Sunday, January 29, 2006


'The Plea of Crazy Snake'

Skipped church this morning to suckle at fonts of a different kind: Oklahoma history.

Got a paper to present this April at the state historical society's annual to-do, and am doing basic research. Luckily virtually everthing I need is here in my home office.

<<<---Crazy Snake.

So, rather than havin' a prayer to quote today, here's a bit from Chitto Harjo, also known as Crazy Snake, a Creek leader who testified before Congress in 1906:

Away back in that time -- in 1492 -- there was man by the name of Columus came from across the great ocean and he discovered this country for the white man -- this country which was at that time the home of my people. What did he find when he first arrived here? Did he find a white man standing on this continent then or did he find a black man standing here? Did he find either a black man or a white man standing on this continent? I stood here first and Columbus first discovered me.

Read the rest of an article about "The Plea of Crazy Snake," by John Bartlett Meserve, in The Chronicles of Oklahoma 11, No. 3 (Seotember 1933): 899-911.

It's just my personal opinion, but I think that, on a deep spiritual, karma-like level, most of the problems this country has can be traced back to the fact that whatever the hell else it is, it's essentially stolen property.


Check your date there, sir... when did Crazy Snake testify before Congress?
Yikes. 1906. Corrected now.
And sure, all this stuff where you, me and all our relatives live is stolen/occupied territory, though many white folk I know have pointed out that it's impolite to say so.

Or-how about this as a compromise: there's not some other country I'm indigenous to, so who's to say I'm not a native American?

In any case, it sorta strikes me as one of those unsolvable problems, the kind that taint the origin of nations.
The only Native Americans, or Americans period, in my book, are the Native Americans/American Indians. Everyone else is either Euro-, Afro-, or Asian-American (or what have you).

And ER, unless you want to conjure the Black Spectre known as "Right Wing Scorn" I wouldn't refer to American as anything but "God's Gift to the World."

Of course, I'd be right beside ya to fight of that Black Spectre.

Polite or not, stolen is exactly what it is. It amazes me that we Euro-Americans or more likely British-Americans find that so offensive. I remember an argument I had with a co-worker a few years back when tribal governments came under attack by local media folks who demanded to see records of something-or-other that was attracting attention at the time. As I recall, I said something along the line of the tribes still being independent nations who were under no obligation to prove anything to any reporters -- that whatever was going on was a matter of that tribal nation to deal with, not the media.
Her response was that she believed "all those people should go back to their reservations where they belong."
Excuse me? Who was the intruder here? Not the tribal people.
"Back to their reservations"?

Trixie knows this, but the whole origins of the state of Oklahoma rest on that final swindle: Even the reservations finally were stripped from the tribes.

What galls me is that it was swindled, not even taken "fair and square" as spoils of war. Swiped under color of law.

Rich: No answers from me. But I sleep at night knowing that if I'm asked, the tribes get all the leeway the law still allows.

Sadly, however, tribal leadership has taken yet another giant leap toward "assimilation" into Eureo culture, by grasping at gambling -- "gaming" in polite company -- as a means to financial independence.

The next generation will determine at what cost. But I believe this:

The first generations of mixed-heritage "progressive" Indians who strove to emulate the best that Euro-American culture had to offer surely are spinning in their pious Christian graves.
It is a historical, anthropolical, and archeological reality that all peoples everywhere are now living on lands taken from people that lived there before they got there. Everbody on earth and I mean everybody's current domicile is stolen property, no exceptions.

Now ER, as you may know one of the things I collect is early American trade knives, some times called scalpers, and sometimes called skinners. Now the best Indian Scalping Knife I have in my collection is a 1970 something Auto Liscenes tag number 0009 from the Seminole tribe.
It was the issuance of 12 of these tags and the subsequent SCOTUS rulings that re-established tribal land rights outside of "reservations".
Therefore in Oklahoma there are 34 soveriegn Nations that hold land within the State. These are literally enclave countries within Oklahoma, not unlike the Vactican and San marino are enclave countries within Italy.

