Let us look at these issues from a traditional and political viewpoint. Non-federally recognized tribes have been around for a long time. In fact, ALL tribes were non-federally recognized until the Continental Congress began to negotiate treaties with some Native nations in the s. But the new U. The eastern tribes were left to flounder in a sea of neglect, racism, and ambiguity, in spite of the new federal Constitution that established federal supremacy over "commerce" with the tribes. Historically this clearly documents that the original Native American traditional culture is to be Non-federally recognized.
Ironic how political definitions get turned around to suit current generations?
The issue of sovereignty is at the heart of current disputes over the opening of casinos by Native communities. However, it is not generally recognized that state-recognized tribes, which possess reserved lands formerly known as "Indian towns" and later as reservations , also are likely to possess the same degree of sovereignty as federally recognized tribes. Another factor involves our country's "love affair" with racism and stereotyping, a factor, which very much affects most eastern tribes though not all.
Tragically, non-tribal people have come to believe that Native Americans should physically resemble the Sioux or Navajos seen on television, or the Italians playing Indians in old Western movies.
Our contemporary schoolbooks and films do not explain to the public that eastern Native communities were often places of refuge in the colonies and states, places where the laws of racial segregation did not apply. From New England to Florida most Native tribes provided homes for persons of mixed white and Native, Black and Native, and other combinations of ancestry.
As a result many eastern Indians began to partially resemble African-Americans and, indeed, large numbers of African-Americans have American racial ancestry in any case, from the Caribbean as well as from the United States itself. This presents a challenge, then, for white people obsessed with stereotypes. They might be willing to accept a white-Indian mixed person as an Indian, but their racial sensitivity balks at recognizing a person of part-African appearance.
Things have not changed all that much in two centuries!
Paul, Anchorage, and Albuquerque. Around one-fourth of American Indians in the United States live on reservations or pueblos or rancherias or associated "tribal trust lands," according to the census. However, each tribe has a particular set of requirements, typically including a blood quantum, for membership enrollment in the tribe.
Requirements vary widely from tribe to tribe: Dozens of people who spent their whole lives thinking they were members of the Isleta Pueblo are finding out they are not. People on the Pueblo have been getting letters telling them they have to have 50 percent Isleta blood to be part of the tribe. The letters they received say that people can challenge them if they fill out a family tree proving their heritage.
Velie, however, contends that individuals are not protected by sovereign immunity when they act outside the authority granted to them by the tribe. The plaintiffs allege that the committee members violated Pechanga Band law and imposed standards above those required by the Pechanga Constitution by launching disenrollment proceedings against them.
The lawsuit also accuses the committee members of trying to increase their own portions of casino profits by diminishing the number of tribal members eligible for profit-sharing payments.
The plaintiffs trace their family line back to Manuel Miranda, granddaughter of Pablo Apish, the Pechanga headman who received a 2,acre land grant from California Gov. Pio Pico in The committee members maintain that Miranda, who was half Pechanga according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, moved off the reservation and cut her ties to the tribe 80 years ago.
As a result, they are now demanding additional documentation of linear descent from the disputed members, most of whom have enjoyed full membership rights for 25 years. History is being rewritten across the Americas in this new millennium.
Native Americans peoples marginalized by modernity are perfectly capable of defending themselves; you don't have to do it for them. Written history is a seriously overrated Enlightenment construction.
Most peoples have lived without for most times. Written history is used to justify political and social power. Western civilization thought seems to be arguing that mythic histories, epics, folk-knowledge and non-historicized versions of the past open up possibilities for thinking.
Utopian thinking is the only response possible when you have destroyed all other possibilities for thinking the past when history has become the only legitimate resource for accessing the past. This situation has come to dominate Western societies experience of the past. The west has destroyed its past outside history. The post-industrial, Pan-Indian Movement emerged in when the Haudenosaunee, and Indians from North and South America, presented their Great Law of Peace to the United Nations, with a warning that Western civilization, through the process of colonialism, was destroying the earth's ability to renew her.
They recommended the development of liberation technologies, which would be anti-colonial, or self-sustaining, and the development of liberation theologies. A liberation theology will develop in people a consciousness that all life on the earth is sacred and that the sacredness of life is the key to human freedom and survival Akwesasne Notes The Peacemaker argued not for the establishment of law and order, but for the full establishment of peace, and universal justice. During this walk participants were taught spiritual wisdom. The spiritual leaders got together and worked out ceremonies that did not conflict with any one Indian Nation's spiritual beliefs.
Many Indian Nations are forbidden, by prophecy, to share their specific religious beliefs, even with other Indians, and with members of their own tribe who are less than full bloods. A Lakota spiritual leader had a vision that the colors black, red, yellow and white, our sacred colors, stood for the four races. It was in the Lakota Sweat Lodge that we first learned to pray for all my relations.
Now, reportedly, there has been another vision of Buffalo Calf Woman turning into buffalo of the four sacred colors. This has served to bolster the idea that the Red Road is for everyone. The Pan-Indian movement is made up of all four races, but the largest contingency are non-federally recognized Indians, primarily urban, who are desperately clinging to their Indian identity.
