FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Russell Means Goes to Washington

by STEVE MELENDEZ

In 1980 the United States government printed 500 hardcover books called, The Final Report of the Indian Claims Commission. It is on our Museum’s wish list. In it on page 4 under the heading “Historical Survey,” it makes the grand revelation on how this government is dealing with First Nations America. Giving a history of its very own formation, it candidly reveals, ” to create a United States Court of Indian Claims.” This court was to consist of three judges, have a 5-year filing period for all claims founded upon the Constitution, laws of Congress, treaties and contracts, and render a final decision within a 10 year life span. Thus, by 1930, the resolution of Indian claims was proposed under two forms of tribunal.

In 1934 and early 1935, the proponents of an Indian court submitted two more bills to establish an Indian claims court. Both bills were ignored, largely because they were not, by this time, considered practical answers to the claims situation. In a report to the Senate committee on Indian Affairs, Secretary of Indian Affairs Harold Ickes argued against them and directed the Senators’ attention to a bill recently introduced in the House to create an Indian claims commission instead of a court which he considered preferable.

With the introduction, in March 1935, of H.R. 6655, an act to create an Indian claims commission, the legislative movement to expedite Indian claims shifted irreversibly from the consideration of a judicial to a commission format. Both Congress and the Secretary of the Interior now felt that a commission rather than an adversary proceeding could better “cut through” the red tape of Government agencies charged with the preparation of Indian cases. An investigatory commission appeared to be a better vehicle for “claims involving history and anthropology as much as law”. This bill, and three similar ones, aroused a good deal of debate throughout the 1930’s but no legislation resulted.”

In other words, this was and is the government’s boldface attempt to nullify all treaties made with First Nations America by circumventing the courts and the rule of law. The movement shifted from a “judicial to a commission format”? What hogwash!

Sure the Indian Claims Commission went out of business in 1980 but its rulings are still hanging over the heads of Carrie Dann and the Western Shoshone Nation and Dr. Russell Means and the Lakota Nation to the tune of $34 million and $800 million, respectively.

Everyone who knows the story of Carrie Dann knows the story of how the indigenous people have been criminalized for standing up for Native civil rights. And yes, treaty rights are guaranteed and protected by the U.S . Constitution under article 6–supposedly.

And laws supposedly should be enforced but they are not. This is just the latest example of the racial discrimination that our people have had to endure for the last 500 years.

When Columbus waded ashore and said that he, “was taking possession of this island for the King and Queen,” why is it not right for Dr. Russell Means to go to Washington and do the same thing.

Black’s Law Dictionary tells me on Pg.1502 that a treaty is “An agreement, league, or contract between two or more nations or sovereigns.”

Did the United States honor their end of the international agreement called the Treaty of Fort Laramie of 1868? In the summer of 1874 Gen. Philip Sheridan sent George Armstrong Custer into the Black Hills to verify the rumor that gold had been found. Miners had been showing up with gold. He had an entourage of about 1,000 soldiers, over 100 covered wagons, two or three gatling guns, a cannon, a sixteen piece brass band mounted on white horses and two miners who were the experts on gold. He was there in violation of the Supreme Law of the Land, the treaty of 1868. When he found gold, he sent a dispatch back to Ft. Laramie: “Gold has been found in paying quantities. I have on my table 40 or 50 small particles of pure gold. In size, averaging in size that of a small pinhead, and most of it taken today from one panful of earth.”

The following year, President Ulysses S. Grant stood before Congress and said,

“The Discovery of gold in the Black Hills, a portion of the Sioux Reservation, has had the effect to induce a large immigration of miners to that point. Thus far the effort to protect the treaty rights of the Indians to that section has been successful, but the next year will certainly witness a large increase of such immigration. The negotiations for the relinquishment of the gold fields having failed, it will be necessary for Congress to adopt some measures to relieve the embarrassment growing out of the causes named. The Secretary of the Interior suggests that the supplies now appropriated for the sustenance of that people, Being no longer obligatory under the treaty of 1868, but simply a gratuity, may be issued or withheld at his discretion.”

