Native Americans and restitution from the US Government

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Unread postby James » Tue Feb 25, 2003 3:23 am

Hehe, out come the statistics. We have already established that live on reservations is not up to par when compared to life outside the reservations in cities. I have already pointed out that I do not believe our government should go out of their way to accommodate a society that does not wish to interact with the other aspects of our world. If they are going to maintain their own separate world, they should not receive any additional support from our government, they should be left to their own devices.

Outside the reservations, a Native American has all the opportunities provided to any other American, in addition to their Native American benefits. Why should they receive more? Why should we give them more if they don’t make the best life out of what they already receive? My government gives me nothing beyond the norm, and I know it is the same with virtually all my friends, and we manage to survive in a state with a horrible education budget, a bad economy, fairly expensive housing, and a terrible job market.

How are the supposed to pick up the ball and go? They need to leave the reservations and join society today. If they want to continue living under those poor health conditions that is their choice. Nobody is forcing them to stay, they are doing it of their own free will.

As for benefits outside the reservation, your conclusions contradict the research I did on the matter while assisting the Native American lady I was dating last year. She did not have to live on a reservation to get the benefits, the benefits were to assist her in her life within American society. And she only received one small extra benefit from her tribe, the rest was government granted.

How can it not be a case of individual responsibility? We choose to stay somewhere, and we choose to leave? Who is holding them there? Nobody but themselves.

What tools do they have? They have the freedom to make their own choice, to participate and live in society outside the reservations, and government assistance with only the requirement that they prove their heritage (and that last part is icing on the cake, something the rest of us don’t have).

They have the same tools we do, and perhaps a little more on top.
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Unread postby Rhiannon » Tue Feb 25, 2003 5:18 am

Again though I ask, how would you have a person pack up their children and leave the reservation? As a parent especially, I'd rather stay dirt poor on a reservation where I at least had something over my head and something to eat than to risk having my children taken away because I was living homeless or in poor conditions in the city.

The reason why Native Americans recieve the inadequate support that they do is because there are treaties that the government is beholden to. Restitution, here, is not a matter of welfare and affirmative action; it's a matter of treaties with foriegn governmental bodies. By those treaties, the US government has to provide adequate food, housing, and civil services to Native Americans. They aren't. Welfare recipients recieve better. Why are Natives (on reservations) wrong in demanding more?

I'll concede the benefits part to you for now, merely because I don't have the energy or resources as an unrecognized Native American to research to see if I could recieve benefits such as food and other support. But what research I did do before my hopes of being recognized were smashed *grumble* showed me that all I could do was apply for scholarships; the rest was not mine to have unless I lived on tribal lands.

You say that these people have the same tools that we have and more. But do these people have: bicycles, cars, computer access, library access, telephone access, good health care access, educational services that come to par with the rest of our own? No. Not unless, of course, they leave their reservation. But I ask again, what do you do, start walking miles to the nearest city from your reservation home and plop a tent on the streets?

I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm saying it's impractical, unreasonable, and unlikely to expect that out of a family, especially in the piss-poor conditions so many are in.


I'm not just arguing this for the sake of arguing. I care deeply about my people. If I didn't, I wouldn't constantly be involved in these issues, including running a charity for a department of Indian Child Welfare. I don't ask for explanations because I want to just say "You're wrong, I'm right, deal with it." I'm fine with being proven wrong, I'm asking to be proven wrong. But what I want to be proven wrong with is viable, clear, practical solutions. What happens now is not solving anything. Conditions are continuing to plummet. People don't just stay on reservations because they enjoy squalor, drunkeness, and all the other horrible things that happen in those prisons. They do it because at least there, they know they have a roof on their heads and food for their belly, no matter how poor it is. They do it because they see no other viable options.

Show me a viable option, and I'll advocate it. "Get up off your ass and do something with your life" is not a viable option because it offers no real practical advice except self-determination, but that's what the American ideology likes to slap on the table for anyone who's suffering, be it AIDS, depression, alcohol, drugs, or socioeconomic problems. Lay it out clearly, consider the problems they face. You can't just ask the world out of people who barely live from day to day.
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Unread postby James » Tue Feb 25, 2003 6:30 am

Wild-Eyes wrote:Again though I ask, how would you have a person pack up their children and leave the reservation? As a parent especially, I'd rather stay dirt poor on a reservation where I at least had something over my head and something to eat than to risk having my children taken away because I was living homeless or in poor conditions in the city.

