers to obtaining care. Without informed dialogue and targeted action, the health of urban Indians will continue to decline."

Even the austere IHS funding for the urban programs was proposed to be eliminated by the Bush administration in both FY ’07 and FY ‘08. But Congress stepped in and put the money back in the budget both times. The Bush administration has again proposed eliminating it in FY ’09. "There is no national, uniform policy regarding urban Indian health, and current federal executive policy aims to eliminate funding for urban Indian health within the Indian Health Service," the report said. "Legislation enacted and treaties signed during the last century guaranteed health care for American Indians and Alaska natives, but for the most part, recent policies have stripped many of them of their rights to health care when they move to cities. With only one per cent of the Indian health budget allocated to urban programs and with this one per cent under threat of elimination, these Indian-operated clinics must struggle to obtain and maintain the funding, resources and infrastructure needed to serve the growing urban Indian population."

The Urban Indian Health Commission, an 11-member board created to address disparities in Indians, convened a conference on Nov. 1 in Washington, D.C., to discuss the report and raise awareness of its findings. Ralph Forquera, MPH, executive director of the Seattle Indian Health Board (home of the commission and also one of the 34 AI/AN urban health care facilities across the country), said the report is a result of two years of work. He said there is still limited information on urban Indians, but it is clear they are suffering from health disparities.

"This is a segment of our population that many people don’t understand very well, and America’s leaders ignore these people," said Michael Painter, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He said that outpatient and provider organizations, hospitals and officials can use the information in the report to determine what is needed to address these disparities, and consumers can use it to advocate for improved health care that is specific to their needs. He called the report a "wake-up call."

Painter cited an example of a severely diabetic Indian woman in her 50s who was living in an urban area and was noncompliant with her medications. "She was afraid of meds because she was homeless and had limited access to meals," he said. "But she made strides in an urban Indian clinic, and six months later [she improved significantly]."

Asked to comment on the report, Phyllis S. Wolfe, Director of Urban Indian Health Programs for IHS, said in a phone interview that "it clearly documents the situation as things exist today. That’s just an excellent report."

When asked why the Bush administration proposed eliminating IHS funding for urban Indian programs, Wolfe said she had no comment on that. "The report is a very fine report, and it accurately documents the state of urban health," she said.

Cindy Darcy, majority staff director of the Senate Indian Affairs committee, said the Interior, Environment and Related Agencies appropriations subcommittee put the urban care funding back in the FY ’08 budget. "We recommended strongly that that program be restored," Darcy said. "The interior appropriations committee actually put the money back in. Both the House and Senate restored the urban program."

The urban Indian funding was set at $35.1 million (an increase over last year’s amount of $33.691 million) and the overall IHS budget was approved at $3.39 billion (which was more than the administration’s $3.27 billion FY ’08 request and the $3.18 billion FY ’07 enacted level). However, both amounts were later subjected to a 1.56 per cent across the board cut before Congress passed the final version of an omnibus appropriations bill for FY ’08 that was signed into law in late December. The actual FY ’08 account for the IHS urban Indian health program is now $34.55 million, and the overall IHS total is $3.346 billion. The administration has actually proposed a slight cut in FY ’09, at $3.325 billion, and has again proposed eliminating the urban health program, zeroing it out in its FY ’09 budget proposal.

The Senate is also considering reauthorization of the Indian Health Care Improvement Act, which Darcy said would add some new Title V (health program) authorizations and services for IHS and tribal programs.

On the Web site for the Senate Indian Affairs committee, Sen. Byron Dorgan (D., N.D.) stated that the Indian Health Care Improvement Act would renew and improve a broad range of Indian health programs by directing resources to combat the chronic shortage of health care services in American Indian communities. The legislation would authorize additional tools for tribal communities to address suicide among Indian youth; seek to address the lack of access to health care services, due to limited hours of operation of existing facilities, by establishing grants for demonstration projects that include a convenient care services program as an alternative means of health care delivery; address a $1 billion backlog in needed health care facilities, such as alcohol and substance abuse treatment centers, and a $1 billion unmet need for sanitation facilities in tribal communities; make permanent several successful federal programs that provide services to Native Americans in long-term health care, diabetes prevention and other areas; and expand scholarship and loan programs that encourage more American Indian people to enter health care professions.

