Saturday, September 18, 2010

Indian Affairs

Once upon a time, many moons ago, some folks from Europe sailed to the North American continent, stuck a flag in the ground, and declared it a "discovery." To the folks residing on the North American continent, the only discovery was that they were about to be overrun by Pale People from a faraway land with a flare for subjugation and administration.

The Pale People from a faraway land had a notion that the expansion of Pale People in North America was not only good for the Pale People, but that it was obvious (manifest) and certain (destiny). This expansionism of Pale People would later be called Manifest Destiny (obvious and certain).

In 1824, the Secretary of War in the government of the Pale People, John C. Calhoun, created a Council of Indian Affairs, without the authorization of Congress, to deal with various perceived problems involving the indigenous natives of North America, now referred to as Indians. In 1947, the Council of Indian Affairs was renamed the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a bureaucracy to oversee and direct Indian life.

Today, the Bureau of Indians Affairs is under the Department of Interior and has over 8,700 employees, with a budget exceeding $2.5 billion. The government of the Pale People is always very thorough when it comes to nurturing (manipulating) its subjects into the proper way of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

In 2010, there are 2.5 million Indians in the USA, slightly less than one percent of the population. The Bureau of Indian Affairs administers the 55,700,000 acres of land held in trust for the Indians, who don't exactly have much faith in the word "trust" when it comes to dealing with the government of the Pale People.

The following piece was sent to me by a friend who is a Cherokee Priestess (a healer) currently living in Montana. Her Indian name is She Who Walks With The Panther.

Mitakuye Oyasin (Lakota Sioux proverb -- we are all related)


I would like to introduce someone you have grown up with, refuse to acknowledge, who has made the life you now have possible.

Hello my relatives. I am the Indian in your living room. I am the First Nations, the original inhabitants of Turtle Island.

I am the corn, the beans, the squash, the sweet potatoes, and tomatoes on your dinner table. I am the gratitude you express every fourth Thursday in November.

I am the Corn Maiden, the Two Hills, the Sacred Mountains, Spider Woman, Shiprock. I am the Kachinas, the Thunderbird, the Black Hills, and the Buffalo.

I am the Pipe Carrier, the Keeper of the Sacred Bundles, the White Buffalo Calf, Kokopelli. I am Heyoka, Coyote, Raven, Crow, White Old Man, and Salmon Boy. I am the Sun Dance, the Ghost Dance, the inipi wakan, the hanblechya.

I am the Indian in your living room.

I am the Great Law of Peace. I am the plan for the U.S. Constitution given you by the clan mothers of the Iroquois Federation. I am political freedom, free speech, equality, and freedom of assembly which you claim as part of being an American. I am the Delaware who allowed Washington's troops to survive the winter at Valley Forge.

I am the caretaker of Mother Earth. I am the Grandfathers who tell the stories that teach us how to be human. I am the Ancestors who watch from the heavens. I am Powhatan, Pocahontas, and Sacagawea who helped the white man survive in a strange land. I am the Brotherhood of the Shield that used to care for and protect the people before the white men came.

I am the Indian in your living room.

I am the residue of Manifest Destiny. I am an inconvenience to progress. I am America's Final Solution. I am the ghost of Osceola, Pontiac, and Seattle. I am the Trail of Tears, Sand Creek, and Wounded Knee I and II. I am Baker's Massacre, Ghost Ridge, and all the atrocities carried out in your name. I am the guilt you carry for these crimes.

I am the Indian in your living room.

I am blankets infected with smallpox. I am trade whiskey, forced conversions, and Indian schools. I am slavery, spoiled beef rations, and crooked Indian agents. I am Cornstalk, Chief Joseph, Geronimo, and Crazy Horse, I am Sitting Bull, Jim Thorpe, Leonard Peltier, and Ira Hayes. I am Squanto, Red Cloud, White Calf, and SuAnne Big Crow. I am the Navajo Code Talkers who helped you win the war in the Pacific.

I am a long history of unpaid debts and broken promises. I am the spirit of the buffalo shot from train windows and left to rot on the plains. I am every treaty ever made and broken.

I am the Indian in your living room.

I am the reservation where the Constitution and Bill of Rights do not apply. I am the loss of freedom and way of life. I am poverty and unemployment, alcoholism and diabetes. I am hopelessness and suicide and I am here to tell you the reservation now includes your living room and it just swallowed New Orleans.

Now we all live here together. Welcome to the reservation. What they have done to me is being done to you and you let them away with it.

I am the Indian in your living room and I will not go away.

I am your past, your future, your heritage, and your destiny. I am that small drop of Indian blood every American family now carries. I am your parent, your grandparent, and great-grandparent and we are all related.

I am the Indian in your living room and I don't seek vengeance.

I'm done asking for just compensation. Your government is not capable of dealing honestly. I am declaring independence and you had better respect it.

I ask that the people open their hearts and listen and when you weep for the loss of my children as you would weep for your own then, I will know you have heard.

Quote for the Day -- "Upon suffering beyond suffering, the Red Nation shall rise again and it shall be a blessing for a sick world. A world filled with broken promises, selfishness and separations. A world longing for light again. I see a time of Seven Generations when all the colors of mankind will gather under the Sacred Tree of Life and the whole Earth will become one circle again.... I salute the light within your eyes where the whole Universe dwells. For when you are at that center within you and I am that place within me, we shall be one." (Tashunka Witko, a.k.a. Crazy Horse, Oglala Lakota Sioux Chief -- spoken to Sitting Bull for the last time, four days before he was assassinated)

Bret Burquest is an award-winning columnist and author of four novels. He lives in the Ozark Mountains with a dog named Buddy Lee and the spirit of Hehaka Sapa (Black Elk), Holy Man of the Oglala Lakota Sioux, second cousin of Crazy Horse . His blogs appear on several websites, including


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