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To Defraud Native Tribes

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    An AIM Activist s View of Jack Abramoff Another Racist Out to Defraud Native Tribes By ROBERT ROBIDEAU January 26, 2006
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 3, 2006
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      An AIM Activist's View of Jack Abramoff
      Another Racist Out to Defraud Native Tribes
      By ROBERT ROBIDEAU
      January 26, 2006
      http://www.counterpunch.org/robideau01262006.html


      Historically racism has characterized and justified unscrupulous
      behavior toward Native Americans. This attitude has kept us in poverty
      and ill health since the inception of the reservation system.

      The long historical racist mentality, accentuated through the doctrine
      of Manifest Destiny, has allowed countless political types and racist
      individuals like Jack Abramoff to defraud Native tribes of billions of
      dollars.

      This theft is consistent with congressional double-dealings that
      manipulate away profit, land, natural resources and enterprising
      attempts by Native American tribes to make their nations economically
      and socially independent.

      When tribal people stand up in self defense, as they did in the 1970s,
      when thousands marched across North America on the Trail of Broken
      Treaties to Washington, D.C., to protest tribal corruption sanctioned
      by federal policies and congressional acts, we were met with clubs and
      violence.

      Before federal treaties removed tribes from their traditional lands,
      they lived a rich and abundant life for thousands of years. Since
      then, congressional acts have kept tribes locked in poverty and ill
      health to the present day.

      The federal government's programs enacted by Congress have whittled
      away millions of areas of reservation land for profit, and continue an
      ongoing policy that sanctions thefts of Indian land and natural
      resources. The gaming industry represents a continuation of
      congressional manipulations that erode tribal sovereignty and continue
      to plague the quality of life for Native people.

      We have fought the land rush, gold rush and oil rush. Now comes the
      gaming rush, which has created more corruption in our tribal
      governments and animosity among Native Americans. Congress passed the
      Indian Gaming Regulatory Act in 1988, and it has only brought
      money-mongering politicians scurrying in from Washington, D.C.,
      sniffing out casino profits.

      Governmental reports alleging that gaming revenue has been used to
      "reduce poverty and unemployment rates, build schools and hospitals,
      paved road and construct sewer systems, preserve and revitalize
      cultural traditions and build responsive and responsible government
      institutions such as tribal courts" are a smokescreen for the United
      States to escape its treaty obligations.

      If these treaties had been honored decades ago, the Native American
      communities would have enjoyed the same opportunities and the same
      standard of living as mainstream America.

      The United States is the wealthiest country in the world, with a
      higher poverty rate than any other progressive nation. Native
      Americans rank the poorest in health and economy due to federal
      "Indian policies."

      The government has attempted to mask these policies as good and
      wholesome, but in reality, they are bent towards genocide, ethnocide
      and land and resource theft in the name of divine "manifest destiny"
      to spread civilization by territorial expansion and subjugation of
      American Indians.


      * * *

      THE AMERICAN Indian Movement fought against tribal corruption in the
      1970s, which resulted in us being labeled "terrorist" and wholesale
      federal attacks on us by their political police force, the FBI, which
      used its counter-intelligence program (COINTELPRO) to destroy our
      legitimate protest movement.

      The Church Committee declared that these methods were in violation of
      the constitutional protections. Despite the Church Committee's
      findings, the federal government declared war on the American Indian
      Movement, resulting in over 300 assaults and homicides by a corrupt
      tribal government that was armed and protected by the FBI, an agency
      of the Department of Justice.

      The USA PATRIOT Act is today using similar methods against us. The
      federal government justifies such acts through scare tactics that
      label threats under the name "terrorist." Leonard Peltier, a victim of
      the COINTELPRO program, has served 30 years in prison to date, and
      there seems to be no end in sight to his continued incarceration.

      Congressional acts are passed to regulate the lives of Indian people
      into oblivion. One of the most outrageous congressional acts passed
      was about freedom of religion. Why did we need a special act
      protecting our religious rights when the U.S. Constitution alleges to
      protect everyone's religious freedom and rights?

      Just as the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) controls the lives of
      tribal people through corruption, so too does the casino business
      create and maintain corrupt tribal leadership. Tribal leadership is
      now using what remains of our sovereignty as a weapon against their
      own people.

      Many American Indians now view the Gaming Act as just another
      congressional act of genocide, similar to congressional acts like the
      Relocation and Termination Act. These were attempts to remove Indians
      from their remaining lands and make them disappear into the melting
      pot of North America.

      Many California tribes, in order to get a bigger share of the profits,
      have been thinning out their population by arbitrarily kicking
      hundreds of members from tribal roles and/or denying them enrollment.
      The Enterprise Rancheria kicked out 75 members, while still other
      tribes corrupted by the money are kicking out hundreds.

      The real kicker is that when these tribal members attempt to appeal
      these outrageous acts of genocide by their own Nations through the
      U.S. Department of Justice, tribal sovereignty is recognized. It is
      clear that institutions of the federal government continue to
      manipulate tribal sovereignty to the disparagement of Indian people.

      Tribes began as sovereign powers, which are recognized by treaties
      between them and the United States of America. Congress has
      historically limited tribal sovereignty by passage of such
      congressional acts as the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act, which are
      cloaked as progressive economic opportunities for tribal nations,
      while they are, in fact, designed to take from the tribes' control of
      their lives, by expressly limiting tribal sovereignty.

      ROBERT ROBIDEAU is co-director of the Leonard Peltier Defense
      Committee. Along with Leonard, his cousin, He was an activist in the
      American Indian Movement, an organization formed in the 1970s to
      demand civil rights and defend Native Americans from government
      violence. He was accused along with Leonard of killing two FBI agents
      on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in 1975. Robert was
      acquitted; in a separate trial, Leonard was convicted and sentenced to
      prison, where he remains unjustly to this day.

      *********************************************************************

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