By Roy Cook


Art: Broken Promises by J.D. Challenger

The question of who's really an American Indian, what with the variation in blood quantum requirements from tribe to tribe, is confusing enough, and it's mostly because the Federal government has a long history of meddling, claiming the right to tell Indian people who they are and who they ought to be.

Blood Quantum is the total percentage of your blood that is tribal native due to bloodline. All of the Nations use Blood Quantum as a requirement for membership. Usually this is detailed on a CDIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) Card issued by the United States Government. Additionally, many of the Nations have other requirements for Membership.

As to how it affects you, that is a matter of some debate. Some Native Americans will never recognize you as "Indian" unless you are an enrolled member of a Federally Recognized Tribe, Band, or Nation. Others will recognize you as "Indian" if you are making an honest effort to reconnect with your own ancestral culture.

Today over three hundred American Indian tribes (excluding Alaskan villages) in the United States are by treaty or executive order recognized by the federal government and receive services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. There are additionally some 125 to 150 groups seeking federal recognition, and dozens of others that might do so in the future.

Let us look at these issues from a traditional and political viewpoint. Non-federally recognized tribes have been around for a long time. In fact, ALL tribes were non-federally recognized until the Continental Congress began to negotiate treaties with some Native nations in the 1770s. But the new U.S. federal government chose to concentrate its attention upon nations found west of the Appalachians or in Florida, ignoring virtually every tribe located within the core boundaries of the original thirteen states. The eastern tribes were left to flounder in a sea of neglect, racism, and ambiguity, in spite of the new federal Constitution that established federal supremacy over "commerce" with the tribes. Historically this clearly documents that the original Native American traditional culture is to be Non-federally recognized. Ironic how political definitions get turned around to suit current generations?

The issue of sovereignty is at the heart of current disputes over the opening of casinos by Native communities. It is generally conceded that federally recognized tribes possess a residue of sovereignty (self-rulership/government), which enables them to use their land base in self-determined ways not subject to state laws (except in certain cases). However, it is not generally recognized that state-recognized tribes, which possess reserved lands (formerly known as "Indian towns" and later as reservations), also are likely to possess the same degree of sovereignty as federally recognized tribes.

Another factor involves our country's "love affair" with racism and stereotyping, a factor, which very much affects most eastern tribes (though not all). Tragically, non-tribal people have come to believe that Native Americans should physically resemble the Sioux or Navajos seen on television, or the Italians playing Indians in old Western movies. Our contemporary schoolbooks and films do not explain to the public that eastern Native communities were often places of refuge in the colonies and states, places where the laws of racial segregation did not apply.

From New England to Florida most Native tribes provided homes for persons of mixed white and Native, Black and Native, and other combinations of ancestry. As a result many eastern Indians began to partially resemble African-Americans (and, indeed, large numbers of African-Americans have American racial ancestry in any case, from the Caribbean as well as from the United States itself). This presents a challenge, then, for white people obsessed with stereotypes. They might be willing to accept a white-Indian mixed person as an Indian, but their racial sensitivity balks at recognizing a person of part-African appearance. Things have not changed all that much in two centuries!

The 1990 U.S. Census reported the largest number of Native Americans in the states of Oklahoma, California, Arizona, and New Mexico. The census also indicated that slightly over half of Native Americans live in urban areas; cities with the largest Native American populations are New York, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Tulsa, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Anchorage, and Albuquerque. Around one-fourth of American Indians in the United States live on 278 reservations (or pueblos or rancherias) or associated "tribal trust lands," according to the census.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs has used a "blood quantum" definitionógenerally, one-fourth degree of American Indian "blood"óand/or tribal membership to recognize a person as an American Indian. However, each tribe has a particular set of requirements, typically including a blood quantum, for membership (enrollment) in the tribe. Requirements vary widely from tribe to tribe: a few tribes require at least a one-half Indian (or tribal) blood quantum; many others require a one-fourth blood quantum; still others, generally in California and Oklahoma, require a one-eighth, one-sixteenth, or one-thirty-second blood quantum; and some tribes have no minimum blood quantum requirement at all but require an explicitly documented tribal lineage.

Recently, December 16, 2003, a Southwest Tribe made headlines when it announced that 50 Percent Isleta Blood Needed To Stay In Tribe. Dozens of people who spent their whole lives thinking they were members of the Isleta Pueblo are finding out they are not. People on the Pueblo have been getting letters telling them they have to have 50 percent Isleta blood to be part of the tribe. The letters they received say that people can challenge them if they fill out a family tree proving their heritage.

