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13 Mar 2007
The threads are coming together!
Thread 1. My family dropped from the tribal roll generations back. In those days, nDns (our modern way to spell American Indians) were discriminated against. Mixed bloods of that era would often drop the nDn affiliation and move away to get away from the prejudice. Many of the folks of this generation wish our ancestors had not dropped out.
Thread 2. Back in the 1860s after the nDn wars were over, and treaties signed, everything was calm. Then Americans noticed gold and timber and other resources in the Black Hills. They started mining and logging the forests. We almost were at war again.
The US Government said they would (between the BIA, DOI, and BLM) administer a plan where they charged usage fees for anyone exploiting the treaty lands. (This was adopted for all Red Nations, including the Zuni and Navajo who get mineral rights royalties like we do from the Blakc Hills.)
That money would go into trust funds that nDns could draw on as needed. Over the next 125 years, those funds were regularly looted by governemtn workers and politicians alike. In a class action lawsuit that has been ongoing for over a dozen years, US District Court Judge Royce Lamberth ordered the GAO to assess the state of the nDn trust fund accounts.
The accounting records for each year fall into one of three classes.
1. All or significant numbers of records are present to perform an accounting.
2. Significant records are missing, but accounting can be performed using nearby years to estimate the missing records.
3. All or significant numbers of records are missing, making actual accounting impossible. Suggest using nearby years to estimate probable activity.
Over the last 125 years, approximately 25% of the years are Class 1 (ready to go). 40% of the years are of Class 2 (sketchy, but okay). and the remaining 35% are Class 3 (guessing from other years).
The GAO found that taking the current nDn trust funds balance and just the records for Class 1 years, $18Billion is missing from the nDn trust funds. Adding Class 2 years tacks on another $28B, and the best estimate the GAO has for all years is a missing $46B or more.
Irony: nDn reservations are the sites of America's greatest poverty. So give us our effing money and we won't be poor.
The Federal Government has been fighting tooth and nail to not give the nDns their rightful due. First they tried to say the funds weren't really trust funds. The nDns argued that the Coogan Law et cetera applied. The appeal went to the Supreme Court, and the nDns won that round.
12 years and many appeals later, the Feds latest appeal to the Supreme court is that "Yes, there are funds missing, but the amount is so large, it will be a problem to repay it, so just cancel the debt."
Wasn't that Hitler's approach?
Kill dozen = mass murderer.
Kill millions = government social policy.
Have a nice day, unless you are Jewish, Gypsy, or gay.
Latest US appeal to Supreme Court
Rob a trust fund = embezzler
Rob a dozen trust funds = racketeering
Rob millions of nDn trust funds = government social policy
Have a nice day, unless you are nDn.
Shame on the US Federal lawyers who would argue that.
Thread 3. In my novel "How the Strong Survive" (about to be in stores) four women victims of a serial rapist go to Lakhota priest Ben Pace seeking justice. The rapist is the nephew of the Governor of Maryland. The rich and powerful family rigged the legal system to get a not guilty for the rapist.
Ben's spirit guide -- Raven Who Hops -- has Ben take the challenge, and to tie the rape of the women as a metaphor to the rape of the Red Nations by the US government, via the nDn trust funds. The solution to getting justice for one group will provide justice for the other.
Thread 4. Judge Royce Lamberth and the GAO ordered the BIA to stop the practice of keeping trust fund accounts without a known payee. They were ordered to find the descendants of the original account holders with whereabouts unknown. The BIA published the list on this web site.
My sister Annette is one of the genealogy volunteers helping the BIA find the missing folks. In the process, she found six of our ancestors on the list. I doubt that we will be in the money, but we will at long last have proven ties to our nDn heritage. Until now, I have only had family tradition without direct proof.
All the above threads are spinning together now. It must be a part of the tapestry of the universe. Isn't it curious and natural that all this should come to a head just before my book launch? How poetic that I may be part of what I originally wrote about as an injustice to be made right.
I hope that my book "How the Strong Survive" will help the plight of the Red Nations in America, in the same way that "To Kill a Mockingbird" helped in the fight against racism.
Not worthy of it all,
newt, somewhere on theRed Road
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