Respecting Certain Selves as Worthy of Defending

“Self-defense” throughout American history has never been an equal-opportunity recourse. Instead, pious abstractions about a supposedly universal right to employ violence in defense of one’s person have, from the start, reflected chauvinistic calculi of which persons are deemed valuable or disposable in the first place. From the colonial era to the Civil War, to the frontier to modern suburbia, some lives have mattered more than others. And for all the lofty rhetoric to the contrary, our courts and norms have only really respected certain selves as worthy of defending.”

White Defenders | The New Inquiry

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Ain’t No Black Snake or Water… | Indian Country and Fossil Fuels

As it seems right now, the leadership -in distinction from the native populus- of a number of native American tribes fear that federal government under Donald Trump will seize chunks of their lands to exploit the lands’ rich fossil fuel resources. Instead of them doing it. It sounds a bit like it is not about the recent native narrative involving honoring and respecting the land. Or the natural balance of things.

Or the wish of, what it would seem, the majority of native Americans living in reservations.

“Alaska Indigenous” posted an article on January 21, 2016, where they talk about the federal government’s coordinated efforts, in 2016, to pave the road to a possible seizure of native lands for their fossil fuel deposits. It goes like this:

Saglutupiaġataq’s [“the compulsive liar” in Iñupiatun] administration apparently began mobilizing to pursue the privatization of Indian lands as early as October 2016 with the formation of his 27 member Native American Affairs Coalition. The Coalition is chaired by “Cherokee” pretendian Rep. Markwayne Mullin. Like the termination policy of more than 60 years ago, the Coalition contends that impoverished tribes are saddled by federal regulations that stymie self-reliance and prosperity. Tribal lands should be privatized, it argues, so that American Indians can pursue development projects that lift them out of poverty.

Saglutupiaġataq has tapped Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke for secretary of the Interior, the federal agency overseeing the Borough of Indian Affairs. Zinke is a known fraudster with little integrity. Scientific American characterizes Zinke as a “mixed bag” with an anti-environment, pro-industry voting record. It is unlikely that he will be a friend to Indian Country or to Alaska Natives.

A few months ago, as I was following news and policy in Indian Country in the southwest, I read about  Donald Trump’s three visits to Navajo nation during his election campaign in 2016. Navajo Times, among other native media outlets, mentioned Trump’s particular interest in energy talks with the Navajo Nation’s leadership. Then Trump won the election, and the Navajo sent a delegation to the inauguration for further talks and to celebrate the Republican victory.

Looking a bit more carefully into what could be seen as an oxymoron (first nations allying with what would -at first glance- seem like the opposite of their native interests), I found out that the Navajo were not the only ones to walk toward that direction. It was also the Mountain Utes, the Cherokee, some Alaskan native tribes, and more. 

The Energy Wealth of Indian Nations | LSU Journal of Energy Law and Resources

The AI article goes on:

Saglutupiaġataq released his “America first” energy plan hours after being sworn into office. It states the following:

Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own.

Saglutupiaġataq released his “America first” energy plan hours after being sworn into office. It states the following:

Sound energy policy begins with the recognition that we have vast untapped domestic energy reserves right here in America. The Trump Administration will embrace the shale oil and gas revolution to bring jobs and prosperity to millions of Americans. We must take advantage of the estimated $50 trillion in untapped shale, oil, and natural gas reserves, especially those on federal lands that the American people own.

Now, you may wonder about how federal government could possibly seize Indian land just like that. Well, let’s see…

The termination era of 1953 to 1968 involved Congress stripping tribes of their lands and criminal jurisdiction. The policy was thinly disguised as an attempt to lift American Indians and Alaska Natives out of poverty by assimilating them into mainstream society. However the real goal was to privatize and ransack American Indian and Alaska Native lands.

From the American Indian Relief Council:

From 1953-1964 109 tribes were terminated and federal responsibility and jurisdiction was turned over to state governments. Approximately 2,500,000 acres of trust land was removed from protected status and 12,000 Native Americans lost tribal affiliation. The lands were sold to non-Indians the tribes lost official recognition by the U.S. government….Public Law 280 which was passed in 1953 turned power over to state governments to enforce most of the regular criminal laws on reservations as they were doing in other parts of the state. (Federally Recognized Tribes Should Brace for Possible Termination Policy Under Trump

American Indian reservations are federally owned lands held “in trust” for tribes. The “vast untapped domestic energy reserves” referred to in Saglutupiaġataq’s energy plan are largely within American Indian reservations. These lands would need to be sold or leased to private sector corporations by the federal government in order for development to proceed. But first, tribal jurisdiction over those lands would need to be terminated by Congress and vested in states.

