Monday, December 25, 2006

Justice Too Long Delayed is Justice Denied, Martin Luther King, Jr.

The following is my Letter to the Editor printed in my local newspaper, The Newport (R.I.) Daily News for the December 23-24, 2006 edition on page A-10.

Native Americans again betrayed by government

It is time for admitting the injustices that we as a nation and a state have done and still do to the Americans who were here first.

The U.S. Supreme Court turned down the request of the Narragansett Indian Tribe to consider overturning the lower court ruling against them with the state of Rhode Island. Apparently according to a treaty the Indian Tribe signed – their land legally is not sovereign land, as other Indians’ lands are. The history of broken treaties with the Indians and the United States government, from the beginning to this day is appalling. When the treaties were broken – it ALWAYS fell in the favor of the government and never the Indians.

The Indians have been betrayed repeatedly by a government built on land stolen from them. The Declaration of Independence states “the inhabitants of our Frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known Rule of Warfare, is an indistinguished Destruction of all Ages, Sexes and Conditions” imposes an unjustifiable description of the natives who were forced to fight to protect their established ways of life AND their land. Genocide of the Indians was authorized by those that came to this land as immigrants. Do you suppose the Indians wished they had united and built a fence to keep out immigrants? Injustice is a one-word sum total of the treatment of the Indians by the government.

A class-action lawsuit, Cobell v. Norton was filed on June 10, 1996, in U.S. District Court to force the federal government to account for billions of dollars belonging to approximately 500,000 American Indians and their heirs, and held in trust since the late 19th century. This money is missing. The money has been lost by the very federal agencies that were responsible to care for the funds belonging to Indians. Through document discovery and courtroom testimony, the case has revealed mismanagement, ineptness, dishonesty and delay by federal officials. Leading U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth declared their conduct "fiscal and governmental irresponsibility in its purest form”. This case has not been resolved to this day.

Putting myself in the shoes of the Indians, I would feel betrayed by a government that stands on the values expressed in the Declaration: “We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal …with certain unalienable Rights . . .” History would indicate that the reason the treaty between the State of Rhode Island and the Tribe, in regard to Narragansett Indians’ Smoke Shop, was upheld in court and NOT broken - is because to do so, favored the government and NOT the Indians.

I propose that the strength of a country is evidenced by the willingness to face and acknowledge the errors of its ways. It is time for admitting the injustices that we as a nation and a state have done and still do to the Americans who were here first. It would provide a turning point where the healing could begin. The Indians should not continue to be held hostage by racism institutionalized by law.

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At January 3, 2007 at 7:34:00 PM EST , Blogger Red7Eric said...

GOOD FOR YOU. That letter rocked. As do you.

At January 4, 2007 at 1:08:00 AM EST , Blogger ilovemylife said...


How nice to have a comment.
And such a sweet one.


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