Friday, November 6, 2009
Censored: Reactions to Obama's meeting with Native American governments
"I just get back junk mail from the White house." --Gerald Delorme
By Brenda Norrell
TUCSON --Viewers of the live streaming broadcast of Obama's meeting with Native American governments were overwhelmingly unimpressed. Don't expect comments like these in the mainstream press. Reactions like these will be censored by the mainstream media. It is always easier to write trite and superficial articles than to find out what people really think.
Here's the first reactions arriving at Censored News, submitted by Native Americans and non-Indians:
" A real yawner ..."
"We've heard this before ..."
"Sad to hear Native elected leaders whining for more money for jails and neglecting what is really important ..."
"I watched the last part, once again the white men were sitting on the stage, staring down at the Indians, or wait, who was who, everyone looked the same in their colonial suits ..."
"The little bits and pieces I heard was a lot of 'we need to do better.' Well NO sh-t !!! that's what we've been telling you for years." --Tim Wozny
"Disappointing -- but not unexpected" -- Tiffany Minurbizniz
"Money always money & Obama writes checks, evil money. Leonard Peltier's name wasn't heard inside.
"I Patsy Luebke believe Leonard Peltier is innocent and has been wronged by the federal goverment time to free this man. Bless this poor man. I hide my words from know one, ashamed my President doesn't full pardon Leonard now!!! Obama knows Leonard is innocent. Leonard Peltier will be in my prayers until he is free."--Patsy Luebke
"Oh no, we'll not forget - we'll not forget to store our deadly radioactive waste on your reservations - we'll not forget to mine our uranium on your lands then leave the tailings there to poison your people forever - we'll not forget - oh no we won't." --Molly Johnson
"Smiley glad hands with hidden agendas." --Navajo
"Well I wasn't surprised that Leonard Peltier's name didn't come up, but because of the efforts of those who could make it, our supporters 'were seen' and 'heard' by Obama when he went by. That fiasco is over now and we still have much work to do, we just have to think of what to do next. Me, I'm going to do a lodge today and pray on it first, then seek the answers. Aho, Mitakuye Oyasin." ---Michael Oneroad, Sisseton/Wahpeton Oyate
"After listening on MyTribeTV I see the same old carrots dangling before the cart. When there is real action on the issues constantly facing Indian Country I might feel more encouraged. Lisa Jackson's double speak is a slap in the face to those in the Silver Valley and Bunker Hill Superfund site, including the CDAs and Spokanes. I thank all who stood vigil for Leonard." -- Gayle Eversole, Choctaw
"Wow, I thought it was me just being cynical, so glad all of you shared your thoughts. I noticed that too- the ones with POWER on stage- and everyone else herded into an audience. I am really disappointed that no NON federally recognized tribes were asked to join, not even send in suggestions - talk about trying to pit people against one another. These are Native Nations too, whether they have the federal stamp of approval or not." -- Corine Fairbanks
"I was afraid all they were doing was priming the Indians that they cared and all the while they already know they are after more lands and resources. They could try coming to some of the reservations and live a weekend ... oh, they couldn't make it a weekend. I turned it off." -- Jan
--From Ben Carnes, Choctaw: "'Remember, Remember the 5th of November…'
People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments should be afraid of their people.'
V for Vendetta
I think there is movement here, but not one I want to celebrate. Everyone needs to keep in mind that, we have several corrupt tribal council systems, and Obama's move is not one that 'freedom fighters' will be a part of. Those tribal councils will have more coming to them, but they will be toeing the line.
I also agree with Corine, I know Chief Billy Tayac of the Piscataway people was not there. And it is the lands of his people that the WH, the federal triangle and DC sits upon. I never agreed or supported the government maintaining our pedigree's as if we were animals or property. Who gave the government the right to determine who is and isn't Native.
It is a destructive and divisive tool that pits Native people against one another. Recently some people discussed getting Congress to amend the Arts & Crafts bill to include music. One person was upset that an uncarded Native received a grammy. I don't know who that person was, but I know a few performers who have done all they could to find who their people were, but they hit a dead end everywhere they turned. It is a source of great pain and frustration for them. They are Native and I can see that, therefore they have my support.
Obama assumes that we all want to live the American Dream (nightmare), and that we are all Americans, but that presumption is without a basis in fact. The 1924 American Indian Citizenship Act was imposed upon us, it was a stamp that has denied us a voice and vote in the United Nations and to further assimilate our people into the system. This summit is just another in a long series of machinations to bring our people into conformity with the US.
If Obama is serious, then free Peltier, relinquish control of the Black Hills, empower the traditional Hopi and Dine' to defend their lands, and remove the soldiers of the state from the border reservations. If that happens, then maybe I might take him a little more serious as an ally than as a threat to the Sovereignty of the First Nations....!"--
--Corine Fairbanks: "Ben, I agree with you- this was a very calculated meeting- people were invited and not invited for a reason. I agree wholeheartedly with what you wrote..."