Also in Southern California,2/03/ 2004, Tribal power is exercised to fulfill political goals.

"Tribes ó as sovereign nations ó are shielded from lawsuits filed against them. Velie, however, contends that individuals are not protected by sovereign immunity when they act outside the authority granted to them by the tribe.

The plaintiffs allege that the committee members violated Pechanga Band law and imposed standards above those required by the Pechanga Constitution by launching disenrollment proceedings against them. The lawsuit also accuses the committee members of trying to increase their own portions of casino profits by diminishing the number of tribal members eligible for profit-sharing payments.

The plaintiffs trace their family line back to Manuel Miranda, granddaughter of Pablo Apish, the Pechanga headman who received a 2,223-acre land grant from California Gov. Pio Pico in 1845.

The committee members maintain that Miranda, who was half Pechanga according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs, moved off the reservation and cut her ties to the tribe 80 years ago. As a result, they are now demanding additional documentation of linear descent from the disputed members, most of whom have enjoyed full membership rights for 25 years."

History is being rewritten across the Americas in this new millennium. Native Americans (peoples marginalized by modernity) are perfectly capable of defending themselves; you don't have to do it for them. Written history is a seriously overrated Enlightenment construction. Most peoples have lived without for most times. Written history is used to justify political and social power. Western civilization thought seems to be arguing that mythic histories, epics, folk-knowledge and non-historicized versions of the past open up possibilities for thinking. Utopian thinking is the only response possible when you have destroyed all other possibilities for thinking the past when history has become the only legitimate resource for accessing the past. This situation has come to dominate Western societies experience of the past. The west has destroyed its past outside history.

The post-industrial, Pan-Indian Movement emerged in 1977 when the Haudenosaunee, and Indians from North and South America, presented their Great Law of Peace to the United Nations, with a warning that Western civilization, through the process of colonialism, was destroying the earth's ability to renew her. They recommended the development of liberation technologies, which would be anti-colonial, or self-sustaining, and the development of liberation theologies. A liberation theology will develop in people a consciousness that all life on the earth is sacred and that the sacredness of life is the key to human freedom and survival (Akwesasne Notes 1978: basic call to consciousness). The Peacemaker argued not for the establishment of law and order, but for the full establishment of peace, and universal justice.

In 1978, Indians walked from San Francisco to Washington, D.C., this trek was called The Longest Walk. The outcome of this walk was the Native American Freedom of Religion Act. During this walk participants were taught spiritual wisdom. The spiritual leaders got together and worked out ceremonies that did not conflict with any one Indian Nation's spiritual beliefs. Many Indian Nations are forbidden, by prophecy, to share their specific religious beliefs, even with other Indians, and with members of their own tribe who are less than full bloods. A Lakota spiritual leader had a vision that the colors black, red, yellow and white, our sacred colors, stood for the four races. The Lakota offered their Sweat Lodge ceremony and the Sweat Lodge has become the most widely spread ceremony in Pan- Indians. It was in the Lakota Sweat Lodge that we first learned to pray for all my relations.

After the Longest Walk the Lakota Sun Dance extended to California at D-Q University at Davis. Many of the Indians who had been on the Longest Walk, participated in that Sun Dance. Now, reportedly, there has been another vision of Buffalo Calf Woman turning into buffalo of the four sacred colors. This has served to bolster the idea that the Red Road is for everyone.

The Pan-Indian movement is made up of all four races, but the largest contingency are non-federally recognized Indians, primarily urban, who are desperately clinging to their Indian identity. These people are not white, although some white people do also Sun Dance, they are very much in the minority, and are usually related to or have married into Indian families. Many Mixed Bloods (with less than 1/4 from a single tribe), because the federal government no longer recognizes them as Indians, even though they may have 100% Indian blood, do not come under the jurisdiction of the BIA or Tribal councils, so their rights to the Bill of Rights have not been abrogated. Nationhood implies conformity with international human rights ethics. Ethnic cleansing is a violation of human rights.

Indians ceded their land to the government by Treaty. A Treaty is an international contract. Contracts are the crux of Western civilization. It is unconscionable in today's world to deny a whole group of people the fulfillment of their contracts solely on the basis of race.

