Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

May 13, 1994

On Monday, May 9, the Minneapolis StarTribune ran a front-page article about the people they identify as the Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota Tribe “buying back the land.”  (Mention of the [White] Cargill family buying up banks was limited to a paragraph buried in the Business section of the same day’s paper—because under Euro-American democracy, that’s how the system is supposed to work.)  The Minneapolis staff writer Mike Kaszuba very carefully wrote the article so that he avoided referring to the “Dakota Tribe” as Indians; although the article says, “land bought by the tribe [is] placed in trust with the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs.”  This is because the Shakopee Indians are wards of the U.S. Government under the unique provisions of the U.S. Constitution.

Staff writer Kaszuba does not clarify which aspects of land title are being purchased—is it what real estate books refer to as the entire “bundle of rights?”  Does it include eminent domain for the so-called “Sovereign” Mdewakanton Dakota Tribe, and if so, why is the land remaining under White jurisdiction, in the trusteeship of the United States Government?  He also does not write about the future of this land.  The foundations of the present U.S. Indian policy were explicitly laid during the 1880’s and 1890’s, and many of the policy-making discussions were published in the annual Commissioner’s Reports of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and in the transcripts of the Lake Mohonk Friends of the Indians conferences.  For example, on October 9, 1890, General Whittlesey observed that: “These treaties are made with tribes.  You have already signed the death warrant of the tribal relation [and when] the tribe has gone, the party of the second part no longer exists”—and the so-called sacred Indian Treaties are no longer binding upon the United States, which then presumes clear title to the land, under imported Roman Law.  The means of “disestablishing” the second party to the treaties might have changed, but the intent has not.

What happens to the land, held under U.S. trusteeship for the Federally Recognized Shakopee Mdewakanton Dakota, when this small group of peoples’ children and grandchildren lose their Federally Recognized blood quantum?  The Shakopee Mdewakanton are gambling with the White man’s system of blood quantum, which is mathematically unsound.  Then, they are gambling again, with the United States Constitution’s provisions for “Indians not taxed,” meaning that Indians cannot own any land and will not have any representation—and as you well know, the deck is stacked in favor of the House.


1934 I.R.A. colonial democracy rears its ugly head again.  The Chairman-for-Life rubber-stamped a Constitutional referendum preventing non-resident Red Lake Chippewa Indians from running for offices in the I.R.A. Tribal Council.  While the Dictator-for-Life, a City of Bemidji resident, was still Federally Recognized as Chairman, this was not a problem.  After Federal Recognition was bestowed upon his cousin, what the Chairman-for-Life should have done, is pressed for a Constitutional Referendum changing the rules that he played a role in enacting.  But, Democracy backfired, and now the Chip-away Chairman-for-Life is formally classified as an “outsider” under his own rules.  The B.I.A. may have proposed these rules, and the B.I.A.’s in-house Philadelphia Lawyer may have written an airtight amendment to the 1934 I.R.A. Constitution under which it is impossible to be honest, but the Chairman-for-life agreed to them.  It’s an odd kind of democracy, where absentee ballots from “non-resident voters” (some of whom have been underground for many years) have decided many elections, but where these same people whose votes are the deciding factor, cannot run for office themselves.  The Underground Constituency is also informally prevented from running for office, although their votes are often crucial.

In the last few days of this unique Colonial Democratic Process, the Candidates are everywhere, listening to everybody.  They shake hands every four years, and if elected, we won’t see them until the next election campaign.  Some of these guys who are running for office are talking like they can perform miracles.  One Wanna-Be Tribal Councilman answered a complaint about the Red Lakes being fished out, by promising “more fish, a federal subsidy for every fisherman, and Payment.”  I said, “how the hell can you do that?”  He said, “I’ll promise them anything.  That’s politics—and those Indians are so dumb, they don’t know, anyway.”  No wonder John Collier wrote that his Indians politicians have a “White-plus psychology.”  The crooked White politicians are pikers compared to some of these I.R.A. Indians.

This is the last issue of this newspaper before the election.  As I gaze into my crystal ball, I would like to make some predictions.  I’ll make two of them:  One, that Bobby Whitefeather will be the new Chip-away Tribal Chairman.  And, second, that Gus Strong will be the next Chip-away Tribal Treasurer.  Happy Colonial Democracy to all you Blood-Quantum Indians!


The State of Minnesota has not created enough ecological mayhem as it is, destroying the forests, killing the wildlife, and polluting the water.  The legislature is running rampant, and has passed state laws mandating the spraying of poisonous chemicals on plants they call “weeds.”  They are using the prolific imported plant, purple loosestrife, which was an immigrant plant which was intentionally planted by European “landscrapers,” as the justification for killing ecologically and medicinally valuable plants—and then putting liens against the land to pay for this destruction.

The Euro-Americans came from a devastated land that had been ravaged by hundreds of years of Imperial Roman and other Indo-European wars—and they have not understood how the ecology worked since they got here.  Because the English language is so detached from reality, they haven’t a clue that the living beings that they call “weeds” are a part of the ecosystem.

I have several plants that Beltrami County has on their “noxious weed” hit list growing in my yard.  These plants are food for the wildlife (and people), nourish the soil, and provide healing medicines.

The arrogant Euro-Americans have destroyed the passenger pigeons, cut down the forests, decimated the fish, and polluted the lakes.  Now, they want to kill the only beings that can live in the ravaged, toxified ecosystem that they have created—and justify themselves by calling them “noxious weeds.”

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


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