Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

June 29, 1988

There is a tradition in Feudal Europe about the “King’s Preserves.”  The King held vast acreages of land, on which he and his cronies could hunt, fish and party while the peasants were taxed beyond their means, and went hungry.

The same Feudal European systems of land tenure have been brought by European immigrants to our Indian land.

The map which accompanies this article shows in sold black the land which is held “by the State of Minnesota” and “by the Federal Government.”  (The land which is shaded shows what remains of our Indian land.  On some “reservations,” for example Leech Lake, the title to over 90% of this land is in White hands.)

The so-called “Government-held” land mapped on the map is, in large part, taken from Indians through the unilateral encroachment legislation of the State of Minnesota after the Supreme Court ruled that the United States could not take Indian land for “forest reserves.”  This pattern of “State forests” next to diminished Indian reservations exists all across the United States.

This land is called “publicly held land.”  The White man’s title to this land is made out to the Government, so it is not taxed.  Timber companies, mining companies, etc., lease this land for token payments.  What amount to the Royalty of North America are the people who hunt, fish and party on this land: the owners and board members of big corporations, the hereditary rich, and their cronies.  [That’s why George Yant went to jail—the people he ran off “his” land were upper-class “royalty.”]

None of the land colored black on the map is taxable.  The working-class people of Northern Minnesota are subsidizing the Corporations’ use of “State land” by paying disproportionate taxes.  This is European Feudalism all over again.  The Corporations do not pay fair taxes, because they control the legislature that writes the tax laws, and because they control the paper money system.

One of the tactics of Feudalism is “divide and conquer,” and it has been one of their favored tactics since long before Machiavelli, or even Caesar.  Every election, the corporate-controlled media are full of articles about the “welfare state,” with not-so-subtle insinuations that Indians are responsible for the tax burden of the working class.  This is nonsense.  Indians are a convenient scapegoat for the Corporations which are skimming the cream off of the economy of Northern Minnesota.

The Ojibway Indian people did not ask Feudal Corporations to come to Northern Minnesota with their paper money and their welfare system.  Our land was taken at gunpoint (for example at the 1853 and 1863 Treaties), and then taken by fraud (examples: the 1889 “treaty,” the White Earth “experiment”), and is still being taken by unilateral encroachment legislation written by the State of Minnesota and the United States Government (which is a violation of our human and civil rights, as well as of International law).

The welfare system is a White concept.  More money goes into the White economy—through administration, enforcement, salaries of “social workers,” etc., than ends up in the pockets of welfare recipients.  Welfare is a scapegoat system of social control, blaming the recipients; creating jobs for welfare professionals—and slave-labor through workfare; and entrenching the class system and racism.  The Corporations, and the governments which they control are the people who created the welfare system.  They put an enormous tax burden on the middle and lower classes.  A small fraction of these taxes go to support the welfare recipients.  The Corporations blame racial minorities or other convenient scapegoats for the system which the Corporations have created.  Traditional Indian people have never had anything to do with any of these laws—we haven’t had any input into ANY of them ... yet, we are blamed.  As far as we are concerned, the Corporations can go back to Europe with their paper money, their Feudal system of land tenure, their class system, and every one of the laws that they have had written and had their “elected” representatives pass.

The technical term for land exploited by the Feudal Corporations and the cities that sustain them is “Hinterland.”  In the eyes of the White man, Northern Minnesota is a Hinterland.  This affects every skilled worker who only earns a third or a quarter of what they are worth, because they live in the Hinterland, as well as the Indians.

The White Earth Settlement Act is another example of the Feudal system’s strategy of divide and conquer.  Theodore Roosevelt’s plan of “pulverizing ... the tribal mass” is still being used.  Instead of addressing the legitimate question of National Boundaries—does the land in question belong to the White Earth Nation, which signed a Treaty guaranteeing domain, or does it belong to the United States of America, which wrote unilateral encroachment legislation which could not, under International Law, affect the internal affairs of another Nation?  Instead, Feudal puppets are pitting individual farmers against Indians (and pitting Indians against each other) in a red-herring issue of individual land titles.  The farmers do not really “own” their land—ask any farmer who can’t pay his taxes because the seven corporations which have a hegemony over food have kept commodity prices below cost.  (Read the United States Constitution carefully, and you will see who it’s written for.  It’s not written for the farmers, and it’s not written for the upper-class Indians being created, either.  These Indians are being used, and when they are no longer useful to the corporations which have created them, they will be discarded.  Ask Machiavelli.)  Under International Law, the legal solution to the present White Earth situation would be to recognize the eminent domain of the White Earth Nation over their own land.

In violation of Treaties and International Law, Indians pay more taxes than White people do.  Elections are coming up again, and we expect to see blame-the-Indian articles in the Corporate-controlled media, just like the last election: Warnings about arsonists, sensational articles about the Crime Capitol, the standard blame-the-victim welfare articles, and all the rest.  Instead of believing propaganda, look at what’s going on around you: who controls the land, who controls the media, and who’s paying for the campaigns of political candidates.

Mee Gwitch.
Francis Blake, Jr.
Redlake, MN

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