The United States Government used the authority claimed under the U.S. Constitution and through their Indian treaties to create Indian Reservations. The 102 Indian Reservations established by the United States at the close of the Treaty-making era are the "Indian Country"[i] upon which the Federal instrumentalities of Indian Tribal Governments claim Sovereignty and a "unique"[ii] relationship with the U.S. Government.
The Indian Reservations have become media showcases in which whatever images of Indians are in vogue at the time, are displayed by the Euro-Indians and Métis. Until recently, these were usually the vanquished savage of the cowboy and Indian movies, the "End of the Trail" motif still used by the Indians, or the lazy Indian/drunken Indian/bashable welfare mother stereotypes. These projected identities were personified by the Euro-Americans' Indians, and then used by Western European civilization to justify the theft of Aboriginal Indigenous peoples land and resources.[iii] Since about 1989, the prevailing negative portrayal of Indians in the media has changed. Some of the surviving Aboriginal Indigenous people have gained access to a few English-language media in the past few years, and so many of the images which the mainstream Euro-Americans portray of their Indians have changed to protect their Indian mythology. On many surfaces visible to the general public, the Indian Reservations have become living museums promoting the Indians' Federally-controlled arts and crafts,[iv] picturesque Indian dances[v] teepees and tom-toms and other quaint pseudo-historical aspects of the hierarchical Lislakh's American Indian culture. What is being publicized is not Aboriginal Indigenous culture--and it is not intended to provide a viable economic base for either the Indians or the Aboriginal Indigenous people on the Reservations.
Recently, Indian gaming has been heavily promoted in the media as an "important economic development tool,"[vi] touted by the Euro-Indians who run the casinos through the I.R.A. Tribal Councils as the "new buffalo." The focus in the media has oscillated between polarities: casinos providing jobs and income for the Indian [Tribal Councils]; and fraud, corruption[vii] and possibly organized criminal involvement[viii] in the Indian casinos. The institutional structure of so-called Indian gaming is not addressed: the Indian casinos are operated under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Department of the Interior, through the federal structure of the I.R.A. Tribal Councils under negotiated "Government to Government" agreements with the State, operated by White management corporations such as Grand Casinos.[ix] The only relationship which the Ahnishinahbæótjibway have to the Indian casinos is that they are on our land. If there are any profits derived from these casinos, they do not reach the Aboriginal Indigenous people.
The mainstream media also fosters the illusion that Indians are Aboriginal Indigenous people by extensive coverage of Indian "settlements" on such matters as spearfishing and Indian allotments.[x] These issues are presented by both the Euro-Indians and the White media in a tone which builds a reservoir of potential White backlash.[xi]
Indians are defined as wards of the U.S. Government, under Federal Trusteeship.[xii] The fee-simple title to so-called Indian land is held by the United States as trustee, and the eminent domain claimed by the United States. Most Indian treaties included a clause in which the presumed Indian rights to the land were ceded to the United States. The grounds on which Indians claim to be "sovereign nations," when they own neither land nor their own identity, is a unique mystery. The Indian identity traps people into an abusive relationship with the United States.
"Indian Reservation" is a word for concentration camp. The Indian policy of the United States, during the 1870's and early 1880's, was the concentration of both Métis and Aboriginal Indigenous people into Reservations, enforced by a kill-on-sight policy outside of the concentration camps, and accompanied by social engineering within what were euphemistically called Reservation communities. This was the implementation of President Grant's peace policy:[xiii]
Indians who did not go willingly to the Reservations would be either driven there by force or exterminated in the process. Once on the Reservation, the Christian agents and teachers could help them assimilate the white man's culture.
For the Aboriginal Indigenous people, the killing fields were on the Reservations, as well as beyond the boundaries drawn by the United States Government. At least 75% of my relatives, the Ahnishinahbæótjibway alive in 1870 at Red Lake, had been killed by 1885. As Indian Superintendent A.B. Meacham reported to Acting Superintendent of Indian Affairs H.R. Clum in 1871:[xiv]
Actual experience demonstrates the impracticability of 'consolidating' tribes of Indians, although in theory it looks well; and, if we seek to gratify the wishes of heartless white men, it can be made a complete success, as the weaker tribes are exterminated by the stronger, despite all efforts of agents to protect them. No people are more ambitious for power, nor exercise it with more tyranny, than do Indians. Under the present humane policy of the Government, the civilization of Indians is possible. To accomplish it, however, requires ... men who are thoroughly Christianized, ... fully comprehending the whole economy of our Government; fired with ambition to do good by elevating a fast-decaying race to the plane of citizenship, and supported with the assurance that their term of office entirely depends on faithfully achieved success. ... In this way will be found the only approach to successfully combat and supplant their old superstitious ideas and practices of savage religion, medicine, marriage, merchandise of women [sic], and the various inborn prejudices against our laws, usages, and customs. Then, too, another great hindering cause is the existence of chieftainship and hereditary honors.
The destruction of Ahnishinahbæótjibway rice beds by damming waterways, cutting of forests to destroy both permacultural food-plants and game habitat, the slaughter of the buffalo herds were all part of the Euro-American policy of occupation, a continuation of the violent strategy of U.S. colonists' salting the fields and burning the crops of the Aboriginal Indigenous peoples of the East Coast. The Friends of the Indians at the Lake Mohonk Conference in 1890 explicitly discussed "starvation into submission,"[xv]
Senator Dawes: Do you know that every agent is authorized by law to change the rations into agricultural implements and seeds? ...
Question: If the rations were stopped, what would they do?
Mr. Riggs: A great many would starve. ...
Question: If the rations were stopped, the people would starve, you say. If they can not be taught until they starve, what would you do?
Mr. Riggs: I fear we should practically have to starve them until we got them taught.
Question: Would it be an advantage to the agent to abandon the ration system?
