Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)


December 31, 1993

On page 4 of the December 24 Native American Press/Ojibway News, there was an unsigned letter to the Editor complaining about a “NON-MEMBER.”  When I was growing up at Red Lake, people referred to other people who were not from Red Lake, as “Outsiders,” and many people (mostly “Outsiders” themselves) still use this term.  But, Reservation English seems to be on shaky ground, and now some Wanna-Be’s are using the term “Non-Member.”  The meaning of these two words is different, though.  Most of the people who are defined as “Members” by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, are “outsiders” who are also not Anishinabe Ojibway—of Red Lake or anywhere else.

 I am no longer enrolled as a “Member” of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians; because I am not an Indian.  I took my own identity back, and let the definers of Indians play with their own Members.  The Chippewa Indians are a group of Indo-European Settlers who are not Anishinabe Ojibway, who were put onto this land by another group of people who are, guess what, “Non-Members” and “Outsiders.”  Specifically, the people who put the Chippewa Indians onto Red Lake were the White Members of the United States Congress, working through the White Members of the Minnesota Chippewa Commission.  I resigned from the U.S. Government Rolls of “Members” of Chippewa Indians, because I refuse to be part of the dishonest and racist scheme of making Wanna-Be Indian “Members,” which is done by “Outsiders.”

Before Big Indian Members start crying about “Non-Members,” they had better take a good look at who they are, and what they’re asking for.

Who’s the head of the Beltrami County Welfare Department, and who pays the taxes that pay for Welfare?   They’re “Non-Members.”

 Who’s the head of the Forestry Services?  Bud Anderson, an “Outsider” and a “Non-Member.”  He’s only following orders written in Washington, D.C. by “Non-Members,” to destroy the whole ecosystem at Red Lake.

Who are the school-teachers here, and who certified these teachers and gives them jobs in the schools at Red Lake?  “Non-Members.”  Who pays them?  It’s not Indians.

What about you Chippewa Indians’ court system?  Indian Law is imported English Law and Roman Law, defined by White Members of Congress.  The Chippewa Courts were put in here and paid for by “Non-Members,” who define Chippewas as “Indians” and non-persons.

The Police and the Law Enforcement used by the United States Government at Red Lake was illegally brought in here by people who the anonymous “Member” would define as “Non-Members.”

The 1934 Indian Reorganization Act created the Indian Chippewa Tribal Council, by Act of United States Congress, whose White Members are “Outsiders.”

Federal Recognition is given to the I.R.A. Tribal Council by the Great White Father, who is a “Member.”

What about your hierarchical Chippewa language?  Bishop Baraga, an Outsider and a “Non-Member,” took a pidgin Creole language spoken by French Voyageurs, and created a language for Chippewa Indians.  The Chippewa language which Clergy Member Baraga gave Indians is worthless language, and wasn’t even used it in the Treaties which the ancestors of Chippewa Members signed to sell my Peoples’ Anishinabe Ojibway land.

What about the Indian Sovereignty that you Chippewa “Members” claim?  It was given to you by “Non-Members.”  The only reason that “Indian Tribal Sovereignty” was given to Chippewa Outsiders who are now calling themselves “Members,” is so that the United States Government, which invented this Indian Sovereignty, could protect themselves against violations of their Nepotism regulations.  If you very carefully read the 1958 Chippewa Indian Constitution that “Non-Members” wrote for you, you will find out that this is just about all that “Indian Sovereignty” is good for.

What about the Indian Settlers’ housing which you ungrateful Indian “Members” and carpet-baggers live in?  It was given to you by “Non-Members,” and you should be thankful you have a roof over your head and Indian Rations called Commodities on your table.

What about the land that you Chippewa Indians claim?  It’s all held by “Outsiders.”  If you don’t believe me, go look at the land records in the County Courthouse.   The land title to what is alleged to be Chippewa Indian land is held by the United States Government.

Who gives you funding to run all of the Indian programs?  You guessed it—“Non-Members.”

The Chippewa Indian “Members” never had it so good.  I don’t know what they’re complaining about: they don’t have to think for themselves; they don’t have to learn job skills to compete in the “outside” labor market; they don’t have to learn English, and all the Math they have to learn is enough to figure out how big a “Member” they are according to Indian Blood Quantum.  Under Sacred Indian Trusteeship, Outsiders and Non-Members define you “Member” Chippewa Indians as Legally Incompetent Wards of the U.S. Government.  You don’t even have to worry about voting in elections: the United States will vote for you Chippewa “Members” by proxy, to make sure you vote the right way.

Who gave you Chippewa “Members” the identity of Indian?  Outsiders and “Non-Members” are the definers the racist, demeaning stereotypes you self-important “Members” try to act out as an Indian.

Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz explains who a definer and labeller is: “Definers (that is, persons who insist on defining others) are like pathogenic microorganisms: each invades, parasitizes, and often destroys his victim; and, in each case, those whose resistance is low are the most susceptible to attack.  Hence, those whose immunological defenses are weak are most likely to contract infectious diseases; and those whose social defenses are weak—that is, the young and the old, the sick and the poor, and so forth—are the most likely to contract invidious definitions of themselves. ... In short, he who first seizes the word imposes reality on the other: he who defines thus dominates and lives; and he who is defined is subjugated and may be killed.”

The anonymous letter-writer who is complaining about “Non-Members” should find out what he/she is really writing about, before they write letters as a “Member.”  The first definition of this word, in Webster’s Dictionary, is “a human or animal ... penis.”  The translation of “Member” in the hierarchical Chippewa Creole language is “Pa-jog.”  Bill Lawrence publishes a respectable newspaper, but the anonymous letter-writer is the one who brought “Members” up.

To all of you Chippewa “Members,” and all of you non-Indian Members who define their time by imported European calendars, Happy New Year; and not discriminating against you ladies, Happy New Year to you, also.

 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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