Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Freedmen continue Civil War fight

Descendants of Native Americans' Slaves Left Out of $3.4 Billion Settlement


COLUMBUS, Ohio (CN) - Descendants of slaves owned by the so-called (so called?; they were called civilized because they were farmers in the SE) Five Civilized Tribes challenged the $3.4 billion class action settlement in Elouise Cobell et al. v. Ken Salazar, in a class action of their own. The Harvest Institute Freedman Federation says the Cobell settlement was racially discriminatory, with the United States paying off descendants of treasonous (lol - treasonous? - lol - give it a rest already!) Indian slave-owners who took the South's side in the Civil War, while stiffing descendants of the Indians' slaves.

The $3.4 billion settlement in Cobell v. Salazar, which will be implemented under Title I of the Claims Resolution Act of 2010, "is racially discriminatory and perpetuates past unlawful racial discrimination," the Freedman Federation says in its own class action.

During the Civil War, the Seminole, Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek and Chickasaw tribes cut ties with the Union and entered into treaties with the Confederacy. In 1866, the tribes had to make new treaties with the United States to regain their land and trust beneficiary status, according to the complaint.

Part of the deal was emancipation of the tribes' slaves, the Freedmen, and though each treaty was different, the slaves of each tribe were to be accepted into the tribe and given various amounts of land in order for the tribes to be given their trust benefits, the class says.

The Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes were reluctant to take the deal; the Choctaw never gave its freedmen the land they were owed and the Chickasaw never adopted them into the tribe, the complaint states.

The Claims Resolution Act will give the descendents of these tribes assets while denying trust benefits to the freed slaves that were "swindled" of their land. (swindled? the land belonged to the Indians in the first place - where does the *their land* come into this? I don't recall any treaties with the Freedmen??)

The Cobell case challenged the government's mishandling of Indian trust assets. The "settlement reaffirms the existence of a trust relationship between the United States and Native Americans dating back to 1887," according to the Freedmen's complaint.

But the class adds, "by reason of racism and misfeasance members of the putative plaintiff class were excluded from the receipt of proceeds of these land transactions and therefore did not have individual money accounts established, although under the treaties with the defendants establishment of these accounts for Freedmen was mandatory."

The Harvest Institute has lost before on this issue, in a Federal Court ruling that placed a 6-year statute of limitations on its claims, under the Tucker Act.

But the class claims that that ruling, which was upheld on appeal, is wrong under the repudiation rule, because the government has not repudiated its responsibility to the Indians.

"It is unlawful racial discrimination for the United States to now decide that it will acknowledge and redress its breach of trust responsibility to the Native Americans, but deny it as to the Freedman," the class claims. (Freedmen are NOT Native American!)

The class representatives are the Harvest Institute Freedman Federation and Leatrice Tanner-Brown. It demands an injunction preventing the United States from enacting Title I of the Claims Resolution Act, a declaration that the law is unconstitutional, and equitable relief.

The class is represented by Percy Squire.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Duh! This was all Native Land before Europeans

Feinstein wades into urban gaming fight
By Malcolm Maclachlan 12/02/10 12:00 AM PST

Opponents of urban casinos in the Bay Area have a powerful ally in Washington: U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Feinstein, a Democrat and California’s senior senator, has proposed changes in the law that would make it harder for tribes to take new lands into trust.

It’s a seemingly obscure legal designation that has serious implications for just about any tribe that would want to build an urban casino.

Under Feinstein’s changes, a tribe would have to show both a “substantial direct aboriginal connection to the land” and “substantial direct modern one.” (Duh! This was all Native Lands at one time - direct aboriginal connection; and the fact they were forced from it should be a continuing trespass which would prevent applying a *direct modern connection*; in other words Natives can't have a direct connection to urban areas if they've been forced out for centuries.)

While many tribes have argued a historical connection to lands they wish to acquire and use for gaming, showing a current connection to empty urban land may be more difficult. She has reportedly explored attaching the language to appropriations bills that would be passed in the current lame-duck session of Congress, but has yet to get it into legislation.

Not surprisingly, groups opposing new urban casinos have hailed Feinstein’s moves, while many tribes are on record against her proposal.

“We’re pleased that someone on the federal level is looking at off-reservation gaming,” said Joan Garrett of the group Citizens for Sustainable Point Molate.

Garrett’s group has been fighting efforts by the Guidiville Tribe of Pomo Indians to build an urban casino on the 290-acre waterfront spot, the site of a former Navy refueling station, and Garrett confirmed they have been in contact with Feinstein’s office. The tribe’s CEO, Michael Derry, has a different interpretation of Feinstein’s actions.

“She’s attempting to amend IGRA, which has not been done in 22 years,” said Derry, referring to the 1988 Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, the federal law which established the legal framework for tribal gaming.

“She’s attempting to do a backroom deal, hide the ball and sneak in some legislation,” Derry added. “We are opposed to it. Most of Indian country is opposed to it.” (this is what being in D.C. does to folks, they get power happy, the means justifies the ends)

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., has been pushing legislation that would allow a far more liberal approach to allowing tribes to take new land into trust. The Obama administration supports the basics of Dorgan’s legislation, indicating that Feinstein may have a tough time getting the changes she wants into law. (well let's hope any efforts on Feinstein's idea is vetoed!)

However, Feinstein has a couple of cards in her back pocket. First is the backing of Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., the Senate majority leader who eaked out a six-point win over Republican Tea Party challenger Sharon Angle in November. Reid reportedly had heavy support from Nevada’s casino gaming interests, which generally oppose increased tribal gaming in neighboring California. Reid is also on record saying he wants to legalize Internet poker in the United States, and is rumored to be preparing a bill rider to do just that.

Second, Feinstein chairs the Senate Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. In other words, she has a significant hold on the purse strings of the Department of Interior, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs and must approve all land into trust applications. Interior has reportedly been working with Feinstein on her proposal. (and once again the deck is stacked! go along or no money I suppose!)

Feinstein threw down the gauntlet publicly over the weekend in a Nov. 17 editorial in the Contra Costa Times titled “Must stop reservation shopping once and for all.” She argued that when the voters passed Proposition 1A in 2000 with 65 percent of the vote, they were voting for gaming only on existing tribal lands.

“Today the spirit of this proposition could be violated by major casinos proposed around the state on lands that are not ‘Indian lands’ - some of which are more than 100 miles from tribal headquarters. This is ‘reservation shopping,’ in which tribes from rural areas seek federal approval to acquire lands in trust in densely populated urban areas.”

Her efforts to change the land into trust requirements, though, have been going on for weeks, if not longer.

According to several stories in Indian Country Today and other news outlets that follow tribal gaming, the issue blew up at both the 67th annual conference of the National Congress of American Indians, which took place Nov. 14-19 in Albuquerque, N.M., and at the Global Gaming Expo, which happened simultaneously in Las Vegas. Both featured vigorous debates between those who want to limit new off-reservation gaming and those who support it.

Federal lawmakers have been looking at clarifying the land into trust requirements since the Supreme Court decided Carcieri v. Salazar in favor of the state of Rhode Island in February of last year. The state had longstanding dispute with the Narragansett Indian Tribe over attempts to collect taxes from tobacco sales at a tribal smoke shop and the tribe's repeated attempts to build a casino. The tribe has an 1,800-acre reservation, but under a 1975 deal with the state, this land did not have legal exemptions that would have allowed the tribe to open a casino or conduct tax-free retail transactions.

