Friday, April 11, 2008

CH II: Fabricated “Tribes” And An Anti-Sovereignty Wannabe Indian

Originally Posted 21 February, 2008

There are dozens of anti-Indian and anti-sovereignty organizations spread across the United States. All have the same general goals, and in many cases there is an overlapping of specific goals, memberships, and leaders. The two organizations addressed in this continuing comment are the Upstate Citizens for Equality (UCE) and the anti-casino Coalition Against Gaming in New York.

The UCE was first established in August of1997 to fight the Oneida Land Claims. The Cayuga-Seneca Chapter was formed in 1999 against Seneca-Cayuga Land Claims, and the Niagara Frontier Chapter of the UCE was formed in December of 2002. The UCE bitterly opposes the establishment of any Indian Lands or Indian Sovereignty in New York State.

UCE is connected to another anti-sovereignty organization in New York, the Coalition Against Gaming in New York (CAGNY). Daniel Warren is both the chairman of one of the UCE Chapters and a director of CAGNY. Dr. Michael Niman, of Buffalo State College, wrote an excellent exposure of both groups which was published in the September 22, 2006 issue of Indian Country Today.

Claims are made that neither organization is actually a part of the other, but membership and positions merely overlap. I submit that this is not immaterial, and indeed does provide a solid connection. UCE fights against Native Land Claims and Sovereignty, seeking an “expeditious and final resolution of all Indian land claims.” This alone is ominous and reflective of a “Final Indian Solution” and reminiscent of Hitler’s “Final Jewish Solution” According to a December 2006 Syracuse Post Standard article, UCE President David Vickers made a comment on a Syracuse radio program that “These people [Indians] can’t be shot.” Sigmund Freud would have a field day in psychoanalyzing Vickers and his hidden agenda.

Joel Rose, Chairman of CAGNY, rebutted Niman’s exposure of the organization as anti-Indian by claiming the group is not racist. Yet, according to published accounts, Daniel Warren wrote a letter to ArtVoice saying that he “supports “either the rescission or full legalization of gambling, but not the granting of a monopoly [to Indians].” Yet, there is no “monopoly” of gaming to Indians in New York. According to the 2006 New York State Racing and Wagering Board report, gaming in the state included non-Indian activities (bingo, bell jar, etc.) that resulted in $353 million being wagered, and a total of nearly $2.6 billion being wagered on horse racing for that year.

Using his Mohawk “identity”, Rev. David “Distant Eagle” Auldin is the Vice-Chairman of CAGNY and has taken on the image of being an “Native American Activist. In this role, ex-self proclaimed “Cherokee” Auldin has stated: “I am the pastor of two churches located not far from the proposed Sullivan County casinos, and the former pastor of a church near the Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun casinos in Connecticut. I am also the author of a major forthcoming book on Native American culture. And I speak with the voice of many Iroquois people, including members of our traditional government, who oppose Native American casinos.”

When one states that he or she “speaks with the voice” of any group of people, I fail to see a distinction from equating that with speaking for them. Yet Auldin has back-peddled from this claim when recently challenged by a real Indian Activist acquaintance of mine. He responded: “As to speaking for the Mohawks, that is something that I have never done and never would do. I always only speak for myself.” He then continued on the tired old wannabe refrain of “being disrespectful” and “twisting the truth”, along with that she “sounds to me like one of those talks-a-lot types who needs a good dose of reality.”

It’s undeniable that there are many American Indians who oppose casinos. However, this blog is not about the worth of casinos. While Auldin might have some good points in his presentations, it’s dishonest and misleading to present those points while conducting a masquerade al la the Boston Tea Party. It’s also unimaginable why a real Indian would ever join an organization that is active in attacking Tribal Sovereignty and land trusts. For Auldin to do so under the guise of being American Indian gives these organizations a false face in representing their real goals.

Given the successful campaigns by anti-Sovereignty organizations, along with the support of congressional and state politicians, the question arises about their influence on Department of Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne and his recent rash of land to trust decisions. Kempthorne has refused to explain these decisions other than that the trust lands applied for are “too far from reservation lands“. This, of course, does not take in consideration that those lands were most likely part of the ancestral lands in the first place before the government removed the tribes from them. He also follows the anti-Sovereignty line that casinos on these trust lands would have “ negative impacts on reservation life”. In other words, the ex-U.S. Senator and Idaho Governor knows more about what would be good for tribes better than tribes do.

The St. Regis Tribal Gaming Commissioner does not believe that the anti-gaming and anti-Sovereignty organizations have influenced Kempthorne. This might be so, but such a view would have to discount the massive campaigns put forth by these groups - or the influence of their lobbyists on the government. Events are tied together even by the smallest thread - there is no such thing as pure coincidence.

We can see how the birth of a newly fabricated State Recognized “Tribe” can lead to other fabricated “Indian” organizations and wannabes, all which can have undesirable consequences to the future of the American Indian peoples. While these things might occur many states and miles away from us, eventually we will all reap the disastrous results.

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