Barack Obama is my President. I also have a Principal Chief. His name is BIll John Baker, and he has different powers and duties. Which brings me to my Constitution, which I have sworn on several occasions to "preserve, protect, and defend." The fact that it has no application in my tribal court does not make it any less mine. Am I colonized? Sure I am, or I would hail from the Southeastern US rather than Oklahoma. I enjoy the freedom to return to my ancestral lands, but that was not always the case. My ancestors were removed at gunpoint. Should I return, I must purchase or rent the soil where my ancestors are buried. These are forms of land tenure outside my traditions, but I must live with them or be styled a thief by those who are, in the historical sense, thieves. Is this colonization still in doubt? Not at all. If we had the power to contest it, they have nowhere to go, so there would be no choice but a fight to the death. What kind of sense does that make without regard to whom would emerge victorious? The issue, then, is the degree to which we shall maintain control of our own lives and the degree to which our customs will have to change. One way to characterize the issue is "federalism:" which government has authority to make which decisions as among world, national, state, and tribal? International law, federal law, state law, and tribal law do not always mesh smoothly and it's our patriotic task, in my opinion, to maximize the degree to which other systems have to accommodate us and minimize the degree to which we have to accommodate them. I'm not clear how fantasy about throwing off the colonial yoke advances that goal? Or, specifically, why Mr. Yazzie is a sinner?
Thursday, September 13, 2012 - 16:27