"THE CHIPPEWA TRUTH COMMISSION:
AFFIRMING BILATERAL RIGHTS OF
TRIBAL PEOPLE AFFECTED BY THE U.S/CANADA BORDER
There is a need to address bilateral treaty rights of four north central Montana bands, the Rocky Boy/Migisew, the Little Shell, the Metis and Little Bear Cree. This proposal calls for enrollment reform affecting the "Chippewa Cree Tribe." This is not really a tribe there are four entities affected by collective confusion that has reigned supreme over the identity of the Rocky Boy Band of Chippewa since it was initially recognized by Congress in 1908. Our proposal begins to fix the problem:
A CHIPPEWA TRUTH COMMISSION IS NEEDED: This is the first major step to enact and/or re-affirm Chippewa federal recognition in Montana affecting the Little Shell Band of Chippewa and the non-enrolled descendants of the original 1908 Rocky Boy Chippewa Band Roll.
A major component of the CHIPPEWA TRUTH COMMISSION would be to re-align the four tribal groups affected: the Rocky Boy Band, the Little Shell, the Little Bear Cree and the Riel Metis--where each group would enact their own self-government and operated under the Four Affiliated Bands of Chippewa, Cree and Metis. This seems to be the most fair and logical conclusion to the historic injustices that have afflicted the Chippewa people.
A component of this Truth Commission would be the study of legal implications of the Jay Treaty and the patterns of law and execution of official acts between the U.S. and Canada. The Little Bear and Riel descendants originated in Canada originally but were granted adoptee status in the Chippewa band in 1917—not by the Chippewa, but by the U.S. federal government. This was an overt act violating the sovereignty of the Chippewa people, this has never been mitigated.
The federal government has never corrected this contradiction: it has granted the benefits of tribal governance to essentially Canadian origin descendants, who are now a super-majority on the Rocky Boy reservation. The lineal Chippewa have been discredited, denied enrollment and participation in their own government. At the same time, the federal government has not acted to uphold legitimate treaty obligations owed the original Rocky Boy and Little Shell bands. We have been attempting to address this for years, federal officials refuse to hear us out.
The Little Shell experience similar denial of status; this is most evident in the BIA administrative ruling denying federal recognition to the band. The Little Shell and Rocky Boy bands are subject to U.S. Treaty--the Cree are subject to British Treaty #6, the Metis are subject to the Canadian Powley ruling--recognizing their rights as aboriginal people. There seems to be lack of consistent U.S. - Canadian policy affecting these bands with regard to consistent enrollment policies, treaty rights, freedom of movement and property rights.
The Chippewa Truth Commission will have a component to deal with and create ways for the U.S. and Canada to enact policies resolving these matters. This subcommittee will seek broad input and participation from the affected bands to ensure there is accuracy in the findings, and to ensure the dually held treaty and federal rights of all affected descendants are affirmed and upheld. In Montana, there are possibly 10,000-12,000 or more people affected by this situation. It does need to be resolved.
There has been reluctance from the “Chippewa Cree Business Committee” to resolve these legal issues: it is to their best interest to do so now for the reason U.S. BIA regulation requires 50% or more of a tribe come from a historic American tribe (treaty). In Rocky Boy, those lineal Chippewa descendants fall far below that 50% threshold. The re-formed 1917 roll did not meet that criteria in 1917, and it does not meet it now.
This has led to problems of profound loss of self-government of the Chippewa people. We no longer can ascertain our own blood quantum, we have lost all control of who the “Chippewa Cree” enroll. We the lineal Chippewa, cannot even ensure our own children are enrolled. The “Chippewa Cree” generic term has become something of a joke; no other “tribe” is run like this one.
All tribes have enrollment laws based on original descent from a tribal census conducted at the time of treaty—the Chippewa Cree roll is the sole exception. The ¼ or more “any Indian” blood quantum in the Chippewa Cree Tribal constitution has led to the demise of the Chippewa people.
A beginning framework would look like this: This commission would operate for five years, enact tribal enrollment reform within one year of operation, begin to address the need for preservation of tribal histories, and develop written recommendations to the Canadian and U.S. governments on ways to strengthen, and build cohesive and mutually held policies regarding the Jay Treaty. This commission would require extensive staff working to document the historic origins of all tribes and to compile archives relating to these tribal peoples’ historic origins. In addition, the commission would work to enact tribal enrollment reform that would serve as the basis of the re-configured Affiliated Tribal governments structure, propose and provide assistance in forming governing documents, researching and coordinating treaty adhesions in Canada and finalizing recognition for the U.S. bands.
THE CREATION OF A U.S.-CANADA TRIBAL ENERGY CARTEL
We have a situation of a quarter dozen tribal groups affected by the international boundary, Loud Thunder believes this is not only a resolvable issue—but that these tribal groups can prosper in the future. Loud Thunder believes in cohesive policy in addressing energy development and these and a multitude of bands on both sides of the border have a stake in developing ecologically sustainable development.
