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A Year of Justice for the Miami Indians?

Miami Chief Buchanan

Miami Chief Buchanan

As many of you know we have been involved in peacemaking and reconciliation with the Miami Nations of Indians of Indiana for over 4 years now. Out of that relationship we have been advocating for State recognition for the Miami of Indiana. This recognition was theirs back in the 1800s and then illegally stripped from them by a government official from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. By the time they were able to make a case in the supreme court the statute of limitations had run out.

State recognition will help restore dignity to the tribal members. Can you imagine the awkwardness of the original people of Indiana having to ask to be recognized officially by the State? The irony of this can’t be properly expressed!

This recognition would also provide the State of Indiana funding from the Federal Government for the education of the public regarding the Miami. It could improve tourism and provide opportunities for employment and business development for tribal members (over 4000 just in Indiana).

It costs the State of Indiana nothing to do this! I could go on but I think my point has been made.

Here is a statement from the Miami Nation website regarding State Recognition.

State Recognition, which is a completely separate status from federal recognition, is a great step towards facilitating further cooperation and communication between the Miami Nation of Indiana and the State of Indiana. It also facilitates inclusion of tribal perspectives in the state process and provides a multicultural understanding among public officials and the citizenry.

Additionally, state recognition would provide the Miami Nation of Indiana with protection under the Indian Arts and Crafts Act of 1990 and the Native American Free Exercise of Religion Act of 1993 which allows tribal members may proclaim their Indian status of their artwork and provides them with the freedom to practice their religion and ceremonies, which have been challenged in the past.

State recognized tribes can apply for limited federal programs such as education, job training and housing assistance; however, services offered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and Indian Health Service are not available to them. Such are only available through Federal recognition.

I have recently learned from Chief Buchanan that there is a bill before the State for the recognition of the Miami of Indiana. Here is his appeal.

“We need support and help to get a hearing in the Public Policy Committee. I have the list of Senators, their contact information, Bill 342, and the Senate District Map. I am respectfully asking for support from all of my friends and ask that you contact these Senators and ask them to move for a hearing Concerning Miami State Recognition. 

I want to inform everyone that the tribe has approximately 60 out of the 92 Counties in Indiana that city and county councils, including the Mayors of the County seats, that have already issued Proclamations of Recognition to the Miami Nation Of Indians of the State of Indiana. These are all issued and approved!

Chief Brian Buchanan, Miami Nation of Indians of Indiana.

Lets stand with the Miami of Indiana in prayer and action!

Link for Bill 342: http://www.in.gov/legislative/bills/2013/IN/IN0342.1.html

Phone numbers to call to ask for a hearing for the Miami.

Becker R.M., Glick, Grooms, Merritt, Waterman, Zakas, Arnold R.M.M., Lanane, Randolph PUBLIC POLICY COMMITTEE for MIAMI NATION Bill 342 Senator Ron Alting Committee Chair District 22 Tippicanoe County – Lafayette Phone # 317-232-9400 Toll free 1-800-382-9467 Legislative Assistant
Meredith Lizza Ph # 317-232-9517

Senator Vaneta Becker District 50 Counties Served – Vanderburgh and Warrick Phone # 317-232-9400 Toll free 1-800-382-9467 Legislative Assistant
Amy Foxworthy 317-232-9494

Senator Susan C. Glick – Republican District 13 Counties Served – LaGrange, Noble, Steuben and portions of DeKalb County Legislative Assistant: Brian Rockensuess 317-232-9493 Phone # 317-232-9400 Toll free 1-800-382-9467

 

 

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Posted by on January 22, 2013 in Author's Updates

 

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Out of Respect, Apology Not Accepted

Mark Charles, Navajo

Mark Charles, Navajo

On December 19, 2009 the United States apologized to its Native Peoples—but no one heard it.

Over three hundred million US citizens were apologized for, and don’t even know it.

Nearly five million Native Americans were apologized to, yet only a handful are aware of it.

December 19, 2012 marked the third anniversary of an an “Apology to Native Peoples of the United States” signed by President Obama on December 19, 2009. Among the ironies of this apology, is the fact that it was burried in the US Department of Defense Appropriations Act, H.R. 3326; and the fact that it was never announced, publicized or read publicly by either the White House or the 111th Congress.

On this third anniversary I (Terry Wildman) had the privilege, along with a diverse group of citizens, of participating in a public reading of this apology in front of the US Capitol in Washington DC.

This event was hosted by Mark Charles who lives on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Ft. Defiance Arizona, the son of an American woman of Dutch heritage and a Navajo man. He is a speaker, writer, and consultant, who has been on a journey seeking to understand the complexities of our country’s history regarding race, culture, and faith in order to help forge a path of healing and reconciliation for the Nation.

During the gathering he stated, “Reconciliation is never easy, which is why it probably doesn’t happen very much. Reconciliation is not an event encapsulated in a moment of time, its not something you can check off your to-do list; reconciliation starts with a conversation and it ends with a relationship restored.”

“Everybody at some point” he added, “understands the value of a sincere and well timed apology.”

