Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)


August 27, 1993

Parlez vous Français, and Bonjour!  That’s Indian talk, saying “Hello” to you Pembina, Red Lake, and Pillager Indians.  Wie geht’s, and Guten Tag!  This is another Indian greeting, to Chairman Brun and Rossback, who are patrilineal German Indians.  The first greeting is also to Roger Jourdain, who is a French Moor, and was also made into a Federally Recognized Indian by the White man.

To the readers who’ve been calling in, wondering what happened to my column:  I’m sorry, I’ve been overwhelmed with the work involved in finishing a book.  According to the publisher, it should be out in the next month or so.  The book is entitled, “We Have a Right to Exist.”  After doing eight years of research into the history and the genealogy of Red Lake, it’s finally getting ready to go to press!  This the first book ever published from an Anishinabe Ojibway perspective.  I’ll give you an advance sample from a section in which I address racism, from pages 16 and 17 (the page numbers are subject to change by the publisher):

“Dealing with personalities and individual racism will not solve the problems of structural racism.  Many “racist” individuals are operating within the context of the institution that they represent, and have no inkling of the racism that they convey.  In order to deal with racism effectively, we need to deal with the racist institutions that support the Euro-American hierarchy, and with the underlying thought patterns that mold the institutions.  The courts, the police departments, the I.R.S. and the schools are all racist institutions which entrench the White value system and social hierarchy.  In plain English, the W.A.S.P.s have a perpetual and eternal monopoly on racism, the way their system is set up.

“European thinking is hierarchial thinking, and because of this, individual racism is not the core problem, and until the European world view changes, the racism built into their language and their culture will continue to be a problem.  There were some particular incidents of outright racial discrimination at the Minneapolis Alcoholics Anonymous, for example a Mexican man with twenty years sobriety was passed over for staff employment in favor of a White with only two or three years sobriety.  This racism was inherent in the institution, and it became clear that the established White A.A. could not address our needs, and so we formed our own group.  Our struggling for sobriety, and trying to solve the problems which confronted us in both the Indian and Euro-American culture is what gave birth to the American Indian Movement.

“The Métis and White Indians could not get away from the European values, and so the American Indian Movement eventually also became a racist institution, as have all of the other Indian organizations.  The Minneapolis Indian grassroots organizations of the 1960’s and 1970’s: the Indian Center, the Indian Health Board, the Indian Neighborhood Club on Alcohol and Drugs, the American Indian Movement, the Indian-run housing programs, were designed and funded in the White hierarchial pattern, and all of them eventually reverted into racist institutions which discriminated particularly against the Aboriginal Indigenous People and other non-Indians.  The Aboriginal Indigenous People pay taxes, and it is our own resources which underwrite the United States dollar.  We are paying for the Federal Funding which subsidizes the transformation of grassroots organizations into racist institutions.  We are also subsidizing Federal racist institutions with our land and resources, including the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Federally funded ‘social welfare services.’

“Using their old strategy of blaming the victim, Aboriginal Indigenous People are publicly castigated for “being on welfare.”  The Aboriginal Indigenous People have never been on welfare, and as a matter of fact, it is the Europeans who have been on welfare since 1492, living off of Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples’ property.  We ask the immigrant Peoples the question, ‘why are you here, if you’re not on welfare?’  In this day, Federal Dollars do deep damage, not only to Aboriginal Indigenous People, but also to the unemployed, the homeless, and the underprivileged in the White man’s hierarchy.  Years ago, the Cavalry’s Federal bullets (also paid for with Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples’ resources) were used to destroy us.  Now, what is used is Federal Dollars.  United States policy is to break up families, using foster care, adoption, and the economic system.  Federal dollars hurt more than Federal bullets—they do deep psychological damage to people, and inflict a slow, painful death.  Simultaneously, they entrench the Euro-Americans’ racist social structure.”

The White value system, and why it reverts to racism, is explained in much further detail in the book.  The White man says that the Indians live in two worlds, meaning that they have two value systems, which is not true.  The Indians, because of their Indo-European patriline, are no different from their White blood relatives, and have only one set of values, that of the immigrant Europeans.

Indo-Europeans are always trying to say that they are “Federally Recognized Indians,” figuring their heritage on the matriline.  Hanging onto their mother’s skirts is what conquered people do, and these self-proclaimed American Indians do not have a Dodem or a Clan and they are not indigenous to this land.  They may be “Indians,” but they are not Aboriginal Indigenous People, whose heritage of identity is on the patriline, from the father’s people.  Even the Bureau of Indian Affairs admits this.  In their ecocidal economic plan, published in March, 1979 as The Red Lake Indian Reservation, It’s Resources and Development Potential, by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, as Report No. 253—endorsed for the mythological Chippewa Indians by a French Métis, Roger Jourdain, and an immigrant German farmer, Celestine Maus, the Bureau writes that the Anishinabe Ojibway are “patrilineal and divided by clans [Dodems] usually named after animals.”  Also published in this book is the Bureau’s diabolical scorched-earth total destruction of the ecosystem scheme, which is apparently the blueprint being followed by the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, because this is not their land.  This Indian and United States Government “economic development plan” recommends deep degradation of our environment, noting for example on page 173 that their proposed rice paddies appear “to have contributed significant amounts of dissolved solids and sulfates to the river ... [and] contributed significant amounts of biochemical oxygen demand and oxygen deficient water to the river system.  Violations of the agency standard ... seemingly occur.”  The plan endorses blasting duck nesting sites “with ammonia nitrate” on page 33, and recommends clearcut “land clearing” with [heavy-equipment] mechanical shearing blades on pages 69-73 and 131, along with “machine scalping” of the land, application of 2-4D, 2-4-5T and other poisons (page 135), and elimination of “mature stands (page 127),” meaning wholesale destruction of balanced Anishinabe Ojibway forests, in order to make areas of ecological devastation euphemistically called “tree farms.”  The Bureau of Indian Affairs writes on page 126, “Despite conflicting opinions, stand conversion [i.e., demolishing intact forests] will occur.”  The White planners also note on page v of the introduction that “such a program will necessitate changes in certain activities and attitudes that may not be entirely acceptable to tribal members [i.e. Anishinabe Ojibway people].”  It needs to be clearly reiterated here that the B.I.A.’s Chippewa Indians are not the Aboriginal Indigenous People of this land, and they are not the same people as the Anishinabe Ojibway; and in fact that the Bureau’s in-group Indians expect to make money from this ecological mayhem, and some of them already have.

According to my crystal ball, this insane plan is going to wreak immense hardship not only on the Anishinabe Ojibway, who own this land—and who were not consulted about the Bureau’s Hitler-mentality assault on our environment—it will also have dire consequences for the White people, and the Indians, in the surrounding ecosystem.  The effects of environmental devastation will hit all of you people.  There are no political boundary lines when it comes to destruction of the ecosystem.  Why bother with Ducks Unlimited if the United States Government is just going to blow up their nests?  Save your money for a trip to Washington, to talk to your Senator about this criminal madness.  Maybe there are some people in Washington who also need some butt-kicking to get their brains back in gear.

We, the surviving Anishinabe Ojibway have an inalienable right to exist as a Sovereign People on our own land, without Wanna-be’s and pretenders officially endorsing plans ruining land which does not belong to them.

 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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