Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)


January 15, 1993

The Mille Lacs Lake Band of Chippewa Indians is once again in the news.  The B.I.A. is using the Minnesota D.N.R. to weasel out from the Mississippi Chippewa Treaty, and is trying to re-negotiate the terms and take what they haven’t stolen over the past 150 years.  The State of Minnesota is calling it an “accord,” the Mille Lacs Band is calling it an “agreement,” and the Indians are calling it a “treaty.”  When the U.S. first signed both sides of the Mississippi Chippewa Treaty, they planned that the third, excluded party, the Anishinabe Ojibway people, would be extinct within a generation or so.  The Anishinabe Ojibway couldn’t sell the land, nor the resources, because Grandmother Earth is an inseparable part of our religion and our identity—and the U.S. knew that.  So, by legislation and executive order, England, the United States and the Northwest Territories created “Chippewa Indians” out of the White European fur traders and their Métis children.

At the time that the Mississippi “Treaty” was negotiated, neither the Anishinabe Ojibway nor the French Métis spoke English.  The “Treaties” were negotiated in English.  Although we have done extensive research at document repositories, and have requested copies from both the Bureau of Indian Affairs and from the United States Senate, there seem to be no copies of either the negotiations nor the “treaties” in any language except English.  (You can bet that Boris Yeltsin has a copy of the weapons-limitation treaties in Russian.)  Even if the archivists did come up with a copy in Chippewa, it wouldn’t make any difference, because the Chippewa language has the same European thought-patterns and embedded values as the European language of English.

Minnesota Viking media-created “folk hero” Bud Grant is going around laying the groundwork for angry confrontations about fishing at Mille Lacs Lake, just like Dean Christ did in Wisconsin.  (One wonders about the coincidence of Bud Grant’s onetime Viking quarterback just seated on the Minnesota Supreme Court.)  The P.R. coming out of the opinion-makers’ offices in 1993 isn’t much different than it was in the 1830’s: the media is urging the wagon-trains to circle, the brave cavalry is closing flanks, and the mythological Indians are whooping it up.  It’s the same hyperbole and crooked scheming—for the same purpose: swindle and grand theft of Aboriginal Indigenous peoples land and resources.  It worked in the 1800’s, and Western European history is full of lies and distortions that need to be debunked.

It’s to the advantage of the State of Minnesota to polarize the communities here using hunting and fishing rights, and to have contentious, even violent demonstrations on one or both sides of the fishing issue.  The State of Minnesota is promoting “catch and release,” but what they are really doing is “bait and switch.”  While the environmentally conscious hunters and fishermen of Minnesota are busy demonstrating against the Indians, the Minnesota “conservation agency,” the D.N.R., (which, along with the B.I.A., is a dumpground for political hacks who feed off pork barrel legislation and other public carrion) are stabbing the White sportsmen in the back.  While you sportsmen are “Indian bashing,” your own fair-weather friends in the D.N.R. will be raising hunting and fishing license fees, and blaming you for their milfoil and other environmental mismanagement.  Since the Europeans have been here, they have polluted the water just like it is in Europe.  The D.N.R. is promoting “catch-and-release” because most of the fish are too contaminated by toxic pollutants to eat.

The conspicuous and highly publicized quibbling about fishing: how big is the “tribal zone,” and probably the mesh-size of gillnets, and other trivia, also obscures some billion-dollar questions that neither the State of Minnesota nor the Department of the Interior want to air publicly: particularly water rights and mineral rights (like the Mesabi Iron Range, and the value of all the ore ever removed from there).  There are a handful of Anishinabe Ojibway people still surviving, who were forcibly removed from their homes preparatory to the mining operations—people who are still the legitimate owners of everything that was either “ceded” or not ceded by the Mississippi Chippewa Treaty.

The “treaties” are being negotiated through the Mille Lacs Band of Minnesota Chippeway Indians 1934 Indian Reorganization Act “Tribal Council.”  The “Indians” have no say-so, nor input, into this “tribal government.”  “Indian country” is just as fictitious as Disneyland, where all of these caricatures of “animated” make-believe animals occupy the twilight zone in the inner sanctum of regimented Indo-Europeans’ minds.  For example, there is a little rat named “Mickey Mouse,” who was born in Hollywood and who speaks English.  The United States Congress foreshadowed Hollywood, and created the Minnesota Chippewa Indians, and then they invented Indian Tribal Councils.  The voices you hear from these fictitious “tribal” caricatures are also in English, scripted by their W.A.S.P. puppet-masters, just like all of the voices you hear at the United Nations are also cast in the single rigid framework of narrow-minded European thought.

If you want to demonstrate, I suggest that you demonstrate against the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the United States Congress, and the State of Minnesota, if you’ve got the guts.  These are the responsible parties, who invented the caricatures, forged the “x-marks” on expedient “treaties,” who forcibly relocated the Eastern Anishinabe Ojibway in the death-marches of 1850 and 1851, and who have created and continue to aggravate this corrupt mess.  Don’t make the Anishinabe Ojibway, or the Indians, into a scapegoat, because we had nothing to do with it.  The pious Christian crooks, who are supposedly the moral leaders in the White communities, are by their silent complicity, condoning the vicious “Indian racket,” just like the “good Christians” who supported Hitler’s scapegoating of the Jewish, Gypsy, and other peoples during the Holocaust.  This ancient pattern of Western European “Civilization;” the occupation of other peoples’ land, is a pattern which the Indo-Europeans have repeated over and over again for thousands of years.  Because of your hierarchial thinking, it never changes.  Minnesota’s present-day scapegoating of both Anishinabe Ojibway and Indians is virulent right-wing hatemongering, of the ilks of Pat Robinson, David Duke, and his far-right cronies.  (The focussing of attention away from industrial pollution to “secondhand smoke” is another right-wing diversionary tactic, typical of the Reagan-Bush administration, just like “abortion,” and the misinformation which masks the problems of homelessness, unemployment and slave-labor minimum wages—scapegoating and Willie Horton blame-the-victim tricks.  The Lame Duck is on the way out, but the consequences of his right-wing policies to destroy families and family values are still here.  The sacrilegious Right has played a big part in the U.S. government’s latest try at terminating the “Indians” and abrogating the Treaties.  They have told so many lies that they don’t know which lie is the “truth,” and have fallen for their own propaganda that Aboriginal Indigenous people are “Indians” and the self-serving lie that the “treaties” were once legitimate.)

The negotiators for the “agreement” or “accord,” or whatever you want to call it, are strongly advised to scrutinize the United States Code, Title 18, Sections 1961-68.  Neither the Chippewa Indians, nor the United States Government, nor the State of Minnesota (nor the Northwest Territories, nor the Pope, for that matter) own the land and resources in question.  The Chippewa Indians, by colluding with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the State of Minnesota, and continuing to participate in the dishonest “Indian” identity and promoting the fictions that the “treaties” are legitimate and “Indians” are the same as Aboriginal Indigenous People, are putting themselves in violation of the RICO Statutes.  Indian gambling and Indian treaty-making are both racketeering.  You got away with it a hundred years ago, but this is a new age, and there are a number of Anishinabe Ojibway people who speak English fluently.  We, the Anishinabe Ojibway have a right to exist as a Sovereign Nation on our own land.

My telephone number is (218) 679-2382 and my mailing address is P.O. Box 484, Bemidji, MN 56601. 

Wub-e-ke-niew


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