Free State Project Forum

Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
Pages: [1]   Go Down

Author Topic: The Autonomy of Native Americans  (Read 8619 times)

exitus

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 180
  • To face freedom, turn 180º from tyranny.
    • Mercados libres y paz: El Cato Institute
The Autonomy of Native Americans
« on: March 17, 2003, 12:21:30 pm »

From the essay, What Can 20,000 Liberty Activists Accomplish?
"Another good strategy would be to defend the autonomy rights of Native American tribes. As colonized peoples, Native American tribes essentially enjoy a right to independence under international law if they desire it. The federal government has been doing their best to downplay this possibility. If we stand up for Indians' rights, they could become a key constituency for us. "

Why has this topic has not been more thoroughly explored?  

This past weekend, I spent some time on the Paiute Reservation in Nevada, while there I picked-up a book entitled The Rights of Indians And Tribes, The Authoritative ACLU Guide to Indian and Tribal Rights, Third Edition (2002) by Stephen L. Pevar.  This book discusses the historical and practical issues of federal and state law surrounding Native Americans, the book uses the name preferred by most tribes, Indian.

After skimming through the book and reading about 50 pages, I think that one reason this issue has not been discussed here is because it is a complex issue.  There seem to be some incredible opportunites for a state to use the indian lands issue as leverage against the federal government and there also seems to be a few constitutional provisions and complexities the federal government can also use to compel the states to observe.

I've plenty of anecdotal information, having lived and worked with Native American people of the Southwest and the sentiment among many concerning the "Great White Father in Washington".  I am going to read this book and share some of my findings here on this thread.
___________


According to a geographic map provided by the US Dept. of the Interior, Bureau of Indian Affairs (from the book), These are the Indian reservations and communities occupying land-holdings in our candidate states:

Alaska- More than 230 federally recognized legal entities, divided into 13 different Alaskan Native Regional Corporations

South Dakota- Pine Ridge, Rose Bud, Yankton, Santee, Fland, Crow Creek, Cheyenne River, Lake Traverse(Sisseton), Upp, Standing Rock, Lower Brule
Montana- Blackfeet,Flathead, Rocky Boys, Fort Belknap, Fort Peck, Crow, Northern Cheyenne
North Dakota- Fort Berthold, Standing Rock, Spirit Lake, Turtle Mountain
Idaho- Coeur D' Alene, Nez Perce, Fort Hall, Duck Valley, Kootenai
Maine- Aroostock Band, Houlton Band of Maliseet, Passamaquoddy, Penobscot
Wyoming- Wind River
Delaware- Nanticoke
New Hampshire, Vermont- none


Population Statistics from the 2000 Census-
American Indian and Alaska Native persons,(among those reporting only one race) percent, 2000

AK  15.6%
SD  8.3%
MT  6.2%
ND  4.9%
WY  2.3%
ID  1.4%
ME  0.6%
VT  0.4%
DE  0.3%
NH  0.2%
« Last Edit: March 18, 2003, 11:33:08 am by exitus »
Logged
". . .the foundations of our national policy should be laid in private morality. If individuals be not influenced by moral principles, it is in vain to look for public virtue” -- U.S. Senate's reply to George Washington's first inaugural address

Zxcv

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1229
Re:The Autonomy of Native Americans
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2003, 06:26:48 pm »

Are Indians politically active? My impression is that they generally are not. So as a constituency for us, they won't help that much.

That's not to say, we shouldn't do the right thing...
Logged

exitus

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 180
  • To face freedom, turn 180º from tyranny.
    • Mercados libres y paz: El Cato Institute
Re:The Autonomy of Native Americans
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2003, 08:06:21 pm »

Indians, by and large are not politically active, most particularly on the reservations.  Reservations have unemployment rates 10- 20 times that of the states, they have some of the highest "alcohol dependency" rates, high drug use, high amount of welfare dependancy and so forth.  

But there is a growing disquiet about the status of the Indians and the fact that so many treaties with the Indians have been broken and ignored, such as water rights to the tribes, right to excise and mineral taxes, and basic rights of sovereignty and self-determination.  Many of these rights have been bought and sold with useless favors and welfare benefits.

Indians do, however, have a special amount of leverage as an entity with the federal government.  Reservations often have their own laws that have very little to do with state law, such as in gambling, weapons, fireworks, hunting and fishing and mining laws.  What hasn't been explored too much, however, has been the right of Indians to declare their own nationhood, and this can be facilitated through a state willing to push the issue and not try to control the people within reservations.  
Logged
". . .the foundations of our national policy should be laid in private morality. If individuals be not influenced by moral principles, it is in vain to look for public virtue” -- U.S. Senate's reply to George Washington's first inaugural address

Robert H.