--Gayle Eversole: "Ben, in some ways I think they are starting to see this as a very true reality. People are getting very tired of the business as usual approach. It is outdated and yields no real change." --
--Gerald Delorme: "I see it as this. Once we are done with your Natural Resources you will fit the bill for the clean up. They will want to share all right. We take you clean. This is what they are trying to do here. Extract the minerals make the money and give back the land for a dollar or as is. Now the City tax payer will fit the bill for the clean up. Regardless it is still the paternal aspect making all the wrong decisions.
This has been a long time in the planning for these Governments. How do we get the needed minerals and look like the good guys and leave the mess to them. Give them a few dollars to lure them in and then make agreements for exchanges. Gee can't pay? Well then contract says it is ours legally. Not stolen any more."--
--Joan Diane Brooks: "They found Paradise and turned it into a toilet bowl. That's what they did in their own lands in Europe and when the stench became too much to smell, they decided to export it elsewhere. And everywhere they went, they did the same invasive damage until they were run out. While some of their subjugated became peons (India, etc.), others became mighty in their own right (China, Arab Nations, etc.) and did not allow the Euros to stay or get a foothold in their lands any more than they initially did. They looked for riches and never realized that the "riches" they valued were not valued in the same way. Weapons were okay, but could never take the place of Nature's beauty. Any idiot can make a gun or sword; but who can make a rainbow or paint the trees' colors like Nature? I don't believe Obama for one minute. Bill Clinton tried to help Pine Ridge. The only sitting President to ever visit a reservation (Pine Ridge) to see first-hand the damage and Congress fought him over $3 million in help. Obama can talk the talk, but he isn't going to do anything. And that 'adoption' is an insult!" --
--Lehman Brightman, Lakota, founder of United Native Americans: "Some Think President Obama Can Just Wave His MAGIC WAND And All The Issues We Face In Indian Country Will Be Swept Away. . . By The Way, If You Don't Like Whom Our ELECTED LEADERS Are, Here's an Idea, VOTE THEM Out!"--
Michelle Cook, Navajo: "The national myth, of empty lands, and the fierce "race of savages with want of fixed laws"! We must all uncover the counter-narratives (our narratives) from the imperial record that distort reality, our history, past, present, future. Uncovering the tragic and sexually violent history of conquest while also uncovering the true strength and power of both African Americans and indigenous peoples to hope, and continue to live in the face of such violent injustice. We are still here, and will keep fighting until all the earth and all the people are free completely."--
Sherwin Racehorse: "Greetings to my relations! Just a few thoughts about the recent November 5th meeting that President Obama scheduled with one Tribal representative from each of the 564 Indian tribal governments -- what was our tribal message? What theme was to be cast upon the Executive waters by a Shoshone-Bannock tribal leader? Is it health care, education, economic development, executive policy, legal, jurisdiction or sovereignty issues to name a few?
No, it was the same ole song and dance to request funding for specific projects. To hell with the current issues of contamination of mother earth by the Simplot company here in Southeast Idaho, to hell with the issues of the water, the air and the fish and wildlife that we see contaminated and rubbed out. To hell with the message and demand for immediate correction of the EPA, whose inactions allow this travesty to continue, and who has a trust responsibility to our Tribe via the Ft. Bridger treaty of 1868! Can we expect Obama to straighten out the EPA who is directly answerable to his office for this and a whole gamut of environmental wrongs?
Equally important is the question of how is our message among the 564 'two minute' messages ever going to have an impact without prior consensus building? If there was one word or one sentence that Indian country could agree upon what would that be? I for one still remain in the dark about the internal plan of our tribal Council and how did they come up with this 'message?' By strategic planning of the Council membership or by a sole legal opinion or by what method that binds intelligence?
How can we as a tribal people with a tribal government of elected leaders be most effective to rise above the internal disagreements, to provide democracy through constitutional mandates, to reduce unemployment and an escalating poverty rate, crime or drug abuse, to fix our courts and police departments, housing shortages, Tribal constitution amendment or reform, or to ensure we have adequate financial resources (and adequate federal financing) in accordance with treaty obligation?
I too am saddened and surprised that not one tribal leader stood and asked for the President to release our brother Leonard Peltier. Can we do better and speak not as one arrow separately but as many arrows bound together and strengthened by truth and honor? Best regards, ~Sherwin Racehorse
--Tupac Enrique: "Thoughts
Pessimistic: The optics of this event will be used to recruit more Native American youth into the US wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and... there are now seven US bases being implemented in Colombia: wars against the Indigenous Peoples of Abya Yala south in Peru, Ecuador and Chile front page in those countries.
Optimistic: With Obama, this is the best chance we will get to have the US government finally and for the first time recognize the Native Nations as Peoples, not wards of the government.
Realistically: It up to us as Indigenous Peoples not only to get on the agenda, but create it at the local, national, and international levels of interaction with the government states."
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Painting: Flag-draped Indian by Fritz Scholder