If reauthorized, the act would then depend on the appropriations process for FY ’09 to actually get funding for the programs. The act was debated in the Senate in late January, but no decision was reached. Darcy said the committee hopes to get it done soon. She also said that there is a possibility that someone will bring an amendment to the reauthorization bill to try to eliminate the urban Indian program, but added that it is hoped there would be enough support to defeat it. No such amendment was brought forward in the initial debate on the bill, but action on the bill is still pending.

Report Findings

The urban Indian report focused on depression, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, stating that they deserve special attention due to their alarming presence in the AI/AN population. "Our commission focused on three diseases, which frequently co-exist and have a serious and deadly effect on our people," said Dr. Theresa Maresca, director of the Native American Center of Excellence at the University of Washington.

Compounding things, Dr. Maresca said, is that there are few Native American doctors, and low cultural competency levels and lack of training among other primary care providers.

Depression:

The report said that some studies have shown up to 30 per cent of all AI/AN adults suffering from depression, and the proportion may be even greater among those living in cities. It also said that more than a third of IHS patient care contacts in 2006 were related to mental health, alcoholism or substance abuse. "Few urban Indian health organizations have sufficient funding to create useful and sustainable mental health programs," the report said. "With few American Indian or Alaska Native health professionals, and with many primary caregivers lacking sufficient mental health training, urban Indians are not, in most cases, receiving adequate mental health care."

Diabetes:

The report showed that between 1990 and 1999 the diabetes death rate was 32 per 100,000 AI/AN living in counties served by urban Indian health organizations—a rate significantly higher than that of the general urban population. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2005 about 15 per cent of AI/AN ages 20 or older who receive care from IHS had type 2 diabetes, which exceeds the 9.6 per cent national rate in the general population.

The report detailed some of the positive impacts that urban Indian facilities can have. The South Dakota Urban Indian Health, Inc., for example, provides bikes to kids so they can ride to school for exercise. It is part of the IHS Special Diabetes Program for Indians started in 1997 to increase school physical activity, wellness and nutrition programs, as well as diabetes prevention and treatment services and data collection. "Urban Indian health organizations are a part of this initiative and have been successful in reaching urban Indians," the report said. "This initiative proves the value of targeted interventions and the ability of community-based organizations to better serve hard-to-reach populations like urban American Indians and Alaska Natives."

Cardiovascular Disease:

The report said that studies show cardiovascular (CV) disease continuing to rise among American Indians, with new cases of coronary heart disease nearly twice that of the general population. CV disease is the leading cause of death among AI/AN, and up to 25 per cent of American Indian men ages 45-74 have signs of heart disease. Furthermore, diabetes raises the risk of stroke, and the AI/AN stroke-related death rate due to diabetes is more than triple that of the general population. Furthermore, obesity, physical inactivity and high blood pressure—all risk factors for cardiovascular disease—are growing problems among AI/AN youth.

"Studies show that coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke are disproportionately prevalent among American Indians and Alaska Natives," the report said. "Often, heart disease accompanies diabetes, making treatment even more complicated and expensive. For urban Indians, access to both diagnostic tests and specialized cardiac care cannot be assured due to poverty, lack of insurance and the limitations of urban Indian health organization services. The current UIHO network is an incomplete system offering only preventative and primary health care, which limits the ability of urban Indians to receive adequate and timely treatment of cardiovascular problems."

Jeffrey Henderson, MD, MPH, a Cheyenne River Sioux and president and CEO for the Black Hills Center for American Indian Health in Rapid City, S. D., said if an American Indian lives on a reservation, he or she could go to IHS for CV care and likely be contracted out for specialized care with IHS funds. However, for urban Indians who live near and utilize one of the 34 UIHO clinics, they cannot guarantee payment and referral for specialty services. "Urban Indian males under 45 are twice as likely to have CV risks, [and AI/AN women are one and a half times greater to have it than non-Hispanic white women]," Dr. Henderson advised. "Alcohol abuse and dependence are significant and serious issues among our people, also. But we also have the greatest number of non-drinkers, surprisingly. Commercial tobacco use also is a concern. [But] depression, diabetes and cardiovascular disease are very prominent and addressable."