The issue came to a head in 1991, when the BIA granted approval for the tribe to take 31 acres into trust to use to pursue these commercial activities without being taxed by the state. The state sued, lost and appealed this land application, eventually ending up at the Supreme Court in 2008.

When the court handed down its six-member majority decision, it had implications far beyond a single casino and smoke shop. They held that the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act applied only to tribes that were federally recognized at that time, and that the BIA did not have the authority to approve land trust applications for tribes that didn’t meet this requirement.

This is a distinction, incidentally, that disproportionately affects California tribes, many of whom were recognized after 1934. There are several tribal groups in California currently seeking federal recognition.

Federal legislators immediately began looking into a legislative fix to the “Carcieri” case, named for Rhode Island Gov. Donald Carcieri. The administration and Dorgan, chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, have been pushing what is now known as the “Clean Carcieri” fix. This refers to legislation that would reinstate the federal government’s ability to take tribal land into trust for all tribes, not just ones recognized before 1934, and without demanding the specific claims on the land that Feinstein would impose. This would essentially reassert the status quo that existed before the case.

It appears unlikely that either approach would pass before next year, leaving current urban casino efforts in limbo. In the meantime, anti-casino groups continue to fight the Point Molate project and another proposed casino, this one by the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria. That tribe has been fighting heavy opposition to a proposed casino in Rohnert Park, a city of 41,000 located 50 miles north of San Francisco. That land has been taken into trust. On Oct. 1, the National Indian Gaming Commission granted the tribe clearance to build a Class II bingo style casino if they wanted; they need a state compact if they want to build a more lucrative, Class I slot machine-based facility.

Meanwhile, the voters weighed in on the Point Molate project on election day. Measure U, an advisory asking Contra Costa County voters if they approved of the proposed casino project. Fifty-eight percent voted against the casino plan, though this vote carries no actual legal implications.

The Guidiville Tribe’s Derry discounted the vote, noting that it came in a low-turnout midterm election, and that local card rooms supported Measure U heavily.

“I wouldn’t call it a mandate by any means,” he said.

Garrett, meanwhile, said that voters saw through the tribe’s empty promise of jobs, which offered no guarantee that locals would be hired. She added that if the tribe does manage to open an urban casino, it would provide an incentive for other tribes to attempt to do the same thing.

“This has been ground zero for the whole issue,” she said.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Answer to Question 10 - YES!!

Tester, senators told road funding system on Indian reservations 'broken'

By VINCE DEVLIN of the Missoulian Posted: Friday, October 15, 2010 9:15 pm

POLSON - Almost three-quarters of the roads on American Indian reservations are unpaved, yet too much of the federal money meant to rectify that goes to states and urban tribes that don't need it, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester was told repeatedly Friday.

Tester, a member of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, took testimony on the issue at a field hearing at KwaTaqNuk Resort - the first time a U.S. senator has convened a committee hearing on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

The first of two panels to testify included some heavy hitters from Washington, D.C., including Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Indian Affairs Larry Echo Hawk, and Michael Black, the director of the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

But it was the second panel, of Montana and Wyoming tribal leaders critical of the current system, which was most interesting.

The Rocky Mountain region, with the largest land-based tribes and most miles of roadways, has actually lost money under the system, Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribal Chairman E.T. "Bud" Moran charged.

His Flathead Reservation has seen federal money for roads decline, from $1.3 million in 2006, to $750,000 this year, Moran said.

"I don't understand how that's possible," Moran said, "and why the BIA hasn't stopped it."

The formula for divvying up the money, Moran added, has "been unethically manipulated by tribes and states that have learned how to do it."

The transportation director of the Eastern Shoshone and Northern Arapaho Tribes of Wyoming, John Smith, told Tester it comes down to three initials - "VTM," or "vehicle miles traveled."

"When you've got a 1-acre reservation in Washington next to (Interstate) 5 with a turnoff right there, they're getting 28,000 cars a day, times 365," Smith said. "Your VMT escalates at a huge rate."

And vehicle miles traveled is a critical - and, several tribal leaders testified, unfair - part of how a limited amount of federal money for roads on reservations is allotted.

"For far too long, infrastructure most Americans take for granted has been overlooked on reservations," Moran said. From clean drinking water to cell phone service, he added, such things are "not possible without basic infrastructure" such as decent roads.

"The term ‘Indian Reservation Roads Program' is not the proper name," said CSKT Tribal Council member James Steele Jr., appearing as the chairman of the Montana-Wyoming Tribal Leaders Council.

In some places in the U.S., Steele said, the BIA is allowing some tribes to count "interstate highways, roads that don't exist and proposed roads" in determining how big a share of the limited pie they'll get.

"The system is broken," Steele said.

It is a complicated system.

Roads on reservations are considered federal roads, because Indian reservations are considered federal lands, and the federal government is responsible for constructing and maintaining those roads. (like it or not this is the way the U.S set all this up - CN has already contributed millions for road work to the state of Oklahoma - I sure don't pay any gas taxes to the CN, so no idea where that gas tax money is going but it sure isn't into the roads in Oklahoma)

However, current law allows transportation funds to be used for non-federal roads that "access" reservations - even though those state and county roads have separate funding sources.

There's also the issue of "Question 10," which came up several times during Friday's hearing.

Question 10 is one of the questions in a document implementing the regulations of the Highway Bill that asks, "Should the federal government fully fund all tribal roads?"

The answer, it turns out, is extremely complicated, according to many who testified before Tester. (Feds make it complicated because they need to manipulate it)

"We've been writing letters for years," said Tim Rosette Sr. of the Chippewa-Cree Tribe of Montana's Rocky Boy's Reservation. "Nobody listens, nobody cares, until this year when assistant secretary Echo Hawk tried to grab the bull by the horns - but it's a big bull, and he needs help."

Echo Hawk told Tester a coordinating committee for the Indian Reservation Roads Program has been unable, for four years, to agree on a recommendation for the "Q-10" issue, and had asked the BIA and Federal Highway Administration to develop a clarification.

The two agencies have held 10 regional tribal consultation meetings on a new proposed interpretation on Q-10. When Tester asked the Indian leaders who testified what they had learned from those meetings, all essentially said that they learned what they already knew: the current system is, as Steele put it, "not fair."

"We need simpler solutions," Smith added, "that are not as ambiguous" and focus on reservation populations, their land base and road miles.

More than 100 people attended the hearing, including representatives from tribes in California and Arizona. Tester noted the turnout was more than the full committee has seen at a hearing in Washington, D.C., in "quite a while."

In a somewhat unusual step for a Senate hearing, Tester also took public comment after the witnesses appeared, and that's where Jay St. Goddard of the Blackfeet Tribal Business Council suggested the next hearing should be held on his reservation.

"Maybe you should have it at Heart Butte, Montana, where all your cars will fall apart on BIA roads before you get there," he said.

