Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

December 14, 1988

A traditional perspective
Democratic government on Indian land

“Assimilated” is defined by the New Century Dictionary as: to make like, accordant, or conformable; liken or compare; convert into a substance suitable for absorption into the system; appropriate and absorb or incorporate, as the body does food.

The United States Government has had numerous studies and schemes for the assimilation of Indian people.  U.S. policy-makers have never explained openly whether they use “assimilation” to mean destroying Indian culture and making Indian people “like” Europeans, or whether they mean appropriating, absorbing and incorporating and thus destroying our resources and our people.  Either way, assimilation is a con game designed by crooks with a criminal mentality.  They have made it clear that the goal of assimilation is to take Traditional Indian people away from the land and resources that belong to us; to turn us into robots and regimented mechanical men [the ideal citizen of the Corporate Feudal State[ that will believe the lies and propaganda handed down to them, and thus make us disappear into the “melting pot” of immigrants that occupy these Indian continents.  This paves the way for the “Big Lie” that this land belongs to White European immigrants.  But we won’t disappear.  We’re not the “vanishing American” like our teachers tell us in school.  Thousands of generations of our ancestors are a part of this very land, and our spirits are still with us.  Indian roots grow deep in this land.

The dictionary makes it clear that assimilation mans destruction of our culture, our religion; the stealing of our land and resources by the crooked upper-class elite.  Assimilation can only be accomplished by violating our human rights; and the end result of assimilation is always genocide.

Just recently, the United States Supreme Court handed down a ruling on a case from the Hoopa Valley Indians.  In their ruling, the Supreme Court “found” that creating conditions which make it impossible for Indians to practice traditional religion was not a violation of the freedom of religion clause of the Bill of Rights.  The Court case involved land which has belonged to the Hoopa Valley Indians for thousands of centuries; the Supreme Court sided with the White Christian men’s timber-products corporations, and did not even question the made-up title that the United States used to steal this land.  [And they told us their own Bible, that they’re always swearing to tell the truth on, says “thou shalt not steal.”  But what’s to be expected from people without morals or conscience.  How else could they preach about liberty, justice and freedom, when the very Supreme Court building is on stolen Indian land.]  The scheme is that, by making Indian people citizens of the United States, Indian people lose all rights that lower-class, immigrant, [Christian] citizens of the U.S.A. do not have.  In one breath, we are told by whites that the United States has separation of Church and State, and then in the same breath we are told that the United States is a Christian Nation.

The United States Government funded Christian religious organizations in Indian country for more than a hundred years.  Their mandate specifically included destroying Indian culture and traditional religion.  In the early 1960’s, a self-proclaimed Christian institution (which still occupies 360 acres of stolen Red Lake Indian land which the United States Government “gave” them in 1889 as part payment for destroying our Indian religion, language, and culture), decided that their assimilation program was in high gear.  So, the Christians bulldozed our cemetery and used our ancestors’ gravestones as road fill.  What if the Church had done this to a White cemetery?  What would happen?  The Bible is used to justify slavery [local example: $3.35 an hour minimum wage]; to mandate Manifest Destiny and genocide around the world.  Christians tell us that the Bible is the literal Word of God; in studying the way the White man uses the Word of God we haven’t been able to figure out what he means by “good” and “evil.”

Democracy apparently has a thousand meanings, like the Bible does.  Democracy as a political system came from Greek slave-states; only the elite male citizens had any voice at all in government.  This foreign concept called “democracy” still works in the same way, although our teachers did not make it quite clear in school that “the people,” the way the imported European says “of the people, by the people, for the people,” means only the few Whites of the upper class.  In the Anishinabe Ojibway language, “we the people” means everybody.  “Democracy” is a slippery, forked-tongue word.

After 50 years of seeing the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act (IRA) “democratic” form of government that the United States forced onto Red Lake Indian Reservation as a part of their assimilate-the-Indians agenda, it becomes quite clear that “democracy” means government for, by and of the White corporations and upper-class (and excluding farmers).  Since 1959, nearly all of our beautiful forests have been clear-cut, and our permaculture has been destroyed.  Multi-national corporations have made billions of dollars, jobs for Whites and off-reservation economies have been subsidized by Indian resources, and what the Red Lake Indians have gotten is 90% unemployment, a devastated land, and the same old “democratic” propaganda tactics and colonial resource plunder.  No amount of money could ever compensate us for what’s been taken by unilateral and encroachment legislation under “democracy”—but we haven’t been paid except in rumors.  I’ve heard about “the big payment coming” for these past 60 years, and none of us will probably ever see it, since it’s a deception.  It’s too bad we can’t buy junk cars and cheap furniture with rumors.

The IRA “Tribal” chairman, after he colluded with the BIA to get the colonial “democratic” IRA onto then-sovereign Red Lake Indian land, keeps hollering “duly elected,” and “federally recognized”—this is what the BIA tells him to say.  When we complain about our civil rights being violated, we are told, “you voted for it.”  So-called “democratic government” steals the Traditional Indian peoples’ sovereignty and resources, and then turns around and uses our stolen sovereignty against us.  An example is, destroying our traditional food system, and then not allowing food stamps on the Reservation.  Any legitimate Traditional Indian government would stand up for our people, our land and our treaty rights, and defend our people against human rights violations.  The IRA “Tribal” Councils can’t stand up for Traditional Indian people because they are colonial “democratic” governments ultimately controlled by the corporations.

The Indian Reorganization Act split up our community into four “democratic” districts or wards, and took away the community participation and accountability in government that we had with our Traditional Chiefs Council.  Red Lake Indian people had seen what the “democratic” Indian Reorganization Act did on other reservations, and we didn’t want an IRA “democratic” government.  So, the United States government had to use trickery, deception and fraud to get it passed.  Their shenanigans would make any snake-oil salesman green with envy.  They also used the word “revised” on the boilerplate IRA constitution that was put in here—the implication was that they were revising the old Chiefs Council Constitution, but they were not.  It seems like the “democracy” on the Indian Reservations I’ve seen isn’t very different from the gunpoint democracy of other United States colonies like El Salvador, the Philippines, Korea, the Shah’s Iran, etc.  The kind of “democracy” that the upper-class White male citizens of the United States have for themselves is very different from the “democracy” they promote to the subject peoples of their colonial empire.  The United States’ “democracy” is a divide and rule scheme when it is forced on other people.  What it works out to is, “let’s you and him fight.”  The kind of democracy advocated by the United States doesn’t work for Traditional and Tribal peoples, but it works for the USA.  While the factions that they’ve created and precipitated are distracted by the fighting they’ve mandated, the U.S. meets little resistance to their stealing and oppression.  [And, weapons manufacturers are subsidized—upper-class “welfare.”]

The South Africans come right out and admit that they have a racist, apartheid social structure.  The reason that the U.S., Great Britain, and other colonizing countries cannot do more than gently scold the South Africans is that everywhere the Europeans have colonized, all over the world, they have imposed something quite similar to apartheid on the Traditional peoples to steal their land and resources, to enslave them in exploitative money-economics, and to destroy their identity, traditions and permaculture.  Maybe they can’t help it; it’s embedded very deeply in Indo-European language, religion, culture and economics.  Adolf Hitler studied the United States—he said he was going to do the same thing to the Slavic Russians as the “U.S. did to the Indian people” [Albert Speer—Inside the Third Reich].  “Democracy” works for Uncle Sam, but it doesn’t work for the people that the land really belongs to, and it never will.

Cold war propaganda is a diversionary tactic.  Communism is set up at one end of the political spectrum and “Democratic” Capitalism at the other.  Tribal governments are not even talked about, as though we do not exist.  Both Communism and Capitalist Democracy come from the same Feudal, hierarchial traditions.  One has “colonies” and “client states,” the other has “satellites.”  Both systems violate human rights and plunder other peoples’ lands.  Both Communism and Democracy are doing the same thing; they are buying time to steal.

Any government, whether “satellite,” “ally,” or colonial “democracy,” which is forced onto another group of people is designed to oppress and to plunder.  Any so-called “civilized” nation which passes laws for another people is committing human rights violations.  Any nation or corporation which steals—openly, covertly, militarily or using their money system—the subsistence base of Tribal peoples is committing genocide.  This heinous crime of genocide is condoned, endorsed and abetted by so-called “Christians” around the world.  “Assimilation” programs are an attempt to cover up crimes against humanity by destroying the victims, then blaming them for their own destruction.

Francis Blake, Jr.

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