Mr. Riggs: I think it would be an advantage to him to stop giving regular rations. That is, he would be free. ...
Question: Will Mr. Riggs repeat the Lord's Prayer in Dakota? Mr. Riggs did so.
Question: Has the time come to stop issuing rations to the Dakota Indians?
Mr. Riggs. I think not for the full stopping, but for a reduction of it.
Question: If the starving process were tried, would not the people of the United States speedily send help?
Mr. Riggs: I think they would.
Question: If the plan of stopping rations were adopted, would it not be better to carry out the plan of sub-issue of rations, so that those who are trying to farm land would not be obliged to go to headquarters for rations.
Mr. Riggs: That would be a great step in advance, but you do not remove the evil itself ...
Many of the Aboriginal Indigenous people at Wounded Knee were massacred the winter that the rations had been cut, in accordance with the policy determined by Reverend Riggs and other Friends of the Indians at Lake Mohonk earlier in the year. The Sioux Problem was discussed in Washington D.C., January 8, 1891:[xvi]
Captain Pratt: ... I do not care what plan we bring to bear, but every plan should have in view the idea of separating the Indian from his tribe. The Indian tribes can be and ought to be made to disappear. ... The Indian is not asked to be of us nor to stay with us, hence he is in the way and is a trouble. ...
Mr. Welsh: This bears directly on the Sioux trouble to-day. Had we in the past been able to educate every Indian child who now has grown into savage manhood on the frontier in Christian truth and civilization, we should have prevented this outbreak. ... Let us press for education, for the lack of education is one of the great primal causes of this outbreak in Dakota.
There are other causes. I hold a paper in which the inspector made the clear statement, April 7, 1890, that the issue of rations was not sufficient to cover the needs of these people; that at Pine Ridge there had been a cutting down of about 2,000,000 pounds of beef. I understand that the Interior Department tried to meet that difficulty, but without success. ... I think from all of the evidence that we have, that the reduction of the food supply played some part, I will not say how great a part, in this Dakota trouble. There was, together with a reduction of rations, a failure of crops. And General Armstrong in his report points out that the cattle of these Indians, in the time that they were kept waiting upon the Sioux commission, broke into their fields and destroyed their planting. ... The Messiah craze [sic] furnished an opportunity for disaffected Indian superstitions. ... Such leaders as Sitting Bull, Red Cloud, and Kicking Bear may be classified as `bad Indians.' We should not waste sentimental pity on them. These men obstructed continually the progress of their own race. ... I feel no sympathy with Sitting Bull, because he continually opposed civilization. It had been well that these man had been put in duress, that their influence should not have brought such evil results. ... I think that our duty is plain and clear. We are simply looking to the day when every Indian child shall be educated; when every Indian shall have his land in severalty ... How are we to accomplish this? Only by the power of united public sentiment. ...
Senator Dawes: I do not think of any better way to tone up public sentiment; keep the subject all the time before the public. ... You have no idea of the state of feeling at the Capitol stirred up by the affairs in Dakota. I heard a Senator from New England, who belongs to the church of our venerable friend sitting near me, say that he was glad that those women and children were killed ... that for his part he did not care how many Indians were killed. This is the effect that this state of things is going to have on our legislation.
President Gates: ... I believe in toning up public sentiment and then carrying it into law.
Senator Dawes: It turned out that a year ago by some hocus-pocus at Rosebud and Pine Ridge we were supplying rations to 2,500 more Indians than there were, and that we had to stop it as soon as it was ascertained. ...
Mr. Welsh: It was a trick of the Indians. He tried to get rations for dead names. ...
Commissioner Morgan: The Indian Department has been criticized most unmercifully because it has been said that without reason it had cut down rations to these Indians, that they had been starved into rebelling and then shot. I want to bring out a fact. There is hardly a day that passes that does not bring an appeal for starving Indians by telegram. I had one to-day. ... Just remember that it is not always easy to tell when the Indian is starving and freezing to death. ...
Under the provisions of the Act of May 15, 1886, the Northwest Commission was appointed to:[xvii]
negotiate with the several tribes and bands of Chippewa Indians in the State of Minnesota, for such modification of existing treaties with said Indians and such change of their Reservation as may be deemed desirable by said Indians and the Secretary of the Interior, and as to what sum shall be a just and equitable liquidation of all claims which any of said tribes may now have upon the Government (24 Stat., 44)
The interest of the U.S. Congress, and their influential constituents, in Red Lake was especially the "large tract of well-timbered and otherwise valuable land, estimated to contain about 3,200,000 acres."[xviii]
The Commissioners, including Friend of the Indians Bishop Whipple, and Major Larrabee, came to Red Lake in August of 1886, to present the cessions proposed by Congress. During the opening speeches in August 17, Bishop Whipple explained the U.S. proposals:[xix]
I need not tell you that for many years the white man has been growing stronger and stronger, and that the red men have been growing weaker and weaker. ... There is not a people on the earth to-day that is not perishing who are living as wild men, and there is not a people on earth who are living as civilized men who are not prospering and increasing. ... There are three things that the red man must have or he must perish. He must learn to live by civilization, he must be protected by the Government, and his children must be trained to grow up as white men. We have come here to help you to do this; this is a crisis in your history; there are two paths before you, the one path leads to life and the other path leads to death.
During the next two days of meetings, the Northwest Commission brushed aside objections by Red Lake Métis Chippewas that the 1863 Treaty lines were being violated, as well as protests about extensive timber piracy, with disclaimers such as Bishop Whipple's, "None of these commissioners were present when the treaty was signed; none of us heard what was said to the Indians. If there was a misunderstanding, none of us regrets it more than these commissioners. ... We have no authority to change what was done in the past."[xx] The response given by one of the several individuals who has been identified in U.S. Documents as Chief Med-way-gan-on-int were interpreted as:[xxi]
I should not have spoken of this matter if I had known that we ceded this land to the Great Father. When I spoke the last words to him I said that we were not giving him any pine trees, and the Big Chief said to me you have not given one single pine tree. I should have certainly not mentioned this matter if I had ceded that land; I should have confined myself only to what was now. I wished I knew the name of the person who ceded that land; he must be somewhere.
