The April 1, 1934 B.I.A. Census at Red Lake enumerated a total of 1,968 Métis, White Indians, and Ahnishinahbæótjibway "enrolled" at Red Lake, of whom thirty-five are recorded as having died by year's end.[i] The United States Government did not spend twenty-four years and an unknown but doubtless large sum of money manipulating the community at Red Lake, simply to bring democracy--or even dictatorship--to a few poor Indians.[ii]
The bottom line has always been ownership of this land. The Red Lake Ahnishinahbæótjibway own about 24,500 square miles of land and lakes on the U.S. side of the border, according to the lines drawn by Western European immigrants.[iii] (24,500 square miles is about the size of Denmark and Israel combined.)[iv] This land is a small part of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway Nation as a whole.
This has been Ahnishinahbæótjibway land since the beginning of human time. "Americans" are by definition relocated, and talk about "looking for their roots" in Europe, Africa, and Asia. The insecurities that they have about their relationship with Grandmother Earth is reflected in such songs as, "This land is your land, this land is my land ..." The American people speak of themselves as a "restless young nation," a people who are highly mobile. Many describe their relationship to their home as "where I hang my hat," a temporary abode owned by "me and the bank." Some dream of retirement in an R.V., of joining the roving caravans on American highways and of migrating with the seasons, or aspire to a "mobile home," a house without foundations.
Aboriginal Indigenous understanding of "land" is as a living part of the Universe to which one is inseparably related; Grandmother Earth. In American English, the meaning of land includes "the solid substance of the earth's surface," as well as political boundaries and the people under national administration; land as owned property--and coming "to rest or arrive in any place, position, or condition,"[v] whether in "God's Country," or in "this Godforsaken Land." Euro-Americans do not know where they belong. Some call themselves "citizens of the world" because there is no place on Earth they can call "home."
Relocation has always been a part of Western Civilization.[vi] Migration and colonization, wars of conquest, and exploitation of resources and indigenous populations are an integral part of the climactic flowering of the civilizations which the Western Europeans claim as their heritage and Classical role model. Rather than knowing the Indigenous peoples upon whom Western European civilization is parasitic, they apply derogatory labels.[vii] The Aboriginal Indigenous people of this Continent have been stereotyped out of the repressed history of the immigrants as "nomadic," "roving bands," which has never had anything to do with our reality.
The Europeans, who had been impoverished by at least two thousand years of civilization, needed to maintain their image of themselves as "civilized human beings" while stealing everything the Aboriginal Indigenous people had. How can immigrant people claim title to Aboriginal Indigenous peoples' lands, when they have no roots here? In order to justify themselves, they have made up all kinds of speculative hypotheses about where Aboriginal Indigenous people came from: we came over the Bering Strait; we came from outer space; we came from Egypt in papyrus boats--anything to lay however tenuous a claim to our land and resources. They have diverted attention away from themselves by projecting their own subconscious fears and inadequacies onto those labeled "primitive people."
The immigrant Western Europeans have continually told Aboriginal Indigenous people, "you're not civilized, so we can forcibly uproot you," and relocation has been a mainstay of United States Indian policy since the beginning of the U.S.A. This is Ahnishinahbæótjibway land; and no matter what kinds of relocation programs are conceived of by the United States, our roots are here.
The 1950's reiteration of the B.I.A.'s relocation programs was closely related to the Indian Reorganization Act. The B.I.A. chipped away, using their Chippewa Indians, at the Ahnishinahbæótjibway community for more than a generation. The B.I.A. socially engineered Red Lake, doing community "organization" for passage of the I.R.A. until they knew that they had a clear majority of Chippewa Indians who thought they stood to gain from the Indian Reorganization Act. As "Federally Recognized Indians" under the I.R.A., the Chippewa were then in a position to sell Red Lake land and resources under the United States Governments' rules. These Métis had no choice--they either got stricken off the B.I.A. Indian rolls, or went along with the United States Government's agenda.
Relocation was one tool the B.I.A. used to stack the voters for what they saw as a favorable outcome. Relocation was described by Dennis G. Ogan, appointed Red Lake Relocation Office, shortly before the 1958 I.R.A. vote:[viii]
The objectives of the Relocation Services Program, stated briefly, are embraced in the Bureau's over-all objective of assisting the Indian people to reach a position of economic and social security which will permit them to make their own way in our complex society. While it is not an objective of the Relocation Services Program, it should provide increased security and self-improvement to resident members of the Reservation by tending to bring them to a level where the Reservation's resources and employment potentials will be equal to supporting the population that chooses [sic] to make its home on the Reservation. ...