If housing is included in their benefits they have a chance right off the reservation. Even if that is not the case, there is no reason why one member of the family can’t leave and set everything up in advance. They have friends and family just like we do. I know plenty of people who have taken up and moved across the United States and built their new home on the fly. The Native Americans, in the event of failure, have the option to return as well, correct?

Wild-Eyes wrote:The reason why Native Americans recieve the inadequate support that they do is because there are treaties that the government is beholden to. Restitution, here, is not a matter of welfare and affirmative action; it's a matter of treaties with foriegn governmental bodies. By those treaties, the US government has to provide adequate food, housing, and civil services to Native Americans. They aren't. Welfare recipients recieve better. Why are Natives (on reservations) wrong in demanding more?

I am surprised you even presented this argument. First off, we weren’t talking about offering them more. As I said before, I am not going to support cutting their benefits. I certainly would oppose increasing them though, they have absolutely no right to expect more than what they are already getting. I don’t think they deserve what they receive just because of their heritage either. I think they deserve exactly what you and me get, which is to say the ability to pursue our dream if we are able enough. Why are they wrong in demanding more? They have done absolutely nothing at all whatsoever to deserve it, furthermore, the crimes committed against their ancestors only impact them today if they choose to allow it.

Wild-Eyes wrote:I'll concede the benefits part to you for now, merely because I don't have the energy or resources as an unrecognized Native American to research to see if I could recieve benefits such as food and other support. But what research I did do before my hopes of being recognized were smashed *grumble* showed me that all I could do was apply for scholarships; the rest was not mine to have unless I lived on tribal lands.

Pardon my blunt speech, but you of all people deserve nothing for what happened. You are a healthy member of society, and quite capable at that. How as the suffering of your ancestors impacted you?

Wild-Eyes wrote:You say that these people have the same tools that we have and more. But do these people have: bicycles, cars, computer access, library access, telephone access, good health care access, educational services that come to par with the rest of our own? No. Not unless, of course, they leave their reservation. But I ask again, what do you do, start walking miles to the nearest city from your reservation home and plop a tent on the streets?

Their choice, frankly. And to back that point, name significant implications preventing them from leading the lives that you and I enjoy that we would not have to face if leaving a reservation. There are none, they have the same chances we do. If they want a television they can get one the same way we do. And frankly, if they are worrying about televisions and crap like that, what is the point of the reservation? What are they preserving if they want everything in society without the participation?

Wild-Eyes wrote:I'm not saying it's impossible. I'm saying it's impractical, unreasonable, and unlikely to expect that out of a family, especially in the piss-poor conditions so many are in.

I disagree.

Wild-Eyes wrote:I'm not just arguing this for the sake of arguing. I care deeply about my people. If I didn't, I wouldn't constantly be involved in these issues, including running a charity for a department of Indian Child Welfare. I don't ask for explanations because I want to just say "You're wrong, I'm right, deal with it." I'm fine with being proven wrong, I'm asking to be proven wrong. But what I want to be proven wrong with is viable, clear, practical solutions. What happens now is not solving anything. Conditions are continuing to plummet. People don't just stay on reservations because they enjoy squalor, drunkeness, and all the other horrible things that happen in those prisons. They do it because at least there, they know they have a roof on their heads and food for their belly, no matter how poor it is. They do it because they see no other viable options.

You want solutions, but there is a limit to what we should be willing to do as the American society and government. They are already receiving more than other members of society, so I ask you why is it our duty to provide them with special treatment just because they have not chosen to leave the reservation. Furthermore, please tell me exactly what you think we can be doing for them? What else can the American government and people do for them, without being unequal to American society as a whole?

Wild-Eyes wrote:Show me a viable option, and I'll advocate it.

How about “here is some money, food, housing, and health care. Go out there in the real world, in which most other folks don’t start with these things, and make a living for yourself.”
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Unread postby Rhiannon » Tue Feb 25, 2003 9:15 pm

James wrote:If housing is included in their benefits they have a chance right off the reservation. Even if that is not the case, there is no reason why one member of the family can’t leave and set everything up in advance. They have friends and family just like we do. I know plenty of people who have taken up and moved across the United States and built their new home on the fly. The Native Americans, in the event of failure, have the option to return as well, correct?