Bishop Whipple proposed a that a commission be established to study the misunderstandings, and then returned to the Northwest Commission's mission:
... The white men are crowding you on every side; they are demanding of your Great Father [sic--although Grover Cleveland may have been related to the Chippewa Métis, he certainly was no relative claimed by Bah-se-nos or the other Ahnishinahbæótjibway] that they shall have a part of this Reservation. Last year a bill was introduced in Congress to open this Reservation. There is not a single law in the United States, not one, which guarantees its possession; your fathers held it as wild men. ... I am afraid that what these men demand, as they will demand, of the Great Council at Washington, that you shall only retain that portion of it that you cultivate for yourselves,[xxii] I am afraid no power on earth can stop it. ... And I cannot say more than to say this, that there is a crisis come in your history, and that one path leads to life and safety and the other leads to death and darkness.[xxiii]
On August 23, 1886, the Northwest Commission's transcripts report that the "Indians expressed themselves as highly pleased with the treaty, after which they touched the pen or signed the agreement."[xxiv] It is likely that the Chippewa Métis did agree to the proposals of the Northwest Commission (some later claimed the boundary lines drawn in 1886 were the ones intended under the 1889 Commission), but it is a certainty that the Ahnishinahbæótjibway whose "X" marks are written all in the same handwriting,[xxv] did not agree. Secretary of the Interior L.Q.C. Lamar alludes to as much when he writes in his cover letter, "Upon the subject of the Red Lake agreement the Commissioner reports that he 'is not so well satisfied' ... he considers it important that the lands ... shall be opened up to settlement, ... and suggests that the matter is one which in his opinion should be left entirely in the hands of Congress."[xxvi]
The Northwest Commission did not, in the opinion of Congressman Nelson and some of the lumber companies who lobbied him, provide for sufficient access to timber, and the White Indians who had been instrumental in the work of the Commission were re-organized. A December 28, 1886 letter from T.J. Sheehan, U.S. Indian agent at the White Earth Agency, is illustrative:[xxvii]
I have the honor to transmit herewith a copy of petition gotten up by designing unscrupulous Mixed bloods at St. Paul, Minn., the originators and prime movers being two or three of the Beaulieu family. The original petition is now in the hands of the Indians here for the purpose of obtaining their signatures to it. I am doing all in my power to stop the Indians from signing it by explaining to them what a detriment it will be to them in the end. The whole spirit of the faction seems to have been augmented by the pine ring, squaw men and others of that stamp who are opposed bitterly to the treaty [sic] or agreement made by the North West Commission last August and are now taking this as a preliminary step toward the non-ratification of the agreement by Congress.
The documents of the Northwest Commission were not ratified by the United States Congress.
The Indian Reorganization Act Chippewa Tribal Council claims 1889 as the "establishment of Red Lake Reservation," and the Red Lake Indian motor vehicle license plates issued in 1994 by the U.S. Government through the 1934 I.R.A. Tribal Council celebrate the "Centennial 1889-1989." On January 14, 1889, the United States Congress passed the legislation sometimes referred to as the Nelson Act, which read in part:[xxviii]
... and such cession and relinquishment shall be deemed sufficient as to each of the said several Reservations, except as to the Red Lake Reservation, if made and assented to in writing by two-thirds of the male adults occupying and belonging to such Reservation, and as to the Red Lake Reservation the cession and relinquishment shall be deemed sufficient if made and assented to in like manner by two-thirds of the male adults of all the Chippewa Indians in Minnesota.[xxix]
It is this clause of the Nelson Act which was subsequently used to establish the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe. For the Red Lake Chippewa Indians, however, the Minnesota Chippewa Indian identity has been so nebulous and ambiguous that in May of 1993 the I.R.A. Red Lake Council resolved to employ historian Claire Henderson to "authenticate" them.[xxx]
The Minnesota Chippewa Commission spent the summer of 1889 holding pseudo-negotiations, the purpose of which was to rubber-stamp legislation which had already passed Congress. The thrust of the 1889 legislation was to take Red Lake land and timber without the consent of the Red Lake Ahnishinahbæótjibway. The upstanding citizens behind the 1887 and 1889 Commissions included the timber interests--and the railroad barons, who got land grants to subsidize rail lines to haul the timber off of the Reservation. The unilateral legislative history of the United States Government, with regard to the Red Lake Ahnishinahbæótjibway Nation, is a chronicle of carpet-baggers and thieves.
The Minnesota Chippewa Commission opened meetings at Red Lake on June 29, 1889. The Commissioners once again opened the meetings with threats:[xxxi]
Bishop Marty: ... It is time that something should be done to improve your conditions, which are getting worse from year to year. ... As it is, your pine lands are burning; a great many pines are stolen; your property is getting less all the time and you have no benefit from it at all.
Commissioner Whiting reiterated the threats in the third session, on July 3:[xxxii]
... You have wealth here, but it is fleeing from you. All along the track we came lies the blackened pine, falling to the ground, groaning out its dissent that it should be thus destroyed. From this burnt district the moose and the deer flee for safety. Each year these great fires are driving your game away farther and farther, and each year there is less and less for them to subsist upon. If the moose and the deer and other game are destroyed by fire, what are you to live upon? ... Unless something is done for you now, five years hence this vast body of timber will be destroyed. The moose and the deer will be gone from you, and you will eke out a miserable existence.