H. Rept. 113-263 | NATIVE AMERICAN ENERGY ACT | 113th Congress (2013-2014)

Going back to Trump and his continuous approaches to native American leadership figures before the election:

A group of advisers to President-elect Donald Trump on Native American issues wants to free those resources from what they call a suffocating federal bureaucracy that holds title to 56 million acres of tribal lands, two chairmen of the coalition told Reuters in exclusive interviews.

The group proposes to put those lands into private ownership – a politically explosive idea that could upend more than century of policy designed to preserve Indian tribes on U.S.-owned reservations, which are governed by tribal leaders as sovereign nations.

The tribes have rights to use the land, but they do not own it. They can drill it and reap the profits, but only under regulations that are far more burdensome than those applied to private property.

“We should take tribal land away from public treatment,” said Markwayne Mullin, a Republican U.S. Representative from Oklahoma and a Cherokee tribe member who is co-chairing Trump’s Native American Affairs Coalition. “As long as we can do it without unintended consequences, I think we will have broad support around Indian country.”

Trump’s transition team did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

The proposed path to deregulated drilling – privatizing reservations – could prove even more divisive. Many Native Americans view such efforts as a violation of tribal self-determination and culture.

“Our spiritual leaders are opposed to the privatization of our lands, which means the commoditization of the nature, water, air we hold sacred,” said Tom Goldtooth, a member of both the Navajo and the Dakota tribes who runs the Indigenous Environmental Network. “Privatization has been the goal since colonization – to strip Native Nations of their sovereignty.”

Reservations governed by the U.S. Bureau of Indian Affairs are intended in part to keep Native American lands off the private real estate market, preventing sales to non-Indians. An official at the Bureau of Indian Affairs did not respond to a request for comment.

The legal underpinnings for reservations date to treaties made between 1778 and 1871 to end wars between indigenous Indians and European settlers. Tribal governments decide how land and resources are allotted among tribe members.

Leaders of Trump’s coalition did not provide details of how they propose to allocate ownership of the land or mineral rights – or to ensure they remained under Indian control. (Trump Advisors Aim to Privatize Oil-Rich Indian Reservations | REUTERS)

dapll

 

North Dakota Latest Introduced Bills, and the Scalp Bounty

Sometimes a crucial distinction lies merely on the tactic, and not the sentiment.

Print

[A bill that state GOP Rep. Keith Kempenich introduced would exempt drivers from liability if they accidentally hit a pedestrian, according to the Bismarck Tribune. House Bill 1203 was written up in direct response to groups of protesters blocking roadways, Kempenich told the paper. He claims protesters were seen jumping out in front of vehicles.

“It’s shifting the burden of proof from the motor vehicle driver to the pedestrian,” Kempenich said. “They’re intentionally putting themselves in danger.

scalp-7

Another measure would make it a crime for adults to wear masks nearly across the board, while another would allow the state to sue the federal government over millions in extra police costs, according to ABC News.”]  Read the full report | The Huffington Post

Now, let’s draw an analogy (with a practice poorly documented and sensationalized):

[Beginning in the 1830s, two Mexican states (Sonora and Chihuahua) authorized scalp bounties against Apache Indians, but these were as controversial in Mexico as they had been in the British colonies.

In New Mexico and Arizona, the state governments never approved scalp bounties, but some county officials revived and increased the old Apache scalp bounties that had been used by the former Mexican states. A report from the New York Times in 1885 (the most recent source I know of that documents scalp bounties) offers the following passage that shows the mentality of those who justified the practice:

From time immemorial all border countries have offered bounties for bear and wolf scalps and other animals that destroyed the pioneer’s stock or molested his family. Why, therefore, asks the Arizona settler, should not the authorities place a reward upon the head of the terrible Apache, who murders the white man’s family and steals his stock like the wolves?

Some colonial governments in the British North American colonies enacted  scalp bounties early in the 1700s, in the context of war between  Britain and France. They wanted to create an incentive for frontier  settlers to kill Indians who were allied with the French enemy. In  practice, though, colonial Indian killers were careless about the distinction  between “friendly” and “hostile” Indians. As the white population  expanded, so did demand for land, and this was the material motive  behind most killing of Indians, whether sanctioned by authority or not…. ]  Read the full article | Quora

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The Art of Illegal Cattle Grazing, Defaced Petroglyphs and Ditch-digging

After Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management in Nevada in 2014, the BLM stayed out of the area for two years. After returning in June, they found vandalized petroglyphs and 22 miles of illegal irrigation trenching built through the desert, bringing the issue of protecting Gold Butte as a national monument to the forefront.

