Has the GOP blown it?
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JULY 20, 2000

In an editorial today, The Seattle Times criticizes Washington state Republican party chairman Don Benton for allowing the party to pass a resolution calling for the end of "non-republican" tribal governments.

The paper also criticizes him for his reaction.

"Benton blew it twice: first by being tone deaf enough to allow this insensitive proposal to glide through with little debate, and then by trying to shoot the messenger," writes the paper.

On Tuesday, Benton's editorial in The Seattle Post-Intelligencer blamed the media for its reporting. He accused "leftist reporters" of blowing the issue out of proportion.

The Seattle Times, however, says Benton was correct in drafting a second resolution. In a resolution issued on Monday, the state party clarified its stance on tribal sovereignty.

"The WSRP...truly regrets any anxiety or discomfort caused by this [the original] resolution and that we, as a Party, recognize and reaffirm our continuing and ongoing support for Native American sovereignty as well as their ability and right to self-govern as determined by legal treaties signed with the United States of America," reads the second resolution.

Whether or not the party's latest actions serve to correct some of the apparent damage the original resolution has done remains to be seen. Many leaders of both parties have repudiated the resolution, thanks to the politicking of tribes throughout Indian Country.

But at least one prominent leader is already questioning the second resolution. Frank LaMere, Vice-Chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party and a member of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska, said the Washington party is pulling people apart instead of bringing them together.

"You can be subtle in your approach to sovereignty and Native people or you can take an in-your-face attitude," said LaMere. "In either case, Indian people know what's really in the minds of those who authored and passed the June 17 resolution."

For many Indian people, the resolution passed in June represented a destructive chapter in federal Indian policy: termination, a long-abandoned practice in which the government ended its legal relationships and obligations to tribes.

The resolution's primary author, John Fleming, a non-Indian a non-Indian who lives on the Swinomish reservation in Washington, further angered many when he suggested military force be used if tribes objected to his proposal.

Did the Washington party blow it? You can read a copy of their second resolution to judge for yourself.

Read the Editorial:
After-burn from GOP's anti-Indian resolution (The Seattle Times 7/20)

Related Stories:
National GOP repudiates resolution (The Talking Circle 7/19)
Party chairman defends resolution (The Talking Circle 7/18)
The original Republican resolution (The Talking Circle 7/18)
Author advocates termination (Tribal Law 7/17)
Support for tribes pours in (The Talking Circle 7/14)
EDITORIAL: GOP 'embarrasing' (The Talking Circle 7/14)
Gorton responds to resolution (The Talking Circle 7/12)
Californians take aim at GOP (The Talking Circle 7/10)
EDITORIAL: Tribal sovereignty (The Talking Circle 7/7)
EDITORIAL: Crow leaders important to state, Republicans smelly (The Talking Circle 7/7)
Slade stiffs seniors (The Talking Circle 7/7)
Candidate challenging Gorton (The Talking Circle 7/6)
Republicans resolve against tribes (The Talking Circle 7/5)
Miccosukee: The Republican Tribe (The Talking Circle 7/3)
Candidate pokes fun at Gorton (The Talking Circle 06/14)
Gorton opposes dam breaching (The Medicine Wheel 04/18)
Native Americans Challenge Gorton (The Talking Circle 04/03)

Relevant Links:
Sign a petition against the resolution -
The Native American Caucus of the California Democratic Party -
The California Democratic Party -
The Nebraska Democratic Party -
The Democratic National Committee -
The Washington State Republican Party -
The Republican National Committee -