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November 13, 2007


So they were getting more funding for Native American issues and spending less time and money than ever on Native American issues?

No wonder they wanted to get the pesky USAs that were actually concerned with Native issues out of the way... It's not like anyone else in government was going to do anything about it, was it?

Not when in our nation's 231 year history, only 4 Native Americans have ever held a National office. I imagine it's impossible to have have voice for your concerns in government when there isn't anyone there that will listen...

Yeah, the issue might be one that could become a political hot button, huh?

It might worthwhile, too, for someone to contact Byron Dorgan to get some more information on the background to this funding.

I wonder how much this is another case of the Bush Administration being government by the Republicans and for the Republicans. Or alternatively, their cronyism -- if I don't know anyone who's ever dealt with Native American legal issues (and since it's not exactly a lucrative field, I doubt any prominent Republicans have), then it can't be important.

To Charlton, it was suddenly clear that the official didn't understand the most basic aspect of federal Indian law — that on most reservations, U.S. attorneys are the sole authority empowered to prosecute felony crime there.

I think this is the wrong read, and that Redshift is exactly right- In the Bush DOJ, who has time to worry about Injuns, they're too busy drumming up indictments of Democrats for political gain.

"Native Americans have grown accustomed to Washington breaking its word,"

That's a 200 year old standing joke on every Res.

The DOJ website does not yet know that Mercer withdrew his name in June.
Mukasey has got a lot of updating to do.

A couple of quotes from the past seem apropos in this thread:

I am tired of talk that comes to nothing. It makes my heart sick when I remember all the good words and all the broken promises. There has been too much talking by men who had no right to talk.
-Chief Joseph

They made us many promises, more than I can remember, but they kept only one. They promised to take our land, and they took it.
-Red Cloud

One is compelled to wonder whether and, if so, to what extent, the redirection of funds and priorities away from Reservation crime is related to the exploitation of Indian issues (e.g., the ability to have casinos in non-casino states under the Indian Gaming Act) by the likes of Abramoff and Norquist. Abusing the Indians is a hallmark of the Republicans, it seems.

The redirection of law enforcement funds for pet projects away from appropriated purposes would also fit with (facilitating) the ongoing Repug policy of raping public lands for private profit and the accounting mess, pertaining to Indian mineral royalties, at Interior which has still not been resolved, though DoJ fought mightily to prevent resolution and keep the contemptuous Secretary of the Interior (also an Abramoff buddy, IIRC) out of jail-for-contempt.

Just asking... like, where are those 750,000 or so pages of Abramoff-related documents the Senate Indian Affairs committee got pre 2006, which may never have been read. Yet.

That scribe, has got to be one of my biggest disappointments from our new Democratic majority... I cannot believe those documents from the Senate Indian Affairs Committee STILL have not been released!

It's an absolute outrage.

This just highlights what I pointed out in the earlier thread. I am a bit appalled to learn that the administration saw fit to redirect funds specifically earmarked for Indian country crime. Appalled, but not surprised. Along with the desire to redirect funds to match their own priorities, there are other factors at work. The Bush administration is blatantly racist (as are their supporters) and some of what is happening reflects this. They just don't give a damn what happens to Indians (or Blacks or Hispanics). Secondly, and not unrelated, is the fact that Indians vote overwhelmingly Democratic. Thus this is another example of the Bush administration screwing anyone who does not support them.

It sounds like a part of the problem, too, is choosing partisan loyalty (which sounds so mild for the deification of Bush that was a requisite) over competence and familiarity with the locale.

If they were using someone with lots of Republican credentials, but no familiarity with Indian Lands whatsoever (and who had never read a Hillerman best seller) then they probably actually didn't know.

Oh, I bet there were a whole bunch Rethugs in the form of inexperienced idiots (Gonzales types), and wet behind the ears Regent seed pod types (Goodling, Sampson, et. al.), that had no clue about Tribal jurisdiction responsibility. The amazing part is that careerists didn't make a bigger stink earlier. I have an inkling that Charlton, Heffelfinger and Chiara have quite a few more stories where these came from.

Dr. Dick - Again spot on with your comment.

Let's not forget Rachel Paulose from Minnesota, the state with the highest percentage of Native Americans. Her predecessor was kicked out because he was spending too much of the state's resources in Indian country. . .

Thanks, EW, nice work. ;-)

"Let's not forget Rachel Paulose from Minnesota, the state with the highest percentage of Native Americans. Her predecessor was kicked out because he was spending too much of the state's resources in Indian country. . ."

Actually that would be Alaska, followed by New Mexico, South Dakota, Oklahoma, and Montana. Minnesota is 15th. In terms of gross numbers, it is California, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, and Washington. Minnesota is 13th. Oklahoma and California have been going back and forth for largest overall Indian population for 30 years.

I grew up and went to college in Oklahoma and currently teach anthropology in Montana. I have worked with Native people for thirty years and none of this is really new or surprising. It is only novel in its degree and scope. Anyone who has been paying attention to Indian country has hundreds of stories like this going back as long as they have been around. I will say that it has gotten measurably worse under Bush (as bad as I have ever seen it), but this problem will not likely go away when he leaves. It will likely get better if, as expected, a Democrat wins, but the federal government has never demonstrated any real commitment to law enforcement in Indian country, just in preventing the tribes from providing and administering it.


Thanks for the numbers. Had a sense of them, but it helps to be reminded.

And it'd be nice to leverage teh attention paid to the fired USAs to get some attention to this problem. Don't know if it'll happen--but it'd be nice.

Hey bmaz, is there any statute that addresses "criminal incompetency"? snark(sort of)

But seriously, lives are literally at stake here, and these USA's really are criminally incompetent. I thought the Federalist Society at least had a few attorneys with some intellectual capacity, even if I disagree with their legal analysis. IANAL, not even close, just a somewhat informed citizen, and I know that the Feds have jurisdiction on reservations. Jeebus.

Frankly it's starting to surprise me that they even appointed people that actually had a law degree.

Nice job, ew, and thanks for highlighting the excellent series.

Whitewidow - Clearly, we could use such a statute; but nothing close that I am aware of. To be fair, the USAs, especially the ones fired, are not the main problem on this and actually cared about the tribal responsibilities; that is a large part of why they were canned. It is the ideologues at DOJ Main and the Administration that are the problem. Dr. Dick is very good on the specifics in this regard; but from what I have seen the real problem on the local/state scene is funding and staffing. It is never going to be a high profile glamorous job, but if you allot resources and funds, people will go do the job. Quite frankly, there should probably be some kind of program to encourage and train Native Americans for the jobs. Maybe something similar to the way that scholarships to medical schools are available for those that will locate to the hinterlands.

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