Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

June 13, 1997


According to Friday’s Minneapolis Star Tribune, Congress finally passed its flood relief legislation—which the President is expected to veto.  The disaster which was sandbagged in the Red River Valley, is now being stonewalled in the Halls of Congress.  Law makers are in the back rooms cutting deals to get more Pork for their Districts, and they are using promises to flood victims to get re-elected.  Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Joe Blow foot the bill: paying for Congressional boondoggles out of one pocket, and inflation has got its hands in all of their pockets.  While the people of Grand Forks and other towns in the flood plain are digging the mud out of their basements, the politicians are rubbing their hands in glee, thinking about the money that will go through their good buddies into their district.

The people who are living on the flood plain choose to live there, and should not be called flood “victims.”  If you bought a used car from Honest Bob, and it broke down before you got it home, would the Federal Government reimburse you for your good judgement?  Honest Bob also sells real estate on the Red River Flood Plain.  If you bought any property in that area—which has flooded for millennia, and is supposed to flood—should the Federal Government bail you out, or should Honest Bob reimburse you?  It should be obvious to any schoolchild that the reason a “flood plain” is called a flood plain is because, plain and simple, it is supposed to flood there.  It has always flooded there.  That’s how all that nice rich black dirt got there—from floods.  Or, didn’t anybody ever tell you that?

There is a song about the Red River Valley, which starts, “From this valley, they say you are leaving.”  That’s kind of a prophecy for you folks who got caught up in the Army Corps of Engineers’ grandiose delusions that they could change the course of Mother Nature and the Red River of the North.  The U.S. Army Corps is fighting a loosing battle, building dams to move the floods out of the floodplain and onto the top of the watershed.  Did they ever hear of Isaac Newton, or gravity?  Water is heavy, and the weight of all that water (upstream) is another disaster, just waiting to happen.  The Army Corps of Engineers should have opened their floodgates and let the excess water out last fall, but the arrogant dummies didn’t do it.  Now, Red Lake—and probably other reservoirs—are filled beyond capacity.

As one old timer says, “the more water you put in a hog waller, the harder it is to get them out.”  Instead of letting the politicians play games with you, buying your votes with your own money, and selling you pork in a poke in the form of more—and very expensive—dikes, why not take your flood insurance and get out of the flood plain?  Or, better yet, why not reverse the swindle and sell the land back to the “Indians” who supposedly sold it to you—for the original purchase price of four cents an acre?  (Who were the victims, then?)  You don’t have to be a “victim” unless you choose to be—or unless you’re caught up in cultural S & M.

ANOTHER SOB STORY: The National Congress of American Indians has a half page ad in the Sunday Star and Tribune.  This $lick piece of propaganda shows an old Indian woman, looking into the camera sadly.  With all of the money that is supposedly going to Indian people with the “New Buffalo” of Indian gaming, why doesn’t this old lady have a new hairdo, eyeglasses, a new sweater ... why doesn’t she have teeth?  The NCAI’s ads remind me of fund-raising drives that the National Council of Churches used to have years ago, with portraits of starving children  who would never get any of the money given to the churches to help them.

John Collier said, about the new Indians he intended to empower with the Indian Reorganization Act, that these Indians have a “white-plus psychology.”  In plain English, this translates to Collier’s Indians exploiting their own people even more than the white man did, if that’s possible.  The National Indian Gaming Association paid for the NCAI’s ad exploiting the old lady.  The next time you NCAI lackeys and you white Federally Recognized Tribal henchmen run this ad, why don’t you give the old lady you’ve been portraying some nice gold earrings, new clothes, a new house in the background, a new car with a chauffeur—and some good teeth, with gold in them.

The point of the NCAI’s ad, was to protest proposals to tax the IRA “tribal” governments established by the United States Congress.  This proposal to tax these “tribal governments,” who are political pawns created and controlled by the white man, doesn’t make a lot of sense.  What this new tax proposal amounts to, is the US Government taxing itself—Newt should save some paperwork and send the Indians’ proposed tax bill to himself.  If he’s really serious about Indian taxation, he should also charge himself sales tax and surtaxes on all of the land that the Indians are supposed to have sold.

SPEARFISHING: The annual spring rite of Indian spearfishing controversy and promoting white tourism has begun again.  The flurry of news articles generated every year, blame the Indian spearfishers for declining walleye populations, but never write about preserving the ecosystem.

The Indians make a big deal about “ceremonial fish,” which reeks of New Age Indian mystique.  But then again, maybe these fish are “ceremonial” because nobody in their right mind would eat fish contaminated with mercury and PCB’s.  The white resort-owners are going after tourist dollars by promoting “catch and release,” so they don’t have to put warning labels about mercury poisoning on each fish.  That’s a job that the DNR needs to start doing: labelling every fish in the lakes: “This fish is contaminated with mercury and other pollutants, and eating it is harmful to your health.”

But then again, reviving the old treaties is just another con job: a remarkable example of cooperation between the Indians and the Whites.  They are like two peas in a pod, and so wonderfully crooked it has become a science.  Just remember: Jesus loves you, but I don’t.  Have a good day.

My mailing address is P.O. Box 484, Bemidji, MN 56619, and my telephone number is (218) 679-3984.


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