We began working on a comprehensive genealogy of Red Lake somewhat unintentionally. I was compiling a family history for my children, and in the process of doing this, I asked the B.I.A. Red Lake Agency Office for the birthdates of my great-grandfather and grandfather. I knew who my ancestors were, and approximately when they were born, but did not have the exact date. The Bureau told me, “Oh, we don’t have those records. They burned up in a fire.” Shortly thereafter, my wife had to go to the East Coast, and I asked her if she would visit the National Archives, and look for these records. She returned with several thousand pages of copies of archival documents, and the rest is, as they say, history.
Wub-e-ke-niew came home from that visit to the B.I.A. Red Lake Agency Office, outraged: the Superintendent had also told him that even if the B.I.A. still had those records, they would be “confidential.” How can they possibly claim “that information about my own ancestors is ‘confidential,’” he fumed.
That evening, as we were sitting at home drinking after-dinner coffee and conversing softly by kerosene lamplight, immersed in the gentle sentient silence of the forests, in which one could sometimes hear the voices of the ancestors since time immemorial, Wub-e-ke-niew turned to me with sudden insight. “You know,” he said, “the Government keeps their records in triplicate.”
The Internet has transformed the processes of doing research. In the mid-1980s, the Internet was in its very early stages of development, mostly experimental networks among military and academic computers. Libraries were just beginning the process of computerizing their card catalogs, and researchers still relied mostly on printed volumes cataloguing the highlights of exceptional library collections. If a person wanted to know about the holdings of the Minnesota Historical Society or any major regional library, one physically went to the library and looked through the card catalog.
Easily accessible online research catalogs, for example the National Archives web pages detailing the Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, 1793 – 1989, were non-existent. Relying mostly on public ‘library privileges’ at Bemidji State University library and inter-library loan through the Bemidji Public Library, Wub-e-ke-niew and I had access to specialized research resources like Edward E. Hill’s Preliminary inventory of the records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the B.S.U. library had a solid “Indian” collection and a fairly complete set of late-nineteenth century Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs. We started looking for those allegedly “confidential” records.
Wub-e-ke-niew had a fairly clear sense of the kinds of records the B.I.A. generated: from his encyclopedic knowledge of Red Lake oral history, his observations of the government operations, and from his spending time during A.I.M.’s takeover of the B.I.A.’s Washington, D.C. headquarters in November 1972 “studying the colonizer”: in the ‘file rooms’ of the occupied building, reading the B.I.A.’s internal records.
Some of those B.I.A. documents created a firestorm when the Washington Post’s syndicated columnist Jack Anderson, lauded as “the last of the old-fashioned muckrakers” on his retirement in July 2004, published a series of columns detailing the abuses they chronicled.
Jack Anderson described those columns, mostly published in December 1972:
Day after day we published stories pieced together from these documents—columns which told of Indian murders that went uninvestigated; of white trading posts that swindled the Indians with impunity; of Indian land leased out by the government to corporations and left strewn with timber wastes, its earth torn up, its waters polluted with mining poisons; of how the government, instead of giving special protection to tribal lands, removed them from the ordinary safeguards of the National Environmental Protection Act; of treaties which had guaranteed millions of acres of land but which delivered only thousands; of protected white interests at this moment illegally draining off the life-giving water of tribes in various parts of the country … despoiled of their water under the eyes of a government which systematically washes on its commitments.
One of those columns, headlined “Slaying of Youth Angers Chippewas,” involves the death of Wub-e-ke-niew’s nephew, Brian Desjarlait, who was killed by B.I.A. police. That column also touched on other longstanding problems at Red Lake, including more than 40% unemployment and “median family income … a stark $1,300”; environmental devastation; a “bleak” lack of decent housing, roads, public transportation, and other infrastructure despite “several decades of federal ‘help’”; and charges of exploitation by federally-licensed “trading posts.”
A detailed comparison of conditions at Red Lake as reported by Anderson in 1972 and present conditions is beyond the scope of this paper. The short summary is that some problems have gotten better (for example, there are more paved roads, and more Euroamerican-standard housing, not all of it well-built or adequately maintained); some problems are far worse (for example, the “rich … timber [and] fish” mentioned by Anderson are depleted); some problems, like reservation violence, continue unabated or worsened; and much of the responsibility – and liability – for reservation problems has been transferred from the B.I.A. to the tribal council through the council’s administration of federal programs.
The abuses at Red Lake chronicled in Jack Anderson’s nationally syndicated column included environmental destruction, which Anderson characterized as “attempts to help” that had “more often than not, wound up hindering the Indians.” Anderson wrote it in 1972:
“About 15 years ago,” reports one study, “the federal government undertook a dredging operation of the channel of the Red Lake River. [It] destroyed one of the great natural habiutats for fish and wildlife plus one of the best nesting grounds for ducks in the United States. It also put many Chippewas out of the hunting and trapping business.
Despite critical exposure in Anderson’s nationally syndicated column, the B.I.A.’s policy of environmental destruction continued, including further destruction in Red Lake River area advocated in the B.I.A.’s 1979 “development” proposal, much of which was carried out under the supervision of the tribal council’s Department of Natural Resources (DNR). Wub-e-ke-niew was sharply critical of what he understood as ecocide and deliberate efforts by the United States at further ‘starvation into submission’ by destruction of indigenous permaculture, including that detailed in the B.I.A.’s 1979 economic development plans:
This plan, written under contract with the B.I.A., and endorsed by the [Red Lake] I.R.A. Tribal Council, recommends degradation of our environment … The plan endorses blasting duck nesting sites “with ammonia nitrate”, and recommends clear-cut “land clearing” with mechanical shearing blades, along with “machine scalping” of the land, application of 2-4D, 2-4-5T and other poisons, and elimination of “mature stands,” meaning wholesale destruction of balanced Ahnishinahbæótjibway forests, in order to make “tree farms.” The Bureau of Indian Affairs writes, “Despite conflicting opinions, stand conversion [i.e., demolishing intact forests] will occur.” The White planners also note “such a program will necessitate changes in certain activities and attitudes that may not be entirely acceptable to tribal members [Ahnishinahbæótjibway].” It may need to be reiterated here that the B.I.A.’s Indians are not the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, and in fact that the Bureau’s Indian élite expects to make money from this ecological devastation.
An August 2004 internet search indicates that the Red Lake tribal council’s DNR remains oriented toward “management” that, from an Ahnishinahbæótjibway perspective, is ecologically devastating.
I spoke with Jack Anderson’s investigative reporter, Les Whitten, by telephone on August 21, 2004. I had written a few paragraphs about the “Broken Treaty Papers,” based mostly on what Wub-e-ke-niew had told me, mentioning Whitten’s involvement with the B.I.A. documents accessed by activists during their occupation of the B.I.A. I called Whitten, now retired, to invite his comments on what I had written – the kind of phone call that a reporter routinely makes when working on a news story: “this is my understanding of what happened, this is what so-and-so quoted you as saying ... your comments?” Whitten generously talked with me for more than an hour, and his insights and reminiscences add a whole new dimension to the narrative below.
In the fall of 1972, the American Indian Movement joined with other activist Indian organizations in a transcontinental Caravan that became known as the Trail of Broken Treaties. In what Wub-e-ke-niew believed was a deliberate ‘set-up’ leading to the takeover and occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs under the visible leadership of A.I.M., Caravan organizers had neglected to make adequate accommodations for the hundreds of Indians arriving in Washington, D.C. On November 3rd, several hundred protestors, according to Wub-e-ke-niew directed by Caravan organizers to “go ask the B.I.A. for help,” stormed and took over the Bureau of Indian Affairs headquarters, on C Street between 18th and 19th Streets N.W. Wub-e-ke-niew described how drum songs were broadcast over loudspeakers, and how deeply moved he was to hear the drum again “where it had not been heard for more than a century.”
Richard Milhouse Nixon was re-elected as president of the United States on November 7, 1972.