When it is determined that the applicant is eligible for relocation, he may be eligible, insofar as funds are available, for financial assistance for transportation, subsistence enroute, shipment of household goods, subsistence at destination, health services for one year effective with his arrival date at destination, funds for personal appearance and funds for purchase of housewares and furniture.
Indians are assisted in relocating to the cities of Chicago, Denver, St. Louis, Los Angeles, San Jose and San Francisco. ...
In practice, Relocation was coupled with B.I.A. control of the employment on the Reservation. Only those people whom the Bureau wanted to keep on the Reservation could get a job; these Métis people were groomed by the B.I.A. as "pillars of the community" and used as tools of social engineering. Those Ahnishinahbæótjibway whom the Bureau wanted to remove from the land were unable to find employment on the Reservation. We were pressured to relocate under the dual incentives of Western European economics; and destruction of our traditional food supply and our self-sufficient infrastructure. Relocation consisted, in my experience, of a one-way ticket to anywhere far away. The Bureau dumped those who had been relocated at their destination, and expected them to assimilate into White society any way they could. It was like being abandoned in a foreign country.
As the agenda for getting the I.R.A. onto Red Lake came closer to the vote, those Métis and Euro-Indians who were likely to vote 'yes' were brought back to the Reservation with offers of employment--the U.S. Government was, and remains, the principal employer on the Reservation. The B.I.A. controlled private enterprise on the Reservation by using monopoly-issue "Traders Licenses" and non-competitive bidding on Government Contracts.
The B.I.A. further manipulated the economic system on the Reservation through the use of a credit system established in 1948, providing "home improvement loans, business loans, educational loans, emergency loans, and agricultural loans"[ix] through the instrumentality of the General Council, to those Indians whom the Bureau wanted to encourage.
The Indian Reorganization Act provides that mortgages can be made against so-called "trust" land, thus creating a basis for alienation. The conditions for future liens against Ahnishinahbæótjibway land at Red Lake were created through the establishment of an "Independent School District" under Minnesota State Law. John Morrison and William Warren were among the "Indians" used by the Bureau to further the United States' agenda. They established precedents for future Indian legal decisions, including initiating a lawsuit bringing State jurisdiction[x]--and state taxation--onto Ahnishinahbæótjibway land. Morrison and Warren were among the group of Euro-Indians who thought they "understood" Aboriginal Indigenous people, but had no comprehension of the Ahnishinahbæótjibway with whom they lived in contiguity. These men, and certain other Euro-Indians spoke English at a time when the Ahnishinahbæótjibway did not, and went around speaking "for the Indians," while in actuality promoting the Euro-American agenda. In the seven years after Morrison's lawsuit was decided in favor of an "Independent School District," more than $1,181,000.00 was spent on several educational projects.[xi] Such expenditures have continued. In 1992-3, more than ten million dollars was spent on a school building. Schools Districts are usually funded through county property taxes; in 1993 the property taxes paid on the Diminishing Reservation totaled $35,468.[xii] Ahnishinahbæótjibway land and resources have been expropriated to subsidize Western European civilization; I am not advocating that a foreign government come into our Sovereign Nation and levy property taxes on land which does not belong to them. It is a matter of concern, however, that others are taking out loans--on which they intend to default[xiii]--using Ahnishinahbæótjibway property as collateral.
When Peter Graves died on March 14, 1957, he was succeeded as Secretary-Treasurer of the General Council by his son, Joe Graves, who died less than a year later. The Bureau of Indian Affairs brought Newton Edwards, Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of the Interior, Department of Public Land Management; George Robinson, Special Assistant to the Administrative Assistant Secretary; and M.W. Goding, Staff Assistant, Technical Review Staff onto Red Lake to "precipitate the factions" fomented by a generation of social engineering. They were to ensure that the chaos which the B.I.A. had created would crystallize into an Indian Reorganization Act Government under the control of the United States. Edwards, Robinson, and Goding's plan of action, approved by Hatfield Chilton, Under Secretary of the Interior on March 5, 1958, included:[xiv]
OPERATION OF TRIBAL GOVERNMENT
1. Despite the provision of Article 2 of the Constitution of 1918, the authority for tribal government is no longer fully exercised by the [U.S. Government's] chiefs and their councilmen. Effective power has gradually shifted from the chiefs to the officers of the council. This happened because the chiefs were ofttimes ineffective in handling the affairs of the Band, particularly in relations with the Federal Government, and the officers stepped in with their greater knowledge of the white man's ways. The chiefs permitted [sic] decisions to be made in their name by the officers. The status of the position of the hereditary chiefs based on traditions [sic] and the 1918 constitution, however, was respected until recently. The new officers of the past year have not been able to get the same kind of acquiescence of the chiefs in making decisions for the Band. The present officers, all members of one family, and the new "chiefs" have gained complete control of the Band's resources and activities affecting the daily lives of the Indians [sic]. The basis for most of the dissatisfaction and unrest among the Indians stems from this fact. ...
