Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

January 28, 1994

Rumor has it that Al Gore is reinventing government by cutting back on bureaucracy, and, guess what, the cutbacks are hitting the Bureau of Indian Affairs.  The B.I.A. has always been a pork-barrel political patronage organization and a dumping ground for political hacks, filled with bureaucrats slopping at the public trough.

The 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, which was also known as the “Indian New Deal,” is the legislation upon which Wanna-be-Chairman-for-Life Roger Jourdain entrenched his Red Lake Chippewa Tribal Council.  The problems of 1934 I.R.A. “corruption or bad judgement on the part of the Indian councils” was described by professor Graham Taylor, “Their dilemma was real and should not be viewed simplistically.  It would be easy to portray the Indian New Deal as a fraud in which puppet councils danced to the tune of hypocritical administrations mouthing worthless slogans about Indian-self government” and Indian Self-Determination.  Dr. Taylor wrote this description in 1980, and if there has been any change it has been change for the worse.  Cutting back on the B.I.A. is a good idea.  But, if the Bureau of Indian Affairs is going to withdraw from the Reservations, they’d better take their Indians with them.


According to Dirk Johnson, in the December 27, 1993 New York Times, the sound of Indian drums is being heard in Boulder, Colorado.  Trishuwa, a member of the Church of Gaia, Council of the Six Directions, has been performing Indian rituals.  In 1978, when the United States Congress passed the Indian Freedom of Religion Act, Chief Jim Crow and his squaw, Ap-ar-theid were the main proponents and lobbyists for this bill.  The N.C.A.I. thought that the I.C.R.A. gave Federally Recognized Indians exclusive rights to discriminate against other people with regard to the Indian Religion established by U.S. Congress.  Recently, the N.C.A.I. approved a “declaration of war” against the New Age practitioners of Earth Religions, endorsed by John Lavelle, who says he’s a Sioux Indian.  Is he going to use Bad Medicine and sage smoke-signals in his war?   Before he “declares war,” Injun John needs to get an Act of Congress, because the U.S. Congress owns the I.F.R.A.  Also, as an Indian, Lavelle is a ward of the U.S. Government under trusteeship, and he has to get approval of the United States Department of the Interior before he declares war.  Monsieur Lavelle also says that Ed McGaa, who is a Sioux Indian medicine man, is “a huckster and a disgrace to his tribe.”  Lavelle is upset with McGaa for saying, “If we don’t share our medicine, we’ll lose it.  We’re all brothers.”  No wonder M. Lavelle’s Indians can’t get together, they’re too busy backstabbing, and shooting arrows in each others’ backs.  It seems like the Wanna-Be Indians are fighting each other about who has the hotline to the Great White Father (they’re not sure if he’s in Washington, D.C. or in the Sky), instead of understanding that there are many different ways to find one’s balanced and harmonious path in life, and that every human being is on this earth for a reason, even White people and N.C.A.I. Professional Indians.

The N.C.A.I. Indians are angrily criticizing the New Age People for trying to heal the earth.  New Age Pam Gershen was quoted as saying, “Healing the earth is something we all need to do.  I’m not trying to be an Indian.  But the connectedness to the earth—that’s God-given to everybody.”  These White people came to this continent looking for Freedom of Religion, and now the Indians are being racist and denying to the Whites, Freedom of Religion.  The Circle comes around, and then the Circle comes around again.  As far as I’m concerned, if White people want to get connected to Grandmother Earth and help heal her, more power to them.  Go ahead and practice Indian religion.  Grandmother Earth is very vulnerable and fragile.  Respect, and the harmony of the efforts of people of every color, is what is needed.

James W. Baugh wrote in the August 9, 1992 San Diego Union, “The writer [of an August 1 article on Religion & Ethics] cites a Gallup Poll in which 63 percent of Americans believe that religion can answer all or most of today’s problems.  No wonder we’re in so much trouble.  Thousands of years of organized religion have done nothing to solve any problems and have almost always exacerbated them by promoting fear, superstition, and irrational mythologies.  Kneeling in prayer to some imaginary supernatural entity seeking ‘divine guidance’ or, even more implausibly, ‘divine intervention,’ is not only a waste of time, it is counterproductive because it lulls the supplicant into inactivity.  We must stand up, open our eyes and face life’s challenges head-on in a problem-solving approach that is reality-based ...”


There is an old story about a young man who came to an ignominious end.  Convicted of a capital crime, he was tortured, then executed.  Some folks weren’t surprised.  After all, the mother had gotten pregnant out of wedlock.  The father had disappeared—the record is unclear whether he died or just up and left, but at any rate he never paid any child support.  As a young adult, the son abandoned the family business.  He never again held a paying job, never married, dropped out of sight for 18 years without contacting his family, and often hung out with prostitutes, shysters, and the homeless.  He always maintained that there is a higher power.  They crucified two thieves, and put Him in the middle.  So much for family values.

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


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