Let My People Go

I am either 1/64 or 1/128th or 1/256th American Indian, depending upon which genealogy records you believe and various other

Former Chief of the Shoshone tribe. Picture courtesy of IndianCountryTodayMediaNetwork.com
Former Chief of the Shoshone tribe. Picture courtesy of IndianCountryTodayMediaNetwork.com

assumptions one might make about the reliability of the white man’s records at a time when denying the purity of an Indian’s blood was a profitable endeavor.    Six generations ago there was a Cassman who tangled with the central government, fought business enemies, fathered a bunch of children, made some bad decisions, drank too much, and….well, ended up dead in a hollowed out tree in central Indiana in a snowstorm.

A quote from the Indiana Historical Magazine:

Such facts as are known of him do not honor him in his distinction as the first recorded land owner in this county. He had the Indian thirst for whisky, and had neither the thrift nor industry to develop his land and become a factor of civilization. Examination of documents, however, seems to reveal the more complex picture of a bewildered Indian trying to cope with official red tape, unresponsive agents, and Jacksonian policies in handling Indian affairs. Cassman was hampered by his poverty, lack of education and business acumen; by the white man’s prejudice, greed, and impatience to possess the land; and especially by his own frequent intemperance. Cassman obtained whiskey at stores kept by white men who then hypocritically condemned his use of it.

Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, that explains things”.  Perhaps.  My father and his father and his father all seemed to be hardworking, law-abiding, humble Midwestern folk who served in the armed forces, led decent lives and were content raising their families and living in obscurity.

What’s the point of this?  Well, I’m shocked, shocked to see how our government is treating my brothers on the reservation.  Read this:

Like Cliven Bundy, Raymond Yowell operated a small cattle ranch in Nevada, and refused to pay the federal government grazing fees to which they are neither morally nor legally entitled.  In May 2002, the BLM mounted a paramilitary operation to confiscate Yowell’s 132-head cattle herd for refusal to pay grazing fees. The rustlers then billed the rancher $180,000, and began to garnish his monthly Social Security check when he declined to honor their impudent demand.

Yowell, 84, is a former chief of the Te-Moak Band of the Western Shoshone tribe. His ancestors were among the signatories of the 1863 Ruby Valley Treaty with the federal government, which recognized the tribe’s sovereignty over a 24 million acre swath of western lands the Shonshone called Newe Segobia – “The Land of the People of Mother Earth.”

As is the case with every such agreement, the federal government acted in cynical bad faith, using the treaty to secure a foothold within a territory slated for assimilation into the continent-straddling behemoth being constructed through Manifest Destiny.

While demanding that the Shoshone refrain from interfering with telegraph lines and stagecoach routes, the Feds did nothing to discourage or deter illegal settlements on Shoshone land. In 1962 – one year shy of the centennial of the Ruby Valley Treaty – the federal Indian Claims Commission proclaimed that this pattern of federally abetted “gradual encroachment” by Euro-American settlers and speculators had “extinguished” all Shoshone claims to their lands.

In the fashion of a rapist who offers to buy his victim breakfast in order to re-fashion his crime into a “date,” the Feds offered to….

I suggest you read the rest.  (Don’t follow this link if you are easily upset by evidence the history you were taught in government school might have been…incomplete).

 

 

 

 

 

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