Reporter Vince Devlin can be reached at 1-800-366-7186 or at

Freedmen vs Cherokee Nation

Cherokee Nation drops DOI and Salazar from Freedmen suit
Senior Reporter

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. – The Cherokee Nation on Oct. 6 dropped the Department of Interior and Interior Secretary Ken Salazar as defendants from its federal lawsuit against five Cherokee Freedmen.

The lawsuit was filed Feb. 2, 2009, in the Northern District of Oklahoma. It sought declaratory judgment regarding the citizenship of Cherokee Freedmen under an 1866 Treaty between the CN and federal government.

Salazar, the DOI and the five Freedmen in the case moved to transfer the case to the District Court for the District of Columbia where a similar case (Vann et al v. Salazar) has been since 2003.

On July 2, 2010, U.S. District Judge Terence C. Kern for the Northern District of Oklahoma said the case should be transferred to the District of Columbia court because the plaintiffs and defendants in both cases were substantially similar and “involve a single core” issue – whether the 1866 Treaty guarantees Cherokee Freedmen certain rights within the CN.

However, CN Attorney General Diane Hammons said Kern did not transfer the entire case to the D.C. circuit.

“Instead, he asked the judge in the D.C. case to decide whether or not the case should be heard in D.C. or if it should be heard in Oklahoma. That decision has not been made yet, and there is still a possibility that this case can be heard here in Oklahoma, where the Cherokee Nation is located and where the non-Indian Freedmen descendants, who are parties to the suit, also live,” she said. “For whatever reason, some people on the other side of the case would rather have this case take place in Washington, D.C., which adds costs and inconvenience to all parties.” (she is absolutely right - these are grounds for bringing the suit in Oklahoma)

Freedmen attorneys Alvin Dunn and Jon Velie said the CN filed the Oklahoma action “solely as a tactical maneuver” to avoid having the case heard in Washington. (this is nothing more than political reasoning - recall they have the Congressional Black Caucus in DC as a political partner in all this)

“The Cherokee Nation filed the Oklahoma action only after a protracted intervention in the D.C. action, first attempting to have the suit dismissed and then seeking to re-assert its sovereign immunity,” Dunn and Velie wrote in a court brief. “It was only in 2009, when the Cherokee Nation feared that this (D.C.) court might hear the claims brought by the Freedmen against (Principal) Chief (Chad) Smith, that the Cherokee Nation sought to circumvent that outcome by seeking to have those claims heard instead by a court of its own choosing – the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma.” (the Supreme Court has already told the DC judge how he needs to rule - he for some reason just hasn't done it yet - the claims against the Chief and the Councilors are just plain false - the Freedmen are just looking for some type of "hammer" to hold over the heads of the CN officials in order to *get their way* without any legal basis - congress thru legislation took away the Freedmen descendant rights almost a century ago - funny how no one seems to recall that)

On Aug. 31, 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice filed a motion to dismiss the federal defendants from the tribe’s 2009 lawsuit. The CN responded on Oct. 6 by requesting the court to dismiss the claims against the DOI and Salazar, who indicated they did not intend to waive their sovereign immunity to litigation for claims the tribe alleged.

“That lack of waiver, at this time, prevents the Cherokee Nation from litigating this action against the federal defendants for a declaratory judgment as to the rights of the Cherokee Nation and the United States under the Treaty of 1866, as amended,” the tribe’s request states.

Regarding the other Freedmen court cases, Vann v. Salazar is pending in the D.C. court, and there is a judgment pending in CN District Court in the case of Nash v. Cherokee Nation Registrar, which was filed in 2007. A hearing was held for that case in July 2009.

Nearly 390 Freedmen joined Nash in the suit claiming they were illegally removed from the Nation’s citizenship rolls through an amendment approved by Cherokee voters in March 2007. In the 2009 hearing, both sides asked the judge for a summary judgment, which is a decision made on the basis of statements and evidence presented for the record without a trial.
(Nope, no illegal moves here - the Freedmen are trying to force politically what the law has already taken from them and will not give them) • (918) 207-3961

Wednesday, October 6, 2010


(I've never seen any drunken debaucery going on here???)

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa owned and operated by the Cherokee Nation is not a party to the lawsuit.

Lawsuit cites local casino

Improper use of Hard Rock logo is alleged

A logo hangs from the exterior of the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Alleged "drunken debauchery" at the Las Vegas site may have sparked the Hard Rock logo-use lawsuit. Associated Press file

By ROBERT EVATT World Staff Writer
Published: 9/24/2010 2:22 AM
Last Modified: 9/24/2010 4:54 AM

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa is being cited by Hard Rock Cafe International for alleged improper use of the Hard Rock logos - part of a lawsuit that complains about "drunken debauchery" at the Hard Rock location in Las Vegas.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New York, alleges that defendants Morgans Hotel Group Co., Morgan Management, HR Holdings, HR Inc. and HR IP - named as sublicensors of the Hard Rock brands to Cherokee Nation Entertainment - are providing a hotel and casino experience "incompatible" with the brand's customer reputation.

Cherokee Nation Entertainment, which obtained the Hard Rock license in 2008 for its Catoosa resort, is not a defendant in the lawsuit, and it's unclear whether Orlando, Fla.-based HRCI will ask the court to bar the use of the Hard Rock brand at the casino.

The lawsuit says HRCI wants to bar the defendants "or any third parties in privity with them" from using the Hard Rock name.

The allegations over the Hard Rock brand in Catoosa were a relatively minor part of the lawsuit, as HRCI's chief focus was on misuse of the brand at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, which is operated by Morgans Hotel and Morgans Management. The Catoosa resort is operated by Cherokee Nation Entertainment.

David Stewart, CEO of Cherokee Nation Entertainment, said in a written statement that the tribe has worked hard to honor the Hard Rock brand.

"Hard Rock Casino Tulsa has always had a unique identity that combines
the Hard Rock image with the music and people that make Oklahoma great," he said. "We value the Hard Rock brand, which is why we agreed to put their name on our new $120 million facility. Our service offerings and gaming experience here are second to none.

"We carefully use the Hard Rock marks as agreed upon in our licensing agreement with HRHH IP LLC and Hard Rock Hotel Holdings LLC. We are not a named defendant in the complaint and it is up to the parties named in the complaint to resolve this dispute."

In a statement released to the Tulsa World, HRCI officials said the lawsuit is a proactive step to protect the integrity of the Hard Rock brand, which it said was damaged as a result of the defendants' unauthorized use of various Hard Rock trademarks.

Specifically, the suit said "the range of services, character of the establishment and the experience offered to customers (at Hard Rock Tulsa) is incompatible with consumer expectations for goods and services branded with the Hard Rock marks.

It also alleged that the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino sign used on the outside of the Catoosa resort "is not one of the trademarks whose use or sublicensing is authorized by the License Agreement in this manner."

Additionally, HRCI complained that the resort's Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill restaurant used the Hard Rock name in a way that puts Hard Rock subordinate to the name of the restaurant, and that the defendants did not obtain written commitments from the restaurant's proprietors regarding the use of the trademark.

The Catoosa location of Toby Keith's is operated by Norman-based Hal Smith Restaurant Group.

HRCI said in its lawsuit that it has no legal remedy for its complaints and did not make any specific requests for changes at the Tulsa facility.

In the portion of the suit concerning the Las Vegas hotel-casino, HRCI claims Morgans gave the casino a party image that damaged Hard Rock's reputation, specifically through the cable reality show "Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel" on truTV.

The lawsuit says the show portrays the Las Vegas hotel-casino as a place that "revels in drunken debauchery" and other actions that most people would find offensive, and portrays the staff as "unprofessional, incompetent and/or physically and emotionally abusive to hotel guests and other staff."

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Albuquerque, N.M., which was sublicensed by Morgans to the Pueblo of Isleta Indian Tribe, was also cited in the suit, with allegations that Morgans failed to ensure the logo was used consistently and that the services, character and experience was compatible with Hard Rock.

HRCI licenses the Hard Rock name to 169 venues in 52 countries, including 134 cafes and 14 hotels and casinos.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Robert Evatt 581-8447

Where IHS funding goes...

Alleged misconduct puts IHS officials in hot seat
Senate panel grills leaders on Aberdeen office's problems

LEDYARD KING • Argus Leader Washington Bureau • September 29, 2010

WASHINGTON - Senators lambasted Indian Health Service officials Tuesday after investigators found that some workers in the federal agency had criminal records, stole drugs and embezzled money - all while patients endured long lines for medical services or were turned away.

Government inspectors have opened almost 300 investigations into IHS during the past decade for alleged violations including fraud, theft and employee misconduct, according to the inspector general of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

At the same time, IHS supervisors often put disciplined employees on paid administrative leave, allowing them to stay at home and collect their salary for months.

Tuesday's hearing by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee focused on IHS' Aberdeen office, which includes 48 medical facilities in South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa and Nebraska.

Committee Chairman Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., said his staff found numerous examples of mismanagement that contributed to a reduction or elimination of inpatient services at some Indian health sites. From 2007 to this year, there were 385 days at the IHS hospital in Rapid City and 244 days at the hospital in Eagle Butte on the Cheyenne River reservation when patient services were either reduced or unavailable. And while the Standing Rock Sioux reservation, which straddles North and South Dakota, was experiencing a spate of suicides, the mental health counseling position went vacant for months.

"This is a mess, and a big problem and a big bureaucracy that doesn't want to change," Dorgan told IHS Director Yvette Roubideaux. "It wants to not deal with problems. It wants to ship them to the next reservation, the next service unit. That's got to stop. That's got to stop now."

Health care is a chronic problem for Native Americans, particularly those on large, rural reservations where treatment options are scarce. As a result, Indians generally have a lower life expectancy and higher rates of diabetes, tuberculosis, alcoholism and suicide than other ethnic groups, according to federal data.

A series of Argus Leader stories in December revealed widespread frustration with reservation health care in the state. The reports pointed to insufficient funding, rationed care, difficulty hiring health care providers, millions of dollars in lost or stolen IHS property, and federal rules that keep ineffective leaders on the job.

Besides being underfunded and suffering from poor management, tribal leaders and many lawmakers say IHS, which serves 1.9 million Native Americans and Alaskan Natives, has been corrupt.

Investigators' revelations added to the agency's troubled record. Looking at the Aberdeen office, they found:
· Two employees on the payroll despite earlier convictions - one for drug theft, the other for embezzlement - that should have made them ineligible for IHS employment.
· Lax monitoring of pharmaceutical drug storage that allowed a Sioux San Hospital pharmacy technician in Rapid City to steal large quantities of narcotics in 2008.
· IHS employees tampering with medical records to defraud the government in 2005.
Federal "investigations have resulted in numerous criminal convictions relating to employee misconduct," said Gerald Roy, Health and Human Services deputy inspector general for investigations.

In addition, Dorgan was unhappy that Aberdeen's deputy director has been on paid leave for a year while her conduct is being investigated. And he pointed to a jump in employee complaints about the way management is running the agency as a sign that much needs to be improved.

Roubideaux acknowledged "severe challenges" but said her agency is starting to turn a corner and that the increase in employee complaints is proof that workers are finally - reluctantly, in some cases - being challenged to improve.

Roubideaux, an enrolled Rosebud Sioux tribal member, was appointed as IHS director last year by President Obama. She said she's trying to instill a new culture in the beleaguered agency, making employees more accountable, firing bad managers and keeping better track of lost equipment, the subject of a recent congressional probe. With the help of the Aberdeen regional director Charlene Red Thunder, five middle managers were forced out because of poor performance, she told the committee.

Problems remain, such as a lack of money for transportation to hospitals and the uneven way money is distributed to local health care agencies, said Ron His Horse Is Thunder, the former Standing Rock chairman who now is the executive director of the Aberdeen Area Tribal Chairman's Health Board.

But he congratulated Red Thunder for working with tribes on medical needs.
South Dakota Democratic Sen. Tim Johnson, a member of the Indian Affairs Committee, said he often hears about problems with IHS, which was created to fulfill the government's obligation to provide health care for Native Americans.

"It is critical to focus on moving forward and seeking a positive solution to solve these problems," he said. "We must do all that we can to uphold our treaty and trust responsibilities to American Indians."

Contact Ledyard King at

"Don't Get Sick After June: American Indian Healthcare"

Want to know more about Indian Country Today....

The real tragedy as well for Indian Health Care is: it was lumped in with the Obama Health Care Bill....that should never have happened...the bases for providing health care to Native America comes from a totally different source than any *public health care system* that has been passed; it is in a separate category all it's own and as such should have been passed separately.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Seek truth about Cherokee

Seek truth about Cherokee
Story Published: Oct 1, 2010
Story Updated: Oct 1, 2010

The Cherokee Nation does not question anyone’s claim of heritage or ancestry, but merely points out the significant difference between claiming heritage and having citizenship in a federally recognized Indian tribe.

Fraudulent groups and individuals passing themselves off as Native American have become big business over the past two decades, with more than 200 groups that claim to be some sort of Cherokee tribe. There are also hundreds of individuals who claim to be Cherokee or from the Cherokee Nation and offer services that range from teaching culture to spiritual advice.

However, there are only three federally recognized Cherokee tribes – the Cherokee Nation and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians both located in Oklahoma and the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians located in North Carolina. The Cherokee Nation is alive and well in Tahlequah, Okla., as it has been for 170 years. Cherokee language and culture still thrive here, as well as in North Carolina with the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. No group outside of North Carolina and Oklahoma has ever been recognized as a legitimate Cherokee sovereign.

Fake tribes and individuals with unverifiable ties to Native American citizenship often claim to be passing on Cherokee cultural knowledge and traditional arts. But the reality is these groups and individuals dilute true Indian culture and identity. Many of them pass along cultural information that is incorrect or that perpetuates harmful stereotypes.

When seeking authentic information about tribal culture, history, tradition, genealogy and government, we urge you to look carefully into claims made by groups that are not recognized by the federal government, especially those that claim to represent the Cherokee Nation.

The federal government is tasked with determining federal recognition of tribes and this is carried by the Department of Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs Branch of Acknowledgement & Research. Public Law 25, CFR Part 83, requires federally recognized tribes must meet specific requirements: American Indian entity since 1900, distinct community existing since historical times until present, maintained political influence or authority as autonomous entity, demonstrate governing documents including citizenship criteria, members descend from historical tribe(s) and not already be members of other tribes as well as no congressional legislation terminating or forbidding a federal relationship. Federal recognition is consistent.

