Steve Russell: Tribes stronger standing together
"Count on it that whenever a tribe discovers a chink in state regulations that can be exploited to our economic benefit, the states will be all over Congress to kill our new buffalo. It’s the lot of creative Indians, since we represent less than one percent of the population, we are seldom allowed to eat what we kill for any period of time. All the more reason that when we saddle up for the Indian wars, we need to remain clear in our own minds that the shape of an Indian firing squad cannot be circular.

Tecumseh, Pontiac, Dragging Canoe – you could make a long list of historical personages whose primary contribution to American Indian political thought was the realization that all Indians have a target on their backs and will until we have been separated from every last acre of land and all the resources tied to that land.

Others not known in the history books for theory had a line on the same practice. The war for the Southern Plains was made a serious fight by an alliance of Kiowa and Comanche, just as the Northern Plains were vigorously contested not just by Lakota-Dakota-Nakota, but also by Arapaho and Cheyenne.

The abortive attempt to create the state of Sequoyah was driven by all of the Five Tribes with a lot of support from Indian citizens of other tribes to boot.

It’s easy to see in the historical rear view mirror that we put up the best fights, military and political, when we stood together. Why, then, is it so difficult to see that we need to stand together in the here and now? Do we seriously believe the Indian wars have ended with tribes still in possession of significant property?

When the documents underlying the Abramoff scandal became public, I was not shocked to learn that K Street lobbyists discussed their Indian clients in terms both racist and disrespectful of their intelligence. I have lobbied for Indians and I know where we stand in halls of the Texas Legislature, so hearing of similar stuff in D.C. was no shock."

Get the Story:
Steve Russell: Political theory according to Tonto (Indian Country Today 11/12)

Related Stories:
Steve Russell: Women behind all life's successes (10/15)
Steve Russell: Tribal governments must step up (7/3)
Steve Russell: Support for Native Hawaiians (6/16)
Steve Russell: Fighting the fake Indians in tribal court (6/5)
Steve Russell: Ward Churchill faces a third jury (5/28)
Steve Russell: Advice for a younger version of me (3/27)
Steve Russell: Accepting Obama on tribalism (2/27)
Steve Russell: Indian Country ripe for change (12/30)
Steve Russell: Indians slighted in every election (9/19)
Steve Russell: Being indigenous good for the fakers (9/5)
Steve Russell: Everybody knows everything (8/1)
Steve Russell: Family violence docket an ugly one (6/27)
Steve Russell: The Indian view on climate change (5/30)
Steve Russell: Odds and ends and current events (4/21)
Steve Russell: Addressing ethnic frauds (4/4)
Steve Russell: Struggles in an Indian education (3/14)
Steve Russell: Cherokee Nation and assimilation (2/29)
Steve Russell: Cherokee Nation breaks its word (2/8)
Steve Russell: Indian voters a voice for change (2/1)
Steve Russell: The Indian law Hall of Shame (1/11)
Steve Russell: Social capital in Indian Country (12/28)
Steve Russell: Cherokee constitutional crisis (12/14)
Steve Russell: The price of 'sovereignty' (11/23)
Steve Russell: Getting along in Indian Country (11/9)
Steve Russell: Life lessons from a poker game (10/26)