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CONSERVATISM AND INDIAN BASHING IS THIS THE RIGHT WAY?

DAVID YEAGLEY
Aug. 2004

Is it a true conservative posture to denounce Indian sovereignty? Those making their mark as conservative journalists often take that position. If they don’t imply the actual dissolution of Indian sovereignty, like Jan Golab, they at least denounce the poverty on Indian reservations, like Michelle Malkin does, or denounce Indian ‘welfare,’ like Mona Charen does, and blame it all on the Democrats. But is this a helpful approach?

American Enterprise Magazine, hard copy and online, posted an article by Golab in the January, 2004 issue, entitled “Arnold Schwarzenegger Girds for Indian War.” The title itself belittles tribes whose fathers who spilled blood to procure the treaties for their children and their children’s children. But conservative journalists are like any other journalists. They want a powerful headline, like “Indian Wars.” Never mind Indian feelings. This wonderfully exciting title is used often, lately, to depict political issues.

S. L. Price used “Indian Wars” in the Sports Illustrated March 4, 2002 issue, writing about the controversy over using Indian mascots for college sports teams. Charlie Meadows, president of the Oklahoma Conservative Political Action Committee, used the title “Are We Headed for More Cowboy and Indian Wars” in an article for the Oklahoma Constitution back in 1995, against Indian sovereignty. Richard Engle, president of the National Association of Republican Assemblies, published a piece called, “Native Invasion,” suggesting Indians are worse than La Cosa Nostra mobsters, or North Korean spies. Indians “seek to destroy American business, cities, and even state governments.”

That’s war rhetoric. Not exactly endearing, or encouraging to anyone. I doubt that it is useful, either.

Jan Golab isn’t quite as inflammatory. He’s been writing on Indian casinos and their effects on Indian sovereignty for some time. The message is the same: Indians are not sovereign, and the concept is ill-founded, politically impossible, and ultimately injurious to all involved, white and Indian. (Of course, he quotes me at the end of his Schwarzenegger article as an Indian predicting that casinos will destroy Indians, which I believe is true. The difference is, I don’t want to see it happen. He apparently does.)

American Enterprise has published yet another article by Golab (hard copy), entitled “The Festering Problem of Indian 'Sovereignty'.” This 6-page piece recapitulates his position, with statistical updates. But his time he emphasizes three major aspects of the issue in which I am personally involved: 1) specific Indian casino problems in California, where I just spoke, in July; 2) major lobbyist organizations who protest the ill effects of Indian casinos, the same lobbyists I spoke to at the National Press Club in DC, last May; 3) Oklahoma Indians, of which I am one, a Comanche from OKC.

Golab says “Corruption…seems the inevitable consequence so long as Indians are allowed to operate outside American law under a claim of tribal sovereignty.” This is an egregious accusation. The syndicated casino industry, together with corrupt politicians, comprise a white affair, in which Indians are not the movers and shakers, but only the tools being used. Let’s put the culpability where it belongs. This is a white problem. White people are the gamblers and the buyers.

Golab quotes Barb Lindsay, executive director of United Property Owners, saying Indians are “a group of people who believe they are somehow above the law.” The more accurate description would be that Indians are being used by criminals. White criminals.

Golab says Oklahoma Indians “cost the state $5 million a year in lost taxes,” and immediately equates this with the salaries of 17,000 potential teachers. This specious information used to be on the home page of One Nation, (an organization originating in Oklahoma, now gone national), and that home page still follows the same logic: monetary figures are based on estimated potentials, not facts. You can’t lose something you don’t possess. Oklahoma does have the worst educational system in the country, so the greatest value politicians put on a dollar is “education.” Hence, Indians cripple Oklahoma’s education system. But this is crippled reasoning, based on racial prejudice, and these aberrant perspectives are exposed on One Nation Lies, a new web site established for that purpose.

A treaty between two different nations must have meaning. It cannot with impunity be dissolved without the consent of both parties. Indian sovereignty must be defined, not eradicated. If America cannot come to a clear understanding of what Indian sovereignty means, America itself is no longer sovereign, but instead a corrupt and avaricious monster, without honor, whose word is a lie. Is this what conservatives want?


David Yeagley's http://www.BadEagle.com

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