For further information with regard to dispelling myths and exposing frauds, call the Cherokee Nation or the Bureau of Indian Affairs for a list of legitimate nations, tribes and bands. Visit the website at–

Ginger Brown
Cherokee Nation
Government Relations Officer
Tahlequah, Okla.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Freedmen force their Civil Rights upon the Civil Rights of the Cherokee Nation

Details of slave life under Cherokees emerge in new book
Bay State Banner

The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story, The University of North Carolina Press, $26.00, 336 pp.

In her new book, “The House on Diamond Hill: A Cherokee Plantation Story,” author Tiya Miles paints the most detailed picture yet published of the lives of the black slaves to the Cherokee. A professor at the University of Michigan, where the Harvard graduate teaches both Afro American and Native American studies, Miles has emerged as a leading scholar of relations between the Cherokee and African Americans in the early 1800s.

In this interview with Kenneth J. Cooper, she talks about how she became interested in the subject and mined the archives of Moravian Christian missionaries for details about slaves on the northwest Georgia plantation of James Vann and his son Joseph Vann, who in their day were the biggest slaveholders in the Cherokee Nation.

She also offers her opinion about the legal fight of the Cheorkee Freedmen, the descendants of the Cherokees’ slaves, to restore their rights as tribal citizens under an 1866 Treaty. (Congress took these rights away, not the Cherokee Nation)

Cooper is a descendant of Cherokee Freedmen. Some relatives by marriage were slaves to Joseph Vann after he relocated to what is now Oklahoma. (individual families had slaves, not the Cherokee Nation, yet the Freedmen continue to insist that the Cherokee Nation is responsible for this?)

How did you get into this area of research? I don’t know whether you have family connections.

Well, I started out in college doing Afro American Studies t Harvard] and focused on literature. I did have an oral history from my family, coming from my grandmother, about Native American ancestry. But it was always pretty vague …

It really wasn’t until I met my current husband, who is Native American. He’s from Montana. He’s Gros Ventre. It was really through our personal relationship that I started thinking more about the intersection of African America and Native America. So when I went to my Ph.D. program t the University of Minnesota], I was lucky enough to be at a place where there is a very strong Native faculty and Native history focus.

Did you ever track down the family oral history?

I did not. I asked some questions of my grandmother and some older aunts and uncles. What I found was the story changed so much, there was so little consistency, I didn’t feel comfortable about making any kind of claim about it. Maybe when I retire, I’ll go back and do some more history and see what I can find out.

How does your new book help people understand the odd history of Native Americans holding slaves, which goes against the grain of many people’s assumptions?

One thing that I try to do to make this history accessible and understandable is to put it in the context of American and also European colonialism. The Vann family slaveholding didn’t just pop out of nowhere. It was connected to a long history of colonial oppression that Cherokees faced.

So before James Vann became one of the wealthiest slave-owners in the Cherokee Nation, he was a young boy in a Cherokee Nation that was just under siege in wars with England and the United States, trying to maintain its landholding.

He was a young boy when the Cherokee Nation was crippled by smallpox, a disease that was brought to mainland North America from Europe. It doesn’t lessen what he ended up doing to people with dark skins that he held in bondage. But I think it does show the pressure cooker that Cherokees were living under, how narrow their choices were.

How did you find out that the Moravian missionary archives include such rich detail?
The translations are new. They were originally written in German script, a very difficult-to-read style of German, and Moravian archive staff members started translating them.

The Moravians were careful observers and wrote quite a ton reflecting their experience in the Cherokee Nation. The first Moravian mission to the Cherokees was on James Vann’s plantation … He and other Cherokee leaders convinced the Moravian missionaries that if they were going to come onto Cherokee land to teach the Gospel, they would also have to teach Cherokee children how to read and write English. That was the deal.

These daily diary entries talk about what happened on the plantation and who was who, including the population of enslaved people … I kept noticing this woman … Her name was Pleasant. She was bought to help this mission — which, of course, would seem ironic now, to go teach the Gospel and find a slave to help you.

A couple of missionaries, the Gambolds, really had a hard time with Pleasant. They complained about her constantly. They said she was always cursing at them, that she wouldn’t do her work. They even said that she tried to convince the slaves on the Vann plantation not to listen to them. She said that their religion was ‘nothing but hypocrisy.’ So Pleasant was very resistant to her enslavement.”

So what’s next with your research and writing?

I was recently at the Vann House and book-signing there. I was on a panel and spoke about women on the Vann plantation. Someone asked if I had thought about writing a children’s book … bout] some aspect of the Vann plantation. (yes, by all means let's keep the controversy going on for more generations)

I’m working on that right now.

The next scholarly project, I think, will be on Midwest abolitionism. I’m interested in trying to pin down Native American people and places and trails on the Underground Railroad. That idea came to me through a class actually … We went on a local Underground Railroad tour here in our county, Washtenaw County, [Michigan]. We learned from our tour guide one of the main routes that was used for trying to aid people in their escape was an old Indian trail. That just got me thinking about what may have been overlapping routes of black people and Native people … [in] the 1830s and 1840s.

What is your opinion of the ongoing dispute over the citizenship rights of Cherokee Freedmen descendants?

What a messy issue and a heartbreaking issue, (yes, it is indeed heart breaking, that the Freedmen descendants are still after many generations still trying to force their civil rights onto the civil rights of the Cherokee Nation. They have no Cherokee Blood and as a result Congress precluded them from Tribal Citizenship, but I guess hope springs eternal) I think, to see the pain of the past mingle with pain of the present … I would like the Cherokee to do the right thing, and I think the right thing is to recognize the history in all its facets and to see that citizenship for some of freed people is part of the package of reparations (so when are the Freedmen descendants going to *do the right thing* and recognize that the Cherokee Nation is Sovereign and as such governs it's own citizenship rights? It's all about *money* for the Freedmen and what they can *get*)… Our people were enslaved by Cherokees. (and our people, the Cherokee, were enslaved by whites - what else is new? We adapted and survived; and on the road to self determination, so when will the Freedmen descendants do the right thing and respect Cherokee rights?)

Cherokees did benefit from them. There’s a good deal of suffering that took place in that. It’s actually demeaning — very, very seriously — denying political rights to people who were once promised those rights and who were once held in bondage by the Cherokee Nation. (Congress could make them a Freedmen Tribe - so why hasn't congress done that? No need to even get the Cherokee Nation involved in this - the Cherokee people also suffered at the hands of the Buffalo Soldiers and their schools, where are our reparations - we were forced to give up our language - who's going to *pay* for that)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Another View Point

First let me say, I have the utmost respect for the Cherokee Council and each of the two councilors listed below.

However, the Cherokee Council may have been too quick to respond to this. I'm not sure which tribe requested the support and certainly don't know anything about the tribes in AZ. However, I do know about Southern California and what has happened there. I felt as though I lived in a foreign country, called Mexico. La Raza, tells high school students this is their country and to take it back, all speeches given in Spanish. I certainly don't want to learn Spanish, sorry, if I learn a language it will be Cherokee.

I believe most of the problems in CA Tribes stem from Hispanics in the early years of intermingling with the tribes there. A time when documentation was done mainly by the church. A good many Hispanics intermingled with the tribes because they believed, whether right or wrong, that there was less discrimination against the Indians than Mexicans, so by saying they were Indian they were pretty much left alone.