FORMATION OF HEREDITARY CHIEFS' COUNCIL
1. The formation of this rival council has in the main resulted from the actions of the tribal government as described above. The two most critical points being the actions of the council in the removal and selection of successors to chieftainship and the power exercised by the officers of the council over the affairs of the Band. It should be said, however, that the hereditary chiefs [sic] have not acted entirely on their own in forming a rival council and seeking recognition by this Department. Rather, the conflict between rival "councils" masks a struggle for control of the tribal government by rival aspirants to the council offices. Claims of legitimacy of the lines of chiefs by one side camouflage a struggle which would not be relevant if the council had operated in its proper constitutional role. ...
The Committee finds that there has been a breakdown of the government of the Red Lake Band. Neither of the rival councils is properly organized and constituted in accordance with the constitution adopted by the members of the Band in 1918. There should be no recognition by this Department of either council as representing all the enrolled members of the Band.
... In order to ... bring to an end as quickly as possible the period during which they will have no recognized tribal government, we recommend the following:
1. The Bureau of Indian Affairs set up not less than 4 geographical election districts for Red Lake, Redby, Ponemah, and those residing off the Reservation.
2. That nominating petitions be received for one or more persons to be elected from each district to serve on a constitutional committee.
3. That the Indian Bureau conduct a secret ballot election for membership on the constitutional committee.
4. That the constitutional committee, with such technical assistance as it may ask for from the Indian Bureau, determine the kind of governing body that it believes would best serve the future needs of the Band. The Committee should then prepare amendments to the present constitution or a new constitution.
5. That the proposal of the constitutional committee then be presented to all the members of the Band for acceptance or rejection by a secret ballot vote in an election conducted by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
6. That, upon acceptance of a new or amended constitution for the Red Lake Band, appropriate steps be taken for designation of membership on the governing body, and the selection of such officers as may be provided for. The newly constituted government should then be recognized as the duly constituted governing body of the band.
The members of the Red Lake Tribal constitutional committee were: Dan Needham, Sr., Tom Cain, Roger Jourdain, Byron Graves (grandson of Peter Graves and Mary Fairbanks), Andrew Sigana, Louis Stateley, and Adolph Lussier. Only one of these men, Andrew Sigana, had a Dodem. He was of the Great Kingfisher Dodem, the patrilineal descendant of the adopted Lakota son of Chief "Sweet," recognized by the United States Government in 1802. His family had been Christianized for several generations and was employed by the United States Government as a part of their acculturated Indian establishment. All of the other members of the constitutional committee were assimilated Indians with European patrilines. The members of the constitutional committee were told, "with one stroke of the pen, you will no longer exist," as one of them said to me much later. I replied, "I am not an Indian," and asked him, "what says I can't tell the United States, 'with one stroke of the pen, you no longer exist, I no longer recognize you.'" He looked at me for a long time, and said, "You know, you're right." Then, he changed the subject.
The U.S. Government has always used the threat of "termination" to keep their Indians under control. Western Civilization invented Indians, including the "Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians," and what was created with a stroke of the pen can be abolished with a stroke of the pen. The Chippewa Indians' self-definition of "Federally Recognized Indians" and "Tribal Members" depends on the context of their relationship with the United States. U.S. policy documents make it explicit that "Indians" can be terminated at any time.
Because Ahnishinahbæótjibway are an autonomous people who own our identity and Sovereignty, the United States cannot wield the threat of termination over us. Our ancient Midé government is still on our own land, and it is irrelevant whether or not the United States Government formally recognizes us. If there were no surviving Aboriginal Indigenous peoples, the United States would not have to maintain the expensive fiction and vicious stereotype of Indians, and the racism that goes with it.
During the 1950's and early 1960's, one of the U.S. Government's programs was explicitly called "Indian Termination," although the goal of this program was the separation of Aboriginal Indigenous people from their land. The American Indian Policy Review Commission described this termination:[xv]
'Termination,' with its ominous tone of finality, apparently evolved as an alternative to the even more sinister-sounding term, 'liquidation.'
Termination, a term with emotional overtones ... precipitated a decade of bitter controversy in the field of Indian affairs. It was denounced by some as vicious racism while championed by others as the flowering of democracy and justice. In large part, the termination era derived its strength from the century-old desire to "assimilate" Indians. ...