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1361
  • Jeffersonian
    • Devolution USA
Re:The Autonomy of Native Americans
« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2003, 02:36:29 am »

Pushing the issue of granting nationhood to one or more of these indian tribes would be interesting.  In time, they could actually achieve independent home rule, and become a true nation state separated from the U.S. federal government as well as from state government.

It would amount to a secession of part of one state of the Union, but not that of an entire state from the Union, which could well make the difference in how it was viewed by Americans at large.  More of them would probably be accepting of giving these native groups autonomy within their own spheres as long as it doesn't alter the number of stars on Old Glory.

Or make the treasury discontinue a state quarter.   ;)

glen

  • Guest
Re:The Autonomy of Native Americans
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2003, 09:19:37 pm »

I am a born in the Territory of Alaska, Native Alaskan with Bureau of Indian Affairs, Certificate of Indian Blood.

I am very pleased that you guys have finally got around to looking into what the original owners of North America think and feel about the issues that the FSP is raising.

As Exitus points out, the relationship between the Indians and the various governments are very complex. In fact, they are so complex that before a discussion can get under way you will have to define some of the basic terms so that you do not get lost in an intellectual maze.

Where to begin?

First of all, I am not an authority on the subject. I have some information, some experiences and a lot of opinions.

Second of all, whatever you decide is the politically correct label for the indigenous peoples of North America, they are not all of a kind. Calling them all Indians doers not make them so. Alaska Natives are not Indians. Their tribal status is a political invention of the Clinton Administration and does not reflect how the Native Alaskans lived or thought of themselves. Furthermore, they do not have treaties with the US government. ANCSA (Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act) happened only because oil was found and some means was needed to get right of way for the pipeline. The conventional wisdom says that ANCSA resolved the 'Native issue’ in Alaska but the fact is that it did not.

Alaska was conquered and the people were enslaved by the Russians in the mid 1700's. After the northern Union beat the southern Confederacy in a war ostensibly about human slavery, the US bought Alaska from the Russians without consulting the original owners. Later, the vote for statehood was also done with consulting the native peoples.

This is my principle argument against the selection of Alaska as the free state: Alaska did not belong to Russia to sell to the US. Alaska has now been forcibly colonized twice over. If the FSP membership selects Alaska, The FSP will be perpetuating this tradition of forcible colonization.

By contrast, most of the mainland Indian tribes have or had treaties. Now, an enforceable treaty is something the FSP can work with, however, the treaties also act as a kind of ‘poison pill’ against take over bids like what is being proposed in this thread: all CIB (Certificate of Indian Blood) Indians receive 100% medical and many tribes receive free homes and free community water / sewer systems. Any action on the part of a tribe to become a formal nation will be met with the threat to cut off these badly needed services and the reservation jobs that go with them.

Third, the notion that the Indians were a primitive peoples who lived in harmony with nature is now called into serious question.
This is from my reply #11 at http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=5;action=display;threadid=350;start=0

I used to be bothered by clear cutting because it looked bad and I had come to think that clear cutting was a desecration of the pristine natural wilderness. It still doesn’t look all that great but I am now able to accept the cycle of responsible clear cutting and replanting as a process necessary to maintain ecosystem health and, of course, to benefit people through the use of this valuable natural resource to generate jobs.

I changed my attitude about our ‘pristine wilderness’ after reading the article at this link: http://www.theatlantic.com/issues/2002/03/mann.htm

In a nutshell, the article says the assumption that the pre-Columbian America’s were a pristine wilderness where small tribes of natives lived in harmony with the land is challenged by a school of thought which suggests that the America’s were as well populated as Europe was at that time and that the various ecosystems were managed on a grand scale primarily for the benefit of the people, not the flora or fauna.  

If true, this invalidates many of the basic assumptions built into the environmental movement and the different government wilderness protection and environmental regulation agencies.

If the free staters can turn this theory into hard science and can then transfer that hard science into the political debate, the free staters will be in the position of promoting timber jobs and responsible ecosystem stewardship. This issue, all by itself, would be enough to enable free state political candidates to seriously compete for state level positions.

Comments?

