Reflections from the Ah­nish­i­nah­bæójib­way (We, the People)

April 4, 1990

I say what I can to make this a better world

To the Editor:

Charles Murphey of Fort Yates wrote an open letter against H.R. 4033, which would establish a Federal “Office of Indian Treaty Conflict Resolution.”  Mr. Murphey’s letter was reprinted in the Lakota Times.

We agree with Mr. Murphey that this unilateral and racist encroachment legislation on the part of the U.S. Congress is just one more step by the Judeo-Christian Church and the United States to abolish Indians, and our Traditional, aboriginal sovereignty.  When we study the United States Congress and the laws that they pass unilaterally, such as the 1889 Chippewa Commission agreement—we see that once a piece of legislation is on the U.S. books, they can pass amendments, riders and bureaucratic regulations forever.  In 1889, the U.S. Congress passed the Agreement that the U.S. Government used to steal eleven million acres from the Red Lake Anishinabe Ojibway people.  The United States Government forgot to steal some of our land with this “Act for the relief of the Chippewa Indians” [we were “relieved” of our property].  “By the way, we forgot to steal the western part of their reservation,” that is what they said, and then they wrote an amendment.  The 1902 delegation that went to Washington to sign over more of our land were what the B.I.A. called “proper Indians”; many of them were descendants of non-Indians packed onto the Red Lake rolls to replace Red Lake Indian people who were victims of the Holocaust.

Once any legislation is passed, then the bureaucrats take over.  The bureaucrats start interpreting the legislation in their own way; writing bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo and collecting “fringe benefits” for their family and friends.  The way it looks to us, any time that the United States Congress unilaterally passes a piece of racist “Indian legislation,” Indians lose and the Indo-Europeans steal something else from us.

The United States Congress doesn’t have any business passing laws that apply to Sovereign Indian people anyway.  It’s a human rights violation and a violation of International law for the U.S. to pass these laws.  What REAL Indian leaders should be doing, is going to the United Nations about Treaty problems, not to the United States.  The Charter of the United Nations begins,

“We the people of the United Nations determined

to save our succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind, and

to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, and in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and

to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, ...

Even though the United States wrote themselves a veto over all other nations in the World in the United Nations, the United Nations building is built on Indian land, using Indian resources.

I am not a “malcontent,” I am not a “dissident,” I am not a “protester,” but I do have a Clan and a Dodem, and this is my land.  This has to be a better place for Indian people, for our children and our grandchildren.  I can speak out because I have Traditional sovereignty, so I say what I can to make this a better world.

Francis Blake, Jr.

Wub-e-ke-niew and Bill Lawrence
Publisher Bill Lawrence and Wub-e-ke-niew in the Ojibwe News office in Bemidji, about 1990.

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