The Great White Father

The Dakota Access Pipeline says they have drilled under the water and have just a bit of work to do before oil begins to flow. Earth Justice has filed an appeal on behalf of the Standing Rock Sioux, and other tribes have filed other suits, but there is no word that the courts will step in and halt this threat to water and affront to Indian sovereignty.  

This after: years of deceptive practices by the oil companies in obtaining clearances for the pipeline; years after another route, one above the town of mostly-white Bismarck, was rejected; months after Obama’s executive order to halt construction and the Army Corps of Engineers’ agreement to do a full environmental impact study (rather than the cursory, expedited one they did in the first place) halted construction; and weeks after President Trump erased that effort with another Presidential executive order contravening the previous one and demanding a speed-up of the whole affair. And this Read The Article

Standing Rock and Malheur

Like many, I am distressed about recent events in North Dakota and Malheur. I agree with Bill McKibben that the pipeline’s original route, above Bismarck, N.D. was changed to a route away from the white power structure and to one that might endanger tribal people and others downstream who just maybe would not pay attention–or at least do not have the power that Bismarck, the oil companies, and the labor unions have.

I agree with those who wonder what the FBI was doing with the Malheur prosecution. Why the conspiracy charges, difficult to prove, when the plain view infractions–trespassing, destruction of federal property and destruction and desecration of Indian sites–were many?

I agree with those who say that white privilege prevails, and that the Indians are being used and abused once again.

I reread what I had written about Malheur and “ownership” of the land in January. Ownership of and responsibility for the land, the water, and all that lives Read The Article

The most famous Indian in America


Note: We just completed a four week examination of the “Wallowa Country: 1855-1900” at the Josephy Center. Teaching is new to me, but four high school juniors and a fine group of eighteen older history buffs, curious newcomers to the Wallowa, and serious students of Indian affairs led me to learn and organize what I am learning as I try to follow Alvin Josephy’s intellectual and emotional  life journey in Indian America. Much has been written about the Nez Perce War and about Chief Joseph; less about his attempts to return to the Wallowa Homeland at War’s end.


There was a time when Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce was the most famous and (mostly) admired Indian in the land.
At the surrender at Bear’s Paw, after the siege and forty miles short of the Canadian border and Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph and his remnant band of Nez Perce and allies
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