Saturday, September 15, 2007

More Tribal issues...........

If you go to Washington DC, where our elected politicians take in over one billion dollars a day from lobbyists and do very little to address the issues I happen to be concerned about, issues like criminal trespass/immigration from Mexican and Central American invaders, tax reform and social security reform you will find there in DC a building called the National Archives. In it is every treaty that was signed by OUR government with Native American tribes. Never forget, every single treaty that was ever signed has been violated.
As a member of the White Earth Band of Chippewa I grew up on many reservations across Montana, North Dakota and South Dakota. Back then, there were no game laws on those reservations and most reservations had no game/fish codes. I witnessed alot of ugliness where wildlife was involved. From guys running snow machines into elk herds up in the Big Horns on the Crow Reservation in Montana and gunning down a couple dozen elk in deep snow to the spotlighters running nightly routes along the Missouri River on the Yankton Sioux reservation. As wildlife regulations came into place on many reservations, it was the reservation game wardens themselves who became the biggest poachers. They had the time and money. One of the greatest success stories in the history of mule deer is what happened on the Jicarilla reservation with the tribe hiring Tom Watts and doing what they had to do, shutting down the hunting of mule deer by tribal/non-tribal members and geting a very aggressive mountain lion eradication effort going. I am sure Larson Panzee would agree! He's a huge tribal beneficiary of that program. I am the only guy probably on earth who spent an awesome January day on the Jicarilla after a fresh snowfall trying to photograph monster mulies and only saw does.

With tribal gaming bringing in more revenue to tribes there is probably more money around to fuel law suits. Most states don't want to entangle themselves in legal battles with tribes. The US Supreme Court has weighed in often enough about tribal sovereignty. Very few, if any tribes have hunting programs in place like the White Mountain Apache in Arizona where $12,000 bull tags are the norm.

The issues are many and varied with enough legal and ethical issues around to fuel both sides of the fight. There have been rock solid issues discussed in this thread. True, there is no way to make reparations for the wrongs from long ago. Yes, the herds need protection. Finding the common good will be the answer. I don't have it. Maybe it won't happen in our lifetimes. Until the tribes want to successfully manage their members and the resource it won't happen. Tribal court systems on many reservations are an absolute joke. Tribal judges won't get the job done in most cases. I have seen the look on an elders eyes light up when I would bring a deer to an old couple on the Pine Ridge reservation in South Dakota . It would be the only fresh meat they would get all year. Maybe those days are past, maybe not. Maybe before we judge we need to look at the other guy and see where his moccassins have taken him. I know I need to do a better job of it. I made it off the reservation. I know life on the outside. To many, that is all there is.

Dean Parisian
Chippewa Partners
Team Muleys Pro Staff

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