Certainly. I have no clue as to how tough the competition is for housing though, nor how much bureaucracy is involved. If it's like I think it is, federal housing comes through states, and the states have the say of how it's run. Family and friends however, in cases of the reservation, tend to be in the same shack or a neighboring one. Possible, yes. But for the poorest of the poor, still an unlikely chance, especially considering they are unaware of their benefits.

James wrote: Why are they wrong in demanding more? They have done absolutely nothing at all whatsoever to deserve it, furthermore, the crimes committed against their ancestors only impact them today if they choose to allow it.


Demanding more is demanding equal benefits. In cases of housing and health care and food, the homeless have better than the Indians do. And as I said, it has nothing to do with past crimes, it has to do with treaties that the government is upheld to.

However, I will concede that these discrepancies are not because of lack of giving for the most part. It is because those who pursue Indian rights want those benefits on the reservations, while the government offers them in the "rest of America."

I would support a revamping of the reservations; get rid of all the people (initially), put them in cities with the benefits they are being offered, clean up the reservations, and make them Native American "campgrounds" so to speak -- clean, sacred places that some people (with a population limit clamped on it) can call home and that become gathering sites and parks, not red-trash dumps.

James wrote:Pardon my blunt speech, but you of all people deserve nothing for what happened. You are a healthy member of society, and quite capable at that. How as the suffering of your ancestors impacted you?


Besides the stereotypes and shame I put up with? The fact that I'm not legally a Native American, even though it's plain as day that I am. That legal status has nothing to do with wanting benefits or scholarships for myself, it has to do with being recognized. If your father was fully Chinese, would you be at the least irritated if you were told by the government here that you weren't legally Chinese? I think so.

Your blunt speech is pardoned, though I'm saddened to think that after all the disclaimers I have said, you would think that I'm in this for me, or that I'm in it because I want "them dirty whites" to pay for the past. I've said it several times: I care about this because I care about my people. It saddens and disgusts me to see the state they're in today.

James wrote: What are they preserving if they want everything in society without the participation?


I really can't answer that for you, I don't know. I think Native Americans are just terrified of assimilation, because of the things that were choked down their throat in the past (like boarding school). They are harming themselves in the process. I can't deny it and I won't. They want "Native American Town" like Chinatown, but without it being near any of the rest of the world. And above all, I think they just want to know that they have a space of their own, that "White Man" isn't going to tear down with industrialization.

James wrote:You want solutions, but there is a limit to what we should be willing to do as the American society and government. They are already receiving more than other members of society, so I ask you why is it our duty to provide them with special treatment just because they have not chosen to leave the reservation.


The American government/society should be willing to offer equality between Native Americans and the lower class poor. Please, tell me what precisely they recieve that is more than other members of our society recieve? Obviously we can't argue on the same ground if you say that they recieve more, and I've seen that they recieve less.
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Unread postby James » Tue Feb 25, 2003 11:35 pm

Wild-Eyes wrote: Certainly. I have no clue as to how tough the competition is for housing though, nor how much bureaucracy is involved. If it's like I think it is, federal housing comes through states, and the states have the say of how it's run. Family and friends however, in cases of the reservation, tend to be in the same shack or a neighboring one. Possible, yes. But for the poorest of the poor, still an unlikely chance, especially considering they are unaware of their benefits.

My point is that they have to go through the same steps we do, and in many cases they also have government assistance (something we don’t). Even if the process is still difficult it is wrong to give them special treatment beyond what they already receive.

Wild-Eyes wrote: Demanding more is demanding equal benefits. In cases of housing and health care and food, the homeless have better than the Indians do. And as I said, it has nothing to do with past crimes, it has to do with treaties that the government is upheld to.

The homeless? Well, maybe the Native Americans on the reservations don’t get freebies, but that is because they are operating to their own instruments. When they leave the reservation and get government benefits suddenly they get a package that makes anything I get from my government look like dog food. And please explain this treaty you are talking about.

Wild-Eyes wrote: However, I will concede that these discrepancies are not because of lack of giving for the most part. It is because those who pursue Indian rights want those benefits on the reservations, while the government offers them in the "rest of America."

Why should the government support the Native Americans that don’t want to be a part of American society? I think we should support them (if at all beyond the norm) only if they want to join society, otherwise they should be left to their own tools. If I want to leave American society is my government going to help me? Why should they be an exception?