Ne-gaun-ah-quod and others responded that it was not the people of Red Lake who were setting the fires, and observed:[xxxiii]
... If an Indian [sic] had been guilty of going to a white man's country and causing so much ruin and havoc the Indian would have been punished, but we never count [on the Whites being held accountable by the U.S. Government]. ... We cannot go off the Reservation without a pass from the agent or overseer ... It is impossible for me to leave the Reservation. I can not go about and have not liberty to do so.
My great-grandfather, Bah-se-nos (spelled by the Minnesota Chippewa Commission as Pus-se-nous), told the Commissioners that the Ahnishinahbæótjibway could not sell the land and everything that is a part of it, and that any agreement made by the Chippewa Indians had nothing to do with the Ahnishinahbæótjibway. His speeches were mistranslated and recorded as:[xxxiv]
My friends, the act that was passed by the whites, without our consultation, has been thoroughly digested by our people; we have given you an answer [which is, "no"]. ...
There are none here who are owned by one; each one owns himself, and is master of his own ideas. We own the land [jointly] ...
... you see I am still in my natural state; I have not taken up [Christian] religion yet, as it is shown by my blanket; do you think that what you preach about [your] Great Spirit will last forever?
Bah-se-nos was telling the Commissioners something that neither they nor the Chippewa interpreters understood. The Minnesota Chippewa Commission followed the boilerplate of treaty transcripts, asserting that assent was made by the "Indians," which it probably was. The published transcripts attempt to cover the tracks of deception for posterity by attributing to Commissioner Rice:[xxxv]
We have heard your proposition, and we think we can perhaps change the lines so as to give you all you want, and very much more than you will have use for--you, your children, grand-children, and great-grandchildren--and still please the Great Father much better than by following accurately the line you suggest. You have made some mistakes in your lines; we think we can change them so it will be much better for you. ...
The published report of the Chippewa Commission notes that "at Red Lake, the assent of all the Indians to the agreement was obtained, except a few called 'pagans' ..."[xxxvi] The unpublished signature rolls[xxxvii] show that all of the "X" marks alleged to have been made by the Ahnishinahbæótjibway were written by the same person, although some of the Chippewa Indians appear to have actually signed the document. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway did not agree to the Act of January 14, 1889, nor have we ever agreed to other land cessions. We cannot sell Grandmother Earth nor Grandfather Midé.
The subsequent lawsuits[xxxviii] claiming to clear the fraud inherent in the Nelson Act were brought by the United States Government against itself: in the persona of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act (I.R.A.) "Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians" established by the United States Government, v. the United States Government. Because the people who comprise the I.R.A. Tribal Council are Chippewa Indian descendants of those packed onto Red Lake under by the Minnesota Chippewa Commission, the Indian plaintiffs agreed to what was called "Exception 41:"[xxxix]
By Exception 41, the Red Lake Band does not contend that the Nelson Act is void.
The legal brief of this case also observes that if it were required:[xl]
that a statute or treaties, in and of itself, may not be less than fair and honorable ... a host of treaties of cession would be void ab initio.a
The White man has written volumes and volumes of history, treaties and agreements, laws, and bureaucratic regulations for the Indians, and has tried to include the Aboriginal Indigenous peoples under the same fabricated identity as Indians. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway are not, and have never been, Indians.
The General Allotment Act, sponsored by the same Senator Dawes who was advocating genocide at the Lake Mohonk Conference, was passed by the United States Congress on February 8, 1887. This Act of Congress followed the pattern of previous piecemeal allotment clauses in various Indian treaties and agreements. The provisions of the Dawes Allotment Act include "allotment in severalty," meaning that the land which had been held jointly by Aboriginal Indigenous people would, under the alleged eminent domain of the United States (claimed under Roman imperial law), be broken up into allotments, individual land-holdings of 180 acres or less, issued to Indians by the United States Government. The land designated by the White man as "surplus land" on the Reservations was opened to White settlement, with some of the income from the sale of this land by the U.S. to be used for what U.S. policy-makers described as the civilization of Indians, including kidnapping Aboriginal Indigenous children from their homes into the boarding schools.
The B.I.A.'s interpretation of the allotment act also established "Courts of Indian Offenses," which are described in a later chapter. The intention behind allotment was twofold: to destroy Aboriginal Indigenous peoples' culture, communities, and government; and to steal land and resources. The rules under which allotment was carried out were written so that within three generations, the land would be gone. The United States Government described allotment:[xli]
Through the allotment system, more than 80% of the land value belonging to all the Indians [sic] has been taken away from them; more than 85% of the land value of all the allotted Indians has been taken away.
And the allotment system, working down through the partitionment or sale of the land of deceased allottees, mathematically insures and practically requires that the remaining Indian allotted lands shall pass to whites. The allotment act contemplates total landlessness for the Indians of the third generation of each allotted tribe.
The Indian Agents determined who was eligible for allotment on the Reservations. We have researched who was allotted at White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, since a great many Chippewa Indians from White Earth ended up at Red Lake after their allotments were alienated. By 1917, 5,165 people had been allotted at White Earth; with more than three thousand additional allotments issued principally to "mixed bloods."[xlii] Of these people, about 925 were called full blooded Indians by Dr. Ales Hrdlicka,[xliii] the anthropologist from the Smithsonian Institute who invented the Bering Strait Theory and boiled up visiting Inuits for their skeletons.