He explained the reason for this gathering, “I felt like every Native person deserved two things, they deserved to know that this apology existed, and they deserved to hear it read from the seat of power of our country.”

I joined with several Native Americans as we read portions of the Defense Appropriations Bill to highlight the irony of such important words being burried in an unrelated document.

Then Mark read the apology, found in section 8113 on page 45, in English, followed in the Annishinabe language by Jim Thorpe, Ojibwe. Ben Stoner, a non-native who has lived among the Navajo for 40 years, read the apology section in the Navajo language.

After this Mark Charles said “I have deep respect for Governor Brownback who spent four years of his time in the Senate … working on this apology and trying to get … substantial language included into a bill that stood on its own, but he was unable to do it … attempt after attempt was turned back … and finally he did what I was told they used to do to get treaties passed … he inserted it into an appropriations bill because it was less likely someone would vote against it.”

All this added up to a conclusion by Mark Charles, “I take all of these things as evidence that our Country was not ready to apologize. An applogy should be sincere, it should be from your heart, and should include some act of repentance or commitment to change … I don’t think this apology does that.”

He then offered this request, spoken with humility and authority,  “Today as a Navajo man standing before you, I want to encourage our Native peoples, to not accept this apology. Not out of bitterness, not out of anger, not out of resentment. But out of respect for ourselves, out of respect for Governor Brownback, out of respect for President Obama, and out of respect for our Nation.

He finished with this thought, “Native peoples deserve a better apology than the one found in the 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act. And Governer Brownback and President Obama deserve the respect, to be given an opportunity to make another apology, one that is more sincere.”

After this and other relevant remarks Mark opened the microphone to others.

I took this opportunity to address the churches of America, the decendants of those believers who, through mission and church organizations, often cooperated with the Government in ways that oppressed Native Peoples. It was their often silent and sometimes verbal consent that emboldened the US Government in its ill conceived policies and practices.

How can we say we are reconciled to God if we haven’t done all that we can to reconcile with our Native Peoples?

Lets break with the past, enter into this conversation, and make a concerted effort to restore relationships.

After all, it is Jesus who said, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God” Matthew 5:9.

Shouldn’t his followers be leading the way?

It was an honor to stand with Mark Charles and help communicate this important message to our Native communities and to all the citizens of the United States. Miigwech Bizandowiyeg (thank you for listening).

Mark Charles: http://www.wirelesshogan.com You can watch this entire event on YouTube CLICK HERE 

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2012 in Author's Updates

 

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The “Price” of Justice?

The Great Lakota/Sioux Nation

The Great Lakota/Sioux Nation

__________________________________________

The United States hereby agrees and stipulates that the country north of the North Platte River and east of the summits of the Big Horn mountains shall be held and considered to be unceded Indian Territory, and also stipulates and agrees that no white person or persons shall be permitted to settle upon or occupy any portion of the same; or without the consent of the Indians.  

– Article XVI: 1868 Treaty of Fort Laramie  

____________________________________________

In the year 1876 the Black Hills were set aside for the Lakota people as part of what was then called “The Great Sioux Reservation”. Less than ten years later the US illegally grabbed this land in the Act of 1877 soon after the Battle of Little Big Horn with General Custer in 1876.

The 1868 treaty states in Article 12 that no changes could be made to the treaty unless three-fourths of all the adult male Indians agreed. The Act of 1877 was not a treaty it was simply an Act of Congress that illegally annulled the nine year old promises.

In the Year 1979, the United States Court of Claims, commenting on the federal government’s underhanded dealings with the Sioux Nation, including its tactic of starving them, before it appropriated the land, wrote, “a more ripe and rank case of dishonorable dealing will never, in all probability, be found in our history.”

A century after the theft the Supreme Court finally ruled in favor of the Lakota. But tragically instead of returning the land the Supreme Court ruled that the Lakota would be given $106 million in compensation. The Lakota never wanted the money, only and land, and has since refused to accept any of the money.

In the summer of 2012 a large portion of this land was put up for auction by the Reynolds family, a white family that has “owned” the land since 1877. It is located just west of Rapid City SD and called Pe’ Sla and considered by the Lakota people to be the Center and heart of everything that is. It is part of their creation story.

The Lakota were outraged and sent out a appeal to the Reynold family to sell the property to them and take it off auction. Activists and people from all over the world publicly stated their support for the Lakota and money donations started to trickle in. The family finally met in private with the Lakota and agreed on a price of Nine Million Dollars.

This was truly a quandary for the Lakota people who now have to buy back land that was stolen from them. The ultimate insult to a people and a culture that traditionally believes that the land cannot be bought or sold.

But what choice do they have?

On November 30th 2012, the deadline for them to come up with the purchase price, the Great Sioux Nation, or Oceti Sakowin announced that is has managed to raise the Nine Million Dollars necessary to secure the sacred land in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

According to Rosebud Sioux Tribe Chairman Cyril “Whitey” Scott, the purchase is a done deal. “I can tell you that Pe’ Sla, the sacred land on behalf of the Oceti Sakowin, is secured. The $9 million was secured, Pe’ Sla has been purchased.”

