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Commentary: Indians still invisible in 2005

"Out of sight, out of mind.

Such is the conclusion about Native Americans that's likely in this part of the country as the Star-Telegram draws the curtain on our 2005 observance of American Indian Heritage Month.

That's just about it for Indian news, which usually floats in obscurity even though there's abundant justification at the national level for at least the scrutiny of watchdog coverage -- one of the greatest resources that an American minority can depend upon to expose abuses at the hands of the powers that be.

For instance, the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs, part of the Interior Department, should be a natural attraction for watchdogs. The BIA works with a budget of more than $2 billion to (as it says) "fulfill its trust responsibilities and promote self-determination on behalf of tribal governments, American Indians and Alaska Natives."

And as the BIA notes, "In the last two centuries, the Congress has passed more Federal laws affecting Indians than any other group of people in the United States. The Snyder Act, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, the Indian Reorganization Act are just a few of the laws that have defined the Federal authority and obligation to provide various programs and services to Indian Country."

Another draw should be the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, headed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. The committee deals with any number of issues involving subjects ranging from payment authorizations to environment-related controversies involving tribal land."

Get the Story:
David House: Invisible Indians (The Fort Worth Star-Telegram 11/30)