Full blooded Indian, however, does not mean Aboriginal Indigenous person. The list of "Hinton Full Bloods, examined by Doctor Hrdlicka"[xliv] includes not only Métis people who were categorized as full bloods for political reasons,[xlv] descendants of Indian Agents, and people who became full bloods because they were helping with the blood-quantum determination process, but also people whose ancestry was Moorish or Sub-Saharan African. The Hinton Roll also includes women who had married non-Aboriginal men, and thus had lost their Ahnishinahbæótjibway Dodems. The vast majority of White Earth allottees were either Métis people, or other Lislakhs. Ignatia Broker, a Métis storyteller and historian from White Earth, told us about the anthropologists coming to the boarding school, measuring the children’s heads, and determining what subsequently had legal status as "degree of Indian blood" by looking at blood samples on microscope slides. "Full brothers and sisters had different blood quantums," she said. The oral history describes Indian enrollments being sold to Whites for a few dollars. Beyond stealing land by allotment to dubiously qualified individuals, the packing of the rolls diluted what little remained of the White Earth Ahnishinahbæótjibway community, to the vanishing point.[xlvi]
President Theodore Roosevelt endorsed Machiavelli's prescription of keeping non-hierarchical peoples "powerless and dispersed." In his message to Congress, December 8, 1901, President Roosevelt said:[xlvii]
In my judgment the time has arrived when we should definitely make up our minds to recognize the Indian as an individual and not as a member of a tribe. The General Allotment Act is a mighty pulverizing machine to break up the tribal mass. It acts directly upon the family and the individual. Under its provisions some sixty thousand Indians have already become citizens of the United States. We should now break up the tribal funds, doing for them what allotment does for the tribal lands; that is, they should be divided into individual holdings.
Roosevelt also used executive orders to appropriate Reservation lands into the National Forest system. Look at a map which includes both Indian Reservations and National Forests.
The Ahnishinahbæótjibway community of Red Lake refused allotment. The United States Congress Act of January 14, 1889 specifically provided that any Chippewa Indian in Minnesota could be allotted at Red Lake.[xlviii] Métis people from Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin picked out prospective allotments, along the lakeshore, in prime pinelands, and on proposed farmland. The book listing these proposed allotments at Red Lake was cataloged as missing by the National Archives in 1992, but the older Ahnishinahbæótjibway still know where the immigrants intended to be allotted.[xlix]
Ahnishinahbæótjibway land is held jointly, through the Midé, and it is against our Grandfather religion to sell Grandmother Earth. We were adamantly opposed to allotment, and the intended devastation of Aboriginal Indigenous communities on other Reservations through allotment was becoming apparent. My grandfather's brother, Om-be-ge-shig, acted on the consensus of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway community, when at a meeting between the B.I.A. and the Métis who were contemplating allotment, he walked up to where the leaders of the meeting were discussing their proposal. He took his knife and plunged it into the stack of papers they had on the table. "This," he said to the White and Métis people there, "is what will happen to you if you allot our land." Red Lake is one of only two Reservations in the United States which were never allotted (the other is Warm Springs, Oregon). The United States Curtis Act of 1898 unilaterally withdrew recognition from any Tribal Governments which had refused allotment.
The underlying philosophy of the United States Government's relationship to their Indians is underscored by the economic system fostered by the U.S. on the Red Lake Indian Reservation, which is based on resource-exploitation. According to a 1936 review of the "Industrial Development" at Red Lake:[l]
Lumbering and fishing are the principal industries of the Red Lake Indians, the greater part of their income being derived from the activities attendant to the manufacture of lumber from the tree to the finished board, and from the sale of fish. A few of the Indians derive a substantial [sic] income from the sale of berries, wild rice, maple sugar, and snakeroot, as well as the sale of wild hay, although hay has not been much in demand the last two years.
The sawmill, which was constructed in 1925, was not in operation in 1932, 1933, 1934, and 1935, for the production of lumber, due to lack of marketing facilities and the overstocked condition of the lumberyards. However, the planing mill, box factory and power plant were operated during the mill shut down.
During the period July 1, 1936, to June 30, 1937, the sawmill operation, including logging camp, paid to the Indians a total of $52,658.91. In addition to the foregoing, $2,586.04 was paid to Indians on vouchers for miscellaneous services rendered at the sawmill, such as fuel wood, hauling, etc., making the total among of proceeds to Indians from sawmill activities approximately $55,250.00. For the period July 1, 1937, to June 30, 1938, the sawmill operation, including logging camp, Indian contract logging and miscellaneous services, paid the Indians $92,849.07.
On June 30, 1934, the lumber inventory at the Red Lake Indian Sawmill was 10,521,585 board feet, or about twice the average amount of lumber produced annually during the preceding years when the sawmill was in operation. On June 30, 1936, the lumber inventory amounted to 7,792,869 board feet, much of this inventory being of the lower grades and lumber that had deteriorated through stain and rot. On June 30, 1936, the lumber inventory was valued at $51,417.88, and during the fiscal year ending June 30, 1937, 3,166,707 board feet of logs were converted into 3,414,460 board feet of lumber. ...
The United States Government continues to exploit the Ahnishinahbæótjibway forests. Truckload after truckload of mostly pulpwood presently goes out of the Reservation, profiting White-owned corporations and yielding a kickback to White Indian timber brokers. It was calculated that in the last thirty years, enough lumber had been cut at Red Lake to go around the world twice. There has been no lasting economic development to show for this, although large areas of forest have been demolished, left as clear-cut littered with piles of slash.
Complementing the resource-extraction economics promoted by the United States Government is an unemployment rate on the Reservation which ranges between 50% and 90%, depending on who is counted as employable and the definition of "employed," and an economic system based on transfer payments: government employment and welfare. Many of the Métis and White Indians have developed a co-dependent relationship with the government based on welfare. Augmented by the Indian programs available to Indian families, some manage a reasonably comfortable existence on a combination of B.I.A. welfare and county payments. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway have a much more difficult time getting welfare, even in cases of genuine need; state and federal welfare regulations are circumvented by throwing these peoples' applications in the trash as soon as they leave the Agency building. The larger problem is not only the economic hardship sustained by the Aboriginal Indigenous people, but that the Reservation has a high percentage of Métis and Euro-Indian welfare recipients. Their use of welfare is used to justify other so-called Social Services Programs, which are shielded from scrutiny both under the cloak of so-called "Indian Sovereignty," and by fallaciously categorizing Ahnishinahbæótjibway as "Indians" and obscuring what is happening to a minority of Aboriginal Indigenous people obscured in the mass of total Indian statistics. Some of the Social Services programs at Red Lake, as they are applied to the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, are in current violation of the International Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
Sustainable and permaculturally-healing economic development, owned by the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, the Dodems, is needed.
