February 02, 2009

Boy Scouts dishonor Indians

Scouting rife with cozy ties

As roles blur, perceptions of impropriety riseIn Oregon, two foresters for the state's largest Boy Scout council help advise how much of its vast camp properties to log, and when to log them.

Then, after the decisions are made, the same Scout volunteers are paid to write the logging plans, obtain permits and do other forestry work related to those timber harvests.

"I'm a volunteer on the forestry committee, but I'm hired to do forestry," said Jim Wick, whose company, Woodland Management Inc., manages timber sales for at least five of the Cascade Pacific Council's Scout camps.

In Washington, several current and former employees for corporate logging giant Weyerhaeuser Co. serve in key directors' board positions for the Pacific Harbors Council.

Last year, the council's board approved a logging project that paid "several thousand dollars" to use Weyerhaeuser logging roads as part of a lucrative clearcut at a Scout camp, the council's president, a Weyerhaeuser executive said.

Such cases are among 10 examples of seemingly cozy relationships between Scouting councils and their volunteers that a Hearst Newspapers investigation found in its review of Boy Scouts' logging and land deals nationwide. In such cases, professional and political roles blurred with the volunteer roles of individuals tied to Scouting councils.
Settlement shrouded fish kill

Powerful donors helped council after violation of Endangered Species ActThe Boy Scouts of America's Monterey Bay Council operated a summer dam on a pristine river and--despite official warnings--allegedly killed federally protected steelhead trout downstream.

And when state and federal regulators sought to have the dam removed, Scout executives turned to politicians to whom they had given campaign contributions or with whom they had personal ties.

The Scout council avoided fines and quietly secured a favorable settlement agreement that, until now, has obscured a full account of its conduct at Camp Pico Blanco on the Little Sur River, north of the rugged Big Sur coast.
And:The imbroglio at the Scout camp began when state Fish and Game officials sought to halt use of the dam about 12 miles south of Carmel, off Highway 1, because it did not meet environmental standards.

But after the Scouts complained to then-state Sen. Bruce McPherson, R-Santa Cruz, officials agreed to let them continue using the dam.

The Scout council agreed to take precautions to protect the fish. But within weeks, agents of the National Marine Fisheries Service discovered evidence that camp staff had ignored the safeguards and--rushing to fill the lake in hot weather--"dewatered" the river below the dam, killing at least 30 threatened steelhead trout in violation of the Endangered Species Act. Concerned about future violations, the federal officials sought to stop the Scouts from damming the Little Sur until the dam met standards.

Scout executives again resisted, saying they needed to continue using the dam so Boy Scouts could use the lake to earn merit badges.
Comment:  The Boy Scouts were partially based on the Woodcraft Indian movement founded by Ernest Thompson Seton. Scouting organizations such as the Order of the Arrow and the Tribe of Mic-O-Say still claim to honor Indians.

But...chopping down trees for profit? Killing fish for merit badges? The practices described above are inconsistent with traditional Indian values.

Consider also that Boy Scouts must pledge their belief in God and can't be overtly homosexual. Both are at variance with traditional Indian cultures, which didn't have religious tests and accepted two-spirit people.

There's no indication that members of the Order of the Arrow or the Tribe of Mic-O-Say participated in this un-Indian despoiling of nature. But there's no indication that they didn't either. At a minimum, I'd expect the pseudo-Indians in the Boy Scouts to denounce the un-Indian activities of their brethren.

This Boy Scout hypocrisy is similar to the hypocrisy of Indian mascot lovers. These people love and honor Indians in theory, but they scream at real Indians who interfere while they trample on Native rights and values. "How dare you interrupt my beloved mascot ritual? Get out of the way, you goddamn hippies, drunks, and heathens."

For more on Scouting's pro-Christian bias, see Self-Indulgent Hypocrisy For Dummies, Lesson 204.

Below:  "We had to destroy the forest in order to save it."


Anonymous said...

I hate to sound cynical, but this sort of thing is so common in large organizations, and especially those that are generally known to do religious and family values-based scout activities. I wouldn't be surprised if the sorruption in scouts goes much deeper, including being a tax shelter for allied organizations.

Anonymous said...

My pet peeve with the boy scouts in the Santa Cruz area is that they have the audacity to call their camps RESERVATIONS!! I wrote a complaint letter once some years back but never heard back from them. Here's a link http://www.doubleknot.com/openrosters/ViewOrgPageLink.asp?LinkKey=7167

I would just love to take some of those little white children and drop them off on a real rez like Rosebud or Pine Ridge. Let's see how long they would survive.