Monday, January 12, 2009

This is why we won't miss Bush.

Every once in a while I will come across someone, usually online, who thinks that the anger and disappointment - not to mention embarrassment - conjured by Bush is "Bush bashing." Unpatriotic, without merit, simply disagreeing to disagree.

I was looking at an opinion piece in Indian Country Today - a "how-to" deal with the Obama administration for tribes - when I noticed the other articles I was picking up on.

No, not exciting. Policy stuff. Tribal enrollment issues. Wasting money. But extremely important to groups of people right here in the U.S.

Uranium mining. Yes. URANIUM MINING. This is not the sort of mining that hurts the environment in the usual way. This is pretty scary, proven-unhealthy-big-scary-ways mining. So why not open up more land, and make this especially dangerous for tribes?
Bush's last minute mining decisions and how it affects tribes

To most in the U.S. "enrollment" doesn't mean much of anything. But tribal enrollment can mean everything. DISenrollment can be life-changing.

I visited the American Indian Museum just after it first opened in D.C., and thought one small exhibit very interesting. It was a letter from the Bureau of Indian Affairs to a Native man. It seemed that, after thought, the BIA had decided the man was not Native after all.

Can you imagine getting a letter telling you that you are not a Smith, or a Jones? That you are not white, or black, or Native? Now imagine needing membership to prove you are this group or another (Native people need many.) And imagine not being able to receive it.
Bush's "you're Indians, but not the right Indians" decisions for 2008

Good ol' Kempthorne. This guy Bush picked... what a winner.
Outgoing Sec. of Interior Dirk Kempthorne gives one last flush down the toilet for Native spending

My point here is simply that it is not bashing to disagree, it is not vicious to want big change, and now, and it is certainly not unpatriotic to be angry and embarrassed by a president who treats one large group of his own people this way. And that's just a few examples in the last few months. Eight years have gone by, and I know no Native person who is saying, "Boy, life is just a little bit better after all that." Or, for that matter, "Well, things are about the same." I know far, far too many that are looking for the silver lining in what was handed over, and instead hoping that their lives are not made more difficult by the next eight years, as they were the last.

And for the Native folk - a few suggestions on how to handle things this time around.
A "to-do" on handling the Obama administration and Native policy

UPDATE: I had to fix my "plutonium mining" to "uranium" because, apparently, I can't keep planets - or elements - together right. Thanks Ishmael!


Ishmael said...

Uranium Mining. Only trace amounts of two isotopes of Plutonium exist in nature, the rest of it is created by man, either purposely for weapons or power generation. Uranium, meanwhile, is all over the place.

Writing Raven said...


Thanks Ishmael.

I corrected it - for some reason the planetary references got all mixed up in my head...

But it is (of course) uranium.