What has taken place among the nations as the result of governmental policies is understandably personalized on a tribal basis while recognizing it encompasses other nations as well.
With the advent of the internet for some these abuses have become something of a contest – whose the poorest, who endured the most, who was lied to or cheated the most, which atrocity was the worst, when the reality is for one nation to rise a standard must be set that will insure all the nations rise – that is if those who routinely employ what has become the cliche of “we are all related” as something more than meme actually has a value to them.
Collective bargaining commonly relates to workers having the ability to bargain with employers – an idea conservatives despise apparently for the singular reason that it empowers workers leading to better working conditions, better pay, and better benefits.
Collective bargaining is an approach I believe the nations should take even though we represent a very small percentage of the workforce, tax base, population, and voting demographic.
This collective bargaining has taken place among the nations in a few instances, but not to the degree we’re capable of in my opinion.
It would involve uniting behind single issues on a priority basis, a list of issues that could be lengthy but better served if all the nations pro actively coalesced behind them one at a time, because the reality is the issues are commonly shared – something each nation experiences.
Don’t believe the single issue approach would work? Consider then if every nation took it to the streets in real numbers to support or protest something in cities within their states at the same time and stayed the course in a national protest.
Still have doubts? The consider the success Ghandi, King, and others have had when it came to what are inherently human rights.
Individual nations that have made recognizable advances should be looked to as a role model, that isn’t to say every aspect of their success should be adopted because there will exist cultural elements that are tribal centric.
Elements that will or should insure their integrity as a culturally distinct nation.
We often talk about we should have the ability to enter into trade agreements with any country we choose, but how about trade agreements among our own nation with proceeds from such agreements plowed back into further development?
How about taking control of our resources and building infrastructure, jobs, and ultimately influence when it comes to national policies that affect us?
Not much is easy on the rez or in our urban communities and this wouldn’t be either, it could take time but we only live day by day and the future lays ahead of us.
A future that will either be redundant in it’s similarity or have the potential to be dynamic.
We can never live in the future, for each day is the present and the next remains the future – but if we plan for these future days and work diligently to that end then each day we live will arrive with the fruits of our labor and the present becomes the past.
An historical archive that says we did something more than remain, we advanced not just as a nation but as nations.
A future that may require sacrifice but a sacrifice accompanied by dividends.
Tribalism is no less a reality today than it was a hundred years ago, two hundred years ago, or at anytime during our collective history – a history that clearly illustrates it contributed to our downfall – be proud of your nation, express your related concerns, but consider also if we are all related the required long term solutions will only be achieved as the result of a unified focus.
I always felt the Corbell vs Salazar settlement would have better served the future had recipients “sacrificed” their share and contributed it to a ” nation building” fund within their communities that included community input and oversight, and I believe that should be the way of it with future settlements with exceptions made for extreme cases.
I haven’t and will not accept any “settlement”, nothing has been settled in my opinion.
Can money mitigate an issue, settle a bill? I suppose so, but there is also an air of hush money about it – here, take the money and shut up, and in the accepting yet another issue is added to “settled” ledger.
The land can’t be sold? Like hell, every “settlement” says it can and is and crafted in such a way as to pose the question of which do you want – the bird in the hand, two in the bush, or nothing?
Of course an argument can be made that something is better than nothing, and the truth of that as opposed to the possibility of actually recovering vast swaths of land and resources makes the money in the hand all the more appealing – I guess what I’m saying is let’s not enter into these fights as though it’s just about the money .
We’ve got students on the rez who have to drive a hundred or more miles round trip to access wifi – students and people without electricity or running water, non co op stores that reflect that in prices – and jobs? Forget about it. Access to decent healthcare is measured not only in miles but money as well.
Dependency is the way of it and we can either oppose or embrace this lack of self reliance.
When it comes to the political realm I believe as nations we should truly be “independents” – we ought to evaluate what is truly best for us and vote accordingly.
We can opt for the Democratic route awaiting the pie in the sky or go Conservative which is they very antithesis of addressing the needs of our people.
And while on the subject, finding a “conservative” among the nations is akin to looking for a needle in a haystack – I’ll go a step farther in saying no traditionalist would go in that direction.
There may the odd conservative here and there but the truth of the matter is those who are basically are our version of one percenters – they’ve got something more than the rest of us, a nicer house, more money, perhaps a business venture, and their priority like all one percenters is primarily based on that, what they have. In a word they exhibit the characteristics of assimilation.
In essence they’ve the proverbial “apples” and “twinkies” having lost any understanding of the language, culture, and traditions in their pursuits that defines us while wrapping themselves in the flag and rhetoric of conservatism and supporting dolts like Trump, Cruz, or Rubio who have absolutely nothing to offer the nations ……. that’s NOTHING in caps.