Path To Visibility

Martin Waukazoo, CEO of the Native American Health Center in Oakland, also spoke at the Nov. 1 conference. Before his presentation, he led the room in a spiritual chant, intermingling words in English and his native Rosebud Sioux about coming together to make positive change. "For too long, urban Indians have been invisible, while their health has declined," he said afterward.

Waukazoo said there is an increasing and emerging AI/AN elderly population, as well as a growing young population. "But resources are not coming in to address this," he advised. "We are becoming less invisible, and it is very important that this report is shared. I’m proud of our community. We’ve held onto our culture, traditions, dance, trying to move forward in a good way, and we’re proud and strong and determined to improve our health."

Michael Bird, MPH, MSW, former president of the American Public Health Association, said public efforts must assist and recognize Indians living in cities. "We must expand the number of Native American health professionals," he said. "We need to ensure the provision of technical assistance. We need to support urban Indian programs through IHS. The bottom line is if you do not include us, you exclude us."

The Urban Indian Health Commission offered several recommendations in the report: that efforts to improve care quality and reduce disparities must assist and recognize Indians living in cities; to expand IT capacity of UIHOs to improve care and data collection, and utilize best practices and initiatives like the Special Diabetes Program for Indians for other conditions such as CV disease and depression; ensure urban AI/AN are included in all data collection efforts to improve care quality such as regional improvement collaboratives; expand the number of Native health professionals by working with local colleges and other institutions, and support the integration of traditional medicine in health care delivery; provide technical assistance to build partnerships with local health providers and improve access to insurance; support the urban programs through IHS; include AI/AN in national programs dealing with health disparities and minority health initiatives; and encourage public and private partnerships that help urban Indians’ health access.

Funding Issue

In both FY 2007 and 2008, Forquera said the Bush administration’s budget proposals zeroed out IHS funding for the urban Indian health programs. Forquera and the National Council of Urban Indian Health asked for an increase to $40 million this year, which is several million more than what Congress reinstated it at. "The need is far greater, but we tend to be realist when it comes to Congressional appropriations for Indian issues," he said. "The IHS overall and the BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) are both grossly underfunded. Being a part of the domestic discretionary budget and in (the Department of the) Interior, the smallest agency budget, is a further hinderance."

Furthermore, specialized care is often rationed throughout IHS, in general, due to a lack of funding. "No Indian anywhere has comprehensive health care through IHS," said Linda Burhansstipanov, DrPh, MSPH, grants director for the Native American Cancer Research, at the Nov. 1 meeting. "It is incredibly underfunded. It is a myth that Indians have comprehensive health care under IHS."

The other concern is the administration’s repeated attempts to strip out the urban program funding. "This is simply not right," said Burhansstipanov. "Urban Indians are so disenfranchised. It is absolutely unconscionable and criminal that the administration continues to try to take away money from the urban Indian health programs. Not only that, but they try to shift money away from the Department of Health and Human Services. All of our urban Indian programs are underfunded. Only 1 per cent of the IHS budget is going to 60-70 per cent of our community. A big way to address our disparity is through strong support of urban Indian health programs."
Rep. Frank Pallone, Jr., (D., N.J.), chairman of the House energy and commerce subcommittee on health and vice chair of the Congressional Native American Caucus, said in a statement that the commission’s report further emphasizes the need for a greater focus on the health care needs of Native Americans. "Urban Indian health programs need more funding and more flexibility in order to expand their reach and truly serve a needy urban Indian population," he said in a statement. "As it stands, Indians in our cities and on tribal lands have too few resources to respond to the epidemics of diabetes, heart disease and obesity from which they suffer disproportionately."

Rep. Pallone and five other members of the caucus also signed an Oct. 30 statement urging attention to the issue. "While the United States Congress has an obligation to provide health services to Indians on Indian reservations, it is important that we do not lose sight of the fact that many Indians live in cities, as well," the statement said. "Congress must provide needed funding, but it is important that state and local governments, as well as the private sector, chip in."

Forquera told U.S. MEDICINE that Congress has not been the problem. "It has been the Bush Administration," he said. "The Bush folks have eliminated urban funding from the President’s budget each of the past two years. The Congress has put it back with bipartisan support. So our beef is not with Congress, it is with the Administration."