A.I.M. occupation of the B.I.A. ended two days after the election, on November 9th. According to Les Whitten, the President’s special counsel, Leonard Garment, negotiated with A.I.M. representatives, including Hank Adams, who has described himself as Assiniboine-Sioux (Ft. Peck). “It was agreed that the Indians – I’ll just go back to those times and call them what they were called then,” Whitten said after musing about the nuanced meanings of ‘Indian’ and ‘Native American’ and the identity politics that has become entwined with such names …
According to Wub-e-ke-niew, the National Guard arrived en masse, with shields and armored riot gear, intending to storm the building and drive the Indians out. The militant Indians had lined up I.B.M. Selectric typewriters and other heavy objects on the rooftop parapet, ready to drop on the National Guardsmen’s heads as they approached the building’s doors. I.B.M. Selectric Typewriters, the ultimate American Imperial office machine of the late 1960s and early 1970s, were manufactured with ‘decorator colors’ and the ubiquitous aerodynamic design of the early ‘space age,’ they weighed nearly forty-five pounds. “The Guardsmen were wearing helmets,” Wub-e-ke-niew said, “but they looked up and saw all those typewriters” – and retreated. He chuckled, and added, “The typewriter is mightier than the sword!”
Whitten credited the serious threats by A.I.M. leaders – including Russell Means and the brothers Vernon and Clyde Bellecourt – with forcing the Nixon administration to negotiate towards a peaceful withdrawal from the B.I.A. building.
According to Les Whitten, the Bellecourt brothers and Russell Means, said to Nixon’s people, “well if you don’t commit, if you don’t make some sort of compromise to make up for what you did, then we’re going to stay here and if you attack us, the children will die.”
“Nixon didn’t want that to happen,” Whitten continued, so “they got an agreement that all the Indians would be allowed to leave the building. They were escorted by the F.B.I. and the Metropolitan Police. Little did the F.B.I. know that they had spirited out – maybe it was a ton [of documents] – they spirited those papers out and the F.B.I. and the police didn’t know that the papers were going out with the Indians: they were under blankets in cars and busses, they were in the trunks of cars, they were everywhere. We called them the ‘Broken Treaty Papers,’ they were searching all over America for them.”
“Every reporter wanted to get hold of those papers, and they knew that those papers would make good news stories and legal cases,” Whitten reminisced. The Indian occupation of the B.I.A. headquarters had been front-page news, the F.B.I. had organized a nationwide paper chase, and “every reporter was looking for those papers.”
Les Whitten had a loyal national audience with the Jack Anderson column, an impressive portfolio of civil rights advocacy, a reputation for tenacious investigative reporting, and personal integrity. As Whitten put it, “I had written more Indian stuff in my column than any other [investigative] reporter … Russell [Means] and the Bellecourt brothers and I guess your husband and Hank Adams all decided that the person to give the papers to was me.”
The route he took to get the papers was circuitous. Hank Adams called Les Whitten and they set up a meeting in Tempe, Arizona. “I went to Tempe. I got on the airplane and flew that night, the very same night that I got the call from Hank.” He flew “down to Phoenix and either I got a car or somebody met me, and took me to Tempe. “That’s where Russell was, and Russell’s brother. Hank was out of the picture, he set it up for me, Hank was a great negotiator but he had no real power” inside the American Indian Movement, “he had a small organization called … something like ‘Survival of American Indian.’ I went down there [to Arizona] because the real custodian of the papers was A.I.M.”
“Russell had us in a bowling alley because it was so noisy in the bowling alley that the bugs that the government had at that time wouldn’t pick [our conversation] up, and that’s where we made arrangements.”
Russell asked Whitten, “‘what can you do?’ and I said, ‘well, I can do a series of columns on them, if I can get the papers,’ and Russell said, ‘we can get the papers, make them available to you.’”
“I had my credit card, and Jack [Anderson] gave me a couple of hundred dollar bills, so I got on the airplane with Russell’s brother and another man … and we flew up there [to Minneapolis-St. Paul]. Russell’s brother drank a good deal … so I’m buying drinks for the two Indians and I’m thinking that, ‘I don’t think that this is going to come to anything.’”
“We got to Minneapolis-St. Paul, and Russell’s brother and the other Indian were sober enough to make contact with Clyde and, I think, Vernon,” who met them at the airport. “Clyde had a carbine.” Whitten explained to me that carbines were used during World War II, they “are smaller than a rifle, they were carried by second lieutenants … And, he’d filed down a part to make the thing into an automatic, it was a small but very good weapon … he had it in the trunk of his car. I thought ‘Oh my god, we’re going to get in a gunfight and somebody’s going to get killed, maybe me.’” Whitten paused, remembering. “By the way I paid all of the airfare.”
“We went to a motel, and when we got there, Vernon or Clyde said, ‘I’m going to give you some of these papers and we’re going to out and get some beer.’ I had a portable typewriter with me.”
Whitten, an experienced newsman and self-described fast writer, “worked hard on that story, and I really felt that it was going to be a great scoop.” He was familiar with the issues, “and also I’d fought hard for Indian rights, when I was with Hearst,” but, Whitten added, while writing for the Washington Post he’d focused more on what, at that time, were called “Black rights” – as an important issue in the community where he lived and worked.
Whitten mused about the difficulties of writing about Indian issues. “Every story took more time than it was worth,” he said. “If there are 600,000 Indians, then there might as well be “600,000 tribes, nobody could agree on anything.”
During that August 2004 telephone conversation, Whitten and I chatted for a little while about Indian politics and journalism, and then Whitten returned to his recollections of that winter night in a Minneapolis motel, with a pile of purloined papers for which the F.B.I. was conducting a nationwide search, hard-drinking militant hosts, and his portable typewriter, writing news stories for Jack Anderson’s nationally syndicated column.
“I got one of them done before they went out, and they said ‘Oh, that’s fine.’ I had written … very rapidly but well, I’m very fast writer, and a very biased writer because I was in favor of the Indians.”
After he had skimmed through the stack of documents and written the first news story, Whitten said, “‘If you think I’ll write these stories, and if you think that I’m worthy to write these stories,’ I said, ‘why don’t I go out and drink beer with you?’ And one of them said, ‘Oh, no, we know how you white men are with firewater.’ It was one of the funniest things I’d ever experienced.”
“So, they liked the story,” but wanted to go out drinking. “So out they went, and that was the last I saw of them. I wrote two more stories and finally went to sleep, and then they didn’t come back, they didn’t come back that night and they didn’t come back in the morning, and I didn’t know where they were. So, I called up A.I.M. headquarters and I don’t know who answered the phone, and I said, ‘where are those papers?’ and he said, ‘They’re in an old Victrola case,’ and I said ‘Where are they?’ and he said, ‘I can’t cut ‘em loose until we get permission from Russell Means’ brother or Vernon or Clyde.’”
“I said, “Goddammit those papers are supposed to be here, get those papers over here if you expect to have me to write about them,’” and whoever answered the phone said, “‘I’ve got to get permission.’”
Wub-e-ke-niew had been at the A.I.M. office when Les Whitten called. He decided to bring the documents to the motel where Whitten was staying.
“He did show me all of those papers, a huge amount” Whitten remembered, “and I told him, ‘I can’t take all of those papers.’ I went through them hurriedly – I was used to reading stolen documents. I didn’t need a lot of land records about who stole which land,” he said, but instead wanted to focus on policy and broader patterns, “how the Indians were tricked out of it.”
As Les Whitten sorted through the stacks of papers, selecting what he thought to be “the best of them,” Wub-e-ke-niew took the ones he’d chosen, and went out to photocopy them.
After he had returned from one photocopying trip, Whitten commented that Wub-e-ke-niew hadn’t been gone very long, “the papers were newly Xeroxed, still warm.” Whitten asked him where he was making all those photocopies. Wub-e-ke-niew, as national treasurer of A.I.M., had a certain ‘celebrity’ status even though he – as he put it – “kept a low profile.” He had, as he told Whitten, walked down the street to the B.I.A.’s Minneapolis Area Office, and asked to use their photocopy machine.