To understand the current USA mis-adventure in Iraq, look a little closer to home. Keetowah Cherokee Ward Churchill book Struggle for the Land excerpts lay bare a devastating account of land robbery and genocide against the Native American peoples in North America, from the earliest days of the Republic. Racism, disdain, and greed for Native American lands drove 13 small British colonies to break away from England. In Struggle for the Land, the earlier of these two books, Churchill clarifies that "independence" from England was little more than King George's giving up his "option" to buy native lands which he had by virtue of the "right of discovery." Likewise, the Louisiana Purchase was acquiring from Napoleon the right to purchase land from Indians. As a rogue rebellion looking for Nationhood, our earliest legal documents from the 1820s endeavored to legitimize the United States by treating Indians as sovereign nations with whom we (USA) would enter into treaties. "Legally speaking," quotes Churchill from one such document, "so long as a tribe exists and remains in possession of its lands, its title and possession are sovereign and exclusive."

But of course it was not to be. Chief Justice John Marshall, who had received 10,000 acres in grants west of the Appalachians in return for fighting in the Revolutionary War, declared, invoking an obscure Norman law, that the land was "vacant" and therefore Euro-American deeds were legitimate. By 1832, he was declaring that all natives were "subordinate" to the U.S., a simple statement of colonialism, before the genocide of Western tribes had even begun. Marshall went even further and declared that natives "committed aggression" when they attempted to regain control of their land.

In 1823, the Christian Doctrine of Discovery was quietly adopted into U.S. law by the Supreme Court in the celebrated case, Johnson v. McIntosh (8 Wheat. 543). Writing for a unanimous court, Chief Justice John Marshall observed that Christian European nations had assumed "ultimate dominion" over the lands of America during the Age of Discovery, and that - upon "discovery" - the Indians had lost "their rights to complete sovereignty, as independent nations," and only retained a right of "occupancy" in their lands. In other words, Indians nations were subject to the ultimate authority of the first nation of Christendom to claim possession of a given region of Indian lands. [Johnson:574; Wheaton:270-1]

According to Marshall, the United States - upon winning its independence in 1776 - became a successor nation to the right of "discovery" and acquired the power of "dominion" from Great Britain. [Johnson:587-9] Of course, when Marshall first defined the principle of "discovery," he used language phrased in such a way that it drew attention away from its religious bias, stating that "discovery gave title to the government, by whose subject, or by whose authority, the discovery was made, against all other European governments." [Johnson:573-4] However, when discussing legal precedent to support the court's findings, Marshall specifically cited the English charter issued to the explorer John Cabot, in order to document England's "complete recognition" of the Doctrine of Discovery. [Johnson:576] Then, paraphrasing the language of the charter, Marshall noted that Cabot was authorized to take possession of lands, "notwithstanding the occupancy of the natives, who were heathens, and, at the same time, admitting the prior title of any Christian people who may have made a previous discovery." [Johnson:577]

In other words, the Court affirmed that United States law was based on a fundamental rule of the "Law of Nations" - that it was permissible to virtually ignore the most basic rights of indigenous "heathens," and to claim that the "unoccupied lands" of America rightfully belonged to discovering Christian European nations. Of course, it's important to understand that, as Benjamin Munn Ziegler pointed out in The International Law of John Marshall, the term "unoccupied lands" referred to "the lands in America which, when discovered, were 'occupied by Indians' but 'unoccupied' by Christians." [Ziegler:46]

Ironically, the same year that the Johnson v. McIntosh decision was handed down, founding father James Madison wrote: "Religion is not in the purview of human government. Religion is essentially distinct from civil government, and exempt from its cognizance; a connection between them is injurious to both."

This type of legal history is the foundation for Churchill's devastating critique of U.S. government policies toward indigenous peoples in the United States. Struggle for the Land is a series of precise, factual case studies of, for example, the Iroquois efforts to reclaim their land in upstate New York (the entire city of Syracuse is on native land), and the Lakota refusal to accept any amount of money for the Black Hills. One of the most important facts in the book, though, is that Hitler used the United States treatment of Indians as a model for his genocide. Consequently in 1946, as the United States was preparing to sit in judgment on the Nazis at Nuremberg, the Indian Claims Commission Act was passed in order to provide a new veneer of legal rights to Indians, ostensibly giving them the right to sue for lost land if claims were based on "fraud, duress, unconscionable consideration, mutual or unilateral mistake," which, of course, they were.

In another section, Churchill describes the "radioactive colonization" of native land (i.e., the pursuit of mining rights for uranium (60 percent lies on native reservations), and oil and gas (20 percent on native reservations). Ninety percent of mining takes place on native land. In one concise chart, Churchill outlines 33 different corporations who have leases in areas in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. There are more than 5,000 in the Black Hills alone. Locally, the Hanford plutonium plant leaks toxins from storage tanks into the fishing grounds of the Columbia River Yakima, leading to illness, sickened, malformed and dead fish, and a host of other problems.