In 1953, the United States Congress adopted House Resolution 108 "expressing its policy of favoring termination of the Federal relationship with the Tribes."[xvi] That same year, the Menominee Indians of Wisconsin were terminated by Act of Congress. By 1958, "61 tribes and bands" of Western Oregon; the Alabama-Coushatta; the Southern Paiute; and the Coyote Valley Rancheria Indians had been terminated.[xvii] Older people in the Red Lake community remember the B.I.A. Superintendent threatening to "terminate Red Lake and send everybody to Alaska." Even for rootless Euro-Americans, termination and compulsory removal is a dire prospect. For Ahnishinahbæótjibway, who did not at that time realize that we could not be unilaterally terminated by the United States, the idea of being forcibly removed from the land our patrilineal ancestors have occupied from the time "there were mountains here;" of being severed from the roots of our religion and our identity, was terrible in ways not imaginable by the highly mobile Western European immigrants.
In 1937, Senators Wheeler (one of the original sponsors of the I.R.A.) and Frazier co-sponsored a bill to repeal the Indian Reorganization Act, although their bill did not get out of committee. In 1944, the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs again recommended the repeal of the 1934 Indian Reorganization Act, describing the I.R.A. Constitutions:[xviii]
The Indians were supposed to write their own constitutions but they had no experience in such matters; besides they did not know what the Bureau wanted them to want. The only way to organize them was to offer them model constitutions acceptable to the Indian Bureau and allow them to accept such drafts, revise them within limits set by the Bureau, or else reject them. Using standard forms a constitution could be pieced together in a conference with the Indians by allowing them to fill in the blank forms as suggested, between the items required by the Bureau.
The "Revised [sic] Tribal Constitution and By-Laws" which became the present constitution of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, is standard Bureau of Indian Affairs 1934 I.R.A. boilerplate. However, the B.I.A. had orchestrated the Red Lake Constitution Committee meetings so adeptly that some members of the Committee actually believed they had written this Tribal Constitution. A Métis man who had been on the Constitution Committee got into a heated argument with Commissioner of Indian Affairs Ross Swimmer, during a 1988 press conference held about the problems of election fraud and civil rights violations under I.R.A. democracy. This gentleman truly believed that Constitutional Guarantees of fair and honest government had been a part of the 1958 Red Lake I.R.A. Constitution, although no such provisions exist in this document. The B.I.A. Commissioner got so frustrated that he shouted, "I'm telling you, you don't have a government!"[xix] Ross Swimmer, in his anger, was telling the truth.
The 1958 "Revised Constitution and By-Laws" of the "Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians" reserves nearly all powers of government for the Secretary of the Interior of the United States. It leaves the people defined as Indians under its jurisdiction with an elusive paper "sovereignty" and no reliable redress nor enforceable accountability of government.
In August of 1958, Assistant Secretary Ernst wrote to the Commissioner of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, with regard to the "Proposed Election Order for Adoption or Rejection of Proposed Tribal Constitution and Bylaws, Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians, Minnesota." This letter is quoted here in full:[xx]
There is attached for your consideration and signature a proposed letter authorizing the Superintendent of the Minnesota Agency to conduct an election to permit the adult Indians of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians to vote on the adoption or rejection of the proposed tribal constitution and bylaws enclosed with the letter.
You will recall that in January of this year we asked the Secretary of the Interior to intervene in the matter of determining which of two General Councils within the Band (both of which claimed to be duly constituted in accordance with the Band's 1918 tribal constitution under a hereditary chieftain [sic] system) should be given official recognition by the Federal Government as representing the Band. In response to our problem, the Secretary appointed a three-member special committee to study the matter. This committee recommended in its memorandum of March 5, 1958, that six specific steps be taken toward the reconstitution of a tribal government. The sixth step is now at hand, namely, the matter of the adoption of a new constitution and bylaws which will provide for an orderly government.
The Red Lake people, although they adopted [sic] the Indian Reorganization Act of June 18, 1934 (48 Stat. 984) in an election held on November 17, 1934, have an intense feeling against organization under the provisions of that act. The tribal members since the days of the Allotment Act have been fierce in their feeling against alienation of any lands within the Red Lake Reservation. Tribal history indicates the only reason the Red Lake people accepted the application of the Indian Reorganization Act to their Reservation was because Section 1 of that Act specifically prohibits further allotment of Reservation lands. Previous efforts to organize the Band under the Indian Reorganization Act have failed, the last being in 1946 which failed by a narrow margin.
In the current effort, the Red Lake people again voiced their opposition to organization under the Indian Reorganization Act. An attempt, therefore, was made to offer them a proposed form of constitution outside the provisions of this Act. The Assistant Solicitor on reviewing the proposed draft constitution submitted by the Tribal Constitutional Committee held on July 18, 1958, that it is not possible for a tribe which has accepted the Indian Reorganization Act to amend a former constitution, from which recognition has been withdrawn, without complying with established legal criterion for obtaining the Secretary's approval of a new organic document.