According to Wub-e-ke-niew, Les Whitten “lay back on the hotel-room bed where he had been sitting, reading those documents,” consumed with laughter. “‘The F.B.I. is looking’ all over for those documents, he laughed, ‘and you …’”
“That’s exactly what I said,” Whitten acknowledged when I read the quote back to him during our telephone conversation thirty-two years later, “it tickled me no end that Jack and I had gotten a hold of those documents by flying all the way to Tempe and back to St. Paul and manipulated things so that they were there, and the F.B.I. was screwing around all over the country, they had hundreds of people looking for those papers.”
As soon as he had photocopies of the documents he wanted, Whitten went back to Washington. “I wasn’t going to screw around with Vernon and Clyde and those guys with hangovers.”
Les Whitten brought those hundreds of pages of documents back to Washington “in a suitcase. … I was afraid that somebody would see them at the airport and all my work would be in vain.”
“I got on the airplane and brought ‘em back,” Whitten recalled. Even in an era of spectacular leaks of government secrets – including the Pentagon Papers and Watergate, the “Broken Treaty Papers” were ‘hot.’ In addition to the columns Whitten wrote on his portable typewriter in the Minneapolis motel room – “Jack re-wrote everything, he was much peppier” – Jack Anderson and Les Whitten “wrote eleven straight columns called the Trail of Broken Treaties columns, and we wrote one after the other and it fried the asses of the F.B.I., and we got the papers mainly because Hank Adams trusted me and he had every reason to.”
. The contents of those documents were deadly serious. As Jack Anderson wrote:
Day after day we published stories pieced together from these documents-columns which told of Indian murders that went uninvestigated; of white trading posts that swindled the Indians with impunity; of Indian land strewn with timber wastes, its earth torn up, its waters polluted with mining poisons. . . . I occasionally yielded to the temptation to make sport of the tribulations of the FBI, whose agents were tripping over their nightsticks in a dozen states, and had gotten no closer to the Indian documents than the quotations they read in our column.
The B.I.A.’s documents were subsequently returned to the federal government, many of them with Hank Adams as an intermediary.
The F.B.I. finally ‘caught’ Les Whitten and Hank Adams, as they were in the process of returning a batch of documents. As Whitten remembers it, “by that time, the American Indian Movement had been infiltrated: a young Chicano infiltrated,” claiming he was an Apache. “This guy was posing as an Apache militant and I got arrested with the papers: me, Hank Adams, and an Indian woman named Anita Collins … and we got put in jail for the day.”
In the 1980s, Wub-e-ke-niew’s and my research uncovered additional abuses by the federal government – including clear documentation of deliberate genocide. After considering it at some length, Wub-e-ke-niew telephoned Les Whitten, and asked him if he would be interested in doing further news coverage. Whitten told him that he couldn’t.
I had been sitting next to Wub-e-ke-niew as he talked with Whitten on the telephone, and saw his clear disappointment.
Wub-e-ke-niew had heard that after publication of the Jack Anderson columns detailing some of the most damning of the documents ‘borrowed’ from the B.I.A. in 1972, Les Whitten had been arrested and, according to the stories circulating on the ‘moccasin telegraph’ at that time, jailed for refusing to reveal his sources. Wub-e-ke-niew had also heard that Whitten was beaten by police while in custody, and suffered permanent injuries in consequence. (Wub-e-ke-niew, like almost every other “Indian” man of his generation, had been arrested more than once for simply ‘being Indian,’ and police brutality was something he had experienced firsthand.)
“His back,” Wub-e-ke-niew said, believing he understood the reason for Whitten’s turn-down and envisioning the pain he was still enduring on behalf of the people whose identities he had refused to reveal. “His back.”
When I read my draft paragraph about that phone conversation to Les Whitten, nearly twenty years later, he told me, “No, no, you’ve got it all wrong.” I described the conversation as I’d heard it, sitting next to Wub-e-ke-niew, and detailed some of the context, including the contents of some of the documents that Wub-e-ke-niew wanted Whitten to write about, and Wub-e-ke-niew’s belief that Whitten had been permanently injured, beaten by police while protecting his sources.
“He went to his grave, thinking that!” Whitten said. “They never touched me, except to put on the handcuffs.”
He did not remember the specifics of that particular telephone conversation with Wub-e-ke-niew, Whitten told me, but, “my guess it that I didn’t ‘get it,’ that what he told me was not explicit enough for me to write in a popular column, but that’s going back 17 years, and I can’t remember” the details. “My guess is, and this is just a guess, that I didn’t understand what he was trying to tell me, that he thought proved the genocide … I was not convinced that he had any proof that the federal government was killing off Indian leaders.”
The January 31, 1973 arrest of syndicated columnist Jack Anderson’s associate, Les Whitten, was in the context of then-president Richard Nixon’s longstanding general antagonism toward the news media, as well as in retaliation for Anderson’s publication of “all kinds of embarrassing – and classified – secrets about Vietnam” and detailed information about the building Watergate scandal, as well as other “damaging” information.
Whitten was arrested as a part of much broader efforts by the Nixon administration’s efforts to intimidate journalists, including Jack Anderson and his staff – including federal agents’ discussion of “options” like “drugging Anderson with LSD, poisoning his aspirin bottle, staging a fatal mugging,” according Anderson biographer Mark Feldstein.
The American Civil Liberties Union, in an October 1973 pamphlet quoting the Declaration of Independence and urging the impeachment of Richard Nixon, describes the administration’s Watergate-era climate of intimidation:
Although Les Whitten assured me, in our August 2004 telephone conversation, that he was not beaten by police, he did spend a day in jail, “the bastards put me in with a couple of murderous drug addicts, and those guys told me how awful the press was …”
Federal prosecutors were, as Whitten put it, “ready to give me heavy time,” ten years imprisonment for “for possession of government property with intent to convert it” to his own use. He was pressured to reveal the names of the people who had given him the documents:
Before the Grand Jury, through my lawyer, I was told that I gave them my sources they would drop the charges against me. My lawyer came to me and said that they would drop charges, and I said ‘I can’t do that.’ I was scared to death that I would have to jail, but I still didn’t do it.
Les Whitten, Hank Adams, and Anita Collins had some compelling evidence that they were, in fact, caught in the process of returning documents to the federal government. Adams had made a well-documented appointment with officials at the B.I.A. to receive the documents, as well as keeping receipts from the F.B.I. for his previous return of other batches of documents and other property.
Then, according to Whitten, “two F.B.I. agents who were to the right of Tamerlane, one was a supervisor: one of those F.B.I. agents found a note at the B.I.A. saying that Hank was coming over that morning but not specifying why. Also, Hank had written the address of the F.B.I. agent handling the case on the boxes. … These two men said that they were not going to lie, so I was free then, because … there were two agents who were willing to tell the truth.”
Through his attorney, Whitten reached an agreement with the government that “whatever I testified to it would not reveal my sources, and the prosecutor was not going to ask me any questions” that would require him to reveal his sources. “They had me before the Grand Jury,” he said, “and they returned something like an ‘ignoramus,’ meaning ‘we are going to ignore the charges’ against me.”
Les Whitten’s attorney, Herbert “Jack” Miller, is still practicing law in Washington, D.C. “He was an absolutely wonderful man,” Whitten told me, “Oftentimes on the anniversary of my release, I’ve called up Jack and thanked him again: they were ready to give me heavy time, they were serious about putting me in jail.”
“It was on the basis of my refusing to give out my sources that the Iroquois made me blood brother.”