The funds from leases are kept in "trust" by the government, and, of course, the tribes see little of them. This Northern Plains Lady, Elouise Cobell, is bringing the issue to the light of day in court. This is an excerpt from an article in 2004 Blackfeet Reservation Development Fund, Inc.

"When I went to Washington on a hot, sultry June day in 1996 to file a lawsuit over the billions of dollars of trust funds that the government had lost, misplaced and otherwise grossly mismanaged for hundreds of thousands of American Indians, I had no idea I would still be in court seven years later.

Yet today, after three Cabinet secretaries have been held in contempt by a federal judge and after four lengthy trials and a successful defense on appeal of our claims on the merits, the federal government has failed to clean up the trust records. It cannot certify the accuracy of a single one of the estimated 500,000 current individual Indian trust accounts.

That's the sad bottom line on how the federal government has continued to treat the nation's first citizens.

All I and three other Indians are asking the government to do is account for the tens of millions of acres of land the government forced into trust and to account for and distribute -- to the proper trust beneficiaries -- the correct amount of funds it received and invested from the leases it arranged for timber sales and for oil, gas, minerals and grazing rights on Indian trust lands in the West.

I may not be a lawyer, but I was a small-town banker in Montana. I know that the most basic of duties of any trustee is to account for all trust assets, including the funds they hold for the beneficiaries.

Unfortunately, the commissioner of the Bureau of Public Debt, a senior Treasury Department official, testified in our case that the United States has used our trust funds to reduce the national debt.

But no one knows how much of our money was used to reduce the debt load of this country or how many years the U.S. government used our trust money for these and other important government purposes, such as building dams and major power projects in the West.

We hope an accounting will finally tell the true story of how the government has used Individual Indian Trust funds for more than 100 years. And, we also hope that we will learn what really happened to 40 million acres of Individual Indian Trust land that simply vanished, according to the testimony of the head of Interior's Office of Historical Accounting.

Seven years later, Interior Secretary Gale Norton, the government's trustee-delegate for the nation's first citizens, has done nothing to provide us answers to this and other important trust accounting issues.

Why the delay? Why the deception? Why the disdain for the obligations Norton owes to hundreds of thousands of Individual Indian Trust beneficiaries, many of whom live in Washington state?

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., and others have said it's because Indians lack political clout in the nation's capital. Any other interest group would have had this problem resolved immediately, McCain has said. There is no dispute about the evidence. Study after study has warned Congress that our trust funds were being horribly managed by the Department of Interior. Billions of dollars are missing.

In 1989, the Senate Special Committee on Investigations found that "fraud and corruption pervade" the Interior Department. The General Accounting Office warned both Republican and Democratic administrations for years that this is a very serious problem.

In 1994, Congress ordered Interior to account for the missing funds. Nothing happened.

So we Indians did what others similarly situated would have done. We turned to the courts for help to straighten out an obdurate and dishonest executive and an uninterested Congress.

Since we filed our suit, we have won several significant victories. In 1999, U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth declared the government breached its trust responsibilities to us and ordered the interior secretary and the treasury secretary to provide us a complete accounting of all trust assets, including the revenues generated from our trust lands since the creation of the Individual Indian Trust in 1887. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia unanimously agreed with Lamberth and found that the interior secretary had engaged in "malfeasance" and has unduly delayed the accounting, causing irreparable harm to all of us.

The government's record as trustee for Indians is "a long and sorry story," Lamberth declared. "... It is fiscal and governmental irresponsibility in its purest form."

Tough words, to be sure -- but they are utterly meaningless unless Norton is compelled to do what she is required to do by law.

Continuing to rely on the good faith of the interior secretary is an exercise in futility. We can settle this case, but the government first must participate in settlement talks with integrity, something they have refused to do for the seven years this case has been litigated.

It must stop hiding behind disingenuous excuses, defending the indefensible and protecting incompetent and dishonest officials.

Any settlement must be fair and just to make Indians whole for monies that have been collected by the United States for 116 years.

It is, after all, our money. It is our property right." Elouise Cobell is making history.

