Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)


November 26, 1993]

Greetings, Pilgrims, and all you foreign-born Europeans who call yourselves Americans.  Happy Thanksgiving Day to you!  The Mayflower Pilgrims have been here 373 years, and the ecology of this Continent has gotten worse every year that they’ve been here.  Pilgrims, you’ve over-extended your pilgrimage, and it’s time you packed your bags and went back home.  School-children are told that the Pilgrims came here fleeing religious persecution—but in the Mayflower Compact, which was the Pilgrim’s constitution, the point of their journey was exploitation of the vast resources of this Continent, and making money for the Good Ol’ Boys of the Virginia Company back in England, and for the King who chartered them.  England had already been plundered down into the bedrock, and the King was flat-ass broke.

Over the course of the fifteen generations that the Pilgrims have been here, a lot of them have turned into Wanna-Be Indians, in order to sell the Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples’ land and resources to their cousins.  If you really knew the Aboriginal Indigenous culture here, you would know that the land can’t be sold—and the Whites who bought land from the “Indians” were buying stolen property, including Manhattan Island, which did not belong to the Indians who sold it.

When the Pilgrims, and the rest of the Foreign Born subjects of Western European Civilization, who call themselves Americans, go home, the Aboriginal Indigenous people who have been tolerating their shenanigans and watching everything we have valued for millennia destroyed, are going to have a celebration that certain guests who have overstayed their welcome have finally left our land to go back home.  A pilgrimage is usually just a short visit.  I don’t know what the people who live in Mecca would do if their pilgrims stayed for fifteen generations.

INDIAN CASINOS: Indian Casinos were promoted with a great deal of hoop-la about “Jobs, jobs, jobs,” and also a lot of fanfare about the New Buffalo.  The implication was that everybody would benefit.  As I gaze into my crystal ball, I see the land speculators descending like vultures on bankrupt Indian Casinos, and along with them, I see this highly touted “great white buffalo” turning into a White Elephant.

A FISHY DEAL:  The I.R.A. Tribal Council and the State of Minnesota are always talking about Economic Development, Democracy, and the Great American Way.  But, on Reservations, this only seems to work for the in-group.  An elderly gentleman who lives at the Outlet of Lower Red Lake has a hobby of making smoked fish.  He keeps himself active, rather than sitting around watching T.V., and people enjoy the fish he makes.  He buys “rough fish” (which are usually thrown away) like gold-eyes from the Fishery, at a dollar a pound.  As an elder who isn’t rich, the Fishery could have just donated the fish to him, since he was making good use of them.

The real problem arose after he sold ten of his smoked fish to a friend of his, for fifteen dollars.  The Red Lake D.N.R. stopped the potato farmer who had bought the fish, at the Reservation Line, and confiscated these fish which had come “legally” through the Fishery.  This is really petty jealousy, which put a big strain on a friendship, and did great damage to the very small business of an elder who wasn’t hurting anybody.  Arresting the customers of an honest business is bad P.R.

The D.N.R. and the Tribal Council say that the fish is a “natural resource.”  According to their way of thinking, timber is also a natural resource—although the forests, which are called “timber” in crooked English, are really a part of the ecological infrastructure, upon which the Gold-Eyes, and all of the other fish, depend.  As the timber disappears, so do the fish—but the White man is so disconnected from Nature by his language that he hasn’t gotten this through his thick head even after watching the fish and other wildlife disappear, after deforesting most of the land where he’s been over the last four thousand years.

Roger Jourdain brought in the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, and the foreign “Indian” government created by the I.R.A. is responsible for agreeing to the massive destruction of the forests here, and bankrupting the Anishinabe Ojibway.  Roger Jourdain and Butch Brun are both running to be Chairman-for-Life of the European “Indian” Government the U.S. created by act of Congress.  Informed sources have told me that Butch Brun was bragging about how much timber he’d stolen from the Red Lake Anishinabe Ojibway, without even paying stumpage.  Many of the older people here have been asking about why there hasn’t been a per-capita timber payment in the last forty years.  Two thieves, who have stealing the resources in here, are running to be your Democratically Elected Indian Leader.  Either one of these guys, or just about anybody else who’s likely to be endorsed by the B.I.A. to be Red Lake I.R.A. Tribal Chairman, will sell the land right out from under your house, and would probably sell their own grandmother as a part of the package.

Every day, truckload after truckload of timber goes off of the Reservation.  Nobody stops any of those trucks, and tells them to put the trees back, or even to unload it.  Every time you see one of these trucks on the highway, there goes a part of your timber payment—and there goes more fish than you can count over the generations.  Destroying even the third-growth popple, which is Grandmother Earth desperately trying to heal herself, destroys the lakes, the rivers, and the fish.  If you don’t believe me, go look at the land these Indo-Europeans came from.  Where there used to be forest, all that’s left is rocks in their indigenous homeland.

IDENTITY:  When the Western Europeans landed here, they went insane with greed.  The Aboriginal Indigenous People could not sell Grandmother Earth, so the immigrant Europeans invented Indians.  These are some of the ways you can tell if you’re an Indian:

If you go to a Pow-Wow and you have to pay to get in, you’re a Wanna-Be.

If you like to demonstrate against the Redskins and the Braves, you’re probably a Wanna-Be.

If you keep electing I.R.A. Tribal Chairman who steal everything that isn’t nailed down, you’re a good Indian.

If you hate White people and blame them for your problems, you’re a bad Indian.

If you’re always looking for your Traditions, but you can’t find them, you’re an Indian.

If you attack people like Sun Bear and Chief Red Fox, and other Wanna-Be’s for trying to steal your Indian identity, you’re a confused Indian.

If you’re still wearing your cowboy boots and your sunglasses at midnight, you’re a Real Indian.

If you look for your identity in the movies Billy Jack and Dances with Wolves, you’re an Indian.

If you listen to loud pow-wow music on a ghetto-blaster, you’re an Indian.

If you figure your identity by blood quantum fractions given to you by the United States Government, you are a R-e-e-e-eal Indian.

If you argue with your brother about who has more “blood quantum,” you’re an Indian.

If you follow Clyde Bellecourt, who is a Frenchman, as your leader, you’re a lost Indian.

If you think colonial fry-bread is your indigenous food, and your belly hangs over your belt, you’re a Big Indian.

If you’re wearing more than two pounds of turquoise-and-silver and five pounds of beads, hey! you’re an Indian.

If you still don’t know whether you’re a Wanna-Be or an Indian, there’s more to come in the next column.

 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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