Volume 9 Messages and Papers of the Presidents Page 4306 President Ulysses S. Grant’s 7th Annual Message To the Senate and House of Representatives, December 7, 1875

“Sustenance” is food and withholding food from people is a government policy of starvation. Previously, the U.S. Army supported the extermination of the buffalo in order to control the native people. Why wait for the hammer to drop again? Why not support Dr. Means before the hammer drops on this economy and $800 won’t buy bread let alone buffalo. Ask not what the U.S. Government can do for one of the lowest life expectancies in the world, ask what is the price for reparations for genocide. If ever you find that you are a part of a deceptive system called Mystery Babylon you are instructed to, “Come out or her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes”.

Sometimes to be right is worth than all the gold they took out of in the Homestake mine.

STEVE MELENDEZ is a Pyramid Lake Paiute and president of the American Indian Genocide Museum in Houston.

 

 

 

 

More articles by:
July 25, 2016
Sharmini Peries - Michael Hudson
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
William K. Black
Doubling Down on Wall Street: Hillary and Tim Kaine
Quincy Saul
Resurgent Mexico
Ted Rall
Hillary’s Strategy: Snub Liberal Democrats, Move Right to Nab Anti-Trump Republicans
Patrick Cockburn
Erdogan is Strengthened by the Failed Coup, But Turkey is the Loser
Robert Fisk
The Hypocrisies of Terror Talk
Lee Hall
Purloined Platitudes and Bipartisan Bunk: An Adjunct’s View
Binoy Kampmark
The Futility of Collective Punishment: Russia, Doping and WADA
Nozomi Hayase
Cryptography as Democratic Weapon Against Demagoguery
Cesar Chelala
The Real Donald Trump
Julian Vigo
The UK’s Propaganda Machinery and State Surveillance of Muslim Children
Denis Conroy
Australia: Election Time Blues for Clones
Marjorie Cohn
Killing With Robots Increases Militarization of Police
David Swanson
RNC War Party, DNC War Makers
Eugene Schulman
The US Role in the Israeli-Palestine Conflict
Nauman Sadiq
Imran Khan’s Faustian Bargain
Peter Breschard
Kaine the Weepy Executioner
Weekend Edition
July 22, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
Good as Goldman: Hillary and Wall Street
Joseph E. Lowndes
From Silent Majority to White-Hot Rage: Observations from Cleveland
Paul Street
Political Correctness: Handle with Care
Richard Moser
Actions Express Priorities: 40 Years of Failed Lesser Evil Voting
Eric Draitser
Hillary and Tim Kaine: a Match Made on Wall Street
Conn Hallinan
The Big Boom: Nukes And NATO
Ron Jacobs
Exacerbate the Split in the Ruling Class
Jill Stein
After US Airstrikes Kill 73 in Syria, It’s Time to End Military Assaults that Breed Terrorism
Jack Rasmus
Trump, Trade and Working Class Discontent
John Feffer
Could a Military Coup Happen Here?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Late Night, Wine-Soaked Thoughts on Trump’s Jeremiad
Andrew Levine
Vice Presidents: What Are They Good For?
Michael Lukas
Law, Order, and the Disciplining of Black Bodies at the Republican National Convention
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Why It’s Just Fine for U.S. to Blow Up Children
Victor Grossman
Horror News, This Time From Munich
Margaret Kimberley
Gavin Long’s Last Words
Mark Weisbrot
Confidence and the Degradation of Brazil
Brian Cloughley
Boris Johnson: Britain’s Lying Buffoon
Lawrence Reichard
A Global Crossroad
Kevin Schwartz
Beyond 28 Pages: Saudi Arabia and the West
Charles Pierson
The Courage of Kalyn Chapman James
Michael Brenner
Terrorism Redux
Bruce Lerro
Being Inconvenienced While Minding My Own Business: Liberals and the Social Contract Theory of Violence
Mark Dunbar
The Politics of Jeremy Corbyn
Binoy Kampmark
Laura Ingraham and Trumpism
Uri Avnery
The Great Rift
Nicholas Buccola
What’s the Matter with What Ted Said?
Aidan O'Brien
Thank Allah for Western Democracy, Despondency and Defeat
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail