Archive for December, 2008


Reader recommends Wounded Knee book

   Posted by: buffalo_post    in Uncategorized

Here’s a post from today from Mary Lee Johns, a Lakota woman:

I recommend Conger Beasley Jr.’s book “We Are A People In This World: The Lakota Sioux And The Massacre At Wounded Knee”. This author particispated in the 100th Year Memorial Ride. He is also a poet and the way he described both the present day ride and the historic account brings the reality of what Spotted Elk (Big Foot) and his people were experiencing in a manner that few authors have been able to accomplish. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to not only learn about Wounded Knee but also will give them an opportunity to learn about the Big Foot Ride and why people continue to participate each year.
The following is a review of the book.
By Midwest Book Review (Oregon, WI USA) –

We Are A People In This World: The Lakota Sioux And The Massacre At Wounded Knee by journalist Conger Beasley Jr. recounts the 1890 massacre of the Lakota Sioux at Wounded Knee, blending a grimly defining episode of Native American history with the author’s personal story of participating in the commemorative Big Foot Memorial Ride some one hundred years after the slaughter. A compelling account that includes oral testimony from some who survived the killing, poignant and highly recommended historical event, We Are A People In This World is an invaluable and recommended contribution to Native American Studies reference collections and supplemental reading lists.

From Help Wikipedia and Wounded Knee, 2008/12/30 at 9:39 AM


Retired OST/BIA worker comment on Interior Department

   Posted by: buffalo_post    in Interior Department

This comment in from Thomas Wabnum:

A Response to: Salazar to Lead Interior Department

Seeking Justice for Indian People: The U.S. lacks an Indian Trust Policy (ITP) that protects Tribes from intrusion and misuse of our money and assets held in trust by the federal government. Our trust funds for our land and assets have been mismanaged by the Department of the Interior over a course of centuries: U.S. courts have repeatedly verified this misuse. The federal government has brokered and breached their trust and responsibility by depleting our land, money, and natural resources for their economic gain. Why change the current policy, as it works in their favor, except that it is unjust
and the funds and holdings in this trust belong to the Indian community.

The U.S. is in the largest and oldest legal mess regarding how Indians have been treated as related to our trusts. As many of you know, Ms. Cobell is the lead plaintiff in the Cobell vs. Kempthorne lawsuit and she is part of the class-action suit against the Department of the Interior. I am fortunate to have lived in a generation of original allotees, sub-allotees and the relentless determination of Ms. Cobell to seek justice for Indian people. I am fortunate to have worked in this era, giving thanks to the Lamberth Court that has dealt with this lawsuit that exposes the federal government’s broken promises through-out our Indian history. I assisted a federal court investigator looking into further destruction of Indian trust records by the Office of Trust Records, where I was employed. I am fortunate to have worked on trust reform and to have challenged a culture of corruption, yet I have been UNFORTUNATE to have witnessed the perpetual failure of federal policy for Indian services.

My opinion would be fruitless if I not had read the “The Indian Peace Commission Report of 1868,” the “Problem of Indian Administration or Meriam Report of 1928,” or the “Misplaced Trust: the BIA’s Mismanagement of the Indian Trust Fund of 1992.”
My opinion would seem vain if I had not lived on allotted lands of the Prairie Band Potawatomi reservation, relied upon trust promises or under government programs like boarding school and relocation. My opinion would seem disgruntled if I had not worked for the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and the Office of the Special Trustee (OST) for American Indians, with an insider’s viewpoint.

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Show us the minutes, records on tribal spending

   Posted by: buffalo_post    in Tribal Government

I received the following comment from a reader today that raises a common complaint I hear from tribal citizens about tribal governments and tribal leaders. Here it is:

Boozhoo Jodi,
From the East coast to the West coast alot of the news we are getting and hearing about deals with corruption within Tribal councils and Tribal administrations. In my opinion, it has to do with Tribes having casinos. Thats as simple has I can put it. I’m sure there were Tribal leaders before this “gaming era” who were crooked, but now it’s far worse. Here in Lac du Flambeau, Wi. our so-called leaders deny its membership to records on everything, from Council meeting minutes to revenue from our small and dwindling enterprise. We are now in a small civil dispute between the membership and Tribal council. And even the Council itself has split. This corruption has been going on for a few years. We have been watchingand reading what has been happening all over and many are very similar to our own. One in particular is the recent Passomaquaddy case. But they got something done about it. We can’t. Our Tribal council seems to have full control, over everyone, including the Feds. And the worse part is, in the meantime they, the Tribal Admin. still collects thier salaried pay. We’re in a really bad way up here, at 60 million dollars plus in debt, yet our so called leaders are still living high off the hog. Because the membership aren’t allowed to see any records, we cannot find out how these crooks are getting away with the shinaigans they are pulling. Do you have any suggestions?

Amikoos, aka Charles Theobald



Obama pledges to uphold treaty rights

   Posted by: buffalo_post    in Interior Department

President-elect Obama introduces new Interior Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar of Colorado.

Obama remembered Native people: “Ken will bear as our next secretary of the Interior is helping ensure that we finally live up to the treaty obligations that are owed to the first Americans. We need more than just a government-to-government relationship; we need a nation-to-nation relationship. And Ken and I will work together to make sure the tribal nations have a voice in this administration.”

Check out the Obama treaty rights video.