I have spent my life hearing "hey, Chief," and "Indian!" I am neither one of these; what the Lislakhs have created is not my identity. Making it rain, living in a teepee, tomahawks and tom-toms, woo-woo-war-whoops and smoke signals are all Hollywood stereotypes, subsidized as Indian culture by the U.S. Government and promoted by both the Whites and their Indians--and are as obsolete as Amos 'n Andy. These stereotypes have nothing to do with the reality of Aboriginal Indigenous people, and need to come to an end. In their arrogance, and in their fear, the Euro-Americans know almost nothing about the Aboriginal Indigenous people of this Continent. They have extensively studied their Indians, but have not dared to learn about us because of what they would learn about themselves, and about their violent hierarchical society. I have watched many of these people go into denial when confronted with the truth about their own society. Some have told me, "the truth hurts," or "your writing is like a punch in the nose." I can understand their denial, because their tenure on this Continent is based on layer upon layer of lies so deep that the truth has become invisible to them. By understanding the Euro-Americans' language, and studying their behavior and thought patterns through their language, I can see who they are. They live in a maze of unreal dichotomies. Many believe that they are telling the truth, but beyond the boundaries of their language, they are lying.
The Euro-Americans have no roots on this land. From the perspective of Aboriginal Indigenous people who have lived in the same place for thousands of generations, the descendants of Lislakh immigrants are transients. Some do genealogy, family history, or regression into past lives, etc., in their yearning to find out where they came from and who they are. On some level of their awareness, they understand that an individual cannot be severed from their family and ancestors. The people who call themselves American (a European name) have immigrants' roots, and a culture of violence and greed which is externally imposed on them. There has to be something better than that.The people at the top of the hierarchy are not the people who can create real culture--culture belongs to all the people. You do not get a culture from the one percent of the people who want to keep everybody else under control. The immigrant peoples of this Continent need to find out who they are, and to create a culture which belongs to them. Maybe they will end up adopting some of the Aboriginal Indigenous peoples' culture. Maybe they will become civilized, after all. I do not mean pow-wows and feathers, I mean the essential values and understanding of the land. When you have that deep gut feeling that you are a part of this land, then you will belong here and will know that the land is to be looked at with reverence and respect. You will understand what we mean when we say, "Grandmother Earth is not to be sold, and all things are connected."
[i].United States Statutes, 18 U.S.C., §1151: Indian country defined
Except as otherwise provided in sections 1154 and 1156 of this title, the term "Indian country" as used in this chapter, means (a) all land within the limits of any Indian Reservation under the jurisdiction of the United States Government, notwithstanding the issuance of any patent, and, including rights-of-way running through the Reservation, (b) all dependent Indian communities within the borders of the United States whether within the original or subsequently occupied territory thereof, and whether within or without the limits of a state, and (c) all Indian allotments, the Indian title to which have not been extinguished, including rights-of-way running through the same.
[ii].Indian Tribes as Sovereign Governments, AIRI Press, page 23, Op. cit.
[iii].Although the United States has blurred their dual agenda with the double meaning of their word Indian, the United States courts have recognized the distinction, albeit in racist and Euro-centric terms. According to Indian Tribes as Sovereign Governments, page 6, Op. cit., "Congress may extinguish aboriginal title without compensation (Tee-Hit-Ton Indians v. United States, 348 U.S. 272 (1955). On the other hand, a taking must be compensated pursuant to the fifth amendment when the [Indian] title is 'recognized' by treaty or statute (See, e.g., United States v. Creek Nation, 295 U.S. 103 (1935)." The United States is making such assertions based on a Western European abstract paradigm which does not recognize the reality of the Aboriginal Indigenous peoples of these Continents. The Ahnishinahbæótjibway, however, are very real--and do not recognize the legitimacy of an imported Lislakh world-view which describes us as non-existent or without rights, for the purposes of theft and genocide.
[iv].The United States Department of the Interior, Indian Arts and Crafts Board, Washington, D.C. 20240, which according to their Fact Sheet (G.P.O., 1978), "provides training opportunities for individual craftsmen;" "provide[s] heritage-centered instruction to artistically-talented Native youth from throughout the country" in Santa Fe, New Mexico; organizes exhibitions and art sales activities for their artists and craftspeople; and publishes a Source Directory which lists board-certified Indian artists and craftspeople. The Indian Arts and Crafts Board also exercises centralized cultural control over artisans by requiring licensure as Federally Recognized Indians to make and sell arts or crafts, with violation of their regulations subject to fines. Additional control is exercised by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service--one case of this bureaucracy controlling Indian artisans was published in the Pioneer, Bemidji, Minnesota, December 21, 1989, page 10.
[v].E.g., THE PIONEER Summer Tourist Guide, Bemidji, Minnesota, Summer, 1989, urges tourists to visit "Summer dances. Indian dancers from all over the United States gather at a number of powwows in the area during the summer months. The brilliant colors worn by the dancers and the captivating beat of the drums combine to make the powwows an intriguing experience," page 26B. Also vide, Ojibway [sic] Country of Northern Mn., Map of Fishing Lakes, Roads and Snowmobile Trails, Leech Lake Reservation, 1992 map distributed by the Bemidji Chamber of Commerce.
[vi].E.g., Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone, in The Ojibwe News, January 21, 1994, page 1. In this article concerning allegations of casino fraud, reprinted with permission from the Bemidji Pioneer, Wellstone is also quoted, "The concern that some have is that Indian people have a right to know how much money is brought in and spent is absolutely true."