Now as for gambling and casinos, Indians have been gambling for thousands of years before Columbus ever got here. They had games of skill they would bet on, Games of chance, and sporting events. Some of the ball games they played were so serious that if you lost, you lost everything, all of your pocessions, wife, kids, and you became a slave to the winners. Compared to Indians the white man is a piker when it come to gambling.
OK OK, no one was living in Antartica when man first went there.
The exception proves the rule.
Just my personal thought about gambling -- er, gaming --

I think someone's likely to write a book about these times when future history shows that "gaming" wound up being equivalent to the destructive nature of alcohol on the Nations, a la Cimarron by Edna Ferber (1929).
You are correct, sir, as usual. Note I said a particular era of Indian leader of a particular religious persuasion -- pious Christians -- would be spinning. They sought to distance themselves from what they considered the worst of their own heritage as they strove to emulate the best of what Euro-American culture had to offer. Maybe the casinos are a conscious effort to reconnect with their pre-Christian heritage in a modern setting. But I doubt it.
The Casino's are like that license plate, a way to scalp the whites of thier money. Seems fair to me.
Trixie, the difference is the money. Alcohol didn't bring money. Gambling does. Of course, money ain't bad in itself -- it depends on what you do with it.
I feel a need to point out that some whites scalped, too. Meybe in retaliation. But they did it, nonetheless.
Money, just do like some tribes did, give it to Abramhoff to keep other Indian tribes from encroaching on your territory.
Now don't go PC on me ER. Scalping was an English activity imported to America as a way for their allied tribes to prove that they killed Frenchmen and or French sponsored Indians and collect their bounty. Now how they could tell the difference between French scalps and English scalps has always be a mystery to me.
I don't know of any of my Indian friends that would take offence at my comparing the casinos and the sovernty laws to a scalping knife used on WHITES.
By the way , although it may not be in your 1980 Style Book the PC term is American Indian not Native American.
E.R., if you've ever read Cimarron, it was about the very wealthy Osages who made their money from oil, oil and more oil (up in my native area). They were cheated out of their wealth with ... alcohol. (Kind of like handing them smallpox blankets, IMHO.)

That's the comparison I'm drawing here. My senses tell me that gaming, while seeming to be such a great source of money, money and more money, will wind up costing the nations dearly in the long run.
Well, I'm not going to quibble over whether to use AP style on E.R.'s blog or not. It's something that changes seasonally.

And I do not feel one bit sorry for any "whites" (or any other consumers) who feel skinned when they make the drive up to the big pretty lights.

I would much prefer to see the nations make money with industry or services. And many are. There's just not a lot of positive things to say about the "gaming" industry as a whole. Again, IMHO.
Just looked up the gross revenues from Oklahoma Indian gaming in 2004, it was $634 million. Don't expect the tribes to give that up easily, and of course there will be corruption, in that money that big guarantees it.
Trixie: Ah, did not get the gist of that, having not read Cimarron. Ya may be right.

Drlobo: "American Indin" ain't zactly PC; it's just what The AP prefers.

Me and the Cherokees I grew up with and around mostly prefer "Indian." I try to mix up my use of the terms in writing not for guided by The AP Stylebook.
For sure. I would never write "native nations" if I was writing for newspaper publication where AP style was used.
being cheated out of the gaming revenues, indeed! jack abramoff, anyone?

Oh, BTW, E.R. ... your heiny better be back in church next Sunday if you know what's good for you. We've all kind of glossed over that, but I figure you need a waggin' finger to say tut-tut. I had a GREAT morning at church (see my blog... *shameless plug*)
i'm suddenly having visions of dana carvey as "the church lady"....

I guess I'm in the minority . . .again. The 'native Americans' were a conquored group of people. They are lucky to have any lands. Had the original settlers treated the Indians the way God told the Israelites to treat the inhabitants of the Promised Land, there wouldn't be any problems at all.

I brought this up in an American History class at UF. The professor, knowing my sentiments for the South, turned it around on me and asked me if I thought Lincoln (et al) should have treated my beloved South that way. He pretty well shut me up. I didn't have an answer for him then and I don't have it now. I do know, however, that the Indian people should have assimilated by now and that it is complete crap that they are sovereign. Much like Puerto Rico, they have all the advantages of being US citizens (actually, they have more than the average citizen), but none of the responsibilities.
I am with ER and Trixie, it is
stolen land. I am not that old and
do have Cherokee blood in my veins.
I'm 40 something, when I started
school in the Belfont Ok school.
I was the only child in
kindergarten that spoke English.
The rest spoke Cherokee. I could
speak some still can some.I have
been to a fall stomp dance, out
under the stars. Giving thanks for
the harvest.
The strong braves are on the
outside of the circle, women and
childern in the middle, wise elders
on the inside next to the fire.
You can feel the ground trimble
as the strong men stomp. Out under
open sky with stars shining down.
It was one of the most incredible
experences of my life. We could
learn from it. The men were the
protectors of the women and childen. Now before you even go
there. I have spent most of my
adult life taking care of myself.
And did an ok job of it. But there
is a reason God made men stronger
physically than most women. He also
instealed in them the desire to
protect there family. Now women
have alot of the same desires.
My husband says I am like a mama
hen. You mess with my children and
you will get flogged..I have rattled on long enough. Yes it was
stolen land.
Rem, you use of "a" conquered "group" indicates you don't know a thing about American Indian history. Hundreds of groups of distinct peoples.

