The Nations will stand with either a feather or a stone in our hand.
The Nations will stand with either a feather or a stone in our hand.
“disenrollment”, a curious word that will evoke varied opinions – but if the go to is an argument favoring “colonial law” then tribes and the author need to look at the colonial nature tribal governments have been modeled after and express some concerns about that also
They also should take a long hard look at the lack of “traditional Lakota penal modes”, begin a discussion about that and encourage a return to that standard.
The author seems to overlook that life in the gulags is far from traditional, that enrollment on a registry has not traditionally been the norm and so it stands to reason that it’s counterpart “disenrollment” wouldn’t be among the traditional lexicon, anything less is smoke and mirrors to support a position.
I submit the equivalent word existed among every nation, and that word was banishment – which is very much a “disenrollment”.
CIE’s lack of knowledge related to any leaders having “disenrolled” tribal members or the historical reality isn’t a surprise to me, it speaks to a fundamental lack of understanding traditions or the value and implementation of them.
No such opinion piece as the one included in the link would be complete without the inclusion of references to the 14th Amendment, a part of the very colonial law railed against yet employed as a characterization of a nebulous at best violation related to”disenrollment”.
You can’t have it both ways if “sovereignty” is any part of the equation. If nations have the right to self determination and to adjudicate matters on a tribal basis.
It is long past time a proactive approach was taken to address and curb drug dealing on the rez – not just drug dealing but gangs and the incidence of the rape and abuse of women and children, if that marks a person as a candidate for “disenrollment” then so be it and something for each nation to determine on their own.
Personally I think after a few examples were made things would improve, if not at the least the number and influence of drug dealers may have been impacted.
I’ve blogged about this in the past and offered the opinion that banishing, which I am very much in favor in certain instances, would no doubt lead to a selective embrace of colonial law, that lawsuits would probably follow at some point if this became an approach – seems as though if the spector of colonial law and the 14th Amendment are to be invoked it won’t be long before some last real Indian decides to represent the banished/disenrolled or post some selfies portraying themselves a mediator.
I can see it now, a drug dealer standing before a judge saying they got kicked out for being a drug dealer but they “got rights”. Not only ridiculous but absurd in the bargain.
A reality is that in the times past if you were banished you were in fact completely disenfranchised. You were “disenrolled” – you became a person without a nation whose only hope was being adopted into another nation and you brought upon yourself.
One nations standards are no more an across the board standard for others than apples and bananas are the same, the Lakota standard is not universal, it is not the same as the Haida’s anymore than the cultural standard of the Seminole are the same as those of the Paiute.
Communal standards can vary within the same nation – an example would be the difference between the traditionals and the progressives among the Hopi , and now between Cheyenne River and other Lakota communities.
So whether or not one nation has a word for “disenrollment” becomes secondary to the course another will take, and I might add if an “authorative” opinion is sought CIE wouldn’t be my first choice, unless maybe it was about colonial law or AIM law.
The obvious question is should the “rights” of a drug dealer take precedence over that of the welfare of a community? The posting of photos with children holding signs to rid their community of drugs also begs the question do the “colonial” rights of a drug dealer take precedence over the rights and welfare of children?
The equally obvious answer to both should be a resounding no.
Perhaps an approach would be to offer a road back, you get kicked out, straighten up your act up and earn your way back or stay out.
Colonial law refers to that as probation or community service, if you want to adopt colonial law you might want to consider that.
I find it somewhat amusing and disingenuous to say a nation doesn’t have a word for this or that as though the mere statement assumes some higher ground of rebuttal – truth is as nations we didn’t and don’t have words for a number of things. Kind of makes wonder if nations had a word for penal?
Does that imply they don’t exist or what they represent has no validity?
The bottom line is as nations we need to cut the bs and employ some common sense and traditional ways.
If we we want to claim ownership of scared sites and land we need to begin with taking ownership of our communities – in the interim hopefully no one will suggest going to pe sla to pass that “grail” cast there among themselves as a means of arbitration.
Books and reading, what a personal boon they have been to me – vehicles that have opened doors to a larger world, replaced question marks with periods or exclamation points and facilitated the ability to understand the nature of this world we now live in. But more than that gave me what was needed to compete and recognize the bs whether on paper or verbally for what it is.
Seems as though I’m on something of a mission now encouraging others to read, stressing the importance of reading and an education for children, that it’s never too late for adults to pursue the same.
