Editorial – “Go Fighting Hamsters!” Gary Fife, Radio Communications Specialist
Editor’s Note: The following column contains strong language.
OKMULGEE, Okla.— Ever notice the phrase “federally recognized tribes” when it comes to identifying who is and who isn’t an Indian. If your tribe is not on the list, published by the BIA— (some say ‘Boss Indians Around’) in the Federal Register, then it could mean the differences between receiving services or not, funding or not, having a CDIB (Certificate of Degree of Indian Blood) card or even entering art shows.
Well, the BIA finally got around to publishing that list, like they’re supposed to according to law. 567. That’s the number of tribes having this political (political, not racial) relationship with the U.S. government. Now, if you are wondering where all these tribes are, a good many of them are Alaska Native Villages, recognized as local units of government—tribes. From the Absentee Shawnee of Oklahoma, to the Yupiit of Andreafski in Alaska, to the Zuni Tribe of New Mexico, we’re all good Indians, right?
Here’s what the feds said: “This notice publishes the current list of 567 tribal entities recognized and eligible for funding and services from the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) by virtue of their status as Indian Tribes. The list is updated from the notice published on May 4, 2016 (81 FR 26826).” And…if just have to see for yourself:
Publication Date: 01/17/2017
Agencies: Bureau of Indian Affairs
Document Type: Notice
Document Citation: 82 FR 4915
Page: 4915-4920 (6 pages)
Agency/Docket Number: 178A2100DD/AAKC001030/A0A501010.999900253G (that’s a long one, huh?)
Document Number: 2017-00912
I guess if your tribe ain’t on it, you’re outta luck.
The emotional battle of an Indian child’s parental custody like Baby Veronica won’t be repeated, according to national news sources. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court turned down an effort to hear a case involving a Native American girl who was ordered removed from a California foster home and reunited with relatives in Utah. “Lexi,” who is part Choctaw, was 6-years-old when she was taken from her foster home near Los Angeles under terms of the Indian Child Welfare Act.
From the “I Can’t Believe This Happened” category:
“Public hanging of Native man re-enactment sparks outrage.”
The Historical Society of Hanna’s Town, Pennsylvania actors performed a public execution re-enactment of the hanging of Mamachtaga to an enthusiastic crowd.
The Indian news outlet reported for the first time in the society’s history, the celebration coordinators chose to re-enact a public hanging, this time of Mamachtaga, a Delaware man convicted of murder in 1785. A video of the public hanging was posted on YouTube June 26, 2016. The video shows several children in the audience watching as men dressed in colonial dress hang a red-face painted ‘Mamachtaga.’ Several people, presumably re-enactors, shouted comments such as, “Dirty no good Indian deserves to be hung,” and “Murderers, that’s all that they are.”
Several people expressed outrage over the video in Facebook comments. “This is horrible,” commented one. “What is wrong with people? Letting their kids watch this s***! Nothing like family bigotry,” was also commented.
Many people have contacted both the Westmoreland County Historical Society and the volunteer group who participated in the re-enactment to let them know of their opposition to such depictions. ‘Indian Country Today’ says, “According to them, the issue of race did not enter into the re-enactment. Asked if the group would have done a similar performance if the criminal had been African American they said, ‘Yes.’ “Although the matter is under discussion, the committee doubted that the hanging would be included in next year’s Frontier Court Re-enactment Days celebrations.
Let’s hope not or what? The public hanging of Native men is still a spectator sport?
Let’s change the subject and mood.
Remember last year when I mentioned that a ritzy East Coast college was changing its mascot? “Lord Jeff” had been the mascot for Amherst College in Massachusetts. In the 1700s, he was the guy that suggested using smallpox infected blankets on the local Native people to get rid of them. The national mood to change sports team’s mascots motivated the school to make the change and several new ideas came to mind. The Amherst Facebook page reported in December a big list of names was submitted, and then pared down to about 30. One of them (and my favorite) was the ‘Hamsters.’
Could you imagine at some athletic competition when the team makes its appearance, it’s led by a squad of beautiful ‘Hamster-ette’ cheerleaders and they come out of a big HabiTrail plastic tube?
Nibble em’, nibble em’. Go Fighting Hamsters!
Tafvmpuce! Wild onion season’s not too far off! Ready for the dinners?
[Shortly after the posting of this article on Indian Country Today, the original video noted in this story was taken off of YouTube due to the public outcry. Also, Chief Chester L. Brooks of the Delaware Tribe of Indians located in Bartlesville, OK issued a strongly worded request for the video to be taken down, and the letter, which demanded immediate action from the Westmoreland County Historical Society of Pennsylvania to stop the reenactment, and expressed the tribe’s outrage that the historical society would go beyond the bounds of decency, also demanded an apology and that the removal of the video should be completed within ten days. READ THIS ENTIRE ARTICLE.]
Colleges and universities
Federally recognized tribes should brace for possible termination policy under Trump
Whether we like it or not, Saglutupiaġataq (“the compulsive liar” in Iñupiatun) is now president of the United States and Republicans control Congress. Federally recognized Alaska Native and American Indian tribes should brace for the worst, including the possibility that Congress may move to terminate federally recognized tribes.