« Last Edit: March 19, 2003, 11:15:17 pm by glen »
Logged

Penfist

  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 814
  • Work together to build something that lasts.
    • Penfist
Re:The Autonomy of Native Americans
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2003, 09:55:48 pm »

An extremely lucid and well thought out post. I wouldn't want to "take over" something that wasn't free to take over.

Would the natives of Alaska consider inviting us to move in and raise the freedom quotient?
Logged
I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.
--Thomas Jefferson

glen

  • Guest
Re:The Autonomy of Native Americans
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2003, 10:48:34 pm »

Hi Palindrome

That is an impossible question for me to answer. I can only point out that the dominant political attitude among the Native Alaskans and Indians that I have known or read about is socialist in nature.

This does not mean that individuals or even whole communities will reject libertarian arguments.

Ask them and find out.

Here is a link to an Alaska Native group seeking sovereignty:

http://cooday8.tripod.com/aknative-sovereignty.htm

Logged

glen

  • Guest
Re:The Autonomy of Native Americans
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2003, 11:24:59 pm »

Here is another thread on this general subject that may be of interest.

http://forum.freestateproject.org/index.php?board=20;action=display;threadid=409
Logged

Robert H.

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1361
  • Jeffersonian
    • Devolution USA
Re:The Autonomy of Native Americans
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2003, 05:45:00 am »

Alaska was conquered and the people were enslaved by the Russians in the mid 1700's. After the northern Union beat the southern Confederacy in a war ostensibly about human slavery, the US bought Alaska from the Russians without consulting the original owners. Later, the vote for statehood was also done with consulting the native peoples.

Well, that particular war was never about human slavery.  It was always about power and dominion.  Slavery entered into that situation as a weapon of war, both to deprive the Confederacy of labor and to forestall foreign recognition of the Southern government.  So, there is really no contradicton in U.S. policy here.  It sought dominion in one situation just as much as in the other, only less brutally in the case of Alaska.

In fact, several Indian nations made common cause with the Confederacy and fought in its armies.  And as an aside, it was during that war, but apart from it, that Lincoln became the only president in US history to order a mass execution: ordering the hanging of 38 Sioux who were executed on December 26, 1862 and buried in a mass grave.  A military court had originally condemned 303 to death for their participation in the "Dakota conflict," and Lincoln reduced this number, partially out of fear of what the British would think.

That was a year before Congress ordered that all Sioux be forcibly removed from the Dakotas.

The AIP has several compelling arguments as to why Alaska should be allowed to hold a referendum on statehood, including the manner in which the vote was taken.  One aspect of their argument is that most of the tribal peoples at that time could not read English, and all ballots were in English.  www.akip.org

Quote
This is my principle argument against the selection of Alaska as the free state: Alaska did not belong to Russia to sell to the US. Alaska has now been forcibly colonized twice over. If the FSP membership selects Alaska, The FSP will be perpetuating this tradition of forcible colonization.

Well, I think that an Alaskan free-state government would benefit the Alaskan tribal peoples more than the current government by allowing them more autonomy, particularly in the area of subsistence.  For example, I never have understood why an international commission and Washington politicians should determine how many Bowhead whales are hunted by the Inupiat that live on Alaska's Arctic coast.  It's not like they're going to exterminate the entire species by hunting the few that show up through the pack ice.

Quote
By contrast, most of the mainland Indian tribes have or had treaties. Now, an enforceable treaty is something the FSP can work with, however, the treaties also act as a kind of ‘poison pill’ against take over bids like what is being proposed in this thread: all CIB (Certificate of Indian Blood) Indians receive 100% medical and many tribes receive free homes and free community water / sewer systems. Any action on the part of a tribe to become a formal nation will be met with the threat to cut off these badly needed services and the reservation jobs that go with them.

One area where we could certainly help these people is to help them become more individually independent first.  If this sort of dependency could be broken, then nationhood would be much more viable for them.

Just as another aside here, I do not support things like reparations for slavery and do not view this issue of tribal peoples as being in the same camp.  Various tribal groups that live on reservations or have treaties with the federal government already hold a special status and specially reserved lands and have their own tribal governments.  There is really no reason why they should not be fully independent.  At present, they're like vassal states or sub-states.  And I don't believe that any of them are populous enough to be admitted to the Union as full states - I could be wrong about that though.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2003, 05:59:25 am by RobertH »
Logged

glen

  • Guest
Re:The Autonomy of Native Americans
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2003, 08:33:20 pm »

Hi RobertH

The free medical and the free water / sewer systems are not a kind of reparation but are an extension or implementation of some treaties. How all Indians got equally included in this benefit is unknown to me.

