March 17, 2010

Columnist shows how racists view Indians

Here's an early contender for the stupidest column of the year. In other words, a likely contender for the Stereotype of the Year award.

How Liberal Elitists Fleeced the Indians

By Susan BradfordIndian tribes were originally designed to be profit generators from which their creators could raise money for political candidates, trade victimization for votes, and generate revenue for their affiliated businesses.Bradford starts with a real whopper--an outright lie so egregious it should've prevented anyone from posting this column.

FYI, dumbbell, tribes weren't "originally designed" to do anything of the sort. If you want to talk about their origins, they were "designed" to provide a bond of kinship and community based on common cultural beliefs and customs. Paleo-Indians designed their tribes for this reason starting tens of thousands of years ago. Today's tribes are a continuation of this ancient "design."Hungry for capital, in the 1920's, the industrialists began to invest in Native rights organizations, which were not so much interested in tribal empowerment as they were in profiting off the backs of Indians. An avalanche of tax payer revenue was to be had by casting Native-Americas as victims, keeping them weak, and filing various grievances through the courts, which would allow attorneys to appeal for money on their behalf.

Indian tribes were then established to allow them to collect compensation for past grievances and develop businesses on sovereign Indian nations, which were squirreled away from the eyes of the federal government and exempt from state taxes. Within decades, instant wealth would descend upon reservations through litigation.
It'll be news to several hundred tribes that they didn't exist until Congress passed the Indian Reorganization Act in 1934. I guess they all migrated from Asia in 1933?

"Collect compensation for past grievances" presumably is Bradford's falsification for "collect treaty payments owed because of lawful treaties." I believe tribes have been collecting such payments since they first signed treaties in the 1700s.

I'm not sure what businesses Bradford thinks the skulking sneaks hid on their reservations. The only significant one I can think of is Oklahoma's oil industry, which boomed around that time. A dozen or two Oklahoma tribes got rich from oil and several hundred tribes didn't.

Bradford states what racists believeJust as tribes were on the cusp of receiving their money from the ICC, President Lyndon B. Johnson waged a War on Poverty to improve the lives of individuals from lower socioeconomic classes. The federally funded legal services helped place a number of these individuals, many from industrial towns, into Indian tribes.

These newly minted Indians then made a beeline for Tribal Councils, which would eventually control the lucrative Native gaming businesses, and began developing vast empires of wealth.

Once in power, the fictitious Indians signed on their relatives, friends, and other dispossessed people whom liberals were trying to save. By adding fictitious Indians onto the tribal membership rolls, the usurpers were often able to take over tribes, prevail in tribal elections, and govern in perpetuity.

Indians residing on federally recognized tribes were then victimized by a new class of rich white masters who oppressed and robbed them while the liberals cheered on the results their good intentions have brought to Indian Country.

Throughout the nation Native-Americans are living lives of quiet desperation on their reservations while whites and other dispossessed poor non-Indians, who have lost industrial jobs to corporate restructuring brought on by global competition, brazenly help themselves to tribal dollars and engage in various criminal actions with impunity. Their cries for relief often go unheard. Even worse, those Indians who dare question or challenge the corruption on their reservations, can expect to find themselves harassed, disenrolled, and in extreme cases, incarcerated.

Adding insult to injury, the pseudo-Indians tan themselves red, don traditional Indian clothing, sometimes with head dresses, and whoop around tribal fires as if they were actors in a Disney theme park. Vacillating between amusement and outrage, genuine Natives, who actually trace to those historic tribes, shake their heads in disbelief and wonder if this is what liberals meant by progress?
I quoted this passage at length because it's a great statement of what racists, conservatives, and people who stereotype Indians believe.

The key points in Bradford's view of Indians:

  • "Sovereign Indian nations" are actually fictitious business entities created by non-Indians to enrich themselves with government largesse.

  • Today's tribes are largely populated by "fictitious" Indians. These phonies have taken control of tribal governments, used crime and corruption to help themselves, and "harassed, disenrolled, or incarcerated" the real Indians.

  • The only genuine Indians are the few poor ones suffering from the neglect of their corrupt oppressors. They're huddling under blankets or drinking themselves into a stupor somewhere in the desert. The rest have vanished into the mists of history.

  • So if you see middle-class Indians who work in the law, medicine, or computers, what can you conclude? That they're welfare chiselers who have gotten where they are by getting a free education, not paying taxes, and swindling the public via slot machines. I.e., they're criminals and con artists who have succeeded by cheating the system.

    Not coincidentally, this view is held by the European hobbyists who think the only real Indians are dead Indians--i.e., the stereotypical Plains Indians of the past. Sadly, it's also held by radical Indian activists who think the only real Indians are warriors who are willing to fight and kill the white man. If you put on a suit and fight within the system, you're an Uncle Tomahawk or "apple" (red on the outside, white on the inside).

    What average Americans believe

    More to the point, this is what many average Americans believe. Read the comments on any controversial Native issue and you'll see the same claims over and over: They don't pay taxes. They're getting special rights. They're rich from casinos. Etc. The hate and resentment practically drip off the page.

    This is undoubtedly what the Chasco krewes believe. And what most sports mascot fans believe. And what many Hollywood moguls believe. It's what they've learned from a century of Wild West shows, old Western movies, and other purveyors of stereotypes.

    These stereotypes are so pervasive in our culture that most people can't overcome a lifetime of brainwashing. They literally can't conceive of an Indian's doing something nontraditional. For instance, winning an Oscar, a Nobel Prize, or the US presidency. It would be like a monkey or a dog doing these things: inconceivable.

    Summing up Bradford's views:

  • "Real" Indians are the savage chiefs and "braves" who roamed the Plains a century or two ago before vanishing.

  • Today's phony "Indians" are frauds and hustlers who seek to get rich from welfare checks and casino payouts.

  • The few remaining real Indians are the criminals, drunks, and abusers who make reservation life miserable. They're the exceptions that prove the rule.

  • Here's the comment I posted to this column:According to Bradford, most Indians today are "fictitious" and phony. Only a few--the ones who are still suffering--are genuine. If that isn't a racist attack against the majority of modern Indians, I don't know what is.

    When someone has to deny she's a racist, she usually is one. This column is the proof.
    I could post any number of links showing how racists view Indians. For a few examples, see Satire:  Sioux Attack Wall Street, Limbaugh:  Indians = "Redskins," "Clowns," and Dumas:  Indians Are Lazy and Inbred.

    Below:  Real Indians...

    And today's Indians.