Churchill explains step by step the attempted genocide of indigenous cultures. Just a few of the techniques were preemptive and deceptive leases: the General Allotment Act, which replaced collective ownership with individual ownership; the forced change in indigenous government to the Tribal Council (modeled like a corporate board); the 1956 Relocation Act, intended to force indigenous peoples to move to slums in cities, etc. In 1953, the United States attempted to unilaterally dissolve 109 indigenous nations in its borders. By 1990, more than half of all Indians were no longer on their land bases. But rather than completely obliterate native entities, the U.S. government decided to keep them alive and restructure their government into an entity which could be a signer to negotiations for mineral leases. "Native nations were cast as always being sovereign enough to legitimate Euro American mineral exploitation on their reservations," writes Churchill, "never sovereign enough to prevent it."

For the purpose of enriching the few, hypocrisy, lies, and lawbreaking have been the basis of United States' policies toward indigenous peoples from its founding years. So of course we are still doing it today. We are simply operating on a different continent.

Native Americans today are distributed unevenly throughout North America, a reflection more of events following European arrival than of aboriginal patterns. The 1990 U.S. Census reported the largest number of Native Americans in the states of Oklahoma, California, Arizona, and New Mexico. The census also indicated that slightly over half of Native Americans live in urban areas; cities with the largest Native American populations are New York, Oklahoma City, Phoenix, Tulsa, Los Angeles, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Anchorage, and Albuquerque. Around one-fourth of American Indians in the United States live on 278 reservations (or pueblos or rancherias) or associated "tribal trust lands," according to the census. The largest of these is the Navajo Reservation, with 143,405 Native Americans and 5,046 non-Indians living there in 1990. Around 60 percent of the Native American population of Alaska lives in "Alaska Native Villages."

The twentieth-century population increase for Native Americans reflected in successive U.S. Census figures was also due to changes in the U.S. Census Bureau's definition of Native American. Since 1960 the Census Bureau has relied on self-identification to ascertain a person's race. Much of the increase in the American Indian populationófrom 523,591 in 1960 to 792,730 in 1970 to 1.37 million in 1980 to 1.9 million (including Eskimos and Aleuts) in 1990óresulted from persons not identifying themselves as American Indian in an earlier census but identifying themselves as such in a later census. It has been estimated, for example, that as much as 60 percent of the apparent population growth of American Indians from 1970 to 1980 may be accounted for by such changing identifications! The political mobilization of American Indians in the 1960s and 1970s, along with other ethnic-pride movements, may have lifted some of the stigma attached to an American Indian racial identity. This would be especially true for persons of mixed ancestry who formerly had declined to disclose their American Indian background. Conversely, persons with minimal American Indian background may have identified as American Indian out of a desire to affirm a "romanticized" notion of being American Indian.

Today over three hundred American Indian tribes (excluding Alaskan villages) in the United States are legally recognized by the federal government and receive services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs. There are additionally some 125 to 150 groups seeking federal recognition, and dozens of others that might do so in the future. The Bureau of Indian Affairs has used a "blood quantum" definitionógenerally, one-fourth degree of American Indian "blood"óand/or tribal membership to recognize a person as an American Indian. However, each tribe has a particular set of requirements, typically including a blood quantum, for membership (enrollment) in the tribe. Requirements vary widely from tribe to tribe: a few tribes require at least a one-half Indian (or tribal) blood quantum; many others require a one-fourth blood quantum; still others, generally in California and Oklahoma, require a one-eighth, one-sixteenth, or one-thirty-second blood quantum; and some tribes have no minimum blood quantum requirement at all but require an explicitly documented tribal lineage.

Tribes located on reservations have generally required higher degrees of blood quantum for membership than those not located on reservations. This pattern of requiring low percentages of Indian "blood" for tribal membership and relying on federal authorities to certify membership may be seen as a reflection of demographic decline. As the number of American Indians was reduced and American Indians came into increased contact with whites, blacks, and others, American Indian peoples increasingly married non-Indians. As a result, American Indians have had to rely on formal certification from the federal government as proof of their "Indianness."

In the early 1980s the total membership of the three hundred recognized U.S. tribes was about 900,000. Therefore, many of the 1.37 million persons identifying themselves as American Indian in the 1980 census were not actually enrolled members of federally recognized tribes. In fact, only about two-thirds were. In the late 1980s the total tribal membership was around 1 million; hence, only about 53 percent of the 1.9 million people identifying themselves as American Indian in the 1990 census were actually enrolled. Such discrepancies have varied considerably from tribe to tribe. Most of the 158,633 Navajos enumerated in the 1980 census and the 219,198 enumerated in the 1990 census were enrolled in the Navajo Nation; however, only about one-third of the 232,000 Cherokees enumerated in the 1980 census and of the 308,132 enumerated in the 1990 census were actually enrolled in one of the three Cherokee tribes (the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma, the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians [of North Carolina], and the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians of Oklahoma). Thus the Navajo Nation is the American Indian tribe with the largest number of enrolled members, but more persons identifying themselves as Native American identified themselves as Cherokee in the 1980 and 1990 censuses than did persons of any other tribe. The two other largest groups in the 1990 census were the Chippewas, or Ojibwas, (103,826) and the Sioux (103,255).