Full story | HIGH COUNTRY NEWS

butte-2 butte

Poor Women’s Moody Blues

The dark truth behind the Jeff Davis 8 case, still unsolved, of eight sex workers murdered in the Bayou

According to Brown’s book, what the evidence started pointing to was not a serial killer evading capture but a steady escalation of blatant misconduct by law enforcement. There were allegations that officers had sex with the women who later became Jeff Davis 8 victims, and the task force was, Brown writes, “a near case study in conflict of interest.” There was also evidence in the Jeff Davis 8 cases – including the truck where one of the victims had her throat slashed – that was seemingly tampered with or was removed from the parish entirely. A prison nurse and a sergeant who had tried to voice some of their concerns were subsequently fired from their jobs. And most compelling, Brown writes, “is that most if not all of the Jeff Davis 8…witnessed other murders. Indeed, women who provided information on the first few cases wound up victims themselves.”

Full story | Rolling Stone

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Standing Rock | A Professor’s Plea to Keep this Pure, and Non-Violent | Still…

[Odysseas Elytis | Axion Esti -excerpt]

A lone swallow amidst the precious Spring,
it takes painful labor to turn the Sun,
the dead by the thousands to grind on the wheels,
and the living their blood to shed.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

God, my Master Builder, You too amidst the lilacs,
God, my Master Builder, You too inhaled the scent of Resurrection

_________________________________________________________________

[In the southern heart of North Dakota, we may be witnessing the beginning of a national and international pan-Indian renewal of First Peoples, Indigenous Peoples, Native Americans. Anything that helps rebuild Indian pride, cultural confidence and a firm and solid assertion of Native American rights is a good thing for all of us, for all Americans.It is past time to bring the Two Cultures into legal and cultural parity, and to end the long train of domination by the Recent Americans over the Original Americans.

Still….]

dakotas

CLAY JENKINSON: Standing Rock — A Plea To Keep This Pure — And Non-Violent

Precedent | Federal Warrant to Recover Stolen Acoma Pueblo Ceremonial Mask Auctioned in France

ACOMA

http://www.indianz.com/News/2015/04/10/leader-of-hopi-tribe-sues-over.asp

The leader of the Hopi Tribe of Arizona, Mr. Herman Honanie, and the Holocaust Art Restitution Project filed a lawsuit over the auction of sacred property in France in 2015 .The tribe tried to halt an auction last December but was rebuffed by the board of auction sales. The same board had also refused to halt a different auction of sacred property in June.”These two decisions close the door to ANY tribal group AND their members to file any cultural claims in France involving auction houses, regardless of title-related merits,”

Ori Z. Soltes, the chairman of the Holocaust Art Restitution Project, said in announcing the lawsuit with Chairman Herman G. Honanie of the Hopi Tribe.The U.S. Embassy had asked authorities in France to halt both auctions in order for the Hopi Tribe, the Navajo Nation and other tribes to examine the items being sold. The diplomatic entreaties failed despite international pressure that accompanied the June sale.The Annenberg Foundation purchased some items at that auction and returned them to the Hopi Tribe, the San Carlos Apache Tribe and theWhite Mountain Apache Tribe

Navajo Vice President Rex Lee Jim went to France and acquired seven masks at the sale in December when a personal appeal to the the Drouot auction house failed.

Things went a bit differently for the Acoma Pueblo tribe this year.

A federal judge has granted a warrant to recover a sacred shield that was stolen from Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico.The shield was taken from the reservation sometime in the 1970s. Somehow it ended up in the hands of an auction house in France, where it was almost sold to the highest bidder in late May.”The ceremonial shield was stolen, taken and removed from the Pueblo of Acoma in the 1970s and transported in interstate and foreign commerce,” a July 20 complaint submitted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Mexico reads. “The shield was smuggled out of the United States and taken to its current location in Paris, France.”The warrant was approved on Tuesday. It authorizes the seizure of the shield “whatever means may be appropriate.””You are, therefore, hereby commanded to arrest the Defendant Property as soon as practicable by serving a copy of this warrant on the custodian in whose possession, custody or control the property is presently found, and to use whatever means may be appropriate to protect and maintain it in your custody until further order of this court,” the warrant reads. (read the full article | Indianz.Com)

MASKS