Books get passed to me, I read them and in turn pass them on – a give away in a sense that in doing so a greater value exists, a lasting value, more than a meal.
When it comes to what we own nothing may be more valuable than knowledge we have acquired.
I emphasize ownership as we do not own spouses, partners, children, or family, we share and are participants in life with them – in the construction of a specific life.
Like it or not we live in a competitive world inspite of Russell Means delusional claims that indigenous people don’t compete and there is no evidence of pre Colombian inter tribal warfare.
Our history is replete with competition just as the histories of others are, and it is competition in the market and job place that will facilitate an economic well being among our communities.
Education is the key to both success and survival in the world we now find ourselves in – not being on the government dole, nor soliciting grants and donations.
Sovereignty begins and ends with self reliance or the absence of it, no one dependent is sovereign, no one dependent is free, no one dependent can ever truly be their own person.
As a people we are handicapped by battles lost and treaties signed, by the emergence of the presence and influence of alcohol, drugs, gangs, rampant poverty, health related issues, and the erosion of traditions and our natural habitat.
All symptomatic manifestations of an independent people become dependent. Does anyone see a benefit in prolonging more of the same? Has this history of confinement and dependency taught us nothing?
Is it enough to survive life for x number of years rather than live it?
You don’t like to read, you don’t like school ? You’re not unique in that, I didn’t either, but do you like the current reality better? Is it the reality you want for your children?
If reading is difficult get a dictionary as I did, if you haven’t a job skill learn one, learn as many as you can so there’s always something to fall back on. If you encounter racism on the job, compete, work harder until they have to choke on their own ignorance and bias.
Become skilled enough in whatever work you do that it will allow you to work independently, that others will coming seeking you and the ability you have.
If you do these things pay it forward, extend your hand to lift another – strong vibrant communities are built in that way – communities that can take care of their own, communities that produce strong children grounded and equipped to go out on their own and succeed when the time arrives.
Work is the modern day hunting and gathering, the way to provide. What kind of “warrior” is willing to be dependent, willing for his family and children to be? Willing to abandon his own children and the woman who gave birth to them? Willing to give up and accept anything as that’s just the way it is?
What kind of “warrior” man or woman is willing to wallow in drugs and alcohol while their children do without?
What kind of “warrior(s)” pimps the poverty of their own to enrich themselves?
We can talk all we want about what is owed to us, but we need to start talking about what we owe ourselves and future generations – and I see only two choices….dependency or self reliance.
Kind of a curious thing about flu season and the approach people will take – some will rail on about the evils and “conspiracies” related to flu vaccinations and yet once stricken will either self medicate with the over the counter remedies of dubious efficacy and reputation or pay a visit to the doctors office for a shot and a prescription or two or three.
Kind of reminds me of people who go on about WalMart and shop there nonetheless.
I don’t take the flu shot, but it isn’t because I believe there is a conspiracy to whittle down the population or create a generation of sterile mutants, I just don’t seem to come down with the flu, or colds for that matter, maybe a genetic inheritance I’ve been gifted with – but if I was susceptible I might well get in the vaccination line and think nothing of it.
When it comes to health issues I’m not advocating for such things as I think people should address them as they will, with some qualifications when it comes to children.
It isn’t as though I don’t test the flu/cold fates, when the work bell sounds I go regardless of the weather, I’m willing to lay under a house in mud or snow replacing plumbing if that’s what it takes, if it’s raining I don’t much care if I get wet, the concern is my tools, the damage that can be done to them and the associated cost of replacement.
I’ve caught some caring heat for that at times, the hands on the hips Nurse Ratchet look, a gentle scolding expressing concern, even a tearful statement of appreciation for the effort made and the willingness to do so.
While I attempt to accommodate such concerns, the independence and responsibility of earning a living and self reliance is a siren’s call that beckons, and a duty to respond to.
There will come a day when I’m no longer to able to swing the hammer, or carry decking and shingles up a ladder to do a roof. When the cold will be an inescapable adversary old bones, sinew, and muscles are destined to confront.
I view that as part of the natural progression and have no fear of it – until the arrival of such a day I intend to continue making the bacon as they say, I intend to provide, I intend to be a man to the best of my ability come rain, hail, sleet, or snow.