[vii].E.g., in the Sunday, January 9, 1994 issue of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, there was a front page article about Indian-owned Casinos. The newspaper reported that Minneapolis B.I.A. Area Director Earl Barlow, got caught selling his influence in gaming regulation, and accepting vouchers for gambling money and jackpots at the casinos he was supposed to regulate. The Star Tribune also observed that the National Indian Gaming Commission does not allow its staff to gamble in Indian casinos, and quotes Fred Stuckwisch, the Commission's Executive Director, as saying "I guess any [gambling] machine can be rigged under the right circumstances."
[viii].Matt Connor, Gaming & Wagering Business, October 15 - November 14, 1993, 14:10, "Corruption on the Reservation: Cause for concern?" [cover story], "still more ominously, reports have surfaced recently that the management company hired by the [White Earth] tribal chairman ... may have ties to organized crime." In the beginning of the article, Connor writes that "Indian tribes can often use sovereignty as a tool to launch their own casinos." However, in the concluding paragraph, he quotes Allene Ross, executive vice president of planning and development at Mystic Lake, an Indian-owned gaming consulting firm, "Once the contract's been approved and whatnot, tribes have no legal remedies ... they're bound by the agreement. Other than waiting out the terms of the contract and/or buyout provisions, there's not much they can do."
[ix].In the business section of the January 26, 1994 Minneapolis Star Tribune, page 6D, Grand Casinos (GrdCasn s) was listed as a National Over-the-Counter stock with a price-to-earnings ratio of 35, a volume of 3585 shares traded, and a closing price of 27 5/8, up 3/8 from the previous day.
[x].Including the White Earth Land Settlement Act, Public Law 99-264, March 24, 1986, codified as 100 U.S. Stat. 64. A few well-publicized settlement payments were made to original allottees (born before 1901). Because of the genealogies which we have compiled, a number of individuals who have had problems with WELSA have asked for our help. The birth, death and marriage records kept by the B.I.A. and other official (White) agencies for Ahnishinahbæótjibway prior to 1900 were incomplete at best, yet heirs of allottees making claims under WELSA have been asked to provide death certificates for the ten paternal grandfathers the B.I.A. presumed them to have, proof of blood-quantum of ancestors born in the 1700's, and other non-existent documentation. WELSA was written in the context of Western European law for the benefit of the White landholders, and provided perks for the I.R.A. Tribal Council and the Euro-Indian élite--and has nothing to do with Ahnishinahbæótjibway relationships to the land.
[xi].E.g. the following, circulated in Medford, Wisconsin, in about 1986:
FIRST ANNUAL INDIAN SHOOT
beginning of walleye run
PLACE: Northern Wisconsin lakes
RULES: Open shoot, off hand position only, no scopes, no sling, no tripods,
and no whiskey for bait!
TO ALL WISCONSIN
Residents that are BLACK, HMONG, CUBAN or those on WELFARE, A.D.C., FOOD
STAMPS or any other GOVERNMENT GIVE-A-WAY
program, are not
complain about discrimination, you'll have your own shoot later!)
SCORING: Wisconsin rules apply. Point system
will be used.
PLAIN INDIAN...................................5 POINTS
INDIAN WITH WALLEYES..........................10 POINTS
INDIAN WITH BOAT NEWER THAN YOURS.............20 POINTS
INDIAN USING PITCHFORK........................30 POINTS
INDIAN WITH HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA...............50 POINTS
SOBER INDIAN..................................75 POINTS
INDIAN TRIBAL LAWYER.........................100 POINTS
(Does not have to be spearing)
JUDGES: Governor Tommy Thompson, Rev. Jesse Jackson
PRIZES: Fillet-O-Fish sandwiches and six packs of treaty beer
SPONSOR: Society Helping Individual Taxpayers
(Known as SHIT ON)
I ________________________________ will attend shoot
I _____ will _____ will not be taking scalps.
I BELIEVE SENATOR ROSHELL IS:
____ HONEST ____ CORRECT ____ ACCURATE ____ A SAINT
____ ALL OF THE ABOVE
I am enclosing $______ for his re-election
Bumper stickers reading "SAVE A FISH--SPEAR AN INDIAN" only $5.00 each. "T"
shirts with same message only $10.00 each.
[xii].Indian Tribes as Sovereign Governments, Chapter 2, pages 23-31, Op. cit., traces trusteeship from an Euro-Indian perspective in the context of U.S. law. The authors conclude:
The trust relationship has proved to be dynamic and ongoing, evolving over time. One question that constantly arises is whether the trust relationship is permanent. Is it a perpetual relationship, or is it one that can and ought to be "terminated?" Is the purpose to protect Indian landownership [sic] and self-governing [sic] status? Or is it to give the federal government power to assimilate Indians into the larger society, to rehabilitate them as "conquered subjects," or to "civilize" them? ... The trust relationship is now seen as a doctrine that helps support progressive legislation enacted for the benefit of Indians, such as the modern laws dealing with child welfare, Indian religion, and tribal economic development. The trust also controls contemporary interpretations of time-honored treaties and statutes. The once transitory trust relationship apparently has developed into a permanent doctrine that will serve as a benevolent influence in the future of Indian law.
From an Ahnishinahbæótjibway perspective, Indian trusteeship is, however benevolently interpreted, apartheid applied to European and other Lislakh people who have been categorized as Indians, depriving them of their civil and Constitutional rights under a "unique" relationship as conquered, occupied people. It has nothing to do with Aboriginal Indigenous people.
[xiii].Laurence F. Schmeckebier, The Office of Indian Affairs, 1927, pages 54-55; quoted in S. Lyman Tyler, A History of Indian Policy, 1973.
[xiv].A. B. Meacham, Superintendent of Indian Affairs in Oregon, Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs to the Secretary of the Interior for the year 1871, Government printing Office, 1872, page 306.