As a matter of comparison for the people who were served by the urban programs, IHS’ approximate $33 million to serve about 100,000 patients adds up to only $330 per person annually, Forquera said, adding that Medicare pays about $6,000 per person [the Congressional Budget Office’s baseline projections of Medicare benefits per enrollee was actually $6,512 in 2002]. "Urban Indian health is also an incomplete program," Forquera said. "We are doing primary care at the best urban facilities, not specialty care, and we are not able to guarantee that [specialty] care for patients we see."

Painter said the point of the report is to raise awareness to put urban Indians front and center. "The facts tell us that we are not important to our government and that has an effect on our people and our morale, and that’s when the elders step forward and help us," Forquera said.

The report can be viewed on the Web site of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, at http://www.rwjf.org/newsroom/newsreleasesdetail.jsp?productid=23192&typeid=160.

IHS Response

Wolfe declined to comment on why IHS and the administration continually attempt to cut federal funding for the urban Indian health programs, but she said that in fiscal year 2007, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) conducted tribal consultation, and the department clearly heard the tribes’ priorities. "One of their top priorities for funding in the department was indeed the urban Indian health program," she said.

However, the administration’s subsequently proposed FY ’08 budget had zero money in it for the urban Indian health program. An alternative to the urban Indian programs that has been touted by some federal officials is the HHS Bureau of Primary Health Care within the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). It funds community health centers that are open to the general public. However, Wolfe acknowledged that if urban Indian health care funding from IHS was eliminated, HRSA’s community health centers, even with increased funding, would not be able to substitute for it. "The funding that has been made available, the additional resources received by that agency have been designated specifically for developing and implementing community health centers in rural areas," she advised. "[But quite frankly,] HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care [has] confirmed that they are not able to absorb the urban Indian population."

Furthermore, the report said that although some poor and near-poor urban Indians in cities without urban Indian health organizations rely on the HRSA-funded community health centers for care, these centers are under increasing strain as growing numbers of middle-class Americans who have lost their employer-sponsored insurance turn to them for help. "In addition, these centers do not always provide culturally appropriate services for urban Indians," the report said. "These same concerns apply to urban Indians’ use of hospital emergency rooms for primary care services."

When asked if IHS funding for the urban programs is eliminated, what would happen to the 34 urban Indian health programs, Wolfe was candid. "Several of them would go out of business," she said. "The IHS provides core funding for these programs and they are very effective at leveraging the small amount of resources that they do receive from Indian Health Service. You would not see the urban Indian health program at the level it exists today if those resources went away from IHS."

Wolfe told U.S. MEDICINE that the 34 urban Indian health programs provide quality health care and culturally competent care for AI/AN that reside in those cities. "Those people served by urban Indian health programs are people that, were those programs not available to them, they would wait until they are so sick that they have to present themselves at the emergency room of their local hospital," she said. "That is not a good situation."

Value Of Urban Programs High

Wolfe said the urban Indian programs focus on health promotion and disease prevention. "The prevention and education that is provided in these urban programs is simply outstanding," she said. "The focus on diabetes prevention education has made a significant difference in the people who obtain their health care at the urban Indian health programs. The focus on mental health, alcohol and substance abuse prevention and treatment programs with the small level of funding that they have…they have outstanding health promotion disease prevention programs. Wellness, nutrition, diet, exercise—those are all important pieces of the health program that is provided."

Wolfe cited an example of an elderly woman who was in danger of losing a leg to diabetes before she went to the urban Indian program in Omaha, Nebraska. "The people at the urban Indian health program and the diabetes program said, ‘Well, we can’t guarantee that you won’t lose a limb, but we will work with you to see what we can do to help in this situation,’" Wolfe said. "I got to meet this woman and she took off her right shoe and she was so happy. She said, ‘Look here, they did amputate my toe, but I’ve got four toes, my foot and my leg and I feel whole as a result of that.’ She lived two good, sound, solid years following that removal of just one toe, and she made sure that her grandchildren who were diabetic (they had problems with their toes, too), she had them at the urban clinic receiving preventative health care for diabetes."

Wolfe also said that the 34 urban programs are required to survey their area populations and determine what their needs are. "Urban Indian programs make a difference in people’s lives and they do provide quality health care services," Wolfe advised. "There is a large population that [is] dependent on the urban Indian health programs for their health care in the urban cities, and they leverage a very small amount of IHS resources that enable them to provide significant health care for urban American Indians and Alaska Natives."

