I've been saying for years that Indian Country needs to develop its own independent (NO federal $) advocacy organization to combat the myths that have become institutionalized in the U.S. government, educational system, and the media. Every other "minority" group in this country has an independent organization continually monitoring and lobbying Congress, monitoring the proposals and actions of federal departments, state governments, etc. EXCEPT American Indians - we are the only group that has not invested in creating such an organization. NCAI, NARF, ANA, all rely upon federal dollars in order to exist, so they can never truly address the core legal issues that continue to hem us in today. The average American Indian is not educated enough, nor aware enough, nor in the position to think beyond survival or just getting by. The newly educated are focused on developing their careers, and the new casino rich to a large extent focused on developing business contacts or settling into the comforts of their new found affluence. Tribal governments, tribal leaders, and those Indians successful in the white world need to lead in the development of a completely independent American Indian organization modeled after a combination of the NAACP, GLAAD, Jewish Defense League, etc. - those organizations monitor 24/7 the plans and proposals of Congress, governments, the media, corporations, etc. so that anything that might impact their communities is confronted and responded to in an appropriate, organized, timely fashion. Those groups make CERTAIN that have, they DEMAND, a seat at the table of any effort that impacts their people. To date, Indian Country simply waits for others to make decisions that impact Indian Country, then Indian Country responds after the fact. This is a losing strategy. Other minority groups have learned to turn losing strategies into ones that increase success on their terms, when will Indian Country learn? We have to be organized to DEMAND a seat at the table of those who make decisions over us, and DEMAND that we be consulted BEFORE decisions are made. Every other group does this, why not us? Until Indian Country invests in developing its own independent loggying/monitoring organization, we will be on the receiving end of decisions others make for us. How do we like it so far? There's an old saying? "if you don't know the game and something negative results, its not your fault, but if you do know the game and don't do anything about it, then don't blame others when bad stuff happens because you allowed it to happen. Another appropriate saying I recall "Silence = Consent", if Indian Country continues to allow others to make decisions that negatively impact us, we get what we deserve.
Saturday, November 19, 2011 - 18:48