Politics

March 19, 2016
By:
Willow Tomeo

As a Yakima-registered Colville who grew up in Spokane, and now going to the Institute of American Indian Art in Santa Fe, my perspective is that Bernie has throughout his 40-year career always defended civil rights for all people of color.

March 18, 2016
By:
Steve Russell

It’s time to see if our heads can stretch around President Trump and his head can shrink enough to enter the White House and trade the Trump Jet for Air Force One. After adjusting to his diminished status, Trump is a mystery. We don’t know what Trump will do. Neither does he.

March 17, 2016
By:
Steve Russell

Democracy is not a spectator sport. If you don’t have time to run your political party or your government, that will not stop them from claiming they represent you when they do stuff that makes you cringe or picks your pocket.

March 11, 2016
By:
Dave Archambault Sr.

Black Elk said that perhaps there is a root of the Sacred Tree that still lives. He said, “ If there is, then we should nourish it so that it will fill with singing birds! ” He proclaimed this in 1953 in the twilight of his life. How prophetic his words were and are.

March 02, 2016
By:
Stephen Fox

Tribes nation-wide and other Americans across the country deeply appreciate Senator Bernie Sanders’ efforts in the U.S. Senate to protect tribal sacred land in Arizona known as Oak Flat, located on U.S.

February 24, 2016
By:
Jennifer Falcon

Famed feminist Gloria Steinem recently called out women who supported presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders, suggesting women who support Senator Sanders are doing so because they are looking to meet men.

February 23, 2016
By:
Harold Monteau

I am greatly disappointed by the actions of the Democratic National Committee of late. The DNC is not supposed to be a Super Pac for one candidate. But they sure have been one sided in support of the establishment candidate.

February 17, 2016
By:
Steve Russell

If Vine Deloria, Jr. was correct when he claimed Indians vote for crooks and white people vote for morons, then Hillary Clinton should have the Indian vote nailed.

February 07, 2016
By:
Harold Monteau

In my view, what the DNC has done in handpicking, from day one, the Presidential Candidate the Democratic Establishment prefers (Hillary Clinton), disenfranchises millions of Democrat voters who truly want the DNC to facilitate a “fair fight” on the Policy Issues

February 01, 2016
By:
Paul Moorehead & Philip Baker-Shenk

Forecasting the 2016 legislative agenda requires the use of something like a political Rorschach Test.

January 19, 2016
By:
Steve Russell

Remember in the 2008 election when Hillary Clinton teared up and her voice broke?

January 11, 2016
By:
Steve Russell

When I write about Indian issues for a non-Indian audience, the effort always requires a history lesson. When I’m writing for a mixed audience, the challenge is to bring non-Indians along without boring Indians steeped in their own history. Federal Indian Law presents a similar challenge and it’s contained in the shorthand “Indian Law 101” and the question of how much of it must be served up before you talk about the real subject at hand.

The U.S. is a young country compared to the home countries of the colonists and also compared to the histories of peoples Canadians know by the splendid descriptor we do not have south of that border, First Nations.

The colonists, too, have historical pathways to get where they are today. Unlike Indians, they take pride in being ahistorical and always seem to think they’ve just invented some wheel that, to a historian, shows a lot of wear and tear. The Tea Party, for example, got its seed money from the same folks who seeded the John Birch Society, and so it’s no great surprise that the politics of the two organizations are similar.

As I write, an armed mob of “patriots” has occupied a bird sanctuary that occupies Northern Paiute land in Oregon. The Paiutes have no objection to a bird sanctuary, but the occupiers do.

If you asked the “patriots” to identify their historical forebears, they offer the Boston Tea Party, vandalism in faux Indian costumes engineered by the Sons of Liberty as they agitated their way toward the American Revolution. That’s not exactly so.

For one thing, the Sons of Liberty started out with an idea of “liberty” that came from the rights of Englishmen. They understood themselves to be Englishmen until George III trampled enough of their rights to make it clear that colonists would never have full citizenship rights.

For another, the Sons of Liberty did not start out threatening violence to fellow colonists or even to the redcoats. Even when revolution was in the air, it’s hard to picture the Sons of Liberty occupying a bird sanctuary with an implicit threat to shoot park rangers if the park rangers interfered.

No, the "patriots" have a different historical lineage in the opposition to Theodore Roosevelt’s plan to create a national park system. Indian history is joined at the hip with the national park system, since the first laws to set aside land for public use were enacted to protect the pre-history of the Americas from destruction by pothunters and grave robbers.

The Antiquities Act of 1906 was aimed squarely at the looting of American Indian archeological sites for profit by people who valued money above science. They also valued money far above the sensibilities of the people watching their ancestral homes ripped apart for souvenirs of extinct (but noble) savages.

U.S. Presidents acquired the authority to protect Indian sites from pothunters by declaring national monuments. The very first was Bear Lodge, a mountain in Wyoming known to the colonists as Devils Tower. Most of the early national monuments were chock full of Indian petroglyphs, sacred sites, and burials.

Federal protection of the cultural heritage of North America was not without controversy, and the controversy remained when the object of protection was natural heritage. When Theodore Roosevelt established the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, the primary problem being addressed was the impending extinction of bird species dying because the fashion in women’s hats required their feathers, principally the roseate spoonbill and the snowy egret.

Farmers objected, and in a referendum framed as a competition between the interests of humans and the interests of birds, the humans won. The federal government sued to quiet title to the land it had stolen fair and square from the Northern Paiutes after the Bannock War.

The SCOTUS settled the ownership of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in United States v. Oregon (1935). The “patriots” currently occupying that land keep waving copies of the U.S. Constitution. Apparently their copies are missing Article III, which vests “the judicial Power of the United States” in the SCOTUS.

Malheur was not the only conservation attempt that was controversial. Historian H. Duane Hampton published an article pointing out that at the time (1981) two thirds of national parks had faced significant political opposition. Hampton categorized the disputes as follows:

1. The economic argument that the market will always reveal the highest and best use of land. Park nerds complain that the golden arches of a well-known hamburger joint have moved too close to the Grand Canyon. Those persuaded by the economic argument claim that the burgers are too far away and imagine what it would be like to have a bottled water concession halfway down the Bright Angel Trail.

2. The elitist argument that says nobody uses parks except the wealthy while working people pay for the upkeep and the lost economic opportunities. I visit the parks every chance I get and my mileage differs, but even if the elitist argument were correct it would seem prudent to save something for all of our grandchildren.

January 04, 2016
By:
Peter d'Errico

In a recent column in The Guardia

January 03, 2016
By:
Stephanie Gutierrez

On July 30, 2012, President Barack Obama signed into effect the HEARTH Act of 2012.

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