In the kerosene lamplight of our backwoods cabin, Wub-e-ke-niew and I discussed Red Lake oral history, federal government policy, Wub-e-ke-niew’s knowledge of government bureaucracy and operations, and – beyond the “eighteen bureaucrats for every Indian” and the oppressive “surveillance” of the B.I.A., the kinds of records that the government kept that were likely to be publicly accessible. We scrutinized the bibliographies in books and articles, studying where documents similar to the ones sought, were archived. We wrote Freedom of Information Act letters. Financially constrained by our embeddedness in the ‘subsistence’ reservation economy where real unemployment hovered around 90% and gas to Bemidji and a few dollars for photocopying made substantial inroads into our monthly budget, we also wrote innumerable letters seeking research funding.
And finally, with the gift of an airline ticket, a thousand dollars in inheritance from my grandmother, a letter of “reference” from the Catholic priest at Red Lake, a black leather “city jacket” that a family member thought would help me “pass” relatively inconspicuously among the capitol city bourgeoisie, and the enduring friendship of a college roommate who lived in the Washington D.C. area, and who fed me, and gave me a place to sleep during the hours the National Archives, Smithsonian, and Library of Congress were closed to researchers, I set off for Washington, D.C. with a prioritized “wish list.” The first item on our list: the purportedly “confidential” birth dates of Wub-e-ke-niew’s grandfather Bah-wah-we-nind and great-grandfather Bah-se-nos.
In the mid-1980s, a would-be researcher entered the National Archives building through the ‘research entrance,’ on Pennsylvania Avenue between 9th and 7th Streets. I showed the guards my Minnesota drivers license and the letter of recommendation from St. Mary’s Catholic Mission, applied for a Researcher Identification Card, and made an appointment with a staff member to discuss my research interests and obtain institutional approval to examine specific archival documents.
I no longer have the “wish list” I took to the National Archives – all of Wub-e-ke-niew’s and my records were seized a week after he died. But, it was a fairly short list, beginning with documentation of Wub-e-ke-niew’s ancestors, and including the “1889 Census” and other records relating to the 1889 negotiations with the Minnesota Chippewa Commission (which resulted in the federal government’s taking about three million acres of land, forests and lake from the Red Lake Ahnishinahbæótjibway), documentation of the ecologically devastating federal ‘forestry’ policy [logging] at Red Lake, documentation of the federal government’s involvement in writing the 1958 Constitution and subsequent transfer of power to Roger Jourdain’s “tribal council,” and records detailing policies and practices at the Catholic and federal “Indian schools” at Red Lake.
On the advice of the National Archives’ staffer working with researchers interested in “Record Group 75” – Bureau of Indian Affairs records held by the National Archives (N.A.R.A.) – I began by reading through the “Indian Census Rolls.” Those year-by-year listings of the people over whom the B.I.A. claimed jurisdiction as Indians ‘belonging’ on a particular Indian reservation were maintained by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, according to N.A.R.A. staff, “as required by an act of July 4, 1884 (23 Stat. 98).,  The B.I.A. began maintaining “Indian Rolls” for every Indian reservation under federal jurisdiction in 1885, and these rolls were, as I discovered at the Archives, published on microfilm by the National Archives. Despite the Red Lake B.I.A.’s claims that information was “confidential,” the 1885 – 1938 Indian Census Rolls were indisputably public information.
I began with the 1907 Red Lake roll because that was the oldest one listed by the National Archives for “Red Lake” and – despite my insistence that the oral history recording the 1889 “first enrollment” was indisputably accurate – the archivist insisted that older enrollment records did not exist for Red Lake. The 1907 rolls were typed, but apart from people being grouped into families, the names were not listed in any apparent order. After several hours of searching through the B.I.A.’s erratically spelled “Indian names,” I decided that my limited research time in Washington, D.C. was more valuable than the cost of photocopying, so I spent $400 on rolls of dimes and quarters, and started feeding them into the photocopy machines in the Microfilm Reading Room. I eventually found the 1899 and 1900 Red Lake rolls among the records for Leech Lake reservation – Red Lake reservation had been administered from the B.I.A. agency at Cass Lake, on the Leech Lake reservation (about fifty miles to the south) from 1899 – 1906.
I then spent more than a week skimming through box after acid-free archival box of the B.I.A.’s “central classified files” relating to the administration of Red Lake Indian reservation, specifically looking for documents detailing federal forestry administration and the roles that the U.S. had played between the passage of the Indian Reorganization Act in 1934 and adoption of an I.R.A. constitution at Red Lake in 1958. Reading through documents chronicling the B.I.A.’s perspective – and involvement with – events that I knew mostly from elders’ descriptions was fascinating, and in some instances wrenching.
I looked through file after file of old documents, and poured my grandmother’s legacy, dime by dime, into the National Archives photocopy machines. The National Archives catalogued their records by the linear foot, and even speed-reading, skimming, it was impossible to look at it all. In the lunchroom, I visited with a team of Japanese researchers who had been studying the records at the National Archives, they told me, since the end of World War II. I took a break from the B.I.A.’s records and spent a couple of days doing research at the Smithsonian and the Library of Congress, and a day looking for maps and land records in a records depository in suburban Maryland, then returned to the ornate National Archives building on Pennsylvania Avenue.
I found and photocopied documents chronicling the United States government’s behind-the-scenes machinations in community events during the quarter of a century between Congressional enactment of the Indian Reorganization Act on June 18,1934, and ‘adoption’ of an I.R.A. Constitution at Red Lake by special election on October 14, 1958.,  There were more records to read – at the National Archives there are always more records to read – but I felt I had solid documentation of key events, as well as overall process.
Hoping to make the best use of my limited time and research funds, I turned to the next item on the “wish list” I’d brought from Red Lake: “schools.” I telephoned the staff archivist to make an appointment to discuss researching the school records held by the National Archives in Washington. Between 1885 and 1935, three generations of indigenous children at Red Lake had been subjected to brutal compulsory education. The explicit intent was to “kill the Indian”: forcible assimilation, even genocide. The stories of older people, those who had attended school before World War II, were only quietly and occasionally mentioned, but we all were on intimate terms with the impact of early childhood brutality experienced in boarding school and written across the lives of deeply wounded survivors:
Party afternoons began with an offering to the spirits, a capful of liquor or a bit of beer, and progressed with a good buzz, cheerful conversation and laughter. After alcohol numbed the painful inhibitions of boarding-school beatings, the older folks would begin speaking in Ojibwe, telling stories, and “singing Indian” while drumming on a metal chair or on the table and encouraging the toddlers to “dance pow-wow.” The bottles and the joints would be passed with the same reverence some give to the pipe, mixed with joking reminders not to “play pig” or “nigger-lip” the joint.
There was a genuine warmth in these early evenings, a sense of sharing and community and a feeling that this warm glow was a part of what it really means to be Indian... that going “straight” would mean yielding to the White man, working endlessly for empty material things, turning aside from the exciting potential for adventure that “going on a good drunk” could be. …
[But,] as the evenings wore on, the tone of the party shifted. … The music, perhaps a single worn Rolling Stones tape played repeatedly on a cheap portable stereo, got louder, and the conversation harsher. About midnight, the fights would start over grievances remembered or imagined, scuffling and wrestling around the prone figures of those already passed out. As the euphoria faded, the alcohol would temporarily dissolve the psychological barriers to the pain. It surfaced in screaming threats of suicide, in blackout-masked violence of fists and sometimes kitchen knives, in broken furniture and beaten women, in crying jags silently begun in the trenches of World War II or in the dormitories of the boarding schools.
A part of what Wub-e-ke-niew and I intended to do with the school records was use them to validate the long-repressed memories of survivors, and thereby, we hoped, to catalyze community healing.
With my research “wish list” and a notebook in hand, and confidence borne of a week and a half of intensive research, I set off to talk with Archives staff about accessing the Red Lake school records. At that time, the archivists supervising the Bureau of Indian Affairs records (and old military records) had their offices in Suite 13E, so I took the 1930s-style painted metal utility “back elevator” to the thirteenth floor and walked the narrow hallway through the low-ceilinged Archival “stacks,” where row after row of shelves laden with boxes of documents stretched off into the distance, screened from public access with the kind of woven wire fencing also used to enclose back-country chicken-yards.