Burhansstipanov added that half of AI/AN women are diagnosed with breast cancer before the age of 50. She said nurses work with them to ensure they utilize spiritual medicine and dance. "So, we combine with western medicine well in urban communities," she said.

The commissioners noted at the Nov. 1 meeting that the urban programs have done a remarkable job with limited funds. "We can engage individuals at the community level, and an example is the Special Diabetes Program," Forquera said. "So, you can engage people in their own health and you can move people from crisis situations to preventive mode. So, we have the ability to do that, unlike some other organizations."

Limitations

Wolfe said 21 of the 34 urban programs are considered "comprehensive" ambulatory facilities, but the range of services varies greatly among these programs. "Those are facilities that provide direct medical care to the population for 40 hours or more a week," she advised. "They have a medical provider on staff." While some of these programs can have two or more full-time doctors, as well as pharmacy, lab, radiology and dental services, others may have just one medical provider and no dental, pharmacy, lab or radiology. "The designation of ‘comprehensive’ is actually a relative term for a program which is not currently designed to be a truly comprehensive health program in the more commonly used sense of the word," according to IHS.

The other 13 programs are either part-time outpatient facilities, or outreach and referral sites.

Even the most comprehensive urban programs provide only primary health care and do not pay for specialty or referral care. The programs are neither IHS or tribally run, but are nonprofit organizations with a board of directors that is composed of at least 51 per cent AI/AN. "Those organizations give preference to hiring American Indians and Alaska Natives," Wolfe said. "They seek out AI/AN health care providers, medical doctors, nurses, the alcohol and substance abuse counselors, the mental health providers."

Wolfe said that no urban Indian health program has turned away an American Indian or Alaska Native or people who meet the eligibility requirements, including self-identified Indians. "They have not been turned away for health care services," she said. "We do accept self-identification as supporting documentation for being eligible. Some (urban) programs use a sliding fee scale and that is certainly fine, but other programs do not charge for the health care services that are provided."

One issue that sometimes arises is that sometimes AI/AN clients are resistant to providing information to the urban facility so that they can bill third party insurers. Wolfe said that the biggest reason for that is distrust of the government.

Furthermore, although the UIHOs have a focus on urban Indians, they must also serve anyone that seeks assistance. "Unlike tribal or IHS clinics, UIHOs are not exempt from federal or state non-discrimination rules," Forquera told U.S. MEDICINE in a follow-up email. "Thus, to keep our funding and non-profit status, we are required to serve anyone seeking assistance. The IHS does not seem to [always] understand this. Care is also not free. Clinical care is provided on a sliding-fee based on income and family size, like community health centers. This is often a requirement of both local and state grants for the uninsured that funds the bulk of our direct care efforts."

Cardiovascular disease is especially difficult to treat in the urban programs, given that they do not have specialty programs. "Yes, it is extremely difficult," Wolfe acknowledged. "They can focus on the health promotion, like tobacco (cessation), exercise, diet, nutrition, but when it’s extremely complicated, if the person is extremely sick and the program is not able to handle it, then all they can do is refer the patient to another facility. And then it’s whatever that facility can do to help them, based upon whatever resources they have available."

The urban programs’ focus is prevention. "Urban programs do an outstanding job of focusing on health promotion and disease prevention, and behavioral health to reduce the risk factors of health conditions, such as HIV/AIDS, alcohol and substance abuse," Wolfe said. "Urban programs all have emergency preparedness plans. They have worked with their city, county and local facilities. They’ve done planning and preparation for pandemic flu, and certainly the personalized health care. Medical care, including traditional medicine, and prevention is provided by urban programs and enables our urban programs to target their clients and their health care system to give their patients and providers the means to make informed, personalized, effective health care choices."

Wolfe also said that the urban program in Milwaukee, Wisc., was selected to participate in IHS’s chronic care collaborative to demonstrate that changing the way health care is delivered can improve patient outcomes. Furthermore, all of the urban programs participate in quarterly IHS chronic care collaborative conference calls to learn about best practices and how care is inter-related. "There is the depression and alcoholism, behavioral health, all of those elements filter in to the result that creates so many problems," Wolfe said.