The Alaska Natives, who did not have treaties to begin with, now enjoy a very extensive and fantastically expensive (to the tax payer) health care system.

You are welcome to try to convince them that they should not use this benefit but I doubt that you will have much success.

Here is a link to the Indian Health Service so you can get a better idea of what you are up against:

http://www.ihs.gov/
Logged

Robert H.

  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1361
  • Jeffersonian
    • Devolution USA
Re:The Autonomy of Native Americans
« Reply #10 on: March 21, 2003, 02:03:06 am »

The Alaska Natives, who did not have treaties to begin with, now enjoy a very extensive and fantastically expensive (to the tax payer) health care system.

You are welcome to try to convince them that they should not use this benefit but I doubt that you will have much success.

Yes, continuing in servitude comes with numerous fringe "benefits," and we'll have to confront this issue where more than just natives are concerned.  It's the general lure of statism for any people.

Kelton Baker

  • Former FSP President
  • FSP Participant
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 757
  • Freedom is Free, it's tyranny that costs us dearly
    • Kelton Baker
Re:The Autonomy of Native Americans
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2003, 01:57:12 pm »

This is a minefield. Carefull about talk of restoreing indian property rights. In some areas the Indians claim thousand and thousands of square miles (now owned by Americans) as rightfully theirs. If taken to the logical extreme, we would all leave the west.

The politics surrounding the indians is different in each state. I don't know about how it is in Wyoming. In SD that issue is like playing with fire. In MT its almost non-exhistant unless you live on or near a res.

To some degree, this is true; however, played carefully I perceive that there would be a net benefit to the state to let tribes enjoy as much autonomy as possible within the state-chartered domain granted by the federal government.  It is the plenary power of Congress to "make treaty" with the "several tribes", but there is a large degree of administration given back to the states.  

I am still carefully reading the book mentioned above, so far I see as many benefits as risks in trying to politicize the autonomy of Indians an Alaska natives.  On the whole, Alaska, Maine, Idaho and possibly Wyoming seems to have more benefits than risks, IMHO.  Much of the AIP membership actually came from native Alaskans, as I understand, and several here have said that the AIP would be helpful to us in attaining our goals.
 
The Census numbers above also do not accurately represent the real number of BIA- recognized native members of tribes and peoples, since that was only the figure of those declaring one race, those numbers could actually be several times higher.
 
Please note, it is my personal opinion that North Dakota has some caveats that may hamper our efforts, it has to do with some unusual public aid benefits in North Dakota.  Please, please, as one who did not opt-out of North Dakota, I simply ask that you rank North Dakota very low, just take that as one informed opinion, take it or leave it, but I say, please let us not go to North Dakota!  
176
Logged
Give me some men who are stout-hearted men Who will fight for the right they adore. Start me with ten, who are stout-hearted men And I'll soon give you ten thousand more...--O. Hammerstein

etphonehome

  • FSP Participant
  • ***
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 118
  • Have a nice day!
Re:The Autonomy of Native Americans
« Reply #12 on: July 11, 2003, 04:25:19 pm »

Regarding the autonomy of Native Americans, or Indians, or whatever they wish to be called, I think the system we have now is highly flawed. We currently have a system where Indian reservations are semi-autonomous entities within a state who are able to set some of their own laws, but seem to be generally subordinate to the federal government in most areas. I think that if the Indians desire to be a  soverign nation, they are entitled to that soverignty, but it should be complete soverignty, not the current half-independence where all Indians are still American citizens, receive services from the U.S. government, and everything else. If they truly do want to be independent, they should have their own police, taxes, army (if they wish), citizenship, and everything else a soverign nation has. If they wish to receive services from the United States government and all other benefits that come with being part of the United States, they should renounce their independence and join the state in which they reside, as equal members of the U.S.A. community, with representatives in local, state, and national governments.

The current state of Indian affairs seems to me to be proof that socialism doesn't work very well. As was stated earlier, Indians tend to have much higher unemployment, alcoholism, and other problems. I find it hard to believe that the worsening of these problems, happening at the same time as increased socialistic benefits given to all members of an Indan tribe, is a mere coincidence.

I'm sorry if this offends anyone out there. I do sympathize with the plight of the Native peoples of this land for the suffering they have had to go through during the European settlement of this nation. However, I do not think that means that the Indians of today deserve special status in the eyes of the government, simply because of past transgressions against their ancestors.
Logged
“With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably.”
   â€”Captain Picard
Pages: [1]   Go Up