Tribal Corruption Is Not Traditional

root - Posted on 24 June 2009

Press Conference and Public Testimony

11:00-3:00pm, Thursday, February 5th

State Capitol Building North Side 10th st & Capitol Mall, Sacramento, California

by Adrienne Aguirre/PNN

American hands pry into other nations, wagging their fingers at all colonization that isn't their own. In this transparent pretense of a post-imperialist world, the United States insists on preaching against the evils of non-democratic states when back home, true democracy is myth. As American resources are funneled out of our country to aid the United States' reconstruction of countries abroad that have been continually raped by American greed, closer to home, the 500 year old colonization of the indigenous people of North America goes overlooked and unaddressed.

Before Israel vs. Palestine, before the injustice in Gaza, the Indigenous peoples of North America were robbed of their homeland by white colonizers who decided that they had to commit mass, systematic murder instead of sharing the land peacefully with its rightful owners. Since then, the Indigenous people from North America have been forced to inhabit the 3rd world corners of the United States, perpetually constricted and relocated due to the ever-homeland-shrinking policies of the US government. The lands of their ancestors, the sacred sites where spirits once thrived, have fallen victim to libidinal greed. These sacred sites that once held the legacy of the culture and spirituality now lie in ruins as golf courses or made to bleed uranium for money hungry miners.

Today, new oppressors have joined forces with the old. These oppressors bear the same faces, have the same blood coursing through their bodies and face the same burdens as their victims but greed has infected their vision. Now, for the love of money, they have systematically been executing cultural genocide upon their own people. It is called disenrollment. With the Indian gaming industry raking in billions of dollars every year, it's disturbing that Indian universities lay in ruins. D-Q University, the only Indian university in California and the site of the Longest Walk”the historic event that basically paved the way for casino development in 1978, is direly underfunded while the Indian gaming industry in California alone generates billions in revenue each year. We've all seen the casino commercials, heard the claims that the money generated from these resorts goes towards helping the community ; what isn't stated is that the community mentioned doesn't seem to include indigenous people, doesn't care to invest in their education. On top of that, while the vast majority of Indian gaming occurs on either coast, all Indian universities, with the sole, extremely underfunded exception of D-Q University, lie between coasts. So where is all this supposed community funding going?

With rampant classism amongst the Indigenous people, resulting from the greed generated by the gaming industry, casino owners on tribal councils feel that it is necessary to strip the citizenship of certain tribal members, effectively deciding who is and who isn't Indian. One of the main reasons this is coming up now is because these leaders controlling our tribal nations today are sellouts, said Quanah Brightman, VP of United Native Americans. We have had illegal occupation over here [in the United States] for 500 years but no one cares because of these casinos. The people who control most of the money aren't even Native American!

As more and more tribe members are disenrolled and disenfranchised, the Indian movement to preserve what's left of Indian sacred sites is divided and ultimately weakened.

On February 5, 2009, United Native Americans will demonstrate in at the Capital in Sacramento, CA. We want to give platform to the Indian movement, for our demonstration to call to thousands of people nationwide who have been disenfranchised, disenrolled, and hurt by our leaders who have basically sold us out. We want to expose them for what they are and we want to put an end to disenrollment. We want to build our tribal colleges and invest in our healthcare education and our general well-being, Brightman said in closing.


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