Fortunately AZ has stepped up to the plate on this one. We have drug lords firing at police, bullets shot into public buildings in AZ. We don't need Mexico's criminal element. We also have laws, that means if you're here illegally, go home, come back the lawful way! We certainly don't need Mexico's corruption in the US. These folks need to go back to Mexico and take their own country back. I should think Mexico would wonder why so many of their people would want to leave and try to eliminate some of the poverty and drug wars that drives them to the US.

Although as we continue to empathize with Hispanics, you need to realize as well, that Drug stores thrive in the border towns as more and more Americans go south for presciptions. I mean there is a drug store on every corner, dentist and opthomologists in between. This has raised the standard of living and border towns in general are far cleaner, with less poverty than say even 40 years ago. Not to mention prescription drugs are really cheap there.

I am puzzled over exactly how a Native American could get caught in this loop. Even if stopped at least someone in the Native American community is going to know this person, even if they don't have a birth certificate. Not to mention there is no evidence to date, anything like this has happened, most of the arguments against AZ are pure speculation and without evidentuary bases.

Where are they going to deport them to, the rez?

All Native Americans would step up to the plate if a Native American were set for deportation, however, let's not jump to conclusions that it will happen.

Tribal council unites against immigration law in Arizona
Tahlequah Daily Press
Tahlequah, OK
Teddye Snell

TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council Monday night voiced its opposition to Arizona Senate Bill 1070, known as the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, one of the strictest anti-illegal immigration measures passed in decades.

Sponsored by CN Tribal Councilors Julia Coates and Chuck Hoskin Jr., the legislation passed unanimously, and supports measures already approved by the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona and the Tohono O’Odham Nation.

Coates said many Indian people living outside of reservations in Arizona speak only their native tongue, and some are without birth certificates. Under the recently passed Arizona law, many believe Native Americans could be unduly profiled
by law enforcement as illegal immigrants.

The Arizona act makes it a state misdemeanor for an illegal immigrant to be in Arizona without carrying the required documents; bars state or local officials or agencies from restricting enforcement of federal immigration laws; and cracks
down on those sheltering, hiring and transporting illegal immigrants.

The act was signed into law by Gov. Jan Brewer in April, and was scheduled to go into effect on July 29. But a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that blocked most controversial aspects of the law from taking effect.

“This law raises all sorts of policy issues,” said Hoskin Jr. “It’s unwise to place an unnecessary burden on law enforcement when many departments are already being stretched to their limits. Also, many in the Oklahoma Legislature have voiced their support of the act, and are looking at possibly having a similar law here. This would set a precedent for the Cherokee Nation’s opposition.”

Hoskin said what moved him to support the bill was the fact that another Indian nation had asked for the Cherokee Nation’s support.

“I think there’s a good reason to speak out on behalf of our brothers and sisters in Arizona.”

In other business, the tribal council passed resolutions:

• Authorizing the department of children, youth and family services to submit an application for funding to the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs for emergency youth shelter services. The grant total is $273,628, and requires no matching

• Authorizing the Cherokee Nation Office of Environmental Programs to submit a formal grant application to the U.S.

Environmental Protection Agency for a Brownfields Job Training Grant. The grant total is $200,000, and requires no matching funds.

• Providing for the donation of surplus office equipment from the Cherokee Nation to Webbers Falls Historical Society Museum.

What’s next

The next regular meeting of the Cherokee Nation Tribal Council will be held at 6 p.m., Monday, Sept. 13, in the Council Chambers at the W.W. Keeler Complex west of Tahlequah.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


Freedmen suit challenge sent to D.C.

A federal judge in Tulsa says the Cherokees' action is similar to a case pending there.

By CLIFTON ADCOCK World Staff Writer
Published: 7/7/2010 2:23 AM
Last Modified: 7/7/2010 8:04 AM

A federal lawsuit filed in Tulsa by the Cherokee Nation seeking a declaration that the descendants of freedmen are not entitled to membership in the tribe has been ordered transferred to Washington, D.C., where a similar lawsuit is pending against tribal leaders and the federal government.

The Cherokee Nation filed its suit last year against the U.S. Department of the Interior and five descendants of freedmen — former slaves that had been owned by tribal members. The freedmens' descendants had obtained tribal membership before Cherokees voted in 2007 to restrict Cherokee citizenship by excluding people whose ancestors were not listed on the Dawes Rolls as having a percentage of American Indian blood.

The Dawes Rolls, which the U.S. government created in 1893 to allot land to members of the Five Civilized Tribes, contained several categories, including citizenship by blood and freedmen.

A Cherokee court ruled in 2006 that descendants on the freedmen roll were eligible for tribal citizenship, but only the "by blood" rolls were recognized after the election. (our right as Citizens to vote on this - and the vote was overwhelming in favor of Cherokee by Blood)

The case will go to U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy, who is hearing a lawsuit brought in 2003 by Marilyn Vann, a freedmen descendant, against Cherokee Principal Chief Chad Smith and the Interior Department, which includes the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

Vann's suit seeks to void the outcomes of tribal elections in which freedmen descendants were not allowed to vote.

The Cherokee Nation has argued that the case should be dismissed because it was an indispensable party in the Washington suit but did not waive sovereign immunity to be named a party in the suit.

U.S. District Judge Terence Kern of Tulsa ruled Friday that under the "first to file rule," the tribe's case should be transferred to the Washington court because it is essentially hearing the same issue. The freedmen descendents and the Interior Department argued for the transfer. (so is the Federal Judge in DC just hoping this will go away or is he going to rule; seems to me the Supreme Court has already told him what he needs to do? So just do it - let's get it over with! Talk about stone walling, not to mention it's getting the same appearance as the Voter Intimidation case, where the justice department said no cases would go forward if it was a white man against a black man. So the Cherokee once again get blind sided by a different ethnic group; Most of the Freedmen have supplied misinformation blaming the Chief and Councilors for what they say they've told people, when in fact Cherokee families themselves have passed the information about the Freedmen non-blood status down - in essence, even, the historical facts against them are overwhelming - not to mention that the Ancient Document Rules of Evidence say a document (Dawes Roll) is considered true if over 75 years old - and they aren't listed with any Cherokee Blood and in fact are set in their own roll separate and apart from the Cherokee by Blood Rolls - looks pretty clear to me - Congress can make them their own Tribe - Indian Freedmen by Association I guess)

Vann cheered Kern's ruling as a victory for freedman descendants. She said the tribe waived its immunity from a lawsuit by filing its own suit.

"We eagerly await the day when all descendants of Dawes-enrolled Cherokee freedmen can register/reregister as Cherokee Nation tribal members, vote and run for tribal political office, as promised our ancestors by the U.S. government and tribal officials in 1866," said Vann, who is also the president of the Descendants of Freedmen of the Five Civilized Tribes Association. (say what? I've not read anywhere they were granted this, Cherokee's didn't even have this in 1866; the only thing they got was land and the Freedmen got that as well - Court of Claims has already ruled that this group is filing their claim too late)

Cherokee Attorney General Diane Hammons said the ruling was merely a procedural move, and the suit's merits have not been decided.

