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Location: Redding, CA, United States

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Government Misdirection and other ailments in Washington

Those of you who remember all the way back to last year may recall that the State of California adopted in both houses a resolution (AJR 39) which supported the Winnemem Wintu effort to have Congress and the president look into our tribal status and called upon them to correct the mistake of our omission from the list of recognized tribes. The document was sent, from the State here all the way across the country to Washington DC, where it was to be delivered to all of the California legislative representatives and Senators as well as the President, the Secretary of the Interior, the BIA and the Committee on Indian Affairs. Now, that must have cost a lot of stamps and time to get that sent and we are now almost a year into its sending and guess what: No response from anyone, not even a staffer named Joe or Billy or Johnny (anyone of Indian Staffers at least) has sent anything...nothing, zip, nil, Nada.

So, we send letters and emails to the Indian keepers in the District asking: "Hey Chalit..what's up with our papers? Did ya read 'em yet?" To these messages; many sent to folks we helped when they were itty bitty guys and gals, also go unanswered. Hmmm, I says to myself, what gives with this..looking a mirror I still see my mug and looking across the room I see the Chief and all our folks, so I ask, mostly to myself what gives?
The government apparently is way too busy: they have elections, get people in, make promises, and then start campaigning for the next election. All the while misdirecting those of us who count on at least hearing something back, into blind alleys and dead end hallways where no ones lives and no one answers the door. What are they afraid of exactly?

So, we follow the AJR 39 mailing with one to the President of the United States himself: President Obama. Now the letter we sent him was 25 or so pages long with another 60 or so pages of attachments (I may be off a bit on the numbers but trust me - it was a lot).
Now I know, he ain't gonna read it, he may not even see it, but someone should look at it and address the issues it raised. Nothing about filing for recognition, nothing about restoration, it only asked for the government to make good on its promises to our people (all based on their own congressional act in 1941 - the CVP Indian Land Acquisition Act.

Well, let me tell you, it cost us that time to send out all the copies (Senators, Congressmen, Secretaries, assistant Secretaries and such.) Now remember, this was addressed to the President, a guy who all the Indians think walks on water and is the best thing since sliced bread and the folded napkin. He did not respond, not even one of those auto signed letters presidents are famous for (I have them from Bush2, and Nixon), no instead, we get a letter from Lee Fleming, the guy we have been shuttled to more times than the flight crews at Reagan get shuttled to the Holiday Inn. Know what his reply says? He says our petition (which we never filed and we discussed with him about 5 or 6 times now) has a deficiency letter and cannot be acted upon.

The letter, again, was a government to government complaint to the President. As a Sovereign we thought we would at least get a courtesy response from someone other than Mr. Fleming. Misdirection, misinformation and plain old idiocy in the district. If anyone knows anyone in Washington or who knows the new 'Skin admins, let them know that the unreckoned with are still here, we will always be here and our sense of direction will never be messed with by the masters of misdirection in DC.