The Final Bullet: Harm and The Removal of the American Indians From Traditional Lands, Land Based Cultural Practices, and “The Human Environment.” The harm that large Solar Development will inflict upon the American Indians and American Indian communities of Southern California might best be described as the “Final Bullet.” Plaintiff Alfredo Acosta Figueroa, who traces his family lineage to Sonoran (Yaqui) miners working in the Sierra Nevada foothills during the1840s discusses why his family was forced to move south to the area near Blythe, “They overran us,” he says tersely. Gary G. Ballard, Kumeyaay Webmaster, professional Web blogger, and multi-media journalist, writes, “The great CALIFORNIA GOLD RUSH 1848-1855 is historically paramount to Native American Indian history in California — it was estimated that some 300,000 immigrants poured into California during this seven-year period. When James Marshall discovered gold at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California, on January 24th, 1848, it was estimated there were some 150,000 Indigenous Native American Indians living in California. In 1848, Indians in California outnumbered whites
by 10 to one — can you imagine that — walking out of your house today and hiking to your favorite park or beach in an 1848 California countryside? By 1870 (22 years later) it was estimated there were only 30,000 Indians left living in California mostly as a result of the California Gold Rush and the onslaught of white immigrant settlers as their foreign diseases and U.S. governmentsanctioned genocide were systematically wiping out the California indigenous populations — better known today as ethnic cleansing — 120,000 California aboriginal Indians were lost in this 22-year period. By 1900 it was estimated that less than 16,000 California Indians had survived the invasion of their homelands (some 134,000 California Indians were lost during this 52-year period while the United States Government was in control of California). It is believed the Kumeyaay (Tipay-Iipay-Diegueño) Indians — one of the largest and strongest pre-contact tribal groups in California — had only 1,000 surviving tribal members at the turn of the 20th century (1900). KUMEYAAY GOLD history in San Diego County's Gold-Rush era mines (1869) — Julian, California (very near the present-day Iipay Nation of Santa Ysabel Reservation, a
sovereign Indian nation) — some $5 million of gold was taken out of the Julian Eagle and High Peak Mine during the 1870s from deep in the heart of pre-contact Kumeyaay tribal mountains of San Diego County. Overall, non-Indians took billions of today's dollars in gold and minerals from traditional California Native American tribal lands during the California Gold Rush. With the slightest few facts about Kumeyaay Indian history in San Diego County, it seems unconscionable (to me) that a reasonable person would dare judge or attempt to interfere with the Native American aboriginal people's legal and moral right to sovereign self government. After all, THEIR ancestors held the land and water rights in the greater San Diego area more than 12,000 years. And THEIR Grandfathers and Grandmothers were "pushed into the rocks," severely punished, culturally deprived, enslaved, and even murdered during the California Genocide in the greater Southern California area,” Sacramento Bee Staff Writer Stephen Magagnini, in a Jan. 18, 1998 article entitled, “Indians' Misfortune Was Stamped in Gold,” details the effects on native life and indigenous
population. "It has been the melancholy fate of California Indians to be more vilified and less understood than any other of the American aborigines," said Stephen Powers in his 1877 book "Tribes of California." "They were once probably the most contented and happy race on the continent ... and they have been more miserably corrupted and destroyed than any other tribes within the Union. They were certainly the most populous, and dwelt beneath the most genial heavens, amidst the most abundant natural productions, and they were swept away with the most swift and cruel extermination."
"There is only one kind of treaty that is effective -- cold lead." -- Editorial in Chico Courant The â€œGold Rushâ€? of 1848 resulted in not only cultural and social impacts of lasting harm to American Indians and Indian groups such as the Kumeyaay, it resulted in severe destruction of Californiaâ€™s ecosystems and natural environments. Native Americans, dependent on traditional hunting and gathering, became the victims of starvation and disease, as gravel, silt and toxic chemicals from prospecting operations
killed fish and destroyed habitats.  The surge in the mining population also resulted in the disappearance of game and food gathering locales as gold camps and other settlements were built amidst them. Later farming spread to supply the camps, taking more land from the use of Native Americans. Starvation often provoked the Native tribes to steal or take by force food and livestock from the miners, increasing miner hostility and provoking retaliation against them. The Act for the Government and Protection of Indians, passed on April 22, 1850 by the California Legislature, allowed settlers to continue the Californio practice of capturing and using Native people as bonded workers. It also provided the basis for the enslavement and trafficking in Native American labor, particularly that of young women and children, which was carried on as a legal business enterprise. Native American villages were regularly raided to supply the demand, and young women and children were carried off to be sold, the men and remaining people often being killed in genocidal attacks.  The Gold Rush of 1848 was not the first series of horrors to befall the American Indians of Southern California. The â€œMission System" had already broken â€œThe Continuumâ€? of cultural practice and lifeways of many tribal communities a generation or two before. The
Spanish missions in California comprise (d) [sic] a series of religious and military outposts established by Spanish Catholics of the Franciscan Order between 1769 and 1823, to spread the Christian faith among the local Native Americans. The missions represented the first major effort by Europeans to colonize the Pacific Coast region, and gave Spain a valuable toehold in the frontier land. The settlers introduced European livestock, fruits, vegetables, cattle, horses and ranching into the California region; however, the Spanish occupation of California also brought with it serious negative consequences to the Native American populations with whom the missionaries came in contact. In 1768, Fray Junípero Serra was appointed superior of a band of 15 Franciscans for the Indian Missions of Baja California. The Franciscans took over the administration of the missions on the Baja California Peninsula from the Jesuits after King Carlos III ordered them forcibly expelled from "New Spain" on February 3, 1768. Early in the year 1769, he accompanied Governor Gaspar de Portolà on his expedition to Alta California. When the party reached San Diego on July 1, Serra stayed behind to start the Mission San Diego de Alcalá, the first of the 21 California missions (including the nearby Visita de la Presentación, also founded under Serra's leadership).
Despite romantic portraits of California missions they were essentially coercive religious, labor camps organized primarily to benefit the colonizers. The overall plan was to first militarily intimidate the local Indians with armed Spanish soldiers who always accompanied the Franciscans in their missionary efforts. At the same time the newcomers introduced domestic stock animals that gobbled up native foods and undermined the free or "genitle" tribes efforts to remain economically independent. Local tribes were relocated and conscripted into forced labor on the mission, stretching from San Diego to San Francisco. Disease, starvation, over work, and torture decimated these tribes. Many were forcibly converted and baptized as Roman Catholics by the Franciscan missionaries at the missions. Mission Indians were from many Californian Native American tