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Letter to President Obama

For the past 20 years, we have been networking with many wonderful Indian citizens who understand that they are mere pawns in an evil game. They do not have the equal protection of our nation’s laws. Unfortunately, the present system has revived the old and evil separate-and-unequal policies. In Indian country, individual rights are often denied.


We strongly agree with several comments you make in your first State of the Union address on January 27th. We especially like your idea that our political establishment should be trying new things and that common sense must prevail. An example of this would be investment in water treatment facilities for the aquaculture fish-farming industry, instead of protecting the gillnetting that destroys local economies.

However, we wish you had added another proviso: equal protection under the law. You went on to say that the Republican and Democratic parties have abandoned their core values and that you are losing faith in the roles played by corporations and media. You rightly concluded, “No wonder there is so much cynicism.” We couldn’t agree more.

Last year we sent you a letter, along with a four-page fact sheet responding to your call for “change.” We questioned whether it was change for the good or change for more corruption and evil. On the one hand, you acknowledge the need for jobs. On the other hand, your administration continues to support agendas that cause the problems. We have diligently watched how your Department of Interior has been reacting to the U. S. Supreme Court decision in Carcieri vs. Kempthorne. Carcieri exposed corruption and lies in the Department of Interior and its Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Abramoff-led gambling mob was allowed to build off-reservation casinos while lying to states that they had to take taxable fee lands off the tax rolls to create tribal trust lands. Untaxed tribal trust lands contribute to the budget deficits plaguing many states.

We were also dismayed when you pledged to strengthen tribal (government-centered) sovereignty. This will breed more red apartheid and racism. And it will continue the rights denials, exploitations, and social problems for the Indian people. Is that your concept of change? If you were to investigate who controls, and who benefits, from tribal-managed fisheries and other resources that once belonged to our great republic, you would soon discover that since President Nixon launched the tribal “self-determination” system, the American Indian Movement (AIM) “treaty rights” agenda has destroyed thousands of jobs while taking away the rights of millions of citizens.

Indians are being deprived of their citizen rights by tribal governments exercising “sovereign” power and authority delegated by our federal government. It’s unconstitutional. Here in Minnesota, citizens living in half of the state have lost rights, thanks to unequal double-standard laws and to dictatorial one-party rule on Indian reservations. The people most benefiting are the powerful and unaccountable nationwide Indian industry and rich citizens who own the most shares of the big food corporations.

During the past year, we citizens have been besieged with news exposing a trail of Ponzi schemes, from Wall Street and corporate boardrooms to individual operators across our country. Mob connections abound. Is it any wonder that our federal government is so inept at putting lawless people in jail when agencies of our government are actively partnering with the mob to promote more tribal casinos?

Near the end of your speech, you talked about keeping the dream of this great nation alive. We also share that dream. We think that President Lincoln, Chief Joseph, and Martin Luther King would too. Wouldn’t it be great to have them back to critique how different administrations have gotten us to this moment in time? Maybe they could advise modern presidents about how to implement a new “American dream” plan prior to your next State of the Union address.

Enclosed is a new four-page fact sheet we hope will help shape your decision-making during the coming year—especially those decisions dealing with Indian affairs. We are also enclosing last year’s letter and Fact Sheet to refresh your memory. You will soon be receiving news of our efforts to support Indian friends who would like the same freedoms enjoyed by other U. S. citizens—freedoms now denied under today’s racist separate-and-unequal authoritarian “sovereignty” system.


Howard B. Hanson


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