More Urban Programs Needed (in particular Orange County California - we need an Indian Clinic - we have to drive to either San Diego or Riverside and with the price of gas going into the twilight zone that's expensive!!)

Another issue is that there are many areas in the U.S. with urban Indians that do not have a UIHO. "Only 34 communities get one per cent of the entire IHS budget, but we live in every city," Burhansstipanov advised. "[Some] people don’t have access to pain medications, such as OxyContin. It is wrong to be tied to a bed in pain as a first nation member."

With 67 per cent of 4.1 million AI/AN across the country living in urban areas—some 2.5 million—the need for care well exceeds that of the mere 175,000 patients served by existing UIHOs last year.

In fact, a 1989 evaluation by the American Indian Health Care Association of potential site locations for new urban Indian health care programs came up with a list of 18 cities with no facilities that are more than 30 miles away from existing IHS or tribal Indian health clinics. The 18 sites have large numbers of Indians living below the 200 per cent poverty level, and with high mortality rates.

"The Indian population is big enough that we need to establish an urban Indian health program [in those other areas], but we don’t have the resources to do it," Wolfe said. "Today, if we had the funding, there is a need in Orange County, Calif., [for example, and] there is a huge need in Grand Rapids, Mich., today for an urban Indian health clinic, but we simply don’t have the resources to do it. So, when we tell you the number of people that we are serving, it’s very small in relation to what the real need is. More of these would help in different places to reach more people."

Wolfe, whose staff includes just a health systems specialist and an administrative assistant, said, the IHS urban program office "is a bare bones operation, but we’ve done our very best to ensure that as much of the money as is absolutely possible can be put into the programs for health care services."

Saturday, March 1, 2008

and a little info about the Black Caucus of Congress, hmmmm

(Black Caucus) Controversies

Ralph Nader

In 2004, Green Party presidential candidate and consumer activist Ralph Nader attended a meeting with the Caucus, where he says that Congressman Mel Watt, later the chair of the Caucus, twice uttered an "obscene racial epithet" towards him; Watt subsequently did not offer an apology. Nader wrote to the Caucus afterwards:

"Instead, exclamations at the meeting... end[ed] with the obscene racist epithet repeated twice by Yale Law School alumnus Congressman Melvin Watt of North Carolina. One member of your Caucus called to apologize for the crudity of some of the members. I had expected an expression of regret or apology from Congressman Watt in the subsequent days after he had cooled down. After all there was absolutely no vocal or verbal provocation from me or from my associates, including Peter Miguel Camejo, to warrant such an outburst. In all my years of struggling for justice, especially for the deprived and downtrodden, has any legislator--white or black--used such language? I do not like double standards, especially since our premise for interactions must be equality of respect that has no room, as I responded to Mr. Watt, for playing the race card. Therefore, just as African-Americans demanded an apology from Agriculture Secretary Earl Butts and Senator Trent Lott--prior to their resignation and demotion respectively--for their racist remarks, I expect that you and others in the Caucus will exert your moral persuasion and request an apology from Congressman Watt. Please consider this also my request for such an expression--a copy of which is being forwarded directly to Mr. Watt's office."[9]

White membership

Over the years, the question has arisen, "Does the Caucus allow only black members?" Pete Stark, D-Calif., who is white, tried and failed to join in 1975. In January 2007, it was reported that white members of Congress were not welcome to join the CBC.[10] Freshman Rep. Stephen I. Cohen, D-Tennessee, who is white, pledged to apply for membership during his election campaign to represent his constituents, who were 60% black. It was reported that although the bylaws of the caucus do not make race a prerequisite for membership, former and current members of the Caucus agreed that the group should remain "exclusively black." Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Mo., the son of Rep. William Lacy Clay Sr., D-Mo., a co-founder of the caucus, is quoted as saying, "Mr. Cohen asked for admission, and he got his answer. He's white and the Caucus is black. It's time to move on. We have racial policies to pursue and we are pursuing them, as Mr. Cohen has learned. It's an unwritten rule. It's understood." In response to the decision, Rep. Cohen stated, "It's their caucus and they do things their way. You don't force your way in."

Rep. Clay issued an official statement from his office in reply to Rep. Cohen's complaint:
"Quite simply, Rep. Cohen will have to accept what the rest of the country will have to accept - there has been an unofficial Congressional White Caucus for over 200 years, and now it's our turn to say who can join 'the club.' He does not, and cannot, meet the membership criteria, unless he can change his skin color. Primarily, we are concerned with the needs and concerns of the black population, and we will not allow white America to infringe on those objectives."