In view of the strong tribal feeling, the proposed constitution and bylaws now before you, although it contains all the requirements of an IRA-document, dare not directly refer to that act if we are to obtain tribal acceptance of the proposed document. We recommend, therefore, that the proposed election order receive your early favorable consideration.
We have been advised during this past week by the Area Director and the tribal constitutional committee of the urgent need to call this election as soon as possible for the presentation of the proposed document to the people.
The 1958 Constitution was adopted by Euro-American subject people called Chippewa Indians, in an election supervised by the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
The Indian factions fostered by the B.I.A. as a part of entrenching the I.R.A. generated intense emotions, which sometimes erupted into violence. One Métis Indian was hit on the back of his head with a tire iron, which fractured his skull, and nearly killed him, because he supported the Indian Reorganization Act. Roger Jourdain, a Métis who became the first I.R.A. Chairman, was beaten up a number of times. He went into Island Lake, a Reservation-boundary tavern, with a white shirt, and left with one that was blood-red. The fighting was about who would get the political plums under the I.R.A. colonial government. Roger Jourdain wanted to re-interpret traditional Ahnishinahbæótjibway patrilineality to exclude the children of White men and Indian women but include the patrilineally Lislakh Métis of his own extended family. These Métis did not understand what the I.R.A. Constitution meant (many of them could not read or write), but they wanted to have a family member on the Tribal Council so that their family could get favors brokered through the Council. Despite more than fifty years of compulsory education at Red Lake, most Métis had access to limited English, and depended on the B.I.A.'s interpretations of the I.R.A., or the interpretations of their similarly misinformed relatives.
Democracy under the I.R.A. was a success, in the sense that the Métis took politics seriously even if they didn't know what they were fighting about.
In 1961, after the 1958 Constitution had been in operation for only three years, people at Red Lake were once again petitioning for relief. Among the first of these petitions was one submitted to the Secretary of the Interior of the United States, Stewart Udall and received by the Bureau of Indian Affairs on March 6, 1961:[xxi]
About three years ago a new constitution and by-laws for the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians was adopted with the advice and assistance of the Department of the Interior to assure democratic representation of the Red Lake Chippewa Indians in their own democratic government.
But contrary to the intentions of the Department and of the people of the Reservation, the Tribal Council has arbitrarily taken control of the affairs of the Reservation, contrary to the wishes and best interests of the poor people of the Reservation. The Council has wasted the people's funds through payment of high salaries to themselves, leaving the people, without power or voice in their own affairs, to go without or live on relief. As an example, the Council have two or three days of general meeting each month and pay each of the district representatives $30.00 per day and each of the chiefs $20.00 per day, amounts far in excess of a reasonable and proper amount. Similarly the chairman of the Council, Roger Jourdain, the treasurer, Dan Needham, and the secretary, Otto Thunder, have also paid themselves salaries disproportionate to the amount of work done and wholly unreasonable in amount.
Now, therefore, the undersigned members of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians petition you for the following relief:
1. That the Secretary of the Interior take such steps as may be necessary to insure that the facts regarding payments of salaries to Council members and officers of the Tribal Council, and all other financial information, be available to all members of the Tribe and be given suitable publicity.
2. That a representative of the Department of the Interior audit the Tribal Council spending immediately and take all necessary steps to avoid further wasting and foolish spending of tribal assets.
3. That the Secretary of the Interior take steps necessary and proper for the repeal of the present constitution and by-laws of the Red Lake Band so that members of the Band may adopt a new constitution which will give them a voice in the conduct of their affairs and in the management of tribal properties.
Petitions still circulate after every election, which authenticates the imposed electoral process, but is otherwise an act of futility since the problems are built into the I.R.A. and into the U.S. Constitution. Thirty-five years after the I.R.A. was entrenched at Red Lake, people at Red Lake are still trying to get an audit of the Tribal Council funds, Red Lake Tribal and Trust funds, and resource-related accounts, including those of the Red Lake Mill. The I.R.A. works the way the Bureau intended: centralized control under B.I.A. trusteeship; negligible accountability and no redress for those defined as being under the apartheid jurisdiction of the Indian Reorganization Act; and diversion of attention away from the underlying issues with intense factional rivalry and scapegoating of individuals. The concentration of power under the I.R.A. Constitution is even greater than most people on the Reservation realize. In 1979, the Bureau of Indian Affairs described their I.R.A. Government at Red Lake:[xxii]
The Tribal Government consists of a three member Tribal Council composed of a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer ...
