Natives Rising: Thoughts about Reservations - P.O.W. Report

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Natives Rising: Thoughts about Reservations


nativesrising.org and Natives Rising on Facebook has been making some regular posts on the topic of reservations. Below are the full posts, if you would like to follow the page [go here]. 


Thoughts about Reservations- We hate to wade into politics yet there is an elephant in the room everyone is ignoring that is spiritual poison on most tribal lands that unfortunately is also unavoidably political. There is no way to raise the quality of life on Indian Reservations without addressing this problem that we can see.

In South America there used to be these vast squatter communities filled mostly with NDNs that were wretchedly poor. Likely some of these places still exist. But there was an economist in Peru (a true indigenous hero to our eyes) who had a thought.

These NDNs were coming down from the villages to live in the urban areas and creating these settlements on government owned land. Politically the government couldn't chase them out because in places like Peru 70% of the population identify as indigenous and NOT mestizo. So they left them there and set up all kinds of government programs. Kinda like reservations. Like reservations people kept getting free programs but did not keep getting better lives.

Hernando De Soto Polar decided to ask the government to do something completely different that is long past time happens here. Stop government control of those lands. Let the owner of each little shack own the land outright and without restriction of any kind that his ramshackle hut sits on. Let the community decide what to do with any common areas and let their version of the BIA go to hell.

This is very political because NDNs have been trained to believe we must be dependent. It is also spiritual because NDNs have been trained to believe we must dependent.

I propose a series of thoughts for the day that will challenge the notion that dependence on the BIA and government handouts has been good for our people. I understand some will not agree. At the same time, it actually is a spiritual situation.

Thoughts about Reservations Part 2~ When we hurt, anybody can sell us anything for almost any amount if they promise it will relieve the pain. Even a partial solution will do no matter how temporary.

A solution that sort of helps but has to be kept going such as a drug that relieves pain for an hour or so and has to be retaken again is actually worth quite a bit less than a cure that might require some pain in the short run but handles everything in the long run.

People who benefit by distributing the temporary solution such as drug dealers and BIA agents do not want cures because they won't be needed after the withdrawals of dependency go away.

Indians are dependent on a lot of Free S**t that almost kinda sorta helps for a few days but has to be distributed again next month to also kinda sort of almost handle things.

Better for us to take the cure for things even if there are some withdrawals we will have to go through. Why do we need a BIA or similar Federal office to oversee what we do with and on our own land?

Thoughts about Reservations Part 3~ America, as my daughter has recently learned to the amazement of the family, was founded on John Locke's principle of the individual's right to Life, Liberty and Property. The fundamental problem of the reservation system is that it has at one point or another violated all three of these basic rights.

America, in the broader sense, has succeeded because property rights backed up by most people being able to trust the Law to protect these rights has enough confidence to go out into the world and produce a little more than is needed to get by.

Reservations have not succeeded precisely because there is no such trust and only those who are born already supernaturally confident can really achieve big things. As far as I know it is virtually impossible for any NDN anywhere to get a bank loan on what everyone pretends is "his property" to fix up the place or build a nicer home or take his equity and go start a business as millions of his fellow Americans have done for a very long time. So no economy to speak of exists within the boundaries of a reservation and everybody leaves to go to Walmart.

Why? Because the land isn't really owned. Not the same way it would be if the same land was off the reservation. We are treated like children on our so called sovereign lands by a government that pretends it must look out for our well being. So we get a lot of free s**t but very few opportunities.

Not good.

Thoughts on Reservations Pt 4.~ We all hear stories about how Whitey Mc Whiteguy enriches himself on the rez thanks to a business contract he gets from the tribe. We all know that one where he's happy but the only benefit the tribe sees is maybe one or two jobs created and a couple tribal council suddenly have new Cadillac's or mansions.

Why do we hardly hear about corruption in the broader society but we are all pretty sure our own tribal government defies it? British Philosopher Lord Acton gave us the answer a long time ago: Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

No matter how well meaning a tribal council is, if their child needs new shoes they can't help but use whatever advantages they have to make sure the kid isn't barefoot.

In the broader society Whitey Mc Whiteguy doesn't need special permission to do just about anything on land he owns unless a special zone exists like its a wetland, a residential neighborhood or is next door to a day care. On the rez, if someone wants to build a mine or harvest some trees approval needs to be gotten that's a little more political than simply getting a permit.

In heavily socialized countries everyone is equally poor except those in power who shoot all the moneyed elite but eventually become them. Where no individual truly owns land very little in the way of private enterprise can be built up and whatever activity is there is controlled by the people in political power.

They will inevitably, EVEN IF THEY ARE GOOD PEOPLE, make sure they are not left out when the very small pie is sliced up. But when people own and control their own land, they decide what to do with it. This will produce inequality of outcome as certain as the sun will come up in the East. Some people hate that but equality of outcome inevitably means nearly everyone is poor (like on reservations) and there is no way to enrich a society that doesn't include some inequality.