"The record clearly shows that the federal government itself has extinguished any rights non-Indian freedmen descendants had under the treaty, and we look forward to bringing the issue to a conclusion in the appropriate federal court," she said. (The court knows what it must do, but it's dragging it's feet and the case should go againt the Freedmen)

"The law, history, and facts show that non-Indian freedmen descendants have no treaty rights under federal law. This ruling moves the process forward, and we look forward to demonstrating this in court." (Yep, but I guess the Freedmen figure they're above the law and the bully law rules)

Clifton Adcock 581-8462

Read more from this Tulsa World article at

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Dangers of State Recognition

Tennessee Indian status dispute has tribes at odds

Clarksville leader defends move

A dispute over tribal recognition has some American Indians in Tennessee at odds with a well-established tribe in another state. And a state American Indian caucus chaired by a Clarksvillian has positioned itself right in the middle of it.

The Tennessee Commission of Indian Affairs officially recognized six new tribes last month, a move that will make them eligible for federal funding and minority status.

Jim Cossingham, a retired business consultant who now lives in Clarksville, praised the decision, noting the new opportunities it will provide local tribe members.

Cossingham, a member of the Nipmuc Tribe of Massachusetts, said he's worked with American Indian tribes for years, helping them apply for federal funding.

The scarcity of that funding appears to be at the heart of opposition to the new tribes. The most vocal opponent has been the Cherokee Nation — an Oklahoma-based tribe that likened the new Tennessee tribes to "culture clubs" in a recent Tennessean report.

A Cherokee Nation spokesman told the Tennessean they did not deny that the members of the Tennessee tribes have Native American lineage.

"What we absolutely dispute is that they are tribes," said Mark Greene, a Nashville lobbyist who works for the Cherokee Nation.

Responded Cossingham: "Now, who are they to tell us what we are? What expertise does their lobbyist have to say (that)?

"The commission put those six tribes through a very, very daunting process," he added. "They didn't say, 'OK, here you are, here's your certificate.'" (let's see, some of the commission members were also members of these *tribes* - just exactly how daunting was it?)

Funding isn't the only thing at stake.

"This is not just an economic issue from my standpoint — this is a civil rights issue," said Cossingham, who chairs the independent Tennessee Native American Convention.

The Tennessean report highlighted the cultural importance of the move for previously unrecognized tribe members. Before the commission vote, one woman said she felt like an outcast in the Native American community. "I'm more than just an Indian," Edna Duncan told
The Tennessean. "I know who I am now."

Another benefit to state recognition is an ability for tribes to market their arts and crafts as Indian-made; a federal law intended to protect tribes from con artists peddling fake Indian goods has had the opposite effect on unrecognized but full-blooded American Indians. The penalty for selling without official status is up to $250,000 for individuals.

The decision was one of the last acts for the TCIA, whose status as a state agency was not renewed by the Legislature for the 2010-11 year.

Cossingham said tribal recognition was a focus for the TCIA and TNAC. TNAC appoints TCIA members, and Cossingham said they replaced five of the seven commission members recently, with that goal in mind.

"Just as we get something moving now, all of a sudden the commission is going to be sunset," Cossingham said.

"(But) we'll live with this. We've got another governor and another Legislature in six months," that should, he said, reinstate the agency.

Native America Knows the REAL Andrew Jackson!

Newcomb: ‘Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson’
By Steven Newcomb
Story Published: Jul 6, 2010

While in New York recently for the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, I was invited by an American Indian friend to see the off-Broadway production “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” at the Public Theatre. Written by Alex Timbers and Michael Friedman, and directed by Timbers, the play is being described as “an irreverent Wild West rock musical” that “redefines America’s seventh president, a pioneer of humble stock who invented the Democratic Party, moved Indians west, and played a kick-ass guitar.” The reviews have been quite positive and the play ran through the end of June.

>From an American Indian perspective, however, “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” is a racist and dehumanizing portrayal of American Indians. It is an effort to be humorous by using and reinforcing the worst stereotypes of American Indians, and working them to great effect and laughter among the non-Indian audience. It does so by evoking the false images of Indian people that continue to permeate the mass culture of American society.

At the outset, the play portrays Jackson as a child, witnessing and experiencing his parents being killed by Indians (shot in the back with arrows). Thus, Jackson is immediately cast as a sympathetic figure in the eyes of the audience, while the Indians are framed as cold-blooded killers.

Historically, however, Jackson’s father, Andrew Jackson Sr., injured himself while lifting a log and died in 1767, at the age of 29, a month before Jackson was born. His mother also was not killed by Indians; she died of cholera while tending to wounded soldiers in the Revolutionary War. Clearly, historical accuracy was the last thing on the mind of the writers.

“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” is said to be an effort to greatly entertain while drawing parallels between Jackson’s era and what’s going on today, with issues of populism, banking, the Washington elite, taxation and terrorism. In keeping with the last analogy, however, this means that the ones being associated with the issues of “terrorists” and “terrorism” are the Indians on the “frontier” who were attempting to defend their traditional lands and territories from American colonization. Jackson’s militaristic and bloody actions were his means of attempting to grow “the homeland” of the United States.

The play makes no effort to accurately contextualize what Indian nations and peoples were facing during Jackson’s era, and the script refers repeatedly to Jackson wanting to get the land “back” from the Indians. As if the Indians had taken it away from the whites to begin with, and Jackson was trying to win it back.

In another effort to be funny, the writers have “Indian” warriors (white cast members) dancing across the stage in drag, to illustrate what exactly is never made clear. Andrew Jackson captures an Indian infant as “a souvenir” of battle, and takes the child home to his wife Rachel. Later the boy comes on stage dressed in the ridiculous stereotypical attire that non-Indians associate with Indian people, and in another effort at humor Jackson mildly reprimands the child for a pastime of “scalping squirrels,” which would not meet with Rachel’s approval.

The play dehumanizes the Indian characters by characterizing them as stupid, and willing to sell their lands for a few blankets so long as you throw in some “dream catchers.” Having white actors in black face would be the equivalent of what Timbers and Friedman have done to American Indians in “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”

The “Battle of Horseshoe Bend” involved the slaughter of nearly 1,000 Creek Indians, most of whom had almost no weapons, other than bows and arrows. Rather than deal with this, however, the section of the play that references Horseshoe Bend simply portrays Indians as lacking in intelligence in treaty making. The play also portrays Jackson as anguished over his Indian Removal Policy, which resulted in the Trail of Tears and the deaths of thousands of Cherokee Indians. History clearly shows that Jackson was unequivocal and unwavering in his support of Indian removal to lands west of the Mississippi River.

There’s simply no getting away from the fact that the backdrop of the play is Indian lands, territories and resources, and how effective Jackson was at acquiring them for the United States by any means necessary. And perhaps this was part of the subtext that the writer and director had in mind. If it was, the point is buried beneath the confusion created by the clumsy and dehumanizing use of Indian stereotypes in the play in a bid for cheap laughs.

