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  Nostalgia ain't what it used to be

Thursday, 03 December, 2020

The Indian Wars

Date: 23 April, 2004

By: Chief

Imagehey are not over you know. Not by a jug full. Fact is they have never stopped.

Oh yeah, there isn't any bullets flying nowadays. Nor are there any flaming arrows slicing across the sky or war cries sounding through the air. Now the wars are fought through the political process. And the Indians are still losing. Now and again a tribe will sue and every so often a tribe will win. But in the vast majority of cases the Indians lose.

I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, an Indian. I am most definitely a paleface. And yes, I am an American citizen. I am also not at all proud of what we have done — to — not with or in partnership with the American Indians. In fact I am ashamed.

Most American citizens consider themselves to be good and caring people. Just take a look; we ended slavery. Ended racial discrimination. Passed all sorts of civil rights laws. Why women even have the right to vote! Hell, we've even gone so far as to "liberate Iraq" from the hands of an evil dictator (though right now it appears the Iraq's are trying their damnedest to boot us out and they just might succeed at that). At the same time, most citizens have no clue about the American Indian.

Ask most any citizen about the American Indian and they most likely will tell you either:

Both answers are wrong.

The first thing to remember is that history is written by the winner. Therefore you need to ask yourself this question: Are our history books filled with lies? The answer to that question as it pertains to the Indian is an unqualified yes. The second thing is then what is the truth? That in-and-of-itself is very entertaining. Yes indeed.

The full truth most likely will never be known. But from what can be found from various sources is brutally ugly. We came. We saw. We conquered. We tried to exterminate. That is the short story. Sounds more like Nazi Germany and Hitler than the United States now doesn't it? However and most unfortunately, that is basically the truth.

Consider Peter H. Burnett, California's first governor and his 1851 speech to the legislature. He realized that because of the white mans method of just taking what he wanted without tribal consent or compensation (which was a foreign concept to Indian tribes at the time) war was basically unavoidable.

Here, for your edification, is the final paragraph of his speech:

"That a war of extermination will continue to be waged between the races, until the Indian race becomes extinct, must be expected. While we cannot anticipate this result but with painful regret, the inevitable destiny of the race is beyond the power or wisdom of man to avert."

Burnett's speech was one of those 'sorry boys, but there is nothing I can do about it'. Beyond the power or wisdom indeed.

Unfortunately back then, back in the day, Burnett was probably correct. There was nothing he or the state could do, assuming those in power actually gave a damn about the Indians (which they obviously did not), to bring the "extermination" to a halt. There were no highways, cars, computer networks, telephones or T.V. Basically everything was autonomous. Couple that with the fact that we palefaces have, by and large, considered ourselves far better than anyone else ("a civilized race") and, as Burnett said in his speech, "[t]he white man, to whom time is money" believe the possession of money and property to be next to, if not above, godliness.

In short, bigotry and greed kills. Aren't you proud?

A few more examples, I can tell, are needed. Well, how about the fact that there are some tribes that are factually extinct. Gone, as in history. Killed by us palefaces. A second example is the Indian Removal Act of 1830. Between 1830 and 1850, about 100,000 American Indians living between Michigan, Louisiana, and Florida were moved west after the U.S. government coerced treaties or used the U.S. Army against those resisting. Many were treated brutally. An estimated 3,500 Creeks alone died in Alabama and on their westward journey. Some were transported in chains. Several thousand more died during the extended journey. The Indian Removal Act is also known as the "Trail of Tears." A third heinous example are the 18 treaties signed by various California Indian tribes and government agents in 1850 and 1851. Well guess what? None were ratified by the U.S. Senate. Indeed, the Senate had the treaties "enjoined" under secrecy. These same treaties were not re-discovered until 1905 at which time they were voted down by the Senate. I am not even going to discuss Wounded Knee. Lastly is the "Indian Appropriation Act of 1871." It says, in pertinent part:

"No Indian nation or tribe within the territory of the United States shall be acknowledged or recognized as an independent nation, tribe, or power with whom the United States may contract by treaty; but no obligation of any treaty lawfully made and ratified with any such Indian nation or tribe prior to March 3, 1871, shall be hereby invalidated or impaired."

Isn't that just a fine howdy-do. By the stroke of a pen Indians lost all sovereignty (except for those few treaties signed before 1871). It would be the same thing as if you woke up one day hearing someone knocking on your door, the police hand you a piece of paper and tell you to get out of what was your home and that your citizenship has been invalidated and you have leave the country. How would you like that? I would be willing to wager that you would not like it one damn bit. I know I wouldn't and would fight like hell.

In other words, there are basically no Indian tribes or Indian citizens. American Indians are — indigenous people. Not even citizens. And you know, if I were an American Indian, I would not accept American Citizenship. I would tell the U.S. government to kiss my American Indian ass.

There are many, many more documented cases of injustice and wrongs to American Indians and I am not of want to delve any deeper into the past. I cannot change the past, though it does make me sick to my stomach. I brought those examples forward so that you can get just a small taste of the past and of the current situation. It is wrong and must be corrected.

So how does one correct this problem? Actually it is quite simple. The American Indians themselves, with our help should they ask, need to fix this fuck story. They need to get on the warpath right smack-dab in the middle of the halls of Congress and just say "no." We are not going to take this crap anymore and it is going to be fixed and fixed now ... to our satisfaction, not yours paleface. The Indian Appropriation Act of 1871 needs to be completely rewritten or maybe scrapped to provide Indians sovereignty. Public Law 83-280 (18 U.S.C. § 1162, 28 U.S.C. § 1360, 25 U.S.C. § 1321 - 1326) needs to be stricken. Any other federal law or regulation which in any way interferes with Indian sovereignty would have to go as well. State laws governing Indian affairs would also need to be eliminated. Once that is accomplished then appropriate and honest treaties can be drafted, ratified and signed. Oh, and just so I don't forget, the federale Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) — scalp the bastards says I. The BIA is even more crooked than Congress itself, if you can believe that.

It is up to the American Indians to start the process. We can and should pitch in and help, but only if we, as citizens, are asked. Indians are a fine and proud people. So if they can do the job on their own, so be it. If they ask for my help, damn straight, they will get it. I live in the middle of Indian country. Some of my closest friends are Indians and I, for one, am God Damn proud to call them friend.

There is absolutely no reason why this cannot and should not be accomplished. It is time to make it so.

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