Oh yeah, a big ^5 for this column. I've started several times to write a column on "The Mythical Indian Gravy Train." This train has never stopped at my house. But if I try to write it, I stumble over the number of times I've been run over by the mythical gravy train, so I've been reluctant to play on the tracks. On the other hand, not all tribes have treaties and, of those that do, most treaties do not contain perpetual obligations by the US government. It is not useful for persons who do not have such perpetual obligation treaties (many of which are annual items in the BIA budget) to rest their demands on treaties. In many, many cases, the treaties are as mythical as the Indian gravy train. But in specific cases--for example, the Navajo treaty promises education---it's a good idea to put Sam's feet in the fire. Note to young activists: first thing, read your tribe's treaties. Then familiarize yourself with the doctrine rebus sic stantibus. Contrast with pacta sunt servanda. Know this argument backwards and forwards. Then go get 'em. There'll be plenty of old folks behind you.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012 - 14:02