Roger Jourdain, a descendant of French fur-trade voyageurs who came to Red Lake through White Earth via the Minnesota Chippewa Tribe, served as Tribal Chairman of the I.R.A. Tribal Council at Red Lake from its inception until 1990. His electoral victory was more than once rigged through the use of absentee ballots.[xxiii] Throughout Roger's reign as "Chairman-for-Life," petitions were circulated. Roger Jourdain's second cousin, Gerald "Butch" Brun, a White man whose patrilineal grandfather was born in Europe, became Tribal Chairman in 1990. After Roger was ousted, he immediately began circulating petitions for recounts. Red Lake is not the only Indian Reservation which has problems with the Indian Reorganization Act. As soon as an election is over, petitions begin floating around the community; focusing blame on the Indians in office and on election fraud, rather than looking at the Department of the Interior and their I.R.A. People spend months collecting signatures and having meetings about these petitions; going through channels. When the petitions get to the B.I.A. Washington office, they are either filed without action, or re-routed to the then-entrenched I.R.A. Tribal Council for "action." This is the redress of grievances provided under the Indian Reorganization Act colonial governments.
The U.S. Government is aware that the 1934 I.R.A. does not create the Sovereign entities portrayed in the media. According to the American Indian Policy Review Commission:[xxiv]
In recent years, a new concept has found its way into the decisions of the Federal Courts, i.e., that tribes are an "instrumentality" holds that the tribes and their governments are the chosen instruments through which the Federal Government has elected to carry out its Indian policies. It is this theory or concept which has been employed in cases shielding tribal government and tribal members from the application of State laws which would encroach upon the rights of self-government guaranteed to the Indian people under treaties and statutes.
The second theory of "federal instrumentality" holds that the tribes, particularly tribal courts, are an arm of the Federal sovereign; in other words, a federally created instrumentality....
The Indian Reorganization Act creates foreign colonial governments. Aboriginal Indigenous people are not Indians, and the Ahnishinahbæótjibway still have our own Sovereign Midé. We do not need to get caught in labyrinthine detours; we do not need to play the United States Government's divisive and destructive games, especially under rules which target Indians as losers.
Shortly after the I.R.A. was put onto Red Lake, Alvin "Skippy" Carl, a French Indian, said to me, "You don't have anything to say around here anymore. We're in charge now." It took a lot of gall for an Indian who was packed onto the Indian rolls by the United States Government to say that to an Ahnishinahbæótjibway in my own land.
The United States Constitution specifically excludes "Indians not taxed"[xxv] from representation in Congress. Indians were defined in the U.S. Declaration of Independence as "merciless Indian savages, whose known rule of warfare is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions."[xxvi] This founding definition of Indians as enemies of the State can be--and is--used to preclude them from such otherwise inherent U.S. Constitutional guarantees as habeas corpus,[xxvii] as well as providing justification for the establishment of the B.I.A., originally within the War Department bureaucracy of the Executive Branch.
Although most Indians were made into citizens several times, the 15th Amendment[xxviii] has also not provided representative government, perhaps because "Indian" is not categorized as a race of people.
The writer realizes that this may seem a cynical interpretation of the U.S. Constitution, but has found no other under which the apartheid United States relationship with their Indians might have been legally established. Such legislation as the Indian Civil Rights Act, the Indian Freedom of Religion Act, the Indian Self-Determination Act, the Indian Preference Act, and the Indian Reorganization Act, benefit only a select few Euro-Indian élite. The consequence of such Indian legislation has been consistently providing the U.S. Congress and Executive Branch with a blank check to violate the Civil Rights and Human Rights of the people these Indian statutes presume to protect. The only way out of this quagmire, that I have seen, is for the people identified as Indians to claim their real identity.The Sovereignty of Aboriginal Indigenous people has not been abridged by the immigrant Euro-Americans nor their Western European institutions. It is of concern to the Ahnishinahbæótjibway, however, that flagrant injustices are being perpetrated on our land.
[i].National Archives, Microfilm M-595, Roll 423, B.I.A. Indian Enrollments, Red Lake Agency, 1933-35.
[ii].The 1958 Base Rolls compiled under the provisions of the Indian Reorganization Act and "in accordance with Article 3, Section L (A) of the Constitution and Bylaws, ... approved by the [I.R.A.] Tribal Council through Resolution No. 70-60 on August 30, 1960" enumerated 3,701 persons. At first glance, these numbers may seem to indicate that the number of Ahnishinahbæótjibway nearly doubled over the course of about a generation, but this is a mathematical illusion.