Steven Newcomb, who is Shawnee and Lenape, is co-founder and co-director of the Indigenous Law Institute, author of “Pagans in the Promised Land: Decoding the Doctrine of Christian Discovery,” (Fulcrum, 2008) and a columnist with Indian Country Today.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

What a Lady

Daughters Read Wilma Mankiller's Final Message

KOTV-TV - Online

Sunday, April 11, 2010 1:04 PM EST Updated:
Sunday, April 11, 2010 1:15 PM EST

Wilma Mankiller died at age 64 after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Wilma Mankiller's daughters Felicia and Gina Olaya speak at their mother's funeral Saturday.

TAHLEQUAH, OK -- Former Principal Chief Wilma Mankiller wrote a message four days before her death that was delivered at her memorial service by her daughter, Felicia Olaya.
I think what helped my family and friends is to see that even though I don't feel well, my mind is peaceful.

I know that many people around here believe in burial. I've decided that what I want is to be cremated and to have my ashes be part of the land around the spring at Mankiller Flats where I grew up, the place I love and that will always be.

But I would like them to bury something after today. I would like them to bury any unkindness or anger or hurtful things I may have done. Bury those with me.

I also want people to know what an incredible life I've had. I want them to be encouraged by it.
When I was seven or eight and living here, no one would ever have guessed what the future would bring.

I hope people will learn from that - about themselves and about others.

Don't turn away from people because of how they look or what they have - because you never know what they'll contribute to the world.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Killer Whales

Actually any wild animal, is just that, a wild animal.

The incident in Orlando brings to mind the Snow Leopard in Vegas that attacked his trainer.

I don't agree with animal rights folks on all things...but commericalization of *trained wild animals* is an oxymoron. Wild animals never lose their wild traits, it's just that simple. Anyone who watches and trains these animals that doesn't know that, ought not be dealing with them.

Oh, all he did was grab her ponytail...well, duh, that's all it we excuse a human for killing another on a Twinkies defense, NO! They are dumb animals and can't tell the difference between a ponytail and an arm or a leg. Not to mention this same whale was involved in two other deaths...which no one apparently whose to say, the whale didn't grab an arm or leg the last two times.

Dogs that kill are put down...these wild exotic animals should be put down as well.

To protect them for money purposes is not in any ones interest, wild animal, trainer, corporation or public who watch these events. These animals need to remain in the wild, that is their home, not a tank at Sea World.

Keeping a wild animal in a *tank* or any other place for that matter, is just plain disrespectful to the animal.

It is indeed sad, but he needs to be put down.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


Did I see surveyor flags between Nowata and Talala, laying out another lane on 169???

I did, I did, I did!!!!

They are extending at least part of U.S. 169 from Talala on up almost to Nowata to a 4 lane highway! It's about time! Nowata has laid dormant long enough! In this part of the woods or hills, those 4 lane highways help towns prosper!!

Work where you must, but LIVE in Nowata....:)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Campaign Finance Changes

I'm inclined to think this will give us a more *representative government* - why would you need a lobbyist if you could contribute to a campaign? Those with the *most money or connections* have always had a voice in DC; this would allow tribes to contribute directly to their *own* candidates of *choice*. As in the Freedmen vs Cherokee case; a contribution to a challenger in Watson's own district seems to have done more good than all the lobbyists in DC. DC has just beome a great big club, Tribes not Welcome! This could very well change that!

Campaign finance ruling impacts tribes
By Rob Capriccioso
Story Published: Feb 4, 2010

WASHINGTON – Many tribes already have trouble getting their voices heard in the American political system. A controversial Supreme Court campaign finance ruling may amplify the problem, according to political observers.

The ruling, handed down Jan. 21, throws out some major campaign finance rules, removing contribution limits on major corporations and unions.

The case, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission centered on whether key parts of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, better known as McCain-Feingold, were constitutional.

Passed in 2002, the legislation made it a federal felony for a corporation to use any of its funds to criticize a candidate for federal office within 30 days of a primary election or 60 days of a November general election.

In a 5-4 decision, the high court decided that the legislation amounted to the federal government censoring organizations, which is unconstitutional. The minority said the decision was flawed because it ended up treating the voices of corporations as similar to those of people.

Tribal observers largely said the outcome could negatively impact tribes, as few have the kinds of influence with lawmakers as corporations and unions have. By lessening restrictions on those groups, many said the court has made it all the more difficult for tribes to be heard in the American political system.

“Native American interests have already been largely ignored in Washington,” said Heather Dawn Thompson, past president of the National Native American Bar Association and partner at the D.C. law firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal.

“Even before this ruling, it has been an uphill battle for tribes with corporate and union interests active in political contributing, often against tribal interests.”

Thompson, who worked on getting the McCain-Feingold legislation passed when she was previously employed with the Appleseed Foundation, said she feared the decision will force the Native voice to the bottom of the agenda.

Daniel McCool, a political science professor at the University of Utah, agreed with the negative assessment. He said the ruling means that in a variety of areas where tribes have keen interests, like health care, banking and gaming, they will simply be widely outspent.

“In general, it’s a bad decision for the Democratic process, but particularly for Native Americans,” said McCool, co-author of the 2007 book “Native Vote: American Indians, the Voting Rights Act, and the Right to Vote.”

“It will concentrate enormous power in the hands of the richest elements: big corporations, trade associations, and wealthy individuals. There is no way that tribes, or anyone else, can compete with the level of money that these well-funded interests will throw into the political process.”

The one situation where McCool envisions that the ruling could benefit a tribe is in a local or rural race where a successful gaming tribe can afford to campaign on behalf of a friendly candidate.

“But what’s the wealthiest tribe compared to Exxon?” McCool asked. “Who can fund the greatest number of commercials?”

Gavin Clarkson, a tribal finance expert with the University of Houston Law Center, said the ruling could play out okay for tribes that can afford to make costly donations, but poorer tribes could face problems.

Kalyn Free, founder and president of the Indigenous Democratic Network political action organization, said the ruling offers all the more reason for Native Americans to get involved in the political system.

“The Supreme Court decision is bad all the way around for those who want and need representatives that are responsive to human interests, not corporate interests.

“But tribes can flex their political clout by supporting our own tribal members, so we are building farm teams that can run for higher office later as well as represent our interests at the local and state level now.”

President Barack Obama and many Democrats are strongly opposed to the ruling, and have promised to take action, although a constitutional fix would likely be needed, and those are rare.

“This ruling opens the floodgates for an unlimited amount of special interest money into our democracy,” the president said in his weekly radio and Internet message.

“It gives the special interest lobbyists new leverage to spend millions on advertising to persuade elected officials to vote their way – or to punish those who don’t.”

Thursday, February 11, 2010


Rep. Diane Watson (D-Los Angeles) is ready to announce her retirement, according to Washington Democratic sources, and Assembly Speaker Karen Bass (D-Los Angeles) is expected to announce her bid to replace the congresswoman.

Watson's pending retirement, which has been rumored for months, was reported in The Hill newspaper Tuesday

[Updated at 12:23 p.m.: Watson is expected to make a formal announcement Thursday, according to numerous Democratic sources.

Bass declined comment on her own political future, opting to wait until Watson's official announcement. When asked about a possible congressional run Wednesday, Bass would only say, "Diane Watson has been a great leader for Los Angeles."]

Bass, a close ally of Watson's, has said privately that she is interested in running for Congress should Watson choose to retire, but has been reluctant to comment publicly to avoid being seen as pressuring Watson to step down.