[xv].Proceedings of the Lake Mohonk Conference, published in the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1890, pages 839 ff.
[xvi].Journal of the Twentieth Annual Conference, with representatives of Missionary Boards and Indian-Rights Association, Washington, January 8, 1891, reprinted in the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, 1891.
[xvii].Message from the President of the United States, transmitting Communication from the Secretary of the Interior, with papers relating to the Chippewa Indians in Minnesota, United States Senate, 49th Congress, 2d Session, Executive Document No. 115, Government Printing Office (Ordered to be Printed March 1, 1887), page 1.
[xviii].Ibid, page 3.
[xix].Ibid, page 84.
[xx].Ibid, page 87.
[xxi].Ibid, page 87.
[xxii].All of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway land was under permacultural cultivation.
[xxiii].Message from the President of the United States, transmitting Communication from the Secretary of the Interior, with papers relating to the Chippewa Indians in Minnesota, United States Senate, 49th Congress, 2d Session, Executive Document No. 115, page 92, Op. cit.
[xxiv].Senate Executive Document No. 115, 49th Congress, 2d Session, page 95, Op. cit.
[xxv].National Archives, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75, Entry 30, Item #65, Drawer #4, Northwest Commission, Irregular Shaped Papers.
[xxvi].Senate Executive Document No. 115, 49th Congress, 2d Session, page 2, Op. cit.
[xxvii].National Archives, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Record Group 75, Entry 30, Item #65, Northwest Commission, Irregular shaped papers, letter #62.
[xxviii].(25 U.S. Stat. 612), "An Act for the relief and civilization of the Chippewa Indians in the State of Minnesota," Chapter 24, U.S. Statutes at Large, Volume 25, page 642.
[xxix].According to Bureau of Indian Affairs statistics, in the years 1891-2, there were 7,264 Chippewa Indians in Minnesota (of whom 1,183 were categorized as Red Lake Indians), the majority of whom at that time were Métis and Whites. The Minnesota Chippewa Commission, as documented in the Red Lake Genealogies, Op. cit., packed more than two hundred Chippewa Indians onto the Red Lake enrollments in the period 1889-1900.
[xxx].The Red Lake Nation [sic], a Report to the People of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, published by the 1934 I.R.A. Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians: Tribal Council motion made by Roman Stately, carried unanimously, on May 27, 1993.
[xxxi].51st Congress, 1st Session, House of Representatives, Ex. Doc. No. 247, Chippewa Indians in Minnesota. 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. Government Printing Office, 1889, page 67.
[xxxii].51st Congress, 1st Session, House of Representatives, Ex. Doc. No. 247, Chippewa Indians in Minnesota. ... page 68, Op. cit.
[xxxiii].Ibid, page 69.
[xxxiv].Ibid, pages 70-71, 75.
[xxxv].Ibid, page 83.
[xxxvi].Ibid, page 3.
[xxxvii].National Archives, Record Group 75, Records of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Irregularly Shaped Papers, Item 104, Report of the Chippewa Commission, 1889-90.
[xxxviii].In the United States Claims Court, No. 19, No. 189-A.
[xl].Ibid, page 7-8 (their footnote).
[xli].United States Department of the Interior, U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, February 19, 1934, Circular Number 81642 82069, page 3. Emphasis mine.
[xlii].Ransom Judd Powell Papers, 1843, 1896-1938, Minnesota Historical Society Microfilm M 455, Roll 14, December 1987.
[xliii].Ibid, Roll 8. One set of blood quantums for White Earth Allottees was published by the United States Government as "Lists showing the Degree of Indian Blood of Certain Persons Holding Land On the White Earth Reservation, Minn.," archived at the Minnesota Historical Society.
[xliv].Ransom Judd Powell Papers, Minnesota Historical Society, Microfilm series M-455.
[xlv].E.g., the descendants of an Indian Scout who was appointed one of the Head Chiefs of White Earth, whose father was a White man.
[xlvi].William Watts Folwell, in A History of Minnesota, Minnesota Historical Society Reprint, 1969, volume 4, pages 190-329, presents a carefully documented history of the Chippewa Indians, including the White Earth land fraud, from a sympathetic White perspective.
[xlvii].Theodore Roosevelt, Messages and Papers of the Presidents, volume XV, page 6672, quoted in S. Lyman Tyler, A History of Indian Policy, 1973, page 104.
[xlviii].There were three allotments actually issued from Red Lake, on land unilaterally claimed by the United States in 1889, to "Indians residing on the ceded portion of the Red Lake Reservation, in the State of Minnesota." They were issued by U.S. Indian agent Edgar A. Allen, dated April 12, 1905, "under the provisions of the Act of Congress of May 27, 1902 (32 Statutes, Section 245-261) and under the instructions of the Indian Office (Land 26641-1905)," listed in Schedules of Allotments, Chippewas, Minnesota, Volume 31, Office of Indian Affairs, National Archives, Record Group 75:
Ne-may-pock, male, age 60, head of household, issued SE ¼ of NW ¼ and Lots 1 and 2, Section 29, Township 163 N, Range 36 W; 113 acres, 95 "other"
Ka-ka-keese, aka "Little Crow," male, age 45, head of household, issued NW ¼ of SW ¼ and Lots 2 and 3, Section 24, Township 168 N, Range 35 W: 104 acres
Ka-kee-ka-kee-sick, aka "Everlasting Sky," male, age 45, Lots 7 and 8, NW ¼ of NE ¼, Sections 28 and 33, Township 163 N, Range 36 W: 116 acres; 25 "other"
[xlix].There were also apparently some allotments made on the Red Lake Reservation without the knowledge of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway. In the National Archives, we found documents not classified as relating to allotments, but which contained information relating to land at Ponemah held in fee simple title by Joseph C. Roy, among others.
[l].Ojibway News/Native American Press Archives, 1936 Area Office Report, page 10.