Conquered is one thing. Robbed, lied to, swindled, tricked, hornswaggled -- whatever you want to call it, by supposedly Christian people, is a particular brand of evil. No turning back now, but to deny it is adding insult to injury.

BTW, have you ever THOUGHT about the kind of God God appears to be in those stories? Do you really believe that? If Jesus is God, and Jesus is "the same yesterday, today and forever," why the disconnect? Why is the God of the Old Testament such a jerk, and Jesus not? What's fair, equitable or honorable about genocide, in any age, under any banner under any God -- capital G or not? Have you ever really thought about that?

I only ask because I have been recently. And I really don't believe that God told his "chosen people" to commit genocide, or to condemn their own to the Xth generation for various sins. What kind of fire-breathing, murderous God would do that?

(Questions posed as discussion points only, as ER readjusts the lightning rod by his desk.)
I've read with great interest this thread. I have absolutely no effing idea what you're talking about, but it's been interesting.
Back to the money and gaming thing, I do think many of the tribes with gaming revenues are very much on guard against being taken. Sorta once bitten, twice shy, only I don't know how many times the tribes have actually been bitten (count how often the US government broke treaties, for a start).

Also, I know that down here in the Chickasaw Nation the gaming money is going for some very good things, including a newish Arts & Humanities division within the tribe, a brand new American Indian Studies program at the local university, and an in-the-works new tribal hospital.

Gov. Anotubby and the rest of the tribal leaders are smart--they're spreading the money around town through construction contracts, donations, and higher salaries for tribal employees (and the Chickasaws have a *lot* of non-tribal folks working for them).

I just hope the gaming money continues to be good for both the tribe and the town, and that the tribal government continues to be so smart in the spending of it.
Being from an ole Creek family way back, I'd have to agree with the post.

It may interest you to know that the Brs (where we will eventually be) have a strong affinity to the Natives. They actually identify with them. Seeing themselves also as a people whose land was stolen by the NOW dominant culture.
Well, ER, this discussion has finally drawn me out of my lodge.

Kiwi is correct about the Chickasaws. Many of my friends work for them at their headquarters or for their various other companies. They are attempting to use the gaming money to produce jobs as opposed to just a dole to the tribal members. I wish my tribe (Cherokee) was doing so well.

The whole "stolen lands" problem is, for the most part, unsolvable. It's not like we can give the land back. We can't go back to where we're from because 1) we were born here and 2) many of us have American Indian blood in us. (Please note, ER, that I'm using the term "American Indian," but I'm frowning as I do so.) So we have to go on from here.

The gaming, however, is a problem. Many of the wisest tribes realize that it's a double-edged sword. Gambling has never been a way to increase a person's self-worth. For every winner, there are a hundred losers. It has to work that way for gambling to be profitable. It's a tax on people who are bad at math.

Many tribes actually fund anti-gambling programs for their members. As well as anti-smoking programs. So part of the money they take in from gambling goes to pay for programs to keep their members from gambling. Same for their tribal smoke shops. After a while, that circle of cause-and-effect-ignored makes my head hurt.
ER word to the wise, avoid using "Native American" in any of your public papers presented in Oklahoma.

Euro-Americans didn't steal all of the Inidan lands in America. Much of it the Europians or Americans bought or traded for it. However it was generaly bought it from some Indian tribe that did not own it.

The land grab from the Indians in Oklahoma , wasn't the last theft by the US Government from the tribes. The BIA has actually stolen BILLIONs of revenue from the payments for natural resources that should have gone to tribes. This little probelem will come home to roost sooner than later.

Also not all tribes fought or have been at war with the US government.
So not all tribes are a "conquered people". There are several dozen tribes in the Northwest and Alaska that were never in oposition to the US. In fact there is one tribe within 30 miles of the Distric of Columbia that wasn't even notice by the Feds untill the 1980's.

Yes the tribes are soverign governments, but are subservient to the United States Government and its laws. But they weren't granted US citizenship until 1923(?).