“I’d like to look at the Red Lake school records,” I told the archivist. Wub-e-ke-niew believed that the Bureau of Indian Affairs kept track of who was researching what, in their archived records, there certainly had been plenty of time for phone calls between Washington, D.C. and Red Lake during the time I’d been at the National Archives, and I’d practiced the calm even tones of my request to access those records.
The archivist looked at me. “We found that 1889 census,” he said.
The 1889 census was chronicled in Red Lake oral tradition as “the first enrollment,” made in the context of ‘negotiations’ with the Minnesota Chippewa Commission and the taking of about the of the land remaining to Red Lake Ahnishinahbæótjibway at that time. Looking back now, I see the magnitude of the choice I made as I sat in that Archivist’s small office with a clarity that I did not have then. I thanked the archivist for finding the 1889 census, and asked for advance permission to photocopy any of the documents in those boxes of records from the Minnesota Chippewa Commission.
The main reading room at the National Archives is a stately, high-ceilinged old room on the second floor, with tall windows and wonderful natural light. There were brass reading lamps on researchers’ long tables, and even in the 1980s there was an armed guard at the back of the room near the door – some historical documents have substantial “market value,” for example Abraham Lincoln’s signature on a letter of no other historical significance sells for about $18,500; Washington’s signature $45,000 and up. The reading room was a “clean room,” meaning that researchers could bring in nothing but a pencil, change for the photocopy machines, and a few pages of research notes, each page rubber-stamped by Archives staff as belonging to the researcher. Bringing a camera into the research room required advance written authorization, and case-by-case approval for photographing documents.
There was an old-fashioned leather couch in the hallway outside the main reading room, where researchers could congregate to smoke and discuss their research. I sat on that hallway couch after giving staff in the reading room the forms the archivist had signed authorizing me to read and photocopy documents from
RG 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. Irregularly Shaped Papers, Item 104, Report of the Chippewa Commission, 1889-90,
Item 105, Chippewa Census Rolls, 1889-94.
It took awhile for archives staff to retrieve requested records from among their millions of government documents, so I sat on that massive old couch in the hallway, wearing my new-to-me black leather “city jacket” and a fancy silk scarf I’d bought at a thrift shop in preparation for the trip to Washington, smoking a home-rolled cigarette and contemplating government records and the history that lay behind them.
The “irregularly shaped papers” of the Minnesota Chippewa Commission had been archived in two gray boxes made from acid-free cardboard, one containing onionskin duplicates of the transcripts of the Minnesota Chippewa Commission’s negotiations during the summer and fall of 1889, a smattering of the federal government’s letters relating to the Commission and other documents, a few maps, and the “signature rolls” of the “Chippewa Indians” purportedly agreeing to the provisions of the Nelson Act of January 14, 1889. The other box contained the census taken by the Chippewa Commission in accordance with the mandate of the Nelson Act, additions and deletions from that census, and a few official letters. I looked through the negotiation transcripts. More than ninety years previously, someone had marked them for the Government Printing Office and the now-forgotten typesetters who handset the tiny pieces of movable metal type for the published version of the transcripts subsequently submitted to Congress. The Archives’ transcripts also included the ancillary documents in the published version, beginning with the “Message from the President of the United States, transmitting a communication from the Secretary of the Interior relative to the Chippewa Indians in the State of Minnesota.” Wub-e-ke-niew had found and photocopied the Chippewa Commission’s published Report in the Minneapolis Public Library.
Reading room rules required that researchers have only one document out of the archival boxes at a time, so I carefully replaced the flimsy onionskin carbon copies in their proper spot – the National Archives provided special paper ‘tabs’ to help ensure that documents remained in their originally-archived order – and gently pulled the next set of records out of the box.
The names on the “signature rolls” were mostly written in the smooth, even penmanship of professional secretaries in the late nineteenth century, followed by x-marks and a handwritten “SEAL.” The ink had scarcely faded, and the paper was heavy, cream-colored, slightly brittle after almost a century but still beautiful paper.
Wub-e-ke-niew and I had studied the names on those “signature rolls” as they had been published in the Report of the Minnesota Chippewa Commission: read through them, discussed them, given photocopies of those four printed pages to numerous other people in the community, discussed the insulting mis-translations of Ahnishinahbæótjibway names made by the Métis translators including P.H. Beaulieu, H.H. Beaulieu, M.C. English, and John English. I knew without looking that Wub-e-ke-niew’s grandfather Bah-wah-we-nind was listed as number 8 among those recorded as “signing,” his name mis-recorded as “Yaw waw we nind” and mistranslated as “The one that is mentioned,” and his great-grandfather Bah-se-nos was listed as number 14, his name incorrectly recorded as “Pah se nos,” with the perhaps deliberately insulting mis-translation, “Slapping off flies” – even though neither man would have ever agreed to the provisions of the purported “treaty” despite coercion by the United States Government and its Chippewa Commission, including threats to continue burning Ahnishinahbæótjibway forests at Red Lake until the “agreement” was signed. So, I sat in the National Archives reading room one afternoon in early December, with my eyes closed, holding those old documents in my hands and envisioning how they might have been written nearly a hundred years previously, at the Old Red Lake Agency on July 8, 1889.
As soon as I started reading the ‘signature rolls,” I did a double take, looked at them more carefully. Shaken, I set the documents down on the table in front of me and walked to the tall windows that ran along one side of that elegant room, looked out at the Capitol cityscape without really seeing it, then walked over to the guards by the door and, showing them my empty hands, told them that I was going out to smoke a cigarette.
In mid-childhood I had been fascinated by Graphoanalysis, a kind of handwriting analysis that its adherents have described as “the scientific study of handwriting to determine character and personality of an individual.” My interest faded when I received a letter from the International Graphoanalysis Society courteously informing me that the author to whom I had written an enthusiastic fan letter had been dead for many years [he had seemed vibrantly alive on the pages of a library book he had authored], but I knew enough about handwriting analysis to be certain that page after page of the “x-marks” on the Minnesota Chippewa Commission’s “signature rolls” had all been written by the same well-schooled hand. The implications stunned me.
“They’re forgeries,” I said to another researcher who had come out into the hallway for a cigarette. “I’m certain that they’re forgeries.”
The researcher, a gentleman old enough that he could have been searching for the historical records corresponding to his mid-life memories, did not seem to understand why I would be surprised at such historical chicanery.
I was shocked that anyone would even try to take more than three million acres of land with such an obvious forgery. But, as Wub-e-ke-niew later wrote, “From the way their records are put together, it also looks like what they assumed is that there would be no Ahnishinahbæótjibway who would survive to question …”
I smoked another cigarette before I went back into the reading room and made an appointment to use the “bulk copy machines” – fragile historical documents still had to be carefully placed, page by page, in the copy machine, but a researcher did not need to get item-by-item approval for photocopying and could work uninterrupted for at least an hour, perhaps longer if the next-scheduled researcher did not show up for his or her scheduled appointment. Then, mindful of the quickly passing days of research time, I returned to skimming through folder after folder of old government records, selecting documents to photocopy, making occasional notes …
Wub-e-ke-niew’s and my research focused on the census rolls, on federal taking of Red Lake land, and on U.S.-implemented transformations of indigenous government and community. We were also concerned about Red Lake resources and U.S. “trust” exploitation of those resources, and I photocopied those records when I came across them, although I did not deliberately search them out. I also photocopied some relatively trivial records that I thought would be of personal interest to Wub-e-ke-niew, or the other people with whom we were working most closely. My philosophical orientation was not all that different from Wub-e-ke-niew’s, and that, along with the focusing on what I thought would be interesting to people at home, had an effect on what I thought was important.