These people are not white, although some white people do also Sun Dance, they are very much in the minority, and are usually related to or have married into Indian families.
Nationhood implies conformity with international human rights ethics. Ethnic cleansing is a violation of human rights. Indians ceded their land to the government by Treaty. A Treaty is an international contract. Contracts are the crux of Western civilization.
It is unconscionable in today's world to deny a whole group of people the fulfillment of their contracts solely on the basis of race. To understand the current USA mis-adventure in Iraq, look a little closer to home. Keetowah Cherokee Ward Churchill book Struggle for the Land excerpts lay bare a devastating account of land robbery and genocide against the Native American peoples in North America, from the earliest days of the Republic.
Racism, disdain, and greed for Native American lands drove 13 small British colonies to break away from England. In Struggle for the Land , the earlier of these two books, Churchill clarifies that "independence" from England was little more than King George's giving up his "option" to buy native lands which he had by virtue of the "right of discovery. As a rogue rebellion looking for Nationhood, our earliest legal documents from the s endeavored to legitimize the United States by treating Indians as sovereign nations with whom we USA would enter into treaties.
But of course it was not to be. Chief Justice John Marshall, who had received 10, acres in grants west of the Appalachians in return for fighting in the Revolutionary War, declared, invoking an obscure Norman law, that the land was "vacant" and therefore Euro-American deeds were legitimate.
By , he was declaring that all natives were "subordinate" to the U. Marshall went even further and declared that natives "committed aggression" when they attempted to regain control of their land. In , the Christian Doctrine of Discovery was quietly adopted into U. Writing for a unanimous court, Chief Justice John Marshall observed that Christian European nations had assumed "ultimate dominion" over the lands of America during the Age of Discovery, and that - upon "discovery" - the Indians had lost "their rights to complete sovereignty, as independent nations," and only retained a right of "occupancy" in their lands.
In other words, Indians nations were subject to the ultimate authority of the first nation of Christendom to claim possession of a given region of Indian lands. According to Marshall, the United States - upon winning its independence in - became a successor nation to the right of "discovery" and acquired the power of "dominion" from Great Britain.
In other words, the Court affirmed that United States law was based on a fundamental rule of the "Law of Nations" - that it was permissible to virtually ignore the most basic rights of indigenous "heathens," and to claim that the "unoccupied lands" of America rightfully belonged to discovering Christian European nations. Of course, it's important to understand that, as Benjamin Munn Ziegler pointed out in The International Law of John Marshall, the term "unoccupied lands" referred to "the lands in America which, when discovered, were 'occupied by Indians' but 'unoccupied' by Christians.
Ironically, the same year that the Johnson v. McIntosh decision was handed down, founding father James Madison wrote: Religion is essentially distinct from civil government, and exempt from its cognizance; a connection between them is injurious to both. This type of legal history is the foundation for Churchill's devastating critique of U. Struggle for the Land is a series of precise, factual case studies of, for example, the Iroquois efforts to reclaim their land in upstate New York the entire city of Syracuse is on native land , and the Lakota refusal to accept any amount of money for the Black Hills.
One of the most important facts in the book, though, is that Hitler used the United States treatment of Indians as a model for his genocide. Consequently in , as the United States was preparing to sit in judgment on the Nazis at Nuremberg, the Indian Claims Commission Act was passed in order to provide a new veneer of legal rights to Indians, ostensibly giving them the right to sue for lost land if claims were based on "fraud, duress, unconscionable consideration, mutual or unilateral mistake," which, of course, they were.
In another section, Churchill describes the "radioactive colonization" of native land i. Ninety percent of mining takes place on native land. In one concise chart, Churchill outlines 33 different corporations who have leases in areas in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming.
There are more than 5, in the Black Hills alone. Locally, the Hanford plutonium plant leaks toxins from storage tanks into the fishing grounds of the Columbia River Yakima, leading to illness, sickened, malformed and dead fish, and a host of other problems.
The funds from leases are kept in "trust" by the government, and, of course, the tribes see little of them. Yet today, after three Cabinet secretaries have been held in contempt by a federal judge and after four lengthy trials and a successful defense on appeal of our claims on the merits, the federal government has failed to clean up the trust records. It cannot certify the accuracy of a single one of the estimated , current individual Indian trust accounts. That's the sad bottom line on how the federal government has continued to treat the nation's first citizens.
All I and three other Indians are asking the government to do is account for the tens of millions of acres of land the government forced into trust and to account for and distribute -- to the proper trust beneficiaries -- the correct amount of funds it received and invested from the leases it arranged for timber sales and for oil, gas, minerals and grazing rights on Indian trust lands in the West.
I may not be a lawyer, but I was a small-town banker in Montana. I know that the most basic of duties of any trustee is to account for all trust assets, including the funds they hold for the beneficiaries. Unfortunately, the commissioner of the Bureau of Public Debt, a senior Treasury Department official, testified in our case that the United States has used our trust funds to reduce the national debt.
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Full Cast and Crew. Survive the Tribe —.