Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

January 14, 1994

In the January 7, 1994 OJIBWE NEWS, Charles Lone Eagle expressed his distress with the media circus which has hounded him.  He said that he was tired of being given the identity of a drunk who was a Trunk Indian, singled out as one of the many people who are abused by the Minneapolis police.

Clyde Bellecourt and Larry Levanthal are exploiting Charles Lone Eagle with no regard to his feelings or best interests.  Where is the highly touted Indian solidarity, Indian Sovereignty, and Indian and Free?  Where are the Tribal Chairmen, and the Indian Tribal Councils?  What about the B.I.A., which is bound by departmental regulations to watch out for the best interests of their Indians?  Maybe the Indian élite and the Federal officials feel that the “best interests” are to use Indians with an alcohol problem as a punching bag; to kick them while they’re down.

Former Minneapolis Police Chief Tony Bouza wrote, in an editorial in the March 29, 1989 Minneapolis Star Tribune, that “Controlling the underclass is one of the key functions of America’s police. ... The cops know that ... they must sometimes use force.  They possess a legal monopoly on violence.”  Could it be that the “Indian leaders” want to rise on the Euro-American class hierarchy, because of their White values, and so they have no objection to the brutality used in maintaining the social classes they aspire to?

When Charles Lone Eagle got categorized as an “Indian,” the United States Government and the churches took away his real identity and gave him a stereotype.  When he tried to live out a part of this stereotype, he got trapped.  The Minneapolis Police Department knew the stereotypes that he was stuck in, so they took away the rest of his self-esteem and his dignity—and beat him for no other reason than that the Euro-Americans are a violent people, and some of the members of the Police Force get their jollies from sadistic violence.  I’ve been on both sides of the fence: I was trained as a military policeman and assigned to a constabulary unit, and I saw the way that some of those M.P.’s enjoyed violence.  The Minneapolis Police are no different than the B.I.A., which enjoys an abusive relationship with their Indians.  The U.S.A. was founded on violence, and in order to solve the epidemic of violence which is tearing apart U.S. cities, the Euro-Americans need to take a hard look a their violent history, culture, and values.


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 B.I.A. Area Director Earl Barlow got caught selling his influence in gaming regulation, accepting vouchers for gambling money, and jackpots at the casinos he was supposed to regulate.  While Clyde Bellecourt and his Wanna-Be Indians were standing around in the cold demonstrating against Indian Mascots at the 1992 Superbowl, their B.I.A. Chief, Blackfoot Indian Earl Barlow was sitting in a Metrodome Skybox paid for by a slot machine company, doing the Tomahawk Chop.  According to the F.O.I.A. records quoted by the Minneapolis paper, Barlow also was apparently driving all over town, dilly-dallying with his secretary—and charging the taxpayers for his mileage and his time.

According to the Star Tribune, the National Indian Gaming Commission does not allow its staff to gamble in Indian casinos. Fred Stuckwisch, the Commission’s Executive Director, is quoted as saying “I guess any [gambling] machine can be rigged under the right circumstances.”

Abuse of power by Area Directors, public officials, and Indian Agents has been going on since the inception of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and United States Indian History is a chronicle of fraud, corruption, and mismanagement in the B.I.A.; cover-ups and investigations; firing of scapegoats and bureaucratic reorganization; and then another round of fraud, corruption, and mismanagement in the B.I.A.

When I was young, in the 1930’s, Red Lake Reservation was explicitly a concentration camp.  The U.S. Government policy was compulsory education.  The boarding schools were designed to take away our Aboriginal Indigenous identity.  They used forked-tongue speaking, and gave us an Indian identity.  Then, these “Indian givers” took away the Indian identity that they had just given us, by telling us “you are the vanishing Americans, and you will go.”  Now, the same crooked institutions are back here again, promoting the Indian identity they were trying so hard to destroy fifty years ago.

Now, the B.I.A. is having their Indians say that this Indian concentration camp is an “Indian Nation,” with “Indian Sovereignty” (belonging to the Secretary of the Interior).  Rather than trying to solve one small part of the problems in the B.I.A., by trying to regulate B.I.A. employee gambling, why not just phase out the B.I.A., the Indian Tribal Governments established by the Bureau under the 1934 I.R.A.—and the Bureau’s Indians.

The French Métis who were made into P.O.W. Indians as a result of the “Indian Wars” have an European identity on their patriline.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs knew this, and in the 1890 Report of the Commissioner, wrote that, “the question depends ... not on the quantum of Indian blood, but upon the condition of his father, under the rule of civil law ‘partus sequiter patrem,’ which governs in this class of cases.  ... Vattel, in his Law of Nations, p. 102, [wrote] as follows: ‘By the law of nature alone children follow the condition of their fathers and enter into all their rights;’ and adds that this law of nature, so far as it has become a part of the common law ... must be the rule in the case before it. ... “

Despite laws that the people they were making into Indians were considered Whites, the B.I.A. Commissioner stated U.S. Indian policy as, “the admixture of blood, however, must be considered in connection with all the circumstances of each case; consequently a fixed rule applicable to all cases can not well be adopted.”  Ten years earlier, the B.I.A. had advocated turning White men into Indians “on the books” for the issuance of halfbreed scrip.  The Bureau has not historically operated on the basis of meticulous attention to legal or ethical niceties, because their philosophy has been, “Since, under existing conditions, tribal organizations are now rapidly passing away, almost every question of importance depending on the tribal system will be solved.”

In their arrogance and greed, the Indo-Europeans have refused to recognize the Aboriginal Indigenous Nations of this Continent.  Rather than deal with reality, the Euro-Americans made “Indians” out of their subject people.  Using their “Indians,” they have created demeaning Indian mythology; fraudulent Indian Treaties in which they controlled both sides; and their bureaucratic agency of war and occupation, the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  It’s about time that the Euro-Americans trashed their whole Indian mythology, and decommissioned the B.I.A.  The money saved by eliminating this obsolete, pork-barrel bureaucracy could be applied to the deficit.

If Euro-Americans can’t phase out their mythology of Indians, why not let the Boy Scouts take over?  They’re volunteers, and they take an oath of Scouts Honor—which is more than can be said for the present corrupt Indian leadership.

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


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