I will explain why that is always true no matter what political ideology is dominant in the next Thought for the Day.


Thoughts about Reservations Part 5- Inequality of outcome is the natural consequence of multiple people trying to do similar things. It is a very appealing idea that we set up a system where no matter what anybody does or how well they do it we should all live in more or less the same quality of house, have the same amount of cool new gadgets and about the same amount of money in the bank. Its a very appealing idea and would be possible if we were ants, or bunny rabbits or just about anything but human beings.

Some people will always have an advantage over the rest of the population in some useful area and history proves that societies that try to handicap those people don't turn out very well. The reason is when they begin to succeed they create jobs that would not otherwise exist and can't be made to exist in any other way.

The business run by the wildly talented individual or bankrolled by Mr. Gotbucks who hires very clever people to run it will always do better than those ordered into existence by people who have political power.

A basketball team made up of people who have competed to be on it will always beat the one put together by politics. Why? Because some people are good at basketball, some people are great at basketball and some people should be physically restrained from ever setting foot on the court.

If basketball is the only job available in a community a handful of people will be very rich and everyone else will be very poor. The solution to this is the one discovered by the United States of American but never arrived on the Reservation.

Let people do what they are good at and want to do and don't have any stupid BIA or other Agency rules that tells them they can't or sets up idiotic barriers for them other people don't have. Then you have lots of people who are successful at DIFFERENT things. No real ownership of land on reservations is just one such idiotic barrier because most businesses need money or credit to get started. Whitey Mc Whiteguy has a much easier time getting credit because he owns land off the Rez. The tribal member with land on the Rez can't do that.

Not fair

Thoughts on Reservations Pt 6~ Only a saint will do the horrible gut wrenching work and make the risky investments needed to start a business that will create jobs for more than himself and his immediate children without a hope he will eventually profit handsomely for doing so. A plumber who never has any intention of hiring anyone ever and is happy doing all the work himself is really setting up a glorified job for himself and doesn't have to worry or do nearly as much as the one who will one day have employees.

An employee almost never cares about the business or even the quality of the product as much as the owner of a successful business does. He doesn't have to and so most often never does. Running a business is not something anyone can do.

Keeping that business going is even harder. In my years as a traveling salesman I quickly learned that 2 groups of people are almost always the best people possible to meet: Fine Artists and successful small business owners.

Why? Because to do either requires a level of discipline and ethics most people will never know about and can't do no matter what Fidel Castro has to say about it. Corporate Hot Shots almost never compare and non-profit workers are passionate but rarely lose everything if they are unsuccessful.
The process of becoming a fine artist (really anyone who creates something something with an extraordinary level of skill and finished product) or a small business owner sharpens the person into a much better individual than almost anything else out there.

A mechanic who never actually finishes your car will always lose business to the one who does; and he will lose business to the one who only fixes the actual problem and charges a fair price for it. Sneaky bastards go out of business very quickly and incompetent bastards go out of business even faster.

For economies on reservations to grow there will need to be tribal members who start businesses and have the kind of back up only money provides. That's why being able to tap into the value of their homes is so very important and why Whitey Mc Whiteguy and his buddies all have businesses. They can do that but the NDN on the Rez just up the road can't.

Not smart.

Final thoughts on reservations~ Everything wrong on reservations can really be said to have one source no matter which of the many problems our people face are examined.

Hopelessness.

Not a total lack of hopelessness as we see many die-hards who work until their hearts give out to improve conditions or bring cheer to others. These are the true and amazing heroes of NDN Country and I worship them all.

Hopelessness is a spiritual issue and politics is only relevant here to the extent that policies create or relieve that hopelessness. Reservation policies create that feeling by the bucket full.

Tribal governments are set up outside of our traditions and as such don't always address cultural and spiritual issues. In fact, they often shower money creating interest in activities that are "cultural" because a tribe a thousand miles away practiced them but their own ancestors never did.

Traditional religions are often overshadowed by imported belief systems so that in some lands the people have little or no understanding of how their ancestors handled life's questions. This is where storytelling is so needed by the way.

I believe the purveyors of imported religions mean well but often the answers they offer don't perfectly fit culturally and therefore spiritually to the needs of the people.

The one area where a person can find everyday reassurance in his value and his future is work. For work to do that for most people it is necessary there be no policies that get in an honest person's way.

I am not a lawyer so I don't know how the details would best sort out but there has to be a legal way for an ambitious and talented NDN to establish credit and use the value of his property to secure large loans. Even if all he did with the money was pretty up his property he would be making a contribution to the well being of his community. He would be saying, in this neighborhood there is hope and a reason to get up in the morning.

Your Friendly Neighborhood Ravenspeaker





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