I was looking for the B.I.A.’s story about what they had done. I was not deliberately seeking out documents for the purpose of humiliating either the B.I.A. or the Tribal Council. But, the records that I photocopied—as well as the records that I did not photocopy—were a devastating chronicle. The B.I.A. planned, acted, and recorded some of their actions in official documents from perspectives within which deliberate destruction of the indigenous community and covert manipulation of indigenous people at Red Lake and elsewhere, were deemed to be appropriate and even necessary. When read from the perspective of the people whom the B.I.A. deliberately acted to destroy, almost every single piece of paper in those files was damning. As Wub-e-ke-niew put it, “It’s obvious that the U.S. Government planned on exterminating all of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway. In their racism and arrogance, they never once thought that any Aboriginal Indigenous people would survive, much less understand Crooked English as well as their own language, and would be scrutinizing the U.S. ‘Indian’ records.”
The path which led us to the National Archives was not mine alone, although if I had sat in intellectual solitude, charting individual research derived solely from my own academic orientation, I doubt that I would have decided to spend an inheritance on photocopies (although I do not regret having done so). The directions that scholarly work takes are usually formed through personal as well as academic influences, patterned by what Jean Houston has called the “fractals” of a person’s life. In Wub-e-ke-niew’s and my case, the fractals were those of the two of us as a team.
Compartmentalization of “personal” and “professional” life can be seen as a form of dissociation from that which the worker does not own in Euroamerican society; in the Ahnishinahbæótjibway context that we deliberately nurtured and maintained, my husband and I worked jointly and did not attempt to break the integration of our work with the rest of our lives. Our marriage and collaboration influenced our positionality, enhanced our capabilities and extended each of us beyond what we could have been alone.
Although we perhaps did not fully realize it at that time, the cat was out of the bag, the genie was out of the bottle, Pandora’s box was opened, the die were cast, et cetera, before we ever explicitly decided to do research and write. When Wub-e-ke-niew first acknowledged that he was interested romantically in me, and touched me tentatively and with apparent casualness, my heart leaped, sparks flew, and I responded inwardly with an explosion of surprisingly strong feelings that had apparently flourished during the months we had been sharing intense conversations over coffee.
But, battle-scarred by a previous relationship lost to alcohol, I said some incoherent words about being “just friends,” and literally ran out of the house in Redby where he was house-sitting for his cousin. I had an intuition that Wub-e-ke-niew and I were at the brink of something big, probably lifelong and personally transformative. One evening three weeks later I returned, and knocked quietly on the door. Wub-e-ke-niew invited me inside. With an amused but disarming smile, he said that he had been expecting me. Within months, we were married and building a home together.
Wub-e-ke-niew’s and my intellectual synergy was augmented by our intimate relationship and personal commitments to each other. My own mind hovers incompletely measured, off the top of certain scales, and I had spent most of my life downplaying my intellectual gifts and trying to be inconspicuous. Wub-e-ke-niew’s brilliance surpassed my own, and he was an intellectually lively, intensely committed visionary who had melded his deep Ahnishinahbæótjibway understanding, astute perceptiveness, and decades of social activism into profound wisdom. Wub-e-ke-niew’s interests, values and social concerns meshed with my own. What is it like to—finally—find a partner who not only understands the unabridged text of one’s inner discourse, but who has thought about the same issues, and has astutely brilliant insights of his own to add? There are many forms of ecstasy, and the joys of our intellectual partnership are among the inestimably rare and valuable ones.
A part of what I brought to our relationship was serious scholarship, research skills, and the ethics inherent in both journalistic and scholarly writing.
Accurate documentation is important to me. Wub-e-ke-niew, whose firsthand experience with the power of unassailable documentation included the “Broken Treaty Papers,” concurred. Our work melded my husband’s deep indigenous knowledge, our mutual activist orientation and concern for broader community, and my academic and journalistic training. We wrote, substantiated what we said with cited documentation, attributed accurately, and did not misquote.
We debated the grammar of the English language – Wub-e-ke-niew asserted that since the English language had been forced on him he could use it any way he wanted to. His argument was irrefutable, but he learned the details of “proper” grammar and then he flouted conventional English language usage when he felt that it constrained or distorted his intended meaning or discursive strategies.
The initial decision to give away photocopies of historical documents was Wub-e-ke-niew’s. I cringed inwardly as he first did so, and after the visitor to whom he had given the documents left, we talked about it. We discussed it in conversations woven throughout several days, and I delved deeply into my implicitly arrogant academic values and unexamined assumptions, trying to explain my discomfort at giving “raw data” to ... the team with whom we were working.
Wub-e-ke-niew was utterly and profoundly egalitarian. He refused to be a “leader”—his was a generations-long vision of deep-structural transformation, and he worked by being who he was, through consensus, and by encouraging others to claim their birthright of egalitarian self-empowerment.
Wub-e-ke-niew did not give speeches about what should be done; he simply did what needed doing. He did not tell others what to think, he gave them information, talked with them, and respected their ability to come to their own understandings. Some of the people with whom we were working were well-educated, and some had almost no formal education, but they were intimately acquainted with the circumstances and in many instances had lived through the events to which the documents referred. They were people whose lives had been affected on a deep personal level by the events detailed in those documents, and who understood their futures to be inseparable from Red Lake community
The records Wub-e-ke-niew was giving away referred to Red Lake history, people, politics, and community – information to which everyone in the community should have already had access. Wub-e-ke-niew encouraged me to ask myself what gave me the right to “interpret” from a position of controlling privileged information, instead of enabling anyone interested, to see the ‘raw data’ for themselves, to come to their own understanding, form their own conclusions? My image of a scholar working alone was an illusion, anyway, Wub-e-ke-niew asserted; everybody who wrote had a trusted collaborator to “bounce their ideas off of.”
He described some of the importance of Indigenous peoples’ unimpeded access to photocopies of the full historical record in We Have The Right To Exist:
A person outside of Aboriginal Indigenous traditions might not realize the deep significance of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway having access to historical documents–which should have always been available. History and genealogy are a part of our traditional oral culture, but because of the Métis and other Indians who have been packed on top of our community by the U.S. Government, it has been absolutely crucial to have this information in documentary form. Every community, and for that matter every individual, should be able to get information about their genealogy and their history, but the Bureau has consistently told Aboriginal Indigenous people that this information was confidential, or that the records had been burned.
The information which has been so vital to the community has also been kept away from the Ahnishinahbæótjibway in the past through financial engineering. In the lower socio-economic strata into which Aboriginal Indigenous people are channeled, there has not been the kind of money necessary to do extensive archival research. The U.S. Government has supported itself for two centuries by appropriating Aboriginal Indigenous peoples’ resources and land–why would they fund the very people from whom they’ve been stealing, doing research to uncover the details of their crimes?
Over the course of our decades of research, we gave away tens of thousands of pages of photocopies, photographs, and computer printouts. And, in a potent affirmation of indigenous values, after Wub-e-ke-niew’s and my property – including the archives we had amassed – was seized after his death, both crucial documents and cherish photographs were given back to me.
 We Have The Right To Exist, op cit., p. 287.
 http://www.archives.gov/research_room/federal_records_guide/bureau_of_indian_affairs_rg075.html, accessed August 21, 2004.
 Preliminary inventory of the records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs: (Record Group 75), Washington: National Archives, National Archives and Records Service, 1965 (2 v.)
 Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs (and various similar titles), published 1839 – 1943 by the Government Printing Office. At that time, B.S.U. library had volumes from the mid-1870s through the turn of the 20th century in its collection.
 “The Last Muckraker,” by Mark Feldstein, The Washington Post, Wednesday, July 28, 2004, page A19, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A19730-2004Jul27.html, accessed August 21, 2004.