Similarities and differences exist in Canada. Officially, to be an Indian in Canada, one must be registered under the Indian Act of Canada; a person with Indian ancestry may or may not be registered. Categories of Canadian Indians include "status" or registered Indians, persons registered under the act; and "non-status" or non-registered Indians, persons who either never registered or gave up their registration and became enfranchised. Status Indians may be further divided into treaty or non-treaty Indians, depending on whether their group ever entered into a treaty relationship with the Canadian government. Of the 575,000 American Indians in Canada in the mid-1980s, some 75,000 were non-registered and some 500,000 were registered.

In conclusion a recent article on Native American colonization by John C. Mohawk in Indian Country Today summarizes these issues best.

Most of the indigenous peoples of the Americas (and all in Canada and the U.S.) faced a very serious reality. In their country, the invaders outnumbered the indigenous, sometimes by hundreds to one. They were not going to go back home. In addition, their stated goal was the eradication of the indigenous nations as nations by eroding all of the elements that make a distinct people a people: their history, their languages, their laws and customs. It took quite a while and a lot of boarding schools, missionaries, and corrupt public officials but the process - being colonized - has had an impact. When an individual loses his or her memory, they cannot recognize other people, they become seriously disoriented, and they donít know right from wrong. Sometimes they hurt themselves. Something similar happens when a people become colonized. They canít remember who they are because they are a people without a common history. Itís not that they donít have a history, itís just that they donít know what it is and itís not shared among them. Colonization is a kind of spiritual collapse of the nation. This is one result of a colonial education based on canonical "great books" texts. Indigenous peoplesí histories and cultures are not in those texts, and the life of the nation is not there, either. Identity is important. The colonists were very successful "radicalizing" indigenous identities such that people talk about being 25 percent of this or 40 percent of that, but one does not belong to a nation based on oneís blood quantum. Belonging to an indigenous nation is a way of being in the world. Holding a membership card is not a way of being and money canít buy it.

Colonization is the greatest health risk to indigenous peoples as individuals and communities. It produces the anomie - the absence of values and sense of group purpose and identity - that underlies the deadly automobile accidents triggered by alcohol abuse. It creates the conditions of inappropriate diet, which lead to an epidemic of degenerative diseases, and the moral anarchy that leads to child abuse and spousal abuse. Becoming colonized was the worst thing that could happen five centuries ago, and being colonized is the worst thing that can happen now.

De-colonization, on the other hand, means many different things to many different peoples. In principle, however, it means undoing the damage of colonization and involves elements such as living traditions and customs, language retention, and an insistence on the right to BE Lakota or Ganienkehaka or Oíotam or Tipai or whatever nation it is that people have a right to be.

Sources:
Cherokee Nation v. Georgia 30 U.S. (5 Pet.) 1, 8 L.Ed. 25 (1831).

Davenport, Frances Gardiner, 19l7, European Treaties bearing on the History of the United States and its Dependencies to 1648, Vol. 1, Washington, D.C.: Carnegie Institution of Washington.

Johnson and Graham's Lessee V McIntosh 21 U.S. (8 Wheat.) 543, 5 L.Ed. 681(1823).

Russell Thornton, American Indian Holocaust and Survival: A Population History since 1492 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1987);

Russell Thornton, The Cherokees: A Population History (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1990);

Douglas H. Ubelaker, American Journal of Physical Anthropology "North American Indian Population Size, a.d. 1500 to 1985," 77 (1988): 289-94.

Rivera-Pagan, Luis N., 1991, "Cross Preceded Sword in 'Discovery' of the Americas," in Yakima Nation Review, 1991, Oct. 4.

Newcomb, Steve. "Five Hundred Years of Injustice." Shaman's Drum. 1992, p. 18-20.

John C. Mohawk, Ph.D., columnist for, Indian Country Today.

Story, Joseph, 1833, Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States Vol. 1 Boston: Little, Brown & Co.

Blackfeet Reservation Development Fund, Inc. Cobell vs Norton, 2004.

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