The American Indians will not soon, if ever band together for their mutual benifit. As much as they may dislike the Anglo Ect. Americans that surround them, they hate each other more. These tribe against tribe anamosities are often a thousand years deep in tradition and practice. It is a matrix of atrocities, crimes, wars, and slights that can not easily be overcome.
Well, drlobojo, not every tribe is hostile to every other tribe, either. We can't use the broad brush on any population and not expect to be called on it.
ER said, "Me and the Cherokees I grew up with and around mostly prefer "Indian." I try to mix up my use of the terms in writing not for guided by The AP Stylebook."
Lots of tribes work together. For instance, the Chickasaw, Cherokee, Choctaw, Seminole and Creek have many intertribal programs. They also recognize other tribal members for use of Indian health services. We also lobby in Washington D.C. as an united force. Somehow we grew above our "matrix of atrocities, crimes, wars, and slights." Do you think that only white people can forgive and forget? Oh, and we don't hate white people, either. Otherwise we wouldn't marry so many of you pale-skin demons ... :)
Trixie said:
"Well, drlobojo, not every tribe is hostile to every other tribe, either. We can't use the broad brush on any population and not expect to be called on it."

Ah, you think you smell a stereotype! Pounce!!!!!

You can call me on it, but I stand by the concept. Remember they are not ""A" population", they are "Population"S"". Yes, I doubt that the Seminole hate the Inuiet, but tribes in contact are most often tribes in conflict be it small or large. I have tried to work in this area with multiple tribes over the years, you better know their inter-tribal histories or you will get in deep trouble fast. For example my placeing a Osage councellor over a group of Kiowa kids. I was toast.
Ever hear of Cut Throat Gap?
Yes, He is the same God - NT and OT. I'm supposing from what you've revealed about yourself that you do not believe in Armageddon nor in Hell. It'll be much worse than genocide. And it will happen.

There is absolutely no good reason to exclude Indians from having to pay the same taxes that you and I pay, or to exclude them from regulations that hamper the business growth of everyone else.
By the way that last Anon Post is really a drlobojo post.
Good Tech, good that the five civilized tribe get along so well.
Any Comanches in that group?
Rem, you should be careful what you suppose based on the questions people ask.

And there are libraries full of reasons that Indians and Indian endeavors are treated differently under the law and under the Constitution.

And y'all Okies settle down. This always happens when ya get a eastern Okie and a western Okie talkin' about Indians. Twas ever thus. Twill ever be. :-)
I'm not impressed when white people say that tribes can't work together so they deserve what they get. Yeah, there are jerks in every tribe. There are prejudices in every tribe. I myself was raised with the refrain that the "Choctaw are horse thieves." But that wasn't true then, and isn't true now. I'm friends with several Choctaws and friendly toward the tribe as a whole. For anyone to paint all Indians with any particular color, just shows where true prejudice lies.

BTW, the Southern Plains Comanche Indian Tribe do participate in the National Congress of American Indians. And both the Chickasaws and Cherokees have medical reciprocal agreements with the Comanche.

Here's some info on the NCAI: "Founded in 1944, the National Congress of American Indians ( is the oldest, largest and most representative American Indian and Alaska Native organization in the country. NCAI advocates on behalf of more than 250 tribal governments, promoting strong tribal-federal government-to-government policies, and promoting a better understanding among the general public regarding American Indian and Alaska Native governments, people and rights." And yes, I'm a member.
Oh my,

rem870 said:
Yes, He is the same God - NT and OT. I'm supposing from what you've revealed about yourself that you do not believe in Armageddon nor in Hell.