Viejas Band of Kumeyaay re-elects chairman

   Posted by: buffalo_post    in Uncategorized

This just in:

SAN DIEGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Bobby L. Barrett has been re-elected as Chairman of the Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians. In voting that took place Saturday, tribal members elected the 44 year-old Barrett to a second two year term as Tribal Chairman. The following officials were also elected to two year terms on the Tribal Council:

Vice Chairman: Robert Welch, Jr.
Secretary: Diana Aguilar
Treasurer: John Christman
Councilmember: Virginia Christman
Councilmember: Greybuck Espinoza
Councilmember: Tim Bactad

Chairman-elect Barrett said, “I am deeply honored that tribal members have placed their confidence and trust in me for a second term. I humbly follow in the footsteps of the many other tribal leaders who have led our people for tens of thousands of years. Over that time, we have seen many challenges and much suffering, but also much opportunity and success. I am committed to leading our people further down the path of success, even as we face the current economic downturn and other uncertainties. I also commit to our non-tribal neighbors that Viejas will continue to work with them and build upon the positive relationships that have been mutually-beneficial for our communities, both on and off the reservation.”

A date for the new council’s inauguration will be scheduled.

Viejas Tribal Government
Robert Scheid (619) 922-9736

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The Obama transition team made the following announcement on Thursday:

President-elect Barack Obama nominated on Thursday former Senator Tom Daschle as Secretary of Health and Human Services, naming director of a new White House Office of Health Reform.  Dr. Jeanne Lambrew, who authored a book about health care reform with Daschle, will serve as Deputy Director of the White House Office of Health Reform.

This new White House office will coordinate efforts within the Administration, the Congress and across the country to pass health care reform.  In his two roles, Daschle will not only implement the President’s vision for health care at the Department of Health and Human Services, but also have the responsibility of leading health care reform.  He will be the White House’s voice on this critical issue.

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On Wednesday, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, chair, U.N. Permanent Forum on Indignenous Peoples, said indigenous people around the world were being denied the right to decide whether to accept a U.N. climate document on deforestation. All references to indigenous peoples as having rights were removed from a final draft document during negotiating sessions at a U.N. Climate Change Conference in Poland.  

Four countries spearheaded deletion of climate change language that would recognize the rights of indigenous people to reduce emmisions from deforestation and degradation, also known as REDD. The countries include the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Canada, the same countries that refused to sign the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. “They obstinately refuse to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples and other forest peoples who are the ones who sacrificed life and limb to keep the world’s remaining tropical and subtropical rainforests,” said Tauli-Corpuz in a press release.

She urged the countries to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples as outlined in the U.N. declaration. At the same time, she urged indigenous peoples to actively monitor climate change negotiations, policies and programs at the national and global levels. “We have to use the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as an instrument which will ensure our survival and dignity.

“The climate change crisis, the economic downturn and the destruction of biodiversity and cultural diversity are serious threats to our continuing existence.”

She said indigenous peoples needed to continue their practice “of low-carbon and sustainable traditional livelihoods. At the same time, we should demand that resources be made available for us to adapt to climate change.”

Tauli-Corpuz said the world’s richest and most powerful countries were failing to “save this world.”

 She can be reached at

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Hopi and Navajo representatives were scheduled to protest Monday in Denver. Contacts, Nikke Alex and Chelsea Chee made the following submission:

It looks like another rushed “midnight regulation” from the Department of the Interior may be issued in favor of Peabody Coal, and the affected Navajo and Hopi people of Black Mesa are trying to stop it.  A large delegation has traveled to Denver to meet with top officials in the Office of Surface Mining (OSM) and hold a press conference and rally in downtown Denver to protest the pending decision, which will grant the coal company a “life-of-mine” permit, expanded mining operations and rights to tap the fresh water of the Navajo aquifer.

Navajo and Hopi citizen’s were given 45 days to comment on a revised “Black Mesa Project” Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and were never offered a public commenting period.  Requests for commenting period extensions were denied by OSM as well as requests for OSM to come to Navajo and Hopi lands for question and answer meetings.

Arizona Congressman, and leading candidate for Secretary of Interior in the Obama Administration, Raúl M. Grijalva has asked current Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne to suspend further consideration of Peabody’s permit. “At present, OSM is rushing to approve a life-of-mine permit, first without making the permit revisions sufficiently available for public review, and then without adequate environmental review.”

“Mining at Black Mesa has caused springs on Hopi lands to dry up and jeopardized the sole source of drinking water for many Hopis and Navajos,” stated Grijalva. “The Secretary, as the trustee for Native American tribes, must ensure that mining is done responsibly on tribal lands and that tribes actually want mining to occur. This project does not meet that test.”

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Serving his third term as the U.S. Representative of Congressional District 7 of Arizona, Raúl M. Grijalva remains committed to the needs of his constituents. The issues of education, employee rights and the environment remain among his top policy concerns.

In the 110th Congress, Raúl serves on the Committee on Education and Labor, the Committee on Natural Resources, where he has been appointed Chairman of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee and the Committee on Small Business.

In his role as Chairman of the National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee,  he addressed the issues of uranium mining in the Grand Canyon National Park, reforming the General Mining Law of 1872, passage of needed wilderness protection throughout the west and oversight of the operations of our national parks, forests and public lands systems.   Raul held his first field hearing in February 2007 in his district, concerning the 1872 Mining Law, which governs hard rock mining on public lands.   In March 2008, he held a hearing on uranium mining in the Grand Canyon Area and recently, the Natural Resources Committee adopted a resolution, introduced by Grijalva, to require the Secretary of Interior to withdraw public lands adjacent to the Grand Canyon National Park from uranium mining activities.

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