Sunday, May 06, 2012

Conservative Native American here

I had some great conservative teachers back in the day.  Native American conservative thinkers like Billy Mills, Bill Lawrence and Robert Yellow Tail gave me enough fodder in my early years and later  to last a lifetime.   You don't find many conservatives across Indian Country today.  I have met maybe a gaggle of Indian men and women who believe in the merits of conservative thought and living.

Across Indian Country the faces of life are easy to see.  The collisions are enormous.   The sovereign to sovereign status between Indian tribes and the US Government is the most valuable right Indian tribes hold today.  Though tribes can not print money and can not represent themselves to foreigners (the UN excluded) the tribes have the ability to make their own laws and to "help" their people.  But what does this word "sovereign" mean?  What does it mean to be a sovereign nation with the political bounds of American society?  It seems like the government speaks with a forked tongue because making human beings into wards of the government under a BIA trusteeship like on so many reservations today is a human rights violation of the worst kind.  On one hand you have the "our treaties, our sovereignty are paramount, you, Big Government  owe us so turn on the spigot of U.S. taxpayer funds and let us spend as we please" and on the other you have the "these casino's are in our best interests and we pay no tax so don't let anyone else build a casino".   Then there are the liberal Democrats (just about all Natives)  who believe that only a Democratic President and Congress can pull people out of the quagmire of reservation life and bring about change, whatever the hell change is on a reservation because on most if not the majority of reservations, change is about all you will find.

Billy Mills in the spring of 1972, a mere 40 years ago this month presented to me in Pierre, SD the 1972 Outstanding Indian Athlete Award.  His message was as clear that day as it is today.  Stressing personal responsibility and leading a drug-free lifestyle, his message was and is for Native youth to become warriors in their quest to better themselves.   Maybe Billy is the reason that to this day I have never even smoked a cigarette.

Bill Lawrence, beholden to no tribal council believed in the freedom of the press.  With a law degree in hand he took on the thieves across Minnesota with the printed word and was instrumental in helping law enforcement bring some justice to thugs like Chip Wadena who ripped millions from the coffers of my tribe.

Robert Yellow Tail, the man who at age 80 was hunting elk with me on the Crow reservation high in the Big Horn Mountains.  Robbie was a man among men and truly the first conservative thinker across Indian Country.   My Dad loved that guy and the compassion for his people he wore on his chest.

There are others out there today.  In the shadows, not wanting to upset the gravy train of life on reservations.   They are the ones that need to be the warriors and bring forth the message of the early icons of conservative thinking in Indian Country.   Join me.

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