The Love Chronicles, Everybody Got Left Behind

Posted: July 26, 2013 in Life, News and politics
Tags: , , , , ,

Everybody Got Left Behind

By

John Love

Sequestration, is it necessary? Well I personally think it was a mistake. But since Washington is busy playing the blame game and disagreeing on everything until they get their way, all the way, or pout! Then while they are pouting they pass nothing, do nothing but posture to the press, blow anything and everything out of proportion until congress is just a stale excuse for what used to be our governing body. But lets put that aside for now. I don’t see anyone getting anything done, so the sequester is not likely to go away anytime soon. I would like to address the Indian Nations and how they are being decimated by sequestration.

If you went to school in Council with the class of 1968, especially junior high, then you probably remember Dan Foster. His father was the Minister of the Highway Tabernacle Church. Well he was, and is, an American Indian. He is now Dr. Dan Foster Psy, D., M.S. or in long hand a clinical, forensic, and health psychologist. He is deputy director of the hospital on the Rosebud Reservation, as well as the supervising clinical psychologist. He was and still is one of my best friends and since we have stayed in contact I have tried to stay abreast of what is happening in the Indian Nations because I know it is important to him, so I make it important to me.

It is the same today as it has always been since the 19th century. What politicians enact in Washington either ignores the Indian or takes even more from them. Sequestration should not be something that includes Indian Country. The reservations depend almost entirely on federal funds. Most politicians have taken the tack that the sequester is nothing more than a mild headache for a country that needs to tighten its belt. This is coming from a group in which the poor among them is at the very least a millionaire.  They are ignoring the fact that the cuts are real, specific, very wide in their scope, and brutal. The victims are already among the poorest, sickest, and isolated in this country!

Now at this juncture do not dare to jump on your high horse and start spouting any such garbage that sounds like get a job, or get off the dole. This group is different in the most important of ways. They are a conquered people. Yes they were driven off their land, killed and starved until they were just small groups of survivors of what once were great nations. As a conquered people they were entitled to live by treaties signed by them and the U.S. Government. I won’t bother to remind you how many treaties the U.S. government has trashed for the sole purpose of taking more and more land until most tribes are living in the armpit of a desert or swamp.  Even before sequestration America was already in treaty violation. Money for police forces, medical services, and schools usually runs out halfway through the year, which is a violation of the trust we owe these people.

Richard Zephier, executive director of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, recently told Annie Lowrey of The Times, and I quote:

“The damage is being done to agencies and programs whose budgets rely nearly entirely on federal sources, now being slashed. In signing treaties with Indian nations in return for land, the federal government promised a wide array of life-sustaining services. One of the most important is the Indian Health Service, which serves about two million people on reservations and is grossly underfinanced even in good times. It routinely runs out of money halfway through the year. Though Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ health were exempted from sequestration cuts, the Indian Health Service was not. It stands to lose about $228 million in 2013 from automatic sequester cuts alone, out of a $4 billion budget. That will mean 3,000 fewer inpatient admissions and 800,000 fewer outpatient visits every year.”

Education, the most important tool to combat the problems that reservations are plagued have been slashed dramatically. Almost a third of the education budget for the Navajo of Arizona was cut, which was not nearly enough as it was!

Ok, I know that there are a lot of problems on reservations, alcoholism and drug addiction to name just two, but cutting police forces and health services does not help. Again, let me reiterate, we waged war and conquered a people that were, especially in the west,  primarily a hunter-gatherer society. As such they did not mesh well with the populations they found around them after they were herded onto reservations. So we owe it to them to not only honor treaties to the letter of the law, but also to the original intent of the words they contained. It goes without saying that if we went back and enforced the original treaties as signed, the Indians would own more than a few states. So honoring our duty to the Indians and actively looking for ways to help them assimilate instead of just making a huge ghetto out of the reservations is our duty. I would appreciate it if each of you would write you congressman and express your desire that the Indian Nation should not be part of the sequestration. Our politicians have enough to be ashamed of without adding insult to injury.

Comments
  1. James Mahon says:

    You’re commenting on something I have never have visited other than a couple of novels. What has Dan had to say? I would like to hear from the lions mouth for no other reason than you have sparked my curiosity….

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