There are great concerns regarding the current tar sands development north of the Montana border in Canada. Canada is a major provider of oil to the U.S. This will increase in the future. Loud Thunder learned in the Zortman Landsusky mining struggle for the need for effective reclamation planning and implementation. This is true in the tar sands issue. This is development creating acid rain and lasting damage to the land and water.
Loud Thunder asks the Obama administration to take into consideration the long term reclamation of sites in Canada and cooperate in frameworks of agreement with these Canadian bands, the Canadian government and our interests in the U.S. As this development is already underway—that both governments have a responsible reclamation policies that encompass tribal traditional views of the land.
For this reason, Loud Thunder is advocating a bilateral, tribal energy consortium, or cartel—similar in scope to OPEC. This is one way these two Eurocentric sovereigns can begin to restore native people. Tribal nations have a joint economic and policy interest in ensuring their energy potentialities are not exploited, that are mutually beneficial and expresses shared goals of all tribes. Loud Thunder is proposing a multi-billion dollar investment in this bilateral energy cartel focusing on tribal fossil, wind, solar, bio-mass and other forms of renewable energy. Second, this cartel has a strong reclamation component in the case of tar sand development, and addresses cap and trade concerns. Loud Thunder expresses support for the need for U.S. and Canadian investment in reclamation technology and direct investment in tribes to do this.
In Montana, there is a huge potential for wind energy on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Loud Thunder expresses support for the creation of a national laboratory on refining tribal energy proposals—a training ground and incubator of sorts—so that all tribes throughout the northern continent and into Mexico, can cultivate their energy independence, learn and share their experiences and lessen tribal dependence on foreign oil.
In Great Falls, the Little Shell tribal descendants are unequaled in their work ethic, their experience along with the “Hill 57 Rocky Boy unenrolled and Migisew Chippewa on the Montana fire crews are a testament to this. For this reason, Loud Thunder is supporting the creation of a jointly owned wind turbine manufacturing and service/repair corporation, and solar energy technology center to develop the wind and solar energy capability of these two urban situated groups. These groups can create lasting and good paying jobs in the Great Falls area now and in the future. Loud Thunder is proposing the renovation and retrofitting of the large warehouse formerly used by the Buttrey’s food chain as the site of the proposed plant. The site is adjacent to the interstate and rail system. This would create the kind of green jobs now needed, and for which stimulus funds are intended.
In the Fort Belknap region, there is a need for reclamation of water and earth as the result of the Zortman mining operation. Reclamation work can last multiple years. The Gros Ventres and Asiniboine tribes have lost their sacred mountain. They need to be able to pick up their lives and repair the earth that is sacred to them. The state and federal government have been slow to reclaim the site. In addition, Ft. Belknap is an excellent area for wind energy development, Loud Thunder expresses support for existing and new proposals for development. There are a host if sites around the state and on tribal land, including the coal mining on and near the Crow Reservation, where the need for reclamation is on-going, requiring investment and jobs.
Loud Thunder is proposing a media technology center to be located in Great Falls, Montana, and jointly owned and operated by the Rocky Boy and Chippewa bands located there. There has been a dire need for Native American access to modern media technology to document and preserve tribal culture. This media technology center can work to ensure native people have use new media to the benefit of their economic an educational efforts. A center like this is needed to enhance electoral engagement, and to understand and articulate issues around them. Native American youth are victims of the digital divide, resulting in loss of life opportunities and underrepresentation in the mainstream media.
NATIONAL FLAG CENTER ON HILL 57
There is a need to understand the French-Ojibwe-Colonial history; this is a deeply misunderstood era in American history. This proposal calls for a National Flag Center on Hill 57 to articulate Ojibwe tribal historic origins and the tribe’s role in founding of the United States. The concept is built around the medicine bundle 13 star colonial flag kept by the Gopher family. The flag evokes an era of nation-to-nation relationships; when tribal sovereignty was paramount to the founding of the U.S. The basis of this proposal, in its early stages, calls for 1.8 million, and up to 4 million for land consolidation on the Hill 57 area, and an additional 5 million to build this long sought after center to honor America’s first flag.
TRIBAL SMALL BUSINESS INITIATIVE
Loud Thunder expresses support for creation of a fund of 100 million seed grant/loan fund for the creation of small business in Montana tribal and urban communities. This pool will be run by an equally tribal representative governing Economic Development Authority. Small business creation is vastly underfunded in Montana tribal communities, it is virtually non-existent among urban Indian communities. This fund will ensure tribal businesses are properly funded to ensure these communities can begin to address profound unemployment in their communities. This fund will be available to the low tech to the high tech firm.
NATIVE AMERICAN WOMEN’S BUSINESS INITIATIVE
Loud Thunder supports the creation of a $50 million small business experimental seed grant/loan fund geared toward Native Women owned businesses in Montana. This would equal unprecedented business development where it is needed most: Native American women are among the poorest of American citizens, are often the heads of households and lack collateral to start their own business. "
Source of this Post
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Crystal L. Cox
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