Wild-Eyes wrote: I would support a revamping of the reservations; get rid of all the people (initially), put them in cities with the benefits they are being offered, clean up the reservations, and make them Native American "campgrounds" so to speak -- clean, sacred places that some people (with a population limit clamped on it) can call home and that become gathering sites and parks, not red-trash dumps.

I would support putting them in normal society and letting them set up sacred space on their own, it isn’t that hard.

Wild-Eyes wrote: Besides the stereotypes and shame I put up with? The fact that I'm not legally a Native American, even though it's plain as day that I am. That legal status has nothing to do with wanting benefits or scholarships for myself, it has to do with being recognized. If your father was fully Chinese, would you be at the least irritated if you were told by the government here that you weren't legally Chinese? I think so.

So you are sad that you don’t have a legal document? You know you have Native American blood, and your friends know you have Native American blood. Where is the shame? Where is the stereotype? What else could you want?

Wild-Eyes wrote: Your blunt speech is pardoned, though I'm saddened to think that after all the disclaimers I have said, you would think that I'm in this for me, or that I'm in it because I want "them dirty whites" to pay for the past. I've said it several times: I care about this because I care about my people. It saddens and disgusts me to see the state they're in today.

You are putting words in my mouth. Please don’t.

Wild-Eyes wrote: I really can't answer that for you, I don't know. I think Native Americans are just terrified of assimilation, because of the things that were choked down their throat in the past (like boarding school). They are harming themselves in the process. I can't deny it and I won't. They want "Native American Town" like Chinatown, but without it being near any of the rest of the world. And above all, I think they just want to know that they have a space of their own, that "White Man" isn't going to tear down with industrialization.

Well, I can see the cause for concern, but this really is something that they will have to get over and accept. Society isn’t going to change without some horrible events to reverse our technological progression. The days of old America have passed, and whether we like it or not, they have given way to industrialization and paved roads. If they want an “Native American Town” they will have to build it on their own, that is the only way it will truly be their creation. I do not believe my government should ever support a project like that (segregation), but I don’t think they should oppose it either (as is the case with Chinatown). Furthermore, if industrialization tears our nation apart, the “Native American Town” would be torn apart with it. We are all in this together.

Wild-Eyes wrote: The American government/society should be willing to offer equality between Native Americans and the lower class poor. Please, tell me what precisely they recieve that is more than other members of our society recieve? Obviously we can't argue on the same ground if you say that they recieve more, and I've seen that they recieve less.

The Native Americans on reservations have chosen to live a separate life from American society, and the consequences of isolation are a natural result. We should not assist someone who does not want to be with us in society. Outside the reservation, they have the same rights and freedoms we do. They can get jobs, go to school, run large businesses, and run for political positions (if they want to for some reason or another). They also receive the Native American benefits, something none of us get. Nobody is stopping them from taking this step, and in fact the government really wants them to do it. They have a choice and the freedom to make it. Society and the government won’t shame them for being a part of our culture, and if they shame each other that isn’t something we can really do much about (or that we should do anything about).
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Unread postby Travis » Tue Feb 25, 2003 11:53 pm

I fail to believe that the Native Americans have no idea as to thier benefits. Most assuredly in this vast world where we can communicate with people in tribal African villages, that Native Americans here in America, have no clue. It's just not feasable as an arguement. However I could be proven wrong, I just won't by it without proof.

The fact they are afraid to leave the reservation because they would have to work hard to get somewhere is viable either. Plenty of immirgrants have it much harder. They built thier way from scratch, and usually sending one person out to build thier home, and then bring thier families out. Why can't the Native Americans do this?

If they want equal benefits then why? We can't just give them equal money for nothing. They aren't participating much at the resevations, so get out in the real world. The fact people on welfare live better is no excuse. If it were up to me, I would round up the homeless clean them and get them jobs, and I would abolish welfare. I don't see the point in adding more free money to people. They want equal benefits, then do equal work, or get to the opportunity to do so.

The fear of assimilation is not excusable either. They can maintian thier heritage just like any other culture outside of the reservations. I would bet if they left the reservations they may get more benefits than the rest of society. The African-American Society get a lot of extra benefits, and most are hardly African.

Some of the stats I do agree that they should get money for. They deserve the money from the Oil thing. If I had oil pumping out of my property I would expect payment.

They live in poverty by choice is the point more or less overall. If others can do it so can they.
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