Here is an excerpt from the only official statement released by the Great Sioux Nation.

“We are grateful to stand together before the creator and to help our people in reclaiming one of our most sacred sites. We are not waiting for the United States to deal with this justly on the Black Hills rights and we ask that now that we are exercising our inherent sovereign authority to protect this most sacred site. We must perpetuate our way of life for future generations. We thank the members of the public who donated to this cause to create justice for all people and now we are more determined than ever that the United States must provide justice for our people. We thank the Reynolds family for working with us in our requisition of Pe’ Sla as a sacred site for Lakota, Nakota and Dakota people.” [Emphasis mine-TW]

Personally I don’t know whether to rejoice or mourn. I can rejoice in the fact that people donated and created a small island of justice for the Lakota, but I also mourn for the Lakota who cannot depend on or wait for the United States, a nation that claims “justice for all”.

In this case Nine Million Dollars was the price of justice. But what does it say of our Nation and what does it really cost us all in the end?

Miigwech Bizandowiyeg (thank you for listening).

 
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Posted by on December 3, 2012 in Author's Updates

 

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A Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation in Minnesotta

(Saint Paul) – In commemoration of the US – Dakota War of 1862, Governor Mark Dayton released the following statement calling…

Friday August 17, 2012

“A Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation in Minnesota”

“The war ended, but the attacks against innocent Indian children, women, and elderly continued.  They were even encouraged by the Governor of Minnesota… I am appalled by Governor Ramsey’s words and by his encouragement of vigilante violence against innocent people; and I repudiate them…

He also called on all to…

remember that dark past; to recognize its continuing harm in the present; and to resolve that we will not let it poison the future.”–Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.

Dakota – US War of 1812

In this historic statement, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, not minicing any of his words, repudiates the actions of Governor Ramsey of 150 years ago.

Here is the full text of Governor Dayton’s statement:

August 17, 1862 marked a terrible period in Minnesota’s history. The first victims of the “US -Dakota War of 1862” lost their lives on that day,150 years ago. The ensuing attacks and counter-attacks killed hundreds more U.S. soldiers, Dakota braves, conniving traders, and innocent people. Tragically, those deaths started a vicious cycle of hate crimes, which continued long after the war was ended.

The events leading to those atrocities actually began before 1862. The United State Government, through its agents in the new State of Minnesota, either persuaded, deceived, or forced the state’s long-time inhabitants from Dakota and Ojibwe Indian tribes to give up their lands for promises of money, food, and supplies. Many of the government’s promises were repeatedly broken.

The displaced Dakota and Chippewa tribes watched newly arrived settlers claim the lands that had been theirs. They were denied their treaty payments of money and food, which resulted in starvation for many of their children and elderly. Often, when annuity payments did finally arrive, they were immediately plundered by some dishonest officials and traders.

On August 17, 1862, a group of Dakota braves attacked and killed five new settlers at Acton in Meeker County. The Dakota community was not unanimous in the decision to go to war; some of them helped the settlers. Nonetheless, the war began. Atrocities were committed by combatants on both sides against combatants and noncombatants alike. Hundreds of people were killed. Many more Indian and immigrant lives were ruined. And the lives of Minnesotans were altered for the next 150 years.

The war ended, but the attacks against innocent Indian children, women, and elderly continued. They were even encouraged by the Governor of Minnesota.

On September 9, 1862, Alexander Ramsey proclaimed: “Our course then is plain. The Sioux Indians of Minnesota must be exterminated or driven forever beyond the borders of the State. . . .”

“They must be regarded and treated as outlaws. If any shall escape extinction, the wretched remnant must be driven beyond our borders and our frontier garrisoned with a force sufficient to forever prevent their return.”

A Minnesota newspaper chimed in, “We have plenty of young men who would like no better fun than a good Indian hunt.”

I am appalled by Governor Ramsey’s words and by his encouragement of vigilante violence against innocent people; and I repudiate them. I know that almost all Minnesotans, living today, would be just as revolted. The viciousness and violence, which were commonplace 150 years ago in Minnesota, are not accepted or allowed now.

Yet hostile feelings do still exist between some Native Americans and their neighbors. Detestable acts are still perpetrated by members of one group against the other. Present grievances, added to past offenses, make it difficult to commemorate the past, yet not continue it.

I call for tomorrow, the 150th anniversary of August 17, 1862, to be “a Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation in Minnesota.” I ask everyone to remember that dark past; to recognize its continuing harm in the present; and to resolve that we will not let it poison the future.

To everyone who lost family members during that time, I offer my deepest condolences for your losses. I ask you especially to help lead us to better attitudes and actions toward others.

To honor the American soldiers, Dakota people, and settlers who lost their lives in that war, I order that all state flags shall be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on August 17, 2012.

And I urge everyone participating in the events commemorating this 150th Anniversary to practice not only remembrance, but also reconciliation.

 
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Posted by on August 17, 2012 in Author's Updates

 

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