"There are just 6 million of them, they don't have a lot of money to wave around, and about the only way you're going to hear much about American Indians during a presidential campaign is when one of the candidates speaks at a conference of minority journalists and gets asked a specific question about them.
The query directed at Barack Obama was pretty much an irrelevancy -- whether the government should apologize to Indians. The Democrat dodged. Words are important, he said, but deeds are more important.
One actual deed he discussed was his backing of a racist bill to allow Hawaiians of native descent to set up a separate government with the prospective power of running its own court system and grabbing hold of property once thought to belong to others. For the sake of consistency and non-discrimination, why not give each and every ethnic and racial group in America the same right and be done with this great land of ours in one stroke instead of incrementally?
Rather than endorse that pandering piece of craziness, Obama should have focused on another deed or series of deeds that would illustrate he truly, deeply does care about Native Americans, the poorest, sickest, most disadvantaged minority group in the country, but a group that here and there is finding its way to rescue. Many of these Indians already have separate, sovereign governments. Sort of. The truth is that through a crazy quilt, oppressive trust system, the federal government has been dictating impoverishment, and that the success stories are stories of liberation."
Get the Story:
Jay Ambrose: A good deed for the Indians
(Scripps Howard News Service 7/31)
Opinion: Indians and constitutional rights
(7/30) Column: Too much regulation killing Indian Country