People talk about a work ethnic, an ethnic laden with nuances not often verbalized yet nonetheless real.
Nuances that encompass family and loved ones, the where with all to help others regardless of how small such help may be – dependency, though unavoidable for some, is a ball and chain, a stone to carry that weighs down, it isn’t living a life it is surviving one until the time comes to move on.
I intend to live, not merely survive – and as a friend of mine says, to be a soldier in the war on poverty whose face I have known all too well as many have and continue to.
A grandfather, a distinct honor of mine to know, once said it is better to dig in the dirt with a stick than for a little one to go hungry. If that’s what it takes we should all have a stick at our disposal.
I am a human being, that and nothing more – there is nothing special about me, the opinions I hold, or the work ethic I adhere to – but too much has been ceded or taken from the nations, and I’m not willing to surrender so much as a inch of what remains nor any measure of the independence that comes from answering the bell.
I’m fortunate in that I have marketable skills, skills that weren’t given to me, I learned and earned them the hard way working for little or nothing because of my ancestry in a climate both exploitative and racist in nature.
An uphill battle that has changed now due to skill set and experience, if I could do that anyone with the desire to do so can as well.
Today marks the sixty sixth anniversary of the assassination of Mahatma (great soul) Gandhi.
I first read about Mahatma Gandhi when I was in my mid teens and it began a lifetime of admiration for this simple man who galvanized an entire nation on the road to self determination.
Few such persons exist in the scope of world history.
Gandhi was the calm in the middle of a storm, never seeking violent confrontation but also unwilling to back down- a model adopted by others like Martin Luther King.
Becoming aware of Gandhi was a personal epiphany that allowed me to see the larger picture, a picture that illustrated there were individuals worthy of respect in all races, great men and women independent of color, that the world was larger than my own or the nations personal sphere.
Among our nations there have been many great leaders, many people who made a difference and an impact – too many of them relatively unknown, too many of a nation that hasn’t been glamorized or romanticized, yet no less an individual.
No one celebrates their accomplishments, the obstacles and hardships they faced, or memorializes their death….I consider that to be a failure of everyone who has come after them.
A greater failure that a comparable attempt is made to portray the AIM leadership as “liberators” as they live and in their passing.
The original mandate of the government was to be “representative” of the people-in many ways I believe it has lived up to that promise in displaying the same divisiveness and lack of coherent direction the general public seems to have.
Government is rife with cronyism, sexual escapades, income tax invaders, corruption, and indebtness to corporate campaign funding.
Before those who align themselves with a party begin to cry foul invest a little time in researching these things-they are bipartisan in nature and even a cursory search reveals that.
The current campaign rhetoric emanating from all sides is childish- claims and counter claims are made that cannot withstand the light of fact checking-yet people accept whatever is said as an absolute.
The Republicans have apparently gone off their medication and as though by design continue to alienate the voting bloc women comprise-I’m not sure if they ever enjoyed a woman’s vote contingent but if so it is history now.
The current administration has stacked cabinet and advisory posts with former Wall Streeters, bankers, and lobbyists-how that serves the nation is beyond me-kind of sounds like putting the fox to guard the hen house.
The NDAA recently authored by a Democrat and passed may be the single greatest assault against the rights of the individual ever to have been enacted…it denies the right of Habeas Corpus and allows the indefinite detention of American citizens without trial, charges being brought,the right to face their accuser, or bond.
The fact that a Presidential signing statement was issued “assuring” that it would never be used during this administration is meaningless. And should raise the question if it is so heinous why was it enacted in the first place?
Even if it is true such a signing statement does not carry the force of law to succeeding administrations-and no president can guarantee what another will or won’t do. And then there are always those mitigating circumstances that demand a reversal of position for the “good” of the nation.
Habeas Corpus has been suspended twice in this nations history-or rather I should say, “officially” suspended, as the nations never seemed to enjoy the same rights as the general population.
Once was by Lincoln during the Civil War and the other was by Roosevelt during WW2 that led to the internment of the Japanese.
We have seen that when either party votes as bloc along party lines nothing is passed and the game of finger pointing is afoot.
The metric that defines the most is to examine those things they agree on and what impact they will have upon the country-like the NDAA. That speaks to larger issues, and illustrates to me at least that all politicians are suspect inspite of rhetoric and the bones tossed our way to quell and appease the masses.