Those being counted are not a homogenous group: the people being categorized by the Department of the Interior as "duly enrolled members of the [Red Lake Chippewa] band" are, as shown by their genealogies, predominantly French Métis and White Indian people; by 1958, less than 25% of the people counted by the U.S. as "Red Lake enrollees" were Ahnishinahbæótjibway.
In 1983, the B.I.A.'s annuity payment roll numbered 7,647 Indian enrollees, although there were at least 329 numbers (and presumably payment made) for which no name was listed. Of those named, 765, or about ten percent, were listed as "Full Red Lake Blood Quantum;" however according to their genealogies most of these people have an Lislakh patriline, and some are "White" according to other records. Slightly less than three percent of the persons listed in 1983 are Ahnishinahbæótjibway, and for reasons detailed elsewhere in this book, most of these people are not listed as "fullbloods."
Of the 2276 persons added to the rolls at Red Lake in the fifteen years between 1969 and 1983 (and still living in 1983), 3.6% were enrolled as fullbloods; of these about 1.4% are Ahnishinahbæótjibway. Of those enrolled in the last five years of this period, between 1978 and 1983, 1.76% were enrolled as fullblooded Indians. No Ahnishinahbæótjibway who have followed our Traditional exogamy over the past three generations, have been enrolled at Red Lake as "Federally Recognized Indians" since 1985.
The B.I.A. Indian Rolls do not relate to a certain geographically delimited population, but rather enumerate persons who meet criteria set by the U.S. Government for "Federally Recognized Indian enrollment," including: having at least one parent who is a Federally recognized enrollee of a certain Indian Tribe or Band created by the 1934 I.R.A., and having an "Indian blood quantum" which is greater than a bureaucratically defined minimum (presently 1/4). Some persons on the 1983 Red Lake Rolls have a blood quantum of 1/16 [i.e. one great-great-grandparent who was "Red Lake Chippewa Indian"]; about 20% were enrolled with an Indian Blood Quantum of 1/4 or less.
The way that the Indian rolls have been defined by the B.I.A., the statistics follow a predictable curve over several generations. If the total population remains constant, the number of "enrolled Indians" will double, or nearly so, each generation for several generations. As the total number of Indians doubles, the average Indian Blood Quantum, as defined under I.R.A. criteria, will decrease by half, excepting children whose parents are both enrollees of the same jurisdiction (and therefore probably blood relatives).
When the average I.R.A. blood quantum of enrolled Indians approaches the minimum necessary required for "Federally Recognized Enrollment," then, depending on political expediency, either the number of "enrolled Indians" will drop sharply, or the enrollment criteria will be re-defined to create more "Indians."
In other words, sixteen Federally Recognized Indians with a blood quantum of 1/16 are statistically equivalent to fifteen White people under apartheid U.S. Trusteeship, one very assimilated Indian, and in all probability no Aboriginal Indigenous people. In another generation, the "replacement population" of 32 Indians with 1/32 blood quantum will be defined as no Federally Recognized Indians at all.
[iii].These boundary lines were drawn to specify land cessions alleged to have been made by the so-called Red Lake and Pembina Bands of Chippewa Indians. In addition to the Red Lake Chippewa Métis who tried to sell Ahnishinahbæótjibway land, there were 349 French and Scottish Métis Pembinas listed on the 1895 Annuity payroll (these Chippewa Annuity Roll documents are published as Microfilm Series M-390, U.S. Office of Indian Affairs, Chippewa Annuity Rolls, 1841-1907, by the Minnesota Historical Society). By December 11, 1993, the Associated Press quoted Turtle Mountain B.I.A. Superintendent as saying that there are about 35,000 Pembina Indians.
[iv].Hammond's World Atlas, C.S. Hammond & Co., 1960, pages 1-2. The area of Denmark is given as 16,556 square miles, with a population of 4,448,401; the area of Israel is given as 7,978 square miles, with a population of 2,045,000.
[v].The New Century Dictionary, page 918, Op. cit.
[vi].Stipp, Hollister, and Dirrim, in The Rise and Development of Western Civilization, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1967. The authors define Homo sapiens in terms of themselves, writing, on page 5, "Apparently Neanderthal Man yielded to modern man in two ways: by extermination and by absorption. Some evidence seems to indicate that our male direct ancestor, Cro-Magnon Man (for Africans, Grimaldi Man) ... intermarried to some extent with female Neanderthalers. In any event, 25,000 to 50,000 years ago modern man, as we know him today, came to dominate all related homo forms, and finally to eliminate them.
