Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

July 16, 1993

The Aboriginal Indigenous people on this Continent have been mis-labelled “Indian” for the convenience of the Europeans.  The Aboriginal Indigenous people protested, and said “we are not Indians,” but for centuries nobody else heard us because the immigrants did not bother to learn the languages that belong here.  We had to learn the imported European language of Crooked English, in order to be heard outside of our own circle.  My people have always been here on this land, and we have always called ourselves Anishinabe Ojibway, “We, the People,” and we have a right to exist.

It is only now that many of the Aboriginal Indigenous people are protesting the stereotypical “Indian” identity in a language which the Europeans understand.  We object to the demeaning and derogatory identity which the Europeans are trying to project onto us, and if the alien European laws were honest and dealt fairly with all cultures, we would sue you for “defamation of character,” but the imported European courts are so crooked that we can’t get our case into a court with jurisdiction.

One of the reasons that many of us are dissatisfied is that the Europeans have categorized the Aboriginal Indigenous people, the Métis with European patrilines, and dark-skinned Moorish Europeans, all in the same invented stereotypical identity of “Indians.”  The European invaders have used the confusion which they have intentionally created by the broad and vague term of “Indian” to advance their agenda of ethnic cleansing, apartheid and grand theft.

An example is the “Indian Preference Act.”  Because of the dishonest and ambiguous way in which the identity of “Indian” is defined by the W.A.S.P.s, the European, blonde, blue-eyed “Indian” is the one who gets the “Indian Preference” jobs.  (In jobs where “looking Indian” is important, a brown, Moorish “Indian” is hired.)  An Aboriginal Indigenous Person never gets a job under the “Indian Preference Act,” probably because “Indians” is a crooked English word, and we’re not “Indians.”  The “Token Indians” employed by the U.S. Government are European Indians, with no Aboriginal Indigenous ancestors from this Continent at all.

Last week, I was asked by a reader of this column to explain, “who is an Indian.”  I said, “Let’s call the Department of the Interior, who created Indians, and have them explain to us just what an Indian is.”  We talked to Carl Caine, in the Solicitor’s Office in Washington.  His telephone number is (202) 208-3401.  He said that the United States had no comprehensive definition for an “Indian;” that the U.S. Government uses an ad hoc definition of “Indians,” crafted according to the vagaries of the particular statute in which “Indians” are defined.  He added, in response to a question about stereotypes, that the word “Indian” was like the word, “uh, ... negro” [which is a Spanish word with Latin roots meaning “black”, so the African people here also have been inflicted with an European identity for the Europeans’ convenience].  When asked how the Bureau of Indian Affairs could manage the affairs of “Indians” when they couldn’t define them, the Solicitor suggested using a computerized data-base search of legal definitions in Title 25, United States Codes.  If the Department of the Interior needs a computer to figure out what the B.I.A., the U.S. Congress and the Queen of England mean by “Indian,” they’re in trouble.  “Indian” is a word with a circular definition: the longer you look, the less meaning you find, and finally you end up where you started, without any real meaning at all.  There is no race of people who are “Indians,” except maybe in India.  In further researching the identity of an “Indian,” it was explained to me that a “real Indian” is from Asia, and many of them have a red “caste mark” in the middle of their forehead.

We also asked about the meaning of “Native American,” and the Solicitor’s office agreed that “technically, it means anybody born on this Continent.”  In other words, “Native American” is an euphemism for European, because Aboriginal Indigenous People do not call this Continent by the foreign European name of “America.”

When pressed for more details about the meaning of the word “Indian,” Solicitor Caine said, “call the American Indian Movement.”  It sounded like the Bureau of Indian Affairs and A.I.M. have a very cozy relationship, that the Bureau has the American Indian Movement in their hip pocket.  The Heart of the Earth Survival School is being funded by Federal dollars, through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, so maybe this isn’t surprising.  We called A.I.M., and talked to a woman who identified herself as the “financial officer” and Treasurer of the American Indian Movement.  She couldn’t define “Indian” or “Tribe,” and said, “I can’t answer those questions.”  A.I.M. doesn’t define themselves as Aboriginal Indigenous People, because they are immigrant European Indian Wanna-Be’s.  The Treasurer knew she didn’t like the word “Redskins,” but apparently she didn’t realize that “Indian” is also a derogatory word, given the meanings “lazy,” “dirty,” “drunken,” “savage,” “primitive,” “noble,” ad nauseam by the European invaders who coined the word so they could steal our land and resources.  Would you do the same thing, if your continent had been plundered to the bedrock by your ancestors?  Would you go over to somebody else’s land and call them dehumanizing names, so you could live with yourself after you killed them and stole their property?  That’s what the Europeans have done, and isn’t that what the Europeans who call themselves “Americans” are doing now, in Somalia, Iraq, South America ...  Instead of living in harmony, respecting and getting along with other people, they are going around starting wars.  Just because the resources of the Aboriginal Indigenous People were stolen to create the immense “wealth” and power of the European-Americans doesn’t mean that they should go around bullying everybody else.  Not too long ago, an European-American could go anywhere in the world, and be treated at least with courtesy.  The Ugly American has become so arrogant, and has so much blood on his hands, that it’s dangerous to travel on an United States passport.  The Circle comes around.

THE FIRST AMENDMENT:  According to a complaint received by the Native American Press, Jim Beatty was seen taking all of the copies of the N.A.P., which at that time was a free paper.  I guess Jim Beatty was interpreting the First Amendment rights of a “free press” to steal free newspapers, and keep other people from reading something he disagrees with.  It’s bad enough, that members of most minority groups don’t have a chance to exercise their First Amendment rights.  The airwaves are claimed as their personal “public property” by the immigrant Europeans, and are monopolized by the Capitalist values of the White European élite.  The mainstream press and news media do scapegoating, Willie-Horton-bashing, and promote derogatory stereotypes about other people, and when a minority person writes a rebuttal, the media usually says, “sorry, it’s too volatile, too inflammatory, and we can’t print it,” and so they monopolize the First Amendment by exclusion.  The very newsprint that the big metropolitan papers are printed on is made from stolen Aboriginal Indigenous Peoples’ resources.  What the media are doing is dominating mass communication with the White European élite’s world-view, while at the same time claiming that there is a “diversity of cultures here.”  There is a great diversity of people, but in the media there is only a “diverse” voice within very narrow and tightly controlled limits.  Right-wing “conservatives” like Rush Limbaugh are pigging out on the First Amendment, trying to hog it all and not let anybody else have a voice.  I’m tired of listening to these neo-Fascists dominate the airwaves.  Whenever I turn on the radio or the T.V.—all I hear is these scapegoaters: their disharmony, their greed, and their self-righteous violence.  It’s time we heard from all cultures, all the other points of view.  Everybody is a part of this world, and has their part to contribute in making this a better place.  There are other people here besides just the European Fascist Fundamentalists and the Bleeding Heart Liberals, who occupy two “poles” of an artificial and narrow dichotomy.

 My telephone number is (218) 679-2382 and my mailing address is P.O. Box 484, Bemidji, MN 56601.


Greg Chester listens to Wub-e-ke-niew

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