September 26, 2009

Former Arapaho says tribes = slavery

Former tribal member Lee Ann Ragains calls for end to system

Tribes:  She wants American Indian dependence on federal funds to stop

By Ron Jackson
Lee Ann Ragains realizes she won’t be invited any time soon to tribal functions celebrating her Choctaw or Northern Arapaho ancestry.

And if she had her way, those tribes would exist in name only.

So would the other 560 federally recognized tribes in the United States.

Ragains, a former tribal member of the Northern Arapaho of Wyoming, said Thursday she wants to abolish all tribal nations and cut off the flow of federal subsidies "to liberate” American Indians.

The Kingfisher small business owner is so passionate about her cause, she said she has spent almost $10,000 for advertisements in Oklahoma City, Edmond and Kingfisher newspapers since Aug. 21.

"Indian people are all wards of the government” under the Bureau of Indian Affairs’ trust system, said Ragains, 42. "The government sees us as nothing more than incompetent, domestic dependents. There’s really no difference between us and the prisoners of war in World War II. There just isn’t a fence.”

Compares to slavery

Ragains is encouraging Oklahomans—regardless of race—to contact their local, state and federal representatives to abolish the tribal system.

She also is calling for the return of all money and land presently being held in BIA trust to American Indian individuals.

"President (Barack) Obama needs to issue an executive order immediately,” Ragains said. "If he truly wants to be like (President Abraham) Lincoln, then he’ll issue an Emancipation Proclamation for all Indian people. Yes, I liken this to slavery.”
Comment:  Moron alert!

While we're at it, why don't we eliminate government "subsidies" to elders, military veterans, and poor people? And why don't we eliminate state, county, and city borders? After all, we're all Americans!

Yeah, the policies of assimilation and termination worked wonders from the 1890s to the 1960s. Let's go back to the era when Indians were rich, happy individuals and not poor ol' members of sovereign nations.

For more on the subject, see Should Indians Cling to Reservations?

Below:  The good ol' days on the Chumash reservation.


dmarks said...

"While we're at it, why don't we eliminate government "subsidies" to elders, military veterans, and poor people?"

An aside, military veterans do not belong in the list above. They are not getting a handout or a gift from the VA. They are getting payment for service they rendered.

Back to the subject. I would support eliminating special Federal subsidies to tribes only if the following conditions were met:

1) The subsidies that might be eliminated aren't mandated by treaty.

2) All of the treaty-related debt that the US Government owes the tribes were properly paid back or otherwise resolved in a fair fashion.

3) Natives elders, disabled, needy children, veterans, etc would still receive the exact subsidies/payments that non-Native elders, disabled, needy children, veterans, etc receive.

I'm not holding my breath for #2, really. However, I feel that this would be fair, if ths came about.

The author is nuts when she equates a payment of money from someone to being enslaved by someone.

Rob said...

Tribes aren't getting subsidies from the government either. They're getting compensation for their land.

That's why I put "subsidies" in quotes. And why the comparison to military vets is apt.

dmarks said...

Rob: Good rewording.

Deb Krol said...

To dmarks: Sorry, I thought that you were complaining about subsidies to tribes.

But for those of you who don't know what we're talking about: The treaties guaranteed health care, education and the protection of Indian interests [read: ummolested on their own lands] in perpetuity. The treaty-related debt has NEVER been adequately repaid--you can bet that if Donald Trump got pennies on the dollar for selling his land, he'd have his lawyers on the government faster than his hairpiece can fly!!!

And besides which, tribes are GOVERNMENTS. These subsidies are GOVERNMENTAL subsidies--they're not handouts. If you eliminated subsidies to STATES, such as the federal match for SCHIP, the children's health care program, then I could see eliminating them to tribes. But you know how the states would scream if that yes, sad to say this woman is definitely challenged as to her knowledge of Indian law, policy and history.

...But you've got them in every group, just look at Ward Connerly.

dmarks said...

Deb: I was not complaining about them. Your statement "The treaty-related debt has NEVER been adequately repaid" fits in with my #2. A condition which has not been met, and is not likely to be met.

What about Ward Connerly?