April 20, 2009

The Burro of Indian Affairs

Charles Trimble:  Recalling the Burro of Indian AffairsI had drawn earlier cartoons featuring the Burro of Indian Affairs, and even considered writing and illustrating a children’s book about it. The book was to be a parable on the federal government and its ways of controlling Indian people. In the tale, the animals on the prairie lived the good life, although they had to be resourceful to stay alive, to find food, and to keep from becoming food. But they understood their ecology, and existed for many centuries. Their ecosystem worked well, and all were happy.

However, along comes a burro, and saddled on each side of his body is a large wicker basket--“paniers” as they are called in Europe. And these baskets were full of goodies. The Burro distributed these goodies to everybody, and all the animals were happy. The Burro was kind to them, and promised to return. He returned again and again, bringing his goodies each time. Feeling that they would no longer had to forage for food, and no longer had to fear becoming food, the animals became fat, sluggish and helpless. Dependency set in.

The Burro told them that he needed pasture land for his family and other burros, and that in gratitude the animals ought to give him some of their land. After all, since he was providing all the food, they really didn’t need all that land. So, thankful for his largesse, they gave him land. But soon, he needed more, because more burros where coming to live with him. And reluctantly, they gave him more.

Pretty soon, the Burro started making the animals do tricks for their goodies. Then he would cause dissension among them by withholding goodies from some and giving extra goodies to others. The animal nation became a zoo of disorganization and chaos. Political parties formed and split the community, and fought relentlessly over goodies, which were now delivered fewer and farther between, sometimes not at all. The animal leaders fought each other for the Burro’s favor, so that their followers would have more food. Finally the animals started dying of poor diets, drinking too much, and killing each other and killing themselves.
Comment:  Good satire, but an obvious message. Yes, I think we can all agree that government bureaucracy is bad. The solution isn't to eliminate such programs, but to reform them so tribes have local control of the resources.

For more on Trimble, see Lakota Republican for Obama and Trimble on Victimhood.

Below:  Trimble is a good cartoonist also.

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