The nations during the last fifty odd years have voted Democratic, and we have little to show for it despite all the promises-had we have gone the other way we would probably have less-but that isn’t the point.
The point is we are little more than photo ops during campaign season-we receive our share of promises as does everyone else, but the reality always differs- out of sight out of mind.
A major mistake was to have ever been forced or allowed ourselves to model tribal government after that of Washington-in doing so we are now awash in cronyism, corruption, nepotism, and the same dysfunction.
I have no solution to offer for others than to say demand campaign finance reform, a reform that mandates public funding, outlaws corporate donations, super pacs, lobbyists, and allows equal access for all candidates.
For ourselves I say it is one thing-complete and absolute sovereignty. The ability to govern ourselves in totality, form alliances and trade agreements with this and other countries, and control our resources.
No one believes this will ever happen-in lieu of that this country should abide by the Supreme Court opinion of 1905 that treaties are the LAW OF THE LAND-we’ve had one hundred and seven years since that opinion was rendered to understand this will never be the way of it either.
So what is to become of us, what course should we take? Should we continue to be warehoused or resign ourselves to assimilation and slowly disappear?
Should we continue to take cash “settlements” for what belongs to us, gradually sell off what remains, and pantomime our way through ceremonies for fun, profit, and the internet?
We as a people have never been nearsighted-we thought and lived our lives with generations in mind. Even in the midst of this staggering poverty and need we must think as we once did.
We don’t live our lives just for us-we must live it for every child we see and those to come, and we must do so with honor and an eye to the future.
We have to begin making a difference as individuals in the communities we live in- we have to be seen not in the context of the words we speak but the examples we provide.
The battles we fight now are in the courts-a long and arduous journey against immeasurable odds. But there is another battleground, the rez, and the battle being fought there is for the soul and the integrity of the nations-it is in a manner of speaking our own civil war, one we cannot afford to lose.
It is a war of ideology and tradition, of the welfare and security of the people, of the rights of women and children-a battle being waged against drugs, alcohol,gangs,crime, abuse, rape, the marginalization of elders and tradition based leadership, and against those among us who call themselves liberators and patriots that have preyed upon our misery.
What the reader needs to understand is that we are not political beings-it is anathema to us, and has inflicted more damage than good upon us. In that context I am not a banner waver or bumper sticker kind of person regardless of any candidates skin color, ethnicity, or political persuasion – I leave to that others.
Sometimes when you stand on the outside looking in it enables a person to observe what appear to be obvious things that others overlook-not always, but sometimes.
Education as an example-lacking one myself there are certain downsides-but advantages in the sense of having avoided the formulaic approach many public schools take and the indoctrination that accompanies it.
I’ve had conversations over time with various people and the opinions have have covered a broad spectrum- some based on a contempt for anything associated with the white world.
Others, and the vast majority, believe it is an important element to lift the nations out of poverty and dependency.
Education and skill sets directly translate to empowerment- the ability to improve the conditions of ones life, that of others, and entire nations.
In that context I see them as an essential, a necessary vehicle to make our way-to become empowered and masters of our own destiny.
Some see it as assimilation, but I believe education and assimilation can be decoupled-though that isn’t the way it was originally presented to us.
Assimilation is a reality-if you doubt that look around on the net. At least with the tools education can provide we can make a choice where historically none have existed.
Reliance on checks and assistance removes the ability to make choices-as does failing to understand how language and legalese are too often a contrivance to manipulate.
Education could mitigate substance abuse, be it alcohol or drugs-it could address the issues of gangs and crimes. It could even instill a measure of pride related to standing on ones own feet.
Better I think to market ones own abilities and job skills than tradition and ceremony-better to earn a living than rely on a subsistence level lifestyle provided by others or make a career of seeking donations.
Education could, and is, providing our own skilled healthcare providers, something sorely needed-it could lead to all our children attending our schools and being taught by our teachers. It is, and can create opportunities.
I see education as a positive-not a threat. How much of an asset it can become is related to the approach and what the desired end result is.
No one is going to hand us a bright future-we need to make it for ourselves-we need to invest what is required as individuals to earn it by our own hand.
No one understands the issues as a people we face better than we do-that understanding should galvanize all of us to forthrightly address them with a singleness of purpose.
Our preference, our goal, should be to bring something to the table-our table-rather than being consigned to sit at another’s.