Having gone that route the progression is to adopt and foment the talking points.
You know, like – they’re coming to take our guns and if a bunch of kids or innocents get killed well shit happens.
Of course they also sidle up to Jesus mentioning the name at least on ocassion as all good conservatives are required to do, and conspiracy theories always take precedence over reality and facts.
They’ll drone on about the power of women and matriarchy within the nations yet support a party and individuals that never saw a woman they didn’t think should be controlled including surrendering control of their reproductive ability.
They’re fine with videos of refugees in other countries attempting to cross borders being portrayed as actually having occurred at this countries borders, or those memorable photos of “ISIS camps” in Texas, or a billionaire Orangutan so far removed from our reality and having a diametrically opposed ideology running for president because he’s going to make America “great”
Whose America when he’s opposed to raising the minimum wage? Whose America when he wants to strip and water down regulations that protect the environment, the very air we breathe, and the food we eat? Whose American when he isn’t even capable of showing respect to women of his own color? Think he will to our’s? It’s okay to rail about Uranium tailings and polluted water on the rez but all the rest of it’s good?
It’s okay while this idiot denigrates women at every possible turn as long as we talk about the physical and sexual abuse of our women and the need to address and change it?
Whose America when they talk about austerity measures that exclude their corporate handlers? Or tax plans that take the same approach?
And that’s where the apples and twinkies enter the picture, their America, their ideology isn’t the same as the rest of the nations.
Don’t forget it was the conservative lobby group Heritage Foundation that opposed VAWA, it was conservatives who were against a formal apology to the nations for five hundred plus year of abuses and it wasn’t until 2009 one was forthcoming yet hidden in a defense appropriations bill and never publicly announced.
I’m not the only one who can access voting records related to indigenous issues, take a look for yourself and ponder how can any indigenous person can even entertain the thought of supporting them?
I may have wandered afield but these are issues I have strong opinions about and believe a connection exists, that being in the struggle to improve our situation and achieve any measure of equity conservatives will oppose our efforts – they have a track record of doing just that.
And though it could hardly be the only litmus test if you want a little insight, a little clue into who a traditionalist is you could begin by asking which candidate, which party, they favor?
The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step they say, that’s the way I view the recent announcement of 2-6-14 made by the Justice Department that will allow the prosecution of non indigenous domestic violence offenders.
A step long overdue, though there are limitations.
The Tulalip, Yaqui, and Umatilla nations have been selected to participate in what is being referred to as a pilot program in keeping with the enactment of the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA as commonly referred to, and passed only last year.
I’m somewhat surprised by the fact that only six nations have filed an application to address an issue that is epidemic considering that nearly half of all indigenous women have been victims of rape and or domestic violence.
Hopefully this will lead to an increase in prosecuting those within our communities of our nations who commit such crimes as well.
We’ve long railed about the federal governments tepid enforcement, their apparent lack of desire to pursue such cases, but another truth is our communities have been just as lax in addressing these issues, in tolerating them.
This about face by the government can be a defining moment for us as a people, a moment that will be further defined by the approach we take in confronting these and other crimes within our communities.
Rape and domestic violence are just that, neither minimized by the ethnicity of the victim or the perpetrator, a reality that obliges our tribal courts and communities to adopt a zero tolerance position….hopefully we will arrive at that point.
Everyone I know and spoke to of this immediately upon learning of it were elated, a lot of discussion took place and I wanted to hear the voices of others before blogging about it.
Several points were made, concerns were expressed – concerns about whether the government would set the bar to high to allow an across the board inclusion of all the nations, though that is exactly what is supposed to take place beginning next year – whether this would somehow be linked to appropriations held hostage by Congress, or if approved actually arrive.
Considering the history they are valid questions.
The question of whether this would lead to increased prosecution within our tribal courts of indigenous offenders was raised on several occasions, with an aside that if not it was a half empty cup , considering the history another valid question.
So on the surface we have reason to celebrate, an incremental step has been taken, it’s important in doing so that we don’t take two steps back.
That we don’t concentrate our efforts singularly on prosecuting offenders not of our nations at the expense of a failure to do so related to those of our own.
It’s been a difficult and often brutal road traveled by our women,the time is long overdue to recognize, appreciate, and defend their birthright. To celebrate and honor the differences.
Somewhere my mother and sister are surely smiling, I hope they feel a sense of justice, a justice denied them in life just as it has been for so many others.
The young daughter of a friend upon hearing her mother tell her of the passage of VAWA and it’s implications remarked that it was good-that she likens women to butterflies in a manner of speaking.