 Jack Anderson’s “Washington Merry Go Round” columns derived from information in the “Broken Treaty Papers” include: “Indians Got Kindly Agnew Memo” - November 16, 1972; “Indian Documents Tell Shabby Story” - December 11, 1972; “BIA Smugglers Tricked the Police” - December 12, 1972; “Rights and Wrongs of the Indian” - December 13, 1972; “Indian Bureau Chief is Outflanked” - December 14, 1972; “BIA Papers Bare Indian Neglect” - December 15, 1972; “Urban Indian is Forgotten Man” - December 19, 1972; “Slaying of Youth Angers Chippewas” - December 27, 1972; “U.S. Disputed on Injustice to Indians” - January 4, 1973; “ ... Illegal Draft” - January 6, 1973; “... The Forked Tongue” - January 29, 1973. The Washington Post, Anderson’s ‘home’ newspaper, also published news articles addressing the issues of Indian rights during the same period, including “Indian Rights: Too Little, Too Late” on November 23, 1972. Scanned articles online, indexed at http://www.maquah.net/Historical/1972/index.html, accessed August 26, 2004.
 Jack Anderson, with George Clifford. The Anderson Papers, Random House, 1973, p. 178.
 The Washington Merry-Go-Round, Jack Anderson syndicated column, published in The Washington Post, Wednesday, December 27, 1972, p. 215; online at http://www.maquah.net/Historical/1972/72-12-27.html, accessed August 26, 2004.
 Brian Desjarlait (March 19, 1957 – November 25, 1972), son of Leo Frank Desjarlait, who was Wub-e-ke-niew’s first cousin through their mutual grandmother Ke-niew-ay-gwon-ay-beak, genealogy online at http://www.ojibwe.info/RedLake/HTML/people/p00000aq.htm#I12246, accessed August 26, 2004.
 Under Public Law 93-638, the so-called “Indian Self Determination and Education Assistance Act.”
 “Slaying of Youth Angers Chippewas,” Dec. 27, 1972, op cit.
 he Red Lake Indian Reservation, Its Resources and Development Potential, prepared by the Planning Support Group, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, Report No. 253, March 1979.
 E.g., September 21, 1992 letter to the International Court of Justice, The Hague, The Netherlands, online at http://www.maquah.net/AhnishinahbaeotjibwayReflections/1992/1992-09-21_letter_to_International_Court.html, accessed August 27, 2004.
.Ibid, page 33.
.Ibid, pages 69-73, 131.
.Ibid, page 135.
.Ibid, page 127.
.Ibid, page 126.
.Ibid, page v.
 For example., Expansion of commercial logging, evidenced by the tribal council’s hiring for two new “timber sale preparation” positions [http://www.rlnn.com/ArticlesJune04/ForesterAsstJobs.html, accessed August 27, 2004].
According to the Red Lake D.N.R.’s Biomass Energy Feasibility Study for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, presented to the U.S. Department of Energy at their “Tribal Energy Program Kick-off Meeting” on November 19, 2003, “Red Lake loggers annual harvest about 35-40,000 cords (78,000 – 90,000 green tons)” of timber, further destroying already heavily damaged forests at Red Lake. The Biomass Energy Feasibility Study nonetheless contemplates wood burning power plants for commercial electricity production. http://www.eere.energy.gov/tribalenergy/pdfs/red_lake_chippewa_tep_nov03.pdf, accessed August 27, 2004. The proposed devastation is being promoted as environmentally friendly “renewable energy,” e.g. Northwest CERTs Meeting Summary, January 7, 2004, http://www.cleanenergyresourceteams.org/northwest/Northwest%201-07-04.pdf, accessed August 27, 2004.
 Whitten also generously and expertly edited that of my narrative drawn from that conversation.
 Vine DeLoria describes the crowd as “nearly a thousand American Indians,” in Behind the Trail of Broken Treaties. An Indian Declaration of Independence. New York. Delacorte Press, 1974, p. xi.
 Donald P. Baker, Washington Post staff writer, described Hank Adams as “chief negotiator for the demonstrators,” in his front-page article, “Amnesty Denied to Indians, Damage Put at $700,000; Charges Eyed,” Friday, November 10, 1972. http://www.maquah.net/Historical/1972/images/72-11-10_amnesty_denied.jpg; http://www.maquah.net/Historical/1972/images/72-11-1_justice_charge_indians.jpg, accessed September 26, 2004.
 “shipping weight 45 pounds,” according to Police Auctions Online, http://www.stealitback.com/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/ProductDisplay?prrfnbr=53881390&prmenbr=31895249&aunbr=54228055, accessed August 21, 2004.
 Assiniboine and Sioux, credited as being principle coordinator and composer of the “Trail of Broken Treaties 20 points for Renewal of Contracts,” e.g. by the Center for World Indigenous Studies, http://www.cwis.org/fwdp/Americas/20points.html, accessed August 22, 2004.
 Washington Bureau for The Hearst Newspapers
 Whitten’s actions were courageous. Perhaps feeling beseiged by controversy over the Vietnam War, the publication of the Pentagon Papers, and the still-breaking Watergate scandal, the Nixon administration was aggressively trying to curtail reporters’ publication of ‘classified’ information, and to force reporters to reveal confidential sources. For example, a month before Whitten carried those photocopies of hot B.I.A. documents from Minneapolis to Washington, newsman William T. Farr was jailed for refusing to obey a judge’s orders to disclose his source for a story involving the Charles Manson Trial (Washington Post, November 17, 1972); he was released on a habeas corpus petition, but re-imprisoned under a ruling from Judge Charles Older (Jack Anderson column, Washington Post, December 1, 1972), which also upheld the imprisonment of newsman Peter Bridge.
Also in early December 1972, and just a couple of days before Whitten flew back to Washington with copies of the documents that the F.B.I. “had hundreds of people looking for,” U.S. Transportation Secretary announced “anti-hijacking steps” including airport guards and “the mandatory inspection of carry-on baggage.” (“Airport Guards Ordered,” Washington Post, December 6, 1972). The Jack Anderson column broke the “Broken Treaties Papers” series on December 11, 1972, with a column headlined “Indian Documents Tell Shabby Story.” (Washington Post, page D 13.)
 Jack Anderson, The Anderson Papers, Random House, 1973. p. 225
 E.g., “Racial profiling claims to be investigated,” by Chris Williams, Associated Press writer, October 2, 2004, The Associated Press State & Local Wire, dateline Bemidji, Minnesota:
Though authorities deny any discrimination, the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota has …
 “FBI Arrests Reporter in Stolen Data,” “Columnist’s Aide Held in Theft of Indian Unit Papers,” front page, Washington Post, February 1, 1973, http://www.maquah.net/Historical/1972/images/73-02-01_FBI_arrests.jpg, http://www.maquah.net/Historical/1972/images/73-01-01_columnist_held.jpg, accessed September 26, 2004. The Washington Post news story quotes the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, “which has taken part in several legal cases involving reporters.” The Committee “issued a statement charging that the arrest of Whitten ‘is based on the outrageous proposition that information about government activities is property, like an auto, which an be owned by the government … Government information belongs to the public. It is not owned by the Defense Department or the President or the Bureau of Indian Affairs.”
 “Getting the Scoop, Memories from Journalism’s Golden Age” a review of Peace, War, and Politics, by Jack Anderson Forge. By Mark Feldstein, The Washington Monthly, January/February 2000, online http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/books/2000/0001.feldstein.html
 Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University, and former intern and biographer of Jack Anderson.
 July 4, 1776, drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, online at http://www.archives.gov/national_archives_experience/charters/declaration.html, accessed August 26, 2004.
 American Civil Liberties Union, Freedom Network, “The First Pamphlet Proposing the Creation of Committees of Correspondence to Redeem the Constitution of the United States by Causing the Impeachment of Richard M. Nixon,” October 24, 1973. ACLU online archives, http://archive.aclu.org/library/1stpamphlet.html, accessed August 26, 2004.
 Present federal code provides that, “8 USCS § 641. Public money, property or records
Whoever embezzles, steals, purloins, or knowingly converts to his use or the use of another, or without authority, sells, conveys or disposes of any record, voucher, money, or thing of value of the United States or of any department or agency thereof, or any property made or being made under contract for the United States or any department or agency thereof; or
Whoever receives, conceals, or retains the same with intent to convert it to his use or gain, knowing it to have been embezzled, stolen, purloined or converted--
Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both …”
 Les Whitten, August 21, 2004 telephone conversation with Clara NiiSka.
