It is difficult to write about this issue, because the history that created it remains unresolved and largely ignored. I have great admiration for Eloise Cobell for taking on the giant - even though she was fully aware that, at best, the U.S. government would never, and probably will never be FULLY accountable for this mess it created. She at least attempted to force the government to make an effort to provide some accountability for its responsibility in this sorry history. She understood that left to its own devices, the U.S. government alone would never seriously take on the issue. I agree with Jones that this case should not be regarded as a "done deal", however it ultimately works out, but rather it should be a starting point for more through examination. Indian Country has yet to learn that, as Cobell did, Indian Country has to INITIATE challenges to the American status quo, rather than waiting for them to act. It seems as if most people in Indian Country, still rely on some vague notion that the U.S. government will treat us justly, eventually, and in the meanwhile we just stay quite, and hope they change. Cobell knew that this type of thinking only made things worse, because the U.S. government will not change how it treats us - until WE force it. Unless we get educated on these issues, such as how allotment came into law, how the law was maintained, who profited from it, how it caused fractionization, etc. etc. - all of which happened decades before the Cobell case was initiated – we will remain ignored. We do whatever future Indian Country has a tremendous disservice by not getting educated about it, not becoming vocal about both within and without Indian Country. For example, tribal schools and organizations should spend less time and effort teaching about George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Easter, thanksgiving, and vampires, and more about treat-making, treaty-breaking, etc. so that Indian youth grow up with a knowledge of the their basic history. My experience is that even small kids become interested if the information is presented in a creative informational way. One of the major factors Indian Country generally overlooks is that white America looks at our/their history and thinks everything is "A - ok", that everything has been worked out and now we're all just one big happy family. Now they think we're all casino rich, so they don't understand why we have any problems. It's up to Indian Country to educate them, particularly the educators and law-makers otherwise.
Wednesday, August 15, 2012 - 22:03