That they add beauty to the world and were never intended to do any harm, but sometimes harm is done to them, and yes, sometimes they forget they are butterflies and do harm themselves.
A few months or so ago she was given her first computer, a little Acer Aspire which she is completely enamored of, and taught the necessities of safe browsing, parental controls, etc.
Butterflies hold a specific fascination for her, and so she browsed through a few photos of butterflies I had taken to use as a screen saver-this isn’t my favorite as I probably view photos with a more critical eye than her, but it is the one she selected and that’s all that matters.
She asked me if I would post this photo as a gift from her to the “butterflies” of our people and to maybe say a few words:
VAWA is legislation long overdue, and what I view as an incremental step in restoring a balance too many have had no interest in, but like all legislation in itself it is not enough, and the success or failure will depend on two things.
Active enforcement and a change in attitudes- a change reflected in our communities that will translate to zero tolerance.
It’s time to put a stop to the senseless acts VAWA seeks to address-it’s time to stop making excuses or looking the other way. It’s time to stop all the internet posturing of being a warrior and try living like one. A warrior, whose first duty was and is to look to the welfare of women and children.
This isn’t Hollywood – and what is taking place isn’t produced from a script, it is very real, and rent the fabric of the nations. I’d like a future where this little butterfly will be secure, honored, and respected. It is the way it should be now and in the time to come.
It is a step-hopefully the first of what will be many.
It’s business as usual in the halls of the people’s representative government when it comes to the passage of a piece of legislation referred to as VAWA -the Violence Against Women Act-Bill S 47.
Legislation that would empower the nations to address and ajudicate such crimes committed against women.
Those attempting to block passage predictably reside on the Republican side of the aisle and are attempting to qualify their “concerns” as a matter of constitutionality, while also claiming that passage would enable tribal authorities to arrest non indigenous at will.
Though it has passed in the Senate it now heads to the House where Republicans and their misogynistic cohorts the Tea Party hold sway.
The constitutionality argument is entirely without merit based on the Supreme Court ruling related to the United States vs Lara where it clearly states that Congress does have the constitutional authority to remove restrictions pertaining to a tribes jurisdiction in criminal matters.
The reality is that little in the history of the governments dealings with the nations has been constitutional in nature.
What I believe is the motivation behind this resistance to passage is the long held belief of the Republican party that whites are gifted with some innate superiority regarding other ethnic groups,specifically white males, that, and they apparently see the passage of this bill as an incremental step that would further the nations credibility in seeking and claiming sovereignty.
In a union of states where power is wielded by a centralized authority a sovereign nation or nations with the ability to govern themselves, create their own laws, and enter into treaties and agreements with whoever they desired to be sitting in their midst doesn’t go down well, it isn’t deemed acceptable. Especially in the present political climate of rumblings about states rights and even secession.
What shouldn’t be overlooked when our people rightfully take issue with this is that it is basically the same argument Russell Means presented when the Dine attempted to hold him accountable for the assault of his one armed eighty year old then Dine father in law.
Russell claimed that in not being of their nation the Dine did not have the authority or essential sovereignty to arrest or try him.
This despite the fact that he was married to a Dine woman, living on Dine land, and committed his crime on their land.
Among Russell’s more inane and predictable arguments was that it was his belief he wouldn’t receive a fair trail, as if to say his treatment of his father in law was fair-but then we’ve heard that often enough from those in the AIM leadership haven’t we?
Maybe the Republicans can present the same argument and follow the trail Russell blazed in claiming a non indigenous person wouldn’t receive a fair trial because he surely had the same sense of entitlement.
Russell claimed to be a lot of things he wasn’t, and he vacillated back and forth between political party affiliation and positions as it served whatever agenda he had-but I think one would have to say he was at a heart a Republican when it came to issues regarding our ability to adjudicate matters and sovereignty,when it came to empowering and protecting women despite all the self promotion in talk of matriarchy, liberation, patriotism, and sovereignty.
What is going on related to this legislation should be a Howard Beale moment for us, for our indigenous journalists-we should all stand up, say we’re made as hell, not going take it anymore and demand passage. That would be the true “liberator” “patriot” thing to do, and might set an example for the AIM leadership.
The below link contains a video featuring Deborah Parker, vice-chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribes of Washington state, who shares her experiences while advocating for legislation directed at violence against indigenous women.
I would encourage one and all to view it and I issue an invitation to any of the internet warriors to step forward and address it-but more than that for them to forgo the affectations and become actively involved in their communities without considering whether it will advance their attention rating or not.
Apparently no “honorarium” has been offered to the “liberators” as they haven’t much to say about this piece of legislation.