Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

May 21, 1992

Jim Klobuchar
Minneapolis Star Tribune
425 Portland Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55488

Dear Mr. Klobuchar,

This letter follows up our conversation just before you went to Alaska; you requested that we write a letter summarizing what we were trying to tell you.

What we are saying is that the history that the United States is operating under, is seriously distorted.  We are, also saying that the vast majority of people who claim to be “Indians” are an entirely different group of people than the Aboriginal Indigenous People who were here before the Europeans got here.  There is no word “Chippewa,” nor “Indian” in the Anishinabe Ojibway language.  There were no “Chippewa Indians” here, in Ojibway Country, before the Europeans got here.  We can prove—we have done the research, and would be glad to show it to you if you want to come look at it—that out of the approximately 8,000 “Chippewa Indians” on the Red Lake rolls, for example, only about 300 of them are actually Anishinabe Ojibway People.  The rest of them are either Metis (mixed-bloods), or they are 100% Indo-European/African in ancestry.  The problem is not that they are who they are, but that they are pretending to be somebody that they are not—they are trying to be Aboriginal Indigenous People; in order to hide the genocide of the real Aboriginal Indigenous peoples.

For the Anishinabe Ojibway People, the line of inheritance is through the father—patrilineal just like the British, the French, and other cultures where the woman takes the man’s name and the children enter their father’s patriline.  For the Anishinabe Ojibway People, the land is held jointly, through the Clans and Dodems, which are patrilineal.  The Chippewa Indians, on the other hand, have matrilineal (passed through the mother’s line) clans—because on the patrilineal side, they are White people.  Ojibway people are matriarchal—the political power is ultimately held by women—but inheritance of the Clans and Dodems is patrilineal, and our residence is patrilocal.

These distinctions are important, for several reasons.  One of these is “sovereignty.”  Anishinabe Ojibway Sovereignty has never been ceded [the people who signed the Treaties were Metis people, whose Sovereignty was already held by the Europeans].  Chippewa Indian Sovereignty, is, and always has been held by the Whites [ultimately, through the Christian Church—from an Anishinabe Ojibway perspective, the Whites’ Church and State are not separate].  Specifically, in relation to “Indian gaming” and suchlike, the Sovereignty which is being used is the delegated Sovereignty of the Secretary of the Interior of the United States, who is “clothed with Sovereign immunity arising from various United States court decisions arising from United States Code, Title 25, Section 463, for example.  This does not have anything to do with Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples Sovereignty—and the various Indian Gaming operations benefit the White “Indians,” not the Aboriginal Indigenous People, anyway.  Anishinabe Ojibway Sovereignty is held jointly [not “in common”] by all of the Anishinabe Ojibway people, through the Midewiwin religion, through the Clans and Dodems.  The land is sacred for the Anishinabe Ojibway people; it cannot be sold, it is an inseparable part of our identity and our religion.  This was explained to Alexander Ramsey and the other Treaty negotiators during the 1863 “Red Lake and Pembina” Treaty, for example.  The Anishinabe Ojibway people said, “Grandfather [our religion] says we cannot sell [Grandmother Earth].”  The Chippewa Indians—at that time mostly French, French-Moorish, and French Metis people—are the ones who signed that “Treaty.”  They did not have any Sovereignty (some of them were drafted to fight in the U.S. Civil War; some of them were veterans from other White man’s wars; at least one and probably several of the “Chiefs” created by the White men were old “Indian Scouts” who were a part of systematically destroying the Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples).  Furthermore, the Chippewa Indians did not own the land that was allegedly “ceded.”  This is one of the reasons that the U.S.A. has a vested interest in keeping “Indians,” by maintaining the fiction that Chippewa Indians are Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples, time is bought for the fraudulent Treaties (on which the U.S.’ “title” to the land rests).

There are a couple of other big reasons why it’s in the best interests of the United States to maintain the fiction of “their Indians.”  One of them: genocide.  We figure that the pre-Colombian Aboriginal Indigenous population of Red Lake’s original land area was several million people.  The first decimation of our people came before the White people got this far inland: bubonic plague, the first of many smallpox epidemics, and all of the other diseases that the Europeans brought to this Continent.  Then, for 200 years, the Europeans were here, as a part of the fur trade, as part of a number of military and “exploring” expeditions, then as settlers—directly killing Aboriginal Indigenous people.  (The State of Minnesota had a bounty on scalps until the 1870’s.)  It was not until after Adolf Hitler’s rise to power in Germany, that the United States began seriously re-working their openly stated policy of genocide of Aboriginal Indigenous peoples on this Continent.


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