Ancient Egypt, with "Sumerian contributions," is written as the font from which sprang civilization; Egyptian history is outlined on page 13 as beginning with "c. 500 to 3100 [B.C.] Badarians and Nagadians move into the Valley ..." (emphasis mine). The history of Western European civilization is mapped: "migrations into Akkad Sumer... migrations, first wave ... migrations, second wave ... migrations and settlements in the Ancient Near East ... Greek and Phonecian Colonization ... Persian Wars ... Early migrations into Italian Peninsula, Sicily and Carthage ... Movement of Germanic Tribes ..." etc. on page xi.
[vii].This was also done to the Indigenous peoples of Europe before Columbus; for example the word peasant (of the same Latin root as the word pagan), ostensibly meaning the people of the land, has derogatory connotations including: inferior class, boor, clown, knave, and rascal, according to the New Century Dictionary, page 1267, Ibid.
[viii].Dennis G. Ogan, "Branch of Relocation," in Historical Review of the Red Lake Indian Reservation, Erwin F. Mittelholtz, 1958, pages 99-100.
[ix].Mittelholtz, Ibid, page 53.
[x].Up into the late 1960's, Indian Sovereignty was never mentioned; neither had the concept of "Indian Nation" been discussed. John Morrison was a White Indian who, according to his autobiography, believed in assimilation. He did not believe that either the Ahnishinahbæótjibway or the Indians would continue to exist as a People.
[xi].Mittelholtz, page 55, Op. cit: $330,000 was spent to build a new high school at Red Lake (1949), $230,000 was spent to build a new elementary school at Ponemah (1952), and $525,000 was spent to build a new elementary school at Red Lake (1954). The next year, "Joint Independent School District No. 45 received a quit claim deed from the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians for 19 acres of land to be used for educational purposes and upon which to build school facilities at Red Lake." In 1956, $96,5000 was spent to build an apartment complex for teachers at Red Lake, the "teacherage."
[xii].Tax Records, Beltrami County Courthouse. 86% of these taxes, $30,522.00, were paid by the electric utility, Minnkota Power Co-op; $2,962.00 was paid by owners of commercial property (two small grocery stores, a gas station, and an Indian crafts shop).
[xiii].Judy Roy, Chairman of the School Board at the time that the ten million dollar loan was made, was quoted as expressing this intent in the Bemidji Pioneer.
[xiv].Findings and Recommendations of the Special Departmental Committee on the Controversy over the Governing Body of the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians of Minnesota, (signed) Newton W. Edwards, George Robinson, and M.W. Goding; Approved March 5, 1958 by Hatfield Chilson, Under Secretary of the Interior; personal papers of former Chairman of the General Council, Red Lake community.
[xv].American Indian Policy Review Commission, Final Report, Submitted to Congress May 17, 1977, Volume One of Two Volumes, page 448.
[xvi].Ibid, page 151. Termination is also described in Indian Tribes as Sovereign Governments, American Indian Lawyer Training Program, 1988, pages 12-13, as calling for "ending the [special relationship of Congress with Indian Tribes] as rapidly as possible." The A.I.L.T.P. describes the U.S. Indian Termination policy as still on the books, although supplanted by the "more recent self-determination [sic] policy."
[xvii].Ibid, page 451. The B.I.A. circulated lists in which the expected "Termination" date for all "Tribes" and "Bands" was given, during the late 1950's and early 1960's.
[xviii].Senate Report Number 1031, 78th Congress, Second Session, Government Printing Office, 1944, page 5.
[xix].Transcript of Minneapolis press conference, July 12, 1988; excerpts published in the Friday, July 15, 1988 issue of the Ojibwe News. The author was present.
[xx].Red Lake B.I.A. Agency Files; stamped "Do not file. Return to Tribal Government Section." Emphasis mine.
[xxi].Red Lake Agency Files, B.I.A. Office, Redlake, Minnesota.
[xxii].The Red Lake Indian Reservation, Its Resources and Development Potential, Report No. 253, prepared by the Planning Support Group, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Department of the Interior, March 1979, page 30.
[xxiii].Such rigging of elections is not unique to 1934 I.R.A. governments, nor even to the democracies of Western European civilization.
[xxiv].American Indian Policy Review Commission, Op. cit., pages 258-9.
[xxv].Article I, Section 3; and the 14th Amendment, Section 2 (ratified July, 1868).
[xxvi].The Declaration of Independence, as published in: World Scope Encyclopedia, Universal Educational Guild, 1950, vol. XI. This projective description does not fit Ahnishinahbæótjibway.
Some Whites say, "the more things change, the more they remain the same." Revising the Declaration of Independence so that the first person subject of the document reads "Aboriginal Indigenous people" is a perhaps revealing exercise.
[xxvii].U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 9, Number 2.
[xxviii].Ratified March 30, 1870.