 “Indian Explains Actions, BIA Material Was Sent to Him to Return,” “BIA Papers Claimed Destined for FBI,” Washington Post, page C!, February 2, 1973, http://www.maquah.net/Historical/1972/images/73-02-02_Adams_explains.jpg, http://www.maquah.net/Historical/1972/images/73-02-02_Adams_explains-b.jpg, accessed September 26, 2004.
 Furthermore, the federal government’s charges that he intended to “convert” those particular documents to his use were ridiculous, Whitten said. They were from a “batch of papers that came from South Dakota,” shipped on a Greyhound bus. Most of them were land records, and although he recognized their value to the Indians whose land it was, from his vantage as a syndicated columnist, those documents “were worthless, there wasn’t a single bit of paper that was any good to me.”
 Jack Miller was Assistant Attorney General for the Kennedy Administration, and subsequently represented former President Richard M. Nixon in his negotiations for a Presidential pardon from Lyndon Johnson. Still in practice, on his webpage at Baker Botts, LLP, Herbert J. “Jack” Miller lists among the “highlights” of his career, “his 25-year representation of former President Richard Nixon and his estate, which began with his negotiation of the only pardon of one President by another in U.S. history.” http://www.bakerbotts.com/attorneys/bio.asp?id=M735546291, accessed September 26, 2004.
 Some of the agencies employing those bureaucrats were listed in “Political Forum,” by Francis Blake [Wub-e-ke-niew], Ojibwe News, June 8, 1988; We Have The Right To Exist, p. li: “In 1970, A.I.M. calculated that there were 18 U.S. Government bureaucrats directly involved in Indian Affairs for every Indian.”
 The Catholic Church had approached Wub-e-ke-niew, at that time gaining recognition as a writer, and asked for his help with a community “history.” Wub-e-ke-niew agreed, hoping that the Catholic Church’s sanction would help us gain access to government records. The Catholic Church backed away from their invitation.
 Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs [BIA], 1793 – 1989, now catalogued online at http://www.archives.gov/research_room/federal_records_guide/bureau_of_indian_affairs_rg075.html, accessed August 27, 2004.
 According to the Legal Information Institute, an online service of Cornell University, “Section, act July 4, 1884, ch. 180, Sec. 9, 23 Stat. 98, which required Indian agents to submit a census of the Indians at the agency in their annual report, was omitted as obsolete since there have been no Indian agents since 1908.” http://aloe.csv.warwick.ac.uk/uscode/25/298.html?DB=uscode, accessed August 28, 2004. The legal history of this semantic sleight-of-hand is beyond the scope of this paper. As Wub-e-ke-niew put it (referring to the B.I.A.), “they make up their own laws.”
 See “Indian Census Rolls, 1885 – 1940,” now online at http://www.archives.gov/research_room/genealogy/census/native_americans_1885_to_1940.html, accessed August 28, 2004.
 Catalog of National Archives microfilm publication, Indian Census Rolls, 1885 – 1940 online at http://www.archives.gov/research_room/genealogy/census/native_americans_1885_to_1940.html, accessed August 27, 2004.
 See Guide to Records in the National Archives of the United States relating to American Indians, Edward E. Hill, comp., National Archives and Records Service, General Services Administration, Washington, D.C. 1981, especially the chronologies of the Consolidated Chippewa Agency, pp. 155-156; Leech Lake Agency, p. 165; Minneapolis Area Office and Minnesota Agency, pp. 167-168; Red Lake Agency, p. 179; and White Earth Agency, pp. 190-191.
 They are now catalogued by the cubic foot, for example the National Archives and Records Office’s holdings at the NARA’s Great Lakes Region in Chicago holds “2,296 cubic feet” of records of the B.I.A. between 1869 and 1973, c.f. http://www.archives.gov/facilities/il/chicago/holdings_guide_02.html#75, accessed September 1, 2004.
 See We Have The Right To Exist, p. 273. According to the B.I.A.’s certificate of adoption for the 1958 Constitution, the Indian Reorganization Act constitution was
was submitted for ratification to the adult members of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians in Minnesota, and was on October 14, 1958, ratified by a vote of 443 for, and 113 against, in an election in which at least twenty-five percent (25%) of those entitled to vote cast their ballots.
 Detailed in We Have The Right To Exist, pages 123 – 180.
 As Mr. Townsend, a Métis student of the Carlisle Indian School, told the Lake Mohonk policy-makers at their 1891 conference (Proceedings, page 104)
I believe in education, because I believe it will kill the Indian that is in me, and leave the man and the citizen. ... I believe in the Indian learning the English language: one people, one language, that is my idea. I contradict the statement that the only good Indian is a dead Indian. The only good Indian is an educated Indian.
Quoted in We Have The Right To Exist, page 110.
 “Rusty,” by Arienne Lighthorse, Native American Press/Ojibwe News, September 3, 2004.
 E.g., the Abraham Lincoln bookshop in Chicago, http://www.alincolnbookshop.com/html/lincoln_civil_war.htm, accessed September 1, 2004.
Autograph Letter Signed regarding last minute
orders as he leaves for Yorktown;
Washington orders “the Corps of Sappers and Miners to be part of the Troops which compose the first embarkation of our army.” Autograph letter signed by Washington to Major General Benjamin Lincoln, [Head of Elk, Md, September 7-8, 1781]”; priced at $125,000 by Kaller Historical Documents, http://www.americagallery.com/cgi-bin/search.cgi?searchstring=George%20Washington&searchtype=exact, accessed September 1, 2004.
 According to their web page, “The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) holds millions of textual documents in multiple repositories nationwide. http://www.archives.gov/research_room/media_formats/textual_documents.html, accessed September 1, 2004.
 A very thin, translucent paper used for making “carbon copies” of typed documents, before carbon paper was supplanted by xerographic photocopying.
 25 Stat. 642, Section 1: “for the purpose of ascertaining whether the proper number of Indians yield and give their assent as aforesaid, and for the purpose of making the allotments and payments hereinafter mentioned, the said commissioners shall, while engaged in securing such cession and relinquishment as aforesaid and before completing the same, make an accurate census of each tribe or band, classifying them into male and female adults, and male and female minors; and the minors into those who are orphans and those who are not orphans, giving the exact numbers of each class, and making such census in duplicate lists, one of which shall be filed with the Secretary of the Interior, and the other with the official head of the band or tribe; and the acceptance and approval of such cession and relinquishment by the President of the United States shall, be deemed full and ample proof of the assent of the Indians, and shall operate as a complete extinguishment of the Indian title without any other or further act or ceremony whatsoever for the purposes and upon the terms in this act provided.”
 Report of the Minnesota Chippewa Commission, 51st Congress, 1st Session - House of Representatives - Ex. Doc. No. 247. Online at http://www.maquah.net/Historical/1889/1889-Minnesota_Chippewa_Commission-index.html, accessed September 1, 2004.
 The United States Congress barred further treaty making with Indians in 1871, eighteen years previously.
 See We Have The Right To Exist, op cit., especially pages 62-66. The published transcripts and signature rolls are online, indexed at http://www.maquah.net/Historical/1889/1889-Minnesota_Chippewa_Commission-index.html, accessed September 1, 2004.
 Column in Native American Press/Ojibwe News, November 13, 1992, online at http://www.maquah.net/AhnishinahbaeotjibwayReflections/1992/1992-11-13_Wub-e-ke-niew_column.html, accessed September 1, 2004.
 Column in Native American Press/Ojibwe News, February 12, 1993, online at http://www.maquah.net/AhnishinahbaeotjibwayReflections/1993/1993-02-12_Wub-e-ke-niew_column.html, accessed September 1, 2004.
 Jean Houston, A Mythic Life, Hoper Collins, 1996, pp. 6-7.
 Op cit., p. lii.