(not to mention there is a Black Union in this country that just held their State of the Black Union Conference, which Hillary Clinton spoke at)

Freedmen vs Cherokee Nation - summary of sorts

Rolls

The 1866 treaty did not, however, lead to full acceptance of freedmen in the Cherokee Nation. This resistance was largely due to economic factors. In 1880, a census was compiled in order to distribute per capita funds related to recent land sales. In the same year, the Cherokee senate voted to deny citizenship to freedmen who had failed to comply with the 1866 treaty by returning to the Cherokee Nation within six months. However the 1880 census did not even include those freedmen who had never left, claiming that the treaty granted civil and political rights, but not the right to share in tribal assets.[23] Cherokee Chief Dennis Wolf Bushyhead (1877-1887) opposed this action, but was overridden by the Council. The federal government intervened, passing a bill in 1888 mandating that adopted citizens of the Cherokee nation share in tribal assets, and compiled what was known as the Wallace Roll in 1889 to count those who were included (including 3,524 freedmen).[24] The freedmen won the claims court case that followed, Witmire v. Cherokee Nation and United States (30 Ct. Clms. 138(1875)). The Cherokee had already distributed the funds, and the U.S. as co-defendant in the case, was to pay the award. The Kern-Clifton roll completed in 1896 listed 5,600 freedmen who received their portion of the funds in the following decade.[25]

In the midst of all of this, the Dawes Act of 1887 was passed, which converted tribal lands to individual ownership, which was to some degree an attempt at assimilating the Indians. As a part of the act and subsequent bills, the Dawes Commission required a roll which listed people in the Indian Territory under the categories, freedmen, intermarried whites, and Indians by blood. Freedmen were put on the Freedmen Roll regardless if the man or woman had Cherokee blood or not. (those Freedmen that intermarried with Cherokee are indeed listed on the Dawes Roll under Cherokee by Blood, only Freedmen without Cherokee Blood are listed in the Freedmen Roll) The Dawes Rolls of 1902 listed 41,798 citizens of the Cherokee Nation, 4,924 of them freedmen. The 1908 Curtis Act authorized the Dawes Commission to allot funds without the consent of tribal government (both the Dawes and Curtis Acts are seen as great restrictions on tribal sovereignty), and allowed the federal government to extract taxes from white citizens living in the Indian territories. Allotments were distributed, although there have been many claims of unfair treatment,[26] and as the Cherokee Nation was officially dissolved ( Five Tribes Act - April 26, 1906 Section 28: That the tribal existence and present tribal governments of the Choctaw, Chickasaw, Cherokee, Creek, and Seminole tribes or nations are hereby continued in full force and effect for all purposes authorized by law. It is this one sentence set forth by the 59th United States Congress that keeps our Nation in tact today. hmmm, guess this Act just kinda got forgotten) and Oklahoma became a state (1907), by and large the freedmen had self-determination. There were 1,659 freedmen listed on the Kern-Clifton roll were not included in the Dawes Roll[27] who were not given Cherokee citizenship rights. Some have criticized inconsistencies of the Dawes Rolls themselves. For instance, freedwoman Gladys Lannagan in the testimony of members of the Cherokee Freedmen's Association before the Indian Claims Commission on November 14, 1960 reported, "I was born in 1896 and my father died August 5, 1897. But he didn't get my name on the roll. I have two brothers on the roll by blood--one on the roll by blood and one other by Cherokee freedman children's allottees." She stated that one of her grandparents was Cherokee and the other black.[28] Other cases of black Cherokee with at least 1/4 of their grandparents being full Cherokee not being listed as Cherokee by blood have been presented as well.[29]

In 1924, Congress passed a jurisdictional act, which allowed the Cherokees to file suit against the United States to recover the funds paid to freedmen under the Kern-Clifton Rolls in 1894. The result of this suit held that the Kern-Clifton Rolls were only valid for that one distribution, and were superseded by later rolls. The Indian Claims Commission Act of 1946 again stirred interest in the status of the 1,659 freedmen included in the Kern-Clifton but not the later roll.