Opinion

Charles Kader: Unprecedented targeting of Indian smokeshops





"American history shows the repeated pattern of federal and state government interference within American Indian communities. Like a habit that cannot be kicked, these efforts to assimilate free human beings are repetitious. The whitewash that social welfare programs provide to reservation communities amounts to debt maintenance to the lineage and existence that each Onkwehonweh (original people) carries within them. It is small business that grows communities.

There are contemporary examples. The recent federal agency raids conducted at the Western Door of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy, in Tonawanda and Cattaraugus Seneca Territories, create a moment for pause and reflection in Indian country.

Questions of freewill shall again be raised by Onkwehonweh. Are matters under control, and whose control are they under? Who is most affected by these historical interactions involving Haudenosaunee merchants? Are American Indian tribal economies under attack by corporate trade-protectionism, backed by badge-wielding masked highwaymen?

These 2012 raids, conducted by the Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) agencies, have targeted individuals and tribal business owners alike. Most recently in Cattaraugus, an interstate trucking company owner was shackled, along with his staff, with ATF weapons pointed at all, following federal search warrant service. He has been charged with violations of the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act (CCTA)."

Get the Story:
Charles Kader: Bureaucracy and Lineal Title (Indian Country Today 11/14)

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