reply to post by James1982
Native American reservations are not truly free in any political sense.
Tribal courts, where they exist, may try only tribal members. If an American citizen commits a crime on tribal lands, the tribes are expressly
forbidden to try them, but must hand them over to federal authorities who may, and usually do, simply release them unless the crime was murder and the
victim non-Native. The tribes cannot create or enforce anti-pollution laws that can be applied to non-tribal members. It is like saying that a state
may try only state citizens, but not those of neighboring states.
Recently the Cherokee were forced by the Federal government to redefine who exactly is
a Cherokee, under threat of voiding the results of the
recent election for tribal Chairman. The tribe had chosen to expel non-Cherokee descendants of the freed black slaves held by the Cherokee who after
the Civil War the feds at the time forced the tribe to enroll as citizens so as to be better able to control the outcome of tribal elections.
The BIA (Bureau of Indian Affairs) controls all tribal resources and frequently gives contracts to exploit those resources to corporations without
tribal consent, consultation, or input. Those deals are usually of the "sweetheart" variety, with little of the profit returning to tribal
We have no seats in the UN, not even observer status.
The US refuses to recognize our passports, refuses to recognize our right to issue them, and presses other nations to refuse to accept them.
The tribes have no power to deny entry to federal forces like the FBI, or state police. Extradition is not required to snatch a tribal citizen from
tribal lands, although is is required from one state to another.
Our economic life is tightly controlled from Washington, as are our politics. Every significant thing we might wish to do we must beg permission for,
and that permission is frequently held hostage to force us to surrender some aspect of control in return. We are not free to change our constitutions
(originally written by the feds) without federal approval.
Our religious beliefs and ceremonies are subject to approval by the feds.
The list is endless.
We are not free.
Our lives, our economies, our beliefs, our politics are remotely controlled by others without concern for how it will effect our lives. Our lands may
be usurped at any moment for any reason and there is little to nothing we can do about it. Our very identities are subject to the whims of
Ever hear of termination?
It is the process by which the federal government unilaterally withdraws recognition of tribal status, confiscates tribal lands and properties,
selling them off and distributing a portion of the proceeds to the former members of the tribe, and tells them they are simply Americans from here on
out, with no tribal status or rights. Every tribe lives under that constant threat of cultural genocide.
We are not free.
True freedom would recognize us as true sovereign states with the right and ability to kick unwanted federal goons off tribal lands, control of our
own currencies and economies, the right to make laws without asking "Father may I?", the right to jail those who pollute our lands, the right to
negotiate treaties with the other nations of the world, the right to sit in the UN and have our voices heard unfiltered by the interests of the US.
One of the reasons the US refuses to recognize the authority of the World Court is that the tribes have sued the US in it to enforce treaty
obligations that the US consistently ignores, like returning our full sovereignty and freedom.
If the Palestinians can sit in the UN, why can't the tribes?
If the Navajo wanted to sign a treaty for mining rights with say France or, Mexico, Canada, China or Russia why shouldn't it be strictly the business
of the Navajo to do so? They can't though, because the US has usurped their sovereignty. If the Sioux wanted to rebuild the buffalo herds and control
their populations, they would need federal permission to do so, and the feds would dictate to whom they could sell the meat and hides.
Freedom would mean we could tell the feds and states to go take a hike and give us the ability to control and police our own borders without asking
anyone's permission to do so.
We are not free.