Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

June 20, 1997

INDIAN TAXES, AGAIN: In Wednesday, June 18, staffwriter Pat Doyle published an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.  According to the article, headlined “County to get a fraction of its request from tribe,” the Scott County board has “settled” for only two hundred thousand dollars a year from the Shakopee Sioux to pay for “road maintenance, law-enforcement and court costs related to the casino in Prior Lake.”  Is this an exclusionary rule, or is it an inclusionary one?  Is Scott County trying to tax the Sioux, is this an insurance policy, or is this just a plain old shakedown?

Bud Grant has been telling his fishing buddies that we’re all equal under the law, and that no group of people should have special privileges.  But, then again, that’s not how the U.S. Constitution (or the Declaration of Independence) reads.  Both in the fourteenth amendment, section 2, and in Article I, Section 2, Subsection 3, the U.S. Constitution clearly says, “excluding Indians not taxed.”  They put it there twice, so that you wouldn’t forget it.  The Bureau of Indian Affairs has spent years (ever since a few Indians finally became literate) trying to put spin on this clause, telling people (with a straight face and tongue in cheek) that this part of the U.S. Constitution means “sovereignty.”  But, the Founding Fathers referred to “merciless Indian savages” in their Declaration of Independence, so I doubt that they had “sovereignty” in mind, not even the “limited sovereignty” of “domestic dependent nations” (no matter how the BIA defines these crooked, ambiguous words).  What this slippery English, “excluding Indians not taxed,” really means, is not including Indians under the protections of the U.S. Federal Constitution—that Indians are Constitutionally prohibited from owning land or having representation in the U.S. Government.

Bud Grant is talking about a “level playing field,” but he’s not dealing with the facts.  Bud Grant has probably been out in the sun, fishing, too long, and he’s only thinking about hooking suckers.  Perhaps the time has come to repeal this little clause in the U.S. Constitution, especially now that President Clinton wants to address racism, or else to amend the Constitution, and to change the “ex” to “in.”  But, then again, instead of calling the Great White Fathers racist or apartheid, a person could give them the benefit of the doubt, and call this devious little phrase a “typo.”

I don’t know what the Scott County Commissioners are complaining about.  If they want to treat the Indians just like everybody else, instead of having the Indians pay special fees, they should just negotiate an in-lieu-of-property tax settlement.  To be fair, they could charge the Indians: the Scott County rate on the price that the White man claims to have paid for the land, from “the Indians.”  If they used their own assessment of the price of the land, when they said they were paying for it, Scott County wouldn’t be entitled to one red penny from the “red man.”  They wouldn’t get anything, because even ten percent of nothing, still comes out zero.

POLITICKING: In the last election, President Clinton’s campaign slogan was “building bridges to the twenty-first century.”  I guess that a lot of people wanted to be bridge-builders, because he got elected.  But, Clinton and the Democratic Party didn’t let you in on the full details: that these are toll bridges, that they want to build.  You have to pay to get on, and you have to pay to get off.

On the other side of the aisle, Newt Gingrich has been censured by his colleagues—but he still has ambitions to become President.  He wants to forget about his shady past, his money-making schemes and good ol’ boy deals.  Bob Dole, who was defeated, has paid Newt’s fine, so Newt is hoping to start his Presidential campaign with a clean slate.  His new campaign slogan will be, “burning bridges.”

Tony Blair, the British Prime Minister who recently got elected into Parliament, his campaign slogan doesn’t make much sense.  His slogan was, “radical center.”  It got him elected, but does anybody know what it means, besides bamboozling people with socialist pork, or maybe just empty words?

FLOODGATES: The Army Corps of Engineers’ floodgates at the top of the Red River watershed are bulging at the seams.  I suppose they’re waiting for a drought, so that the sugar beet growers down in the floodplain will have water for irrigation.  But, there are other gates.

Twenty five years ago, Watergate was in the news.  The White House “plumbers” were trying to close the gates for the twenty-first century.  Since then, there have been a lot of other “gates” in this supposedly open society.  There was Iran-gate, and there was Whitewater-gate.  There’s Finn-gate, and then there’s Bill Gates.  Just recently, there was Heaven’s Gate.  In Minneapolis, developers are talking about building “Gated Communities” to protect the opulent from the unwashed masses ... and then you have prison gates.  Last but not least, there’s San Francisco’s Golden Gate.  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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