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Old 09-19-2006, 10:39 PM   #2
crazywolf
crazywolf
 
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Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Detroit Lakes, MN
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It is important to me

Boozhoo niji,

I do not relish in the thought of any kind of extinction unless its a natural one, i.e. asteriod hitting the earth and wiping out everything is pretty natural. People commiting genocide is not natural unless you subscribe to the theory that people are natural and then everything they do is Gods will. I for one do not believe that.

People are the only species on this planet that can more or less control their destiny. People are the only species that can control their environment.

One of the things that happens when an outside force comes in to take control of the environment is that a balance is upset. Globally forests are being cut down to make way for urbanization, and industry is growing and increasing the amount of pollutants put into the air. Global warming is the result, and as the polar ice caps melt, species will disappear forever. As the rain forest is cut down, species disappear.

Our people are no exception, but it is taking more than deforestation and the slaughter of the buffalo to accomplish this. Rules have been set as far as how much percentile blood one can have to be enrolled. I dont know if this actually causes the population of any one tribe to diminish, I do not have the statistics in front of me, but... if a tribe keeps an even population within itself, not growing or diminishing but remaining constant, the world would grow around it and cause its presence to diminish.

Sometimes the percentile is not set by the federal government, but by the tribe itself. The federal government allots so much money to each tribe, and each tribe has x amount of dollars annually to utilize as it sees fit. Since the introduction of reservations and money, tribal members have become more and more dependant on money. The traditional way of life simply is not there anymore. Grocries must be bought, as well as health care, transportation, and schooling. All of these things put a burden on the tribal budget, and it is up to the tribal committee to see how much funds are distributed to each group, and, I am sure, after the police and water are paid for, the rest is divided up equally among tribal members.

EVerytime a person is born into the tribe, the number of people to divide that money into is increased by that one. Then everyone gets a little bit less. In an economy with ever increasing fuel costs, insurance and taxes (if you live off rez), if the money comming in becomes less and not more than it puts that much more of a burden on the budget.

I know this, myself and my family live in Florida, we do not receive any government monies at all. I work, my mother and father both receive social security and my father receives a monthly check from his union as part of his pension. All of that income is fixed. Over the past couple of years we have had hurricanes and other things that have caused taxes and insurance to go up. Fuel has gone up, groceries, and well... everything, but the fixed income has not gone up. We can no longer afford to live in Florida, to keep a house which is PAID for, because of the taxes and insuance. Minnesota is the way to go.

Since Columbus, the white man has struggled to take control of this land, and every aspect of it. At first our people were killed. When that didnt work, they tried prisons (reservations) and finally assimilation. The latter seems to be working. With our languages disappearing and Elders dieing one by one, as the full bloods pass on a little part of that culture goes with them. Not so much is being taught anymore, stories are not being told anymore.

My mother has the minimum blood percentage to be enrolled, and she is, yet she knows no stories, no songs, and had never been to a pow wow until I started to dance. I am the one interested in learning all of that, and so far, most of what I know I got from books. Since I discredit what the white man taught me in school, I do not count that towards my knowledge of people since I believe that its not true.

Tribal enrollment is one thing I will probably never know, and sometimes I wonder if it even matters. Being not enrolled does not make me less of a dancer or not as good of a flute player. It does not forbid me from participating in sweats or attending pow wows. It does not hinder me from learning anything (although living in Florida and not Minnesota does slow me down in learning anything).

So I pose this question. Is a culture to be measured by how much of a percentage the members of it posess, or by the amount of knowledge that they posess of their own culture? Its the knowledge and wisdom of a culture that defines it, the traditions, the language, the legends, the songs. With these things, we are Anishinaabe, Cheyenne, Lakota, Dine, Cherokee, and so on. Without all of those qualities, we are just Americans, trying to make a living in this insane world.

So then how do we keep from being exterminated? If we impose the percentages to control how the money is divied out then we follow the white mans plan. If we rely on the money (which we almost have to) then we follow his plan. But I believe that there are ways for us to preserve our cultures, if we take the steps to do that.

I dont know what the steps are. I have ideas, and they are extreme ones. No one would probably believe them, so I am not posting them. But I do know that unless some kinds of changes are made, then our people will be assimilated into the white cultures. We are at the turning point, we have been for 200 years. Which path will you take? I know whats in front of me.

Derek
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