Same God, different revelations.
First the Hebrews had the books of Moses. Revelation One.
Then the tribes were dispersed, and Judea (the Jews) was taken to Babalyon and then to Persia and return by the Persia King to Isreal. The complete Tora was formed. Revelation Two.
(here they added the end of the earth, salvation, and a basic heaven and hell)
Jesus is born,, lives . dies. resurected. Paul explains.
Revelation 3.
Same unchanging God, different revelations. Revelations of man about God and/or revelations by God to man?
God is stll unkown and unknowable yes?
Whoops, forgot Muhammed: Revelation 4?
All of these revelations built on one one another.
The Zoasterians believed that the revelations stopped with the death of Zarathrustra.
The Hebrew's thought they stopped with the writting of Moses.
The Jews with end of the Old Testament.
The Christians with the end of the New Testament.
The Muslems think the revelations ended with the death of Muhammed.
1600 years, time for a new one?
Fair enough, but if you believe the one, why is the other so hard to believe?
Tech keep up work and prove me wrong.
The Choctaws probably were horse theives. It was an hounorable activity.
Dr. Lobojo, what about the 'revelation' as presented by Joseph Smith (the Mormons)? When was that - 200 years ago?
I think it's the smug tone in fundamentalists' voices when they talk about Armageddon and Hell that sets my teeth on edge. I believe in both, but I'm not excited about either and certainly not pleased that anyone is going to suffer. The whole point of being a Christian is to help other people spiritually, mentally and physically. When I listen to a minister pound the pulpit and watch his wild eyes as he shouts with glee about the tortures that sinners will receive, my stomach turns over and I have a hard time believing that he's speaking with the voice of Christ.
Choctaws also bordered the Cherokee Nation. In my studies I stumbled across a letter written to the Choctaws by John Ross, Cherokee chief, who was basically saying, "OK, the border is so far from Tahlequah, and so far from Doaksville, that neither of us can patrol it adequately. In the meantime, would y'all on both sides of it quit sneaking across it to steal horses?!?"
Joseph Smith?
Doesn't seem to have grown fruit very well, and it skipped the forth revelation of Mohammed.
There have always been barren branches along the way. (rem870 wants me to get in trouble over this one.)
And you will note that I skipped over the schisms within each revelation.
Rem, I didn't say whether I believed in Armageddon or hell. But I don't believe that belief in either is necessary for one to have a relationship with God through Jesus. Just doesn't matter, except to people whose church bureaucracy rests on adherence to such things.
The Cherokee didn't steal horses, ER. We were only taking back our horses and their foals and possibly a couple of extra horses for reimbursement for our time and effort ... ahem.

John Ross, as you well know, was one of my ancestors. Pretty sneaky to use him against me!
This has turned into too much of a hodgepodge for me. I can't discuss tribal issues in the same thread with Armageddon and theologies of hate rather than love.

Drlobojo, I don't think you read what I wrote before you rebounded with a response. Try again. You want us to believe that all the native nations fight with every other native nation, and I say that's not true. That's all.

Time for a new topic, one without all the attached side issues, please.
It's a lodge hodgepodge!

It doesn't get out of hand until someone mentions Wovoka.

Uh oh ...
I've always thought the Ghost Dance was interesting.
And SEE Trixie? We've come full circle!

Crazy Snake to Indian rights to God to Jesus to God to Indian rights to Wovoka. ... from maschiach to messiah to the Ghost Dance! ... from a Jewish saviour to a Christian saviour to an Indian saviour -- and here Rem's head explodes. :-)

LOL. Some folks think this is playin' with dynamite. Nope. We're just playin' with blocks!
Legos or alphabet blocks?

Someone please pass the Tylenol.

Hey, did anyone notice how much Crazy Snake looks like Larry Storch of "F Troop"?
I have only heard of "F Troop."

Crazy Snake doesn't look like Larry Storch. That is Larry Storch playing the role of Crazy Snake, one of the many characters he's portrayed in his acting career.

Trixie you are aware that in every single encroachment by the white man into a tribal holdings or a war there were other Inidian tribes right there helping them out big time. With out these other tribal alliances against the tribe in question the white Man would not have had a chance to succeed. It wasn't until the mid-1800's that the white world began to exceed the Indian world in firepower or number of people engage in the battle. The number of effective Indian alliances against the whites during the first 400 years of white invasion you can count on one hand. They are notable for their rarity.
I don't remember saying all Indians hate all other Indians, nor do I think I inferd that, nor do I believe that. But there is a lot more anamosity and non-cooperation than trust and cooperation among the tribes and it has a long history.
Tech says that's changing, well good, do some more of it.
And Tech for one I didn't say they "can't" work together, I've said they "haven't" worked together. Take the gaming as a modern example.
If tribes had banded together and created a state wide system there could have so much more revenue generated. Nope everybody went their individual way, and many failed. When the hot shot New Lawyers of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund came into Oklahoma in the late 1970's to challenge the education segregation clauses against American Indians in the Oklahoma Constitution, and vestiges of segreagation of Indians in College they couldn't get tribal leaders together to even have a discussion. So the NAACP LDF dropped that part of the suit against Oklahoma in the Adams vs Richardson and walked away. The Black community gave the LDF a great deal of support, but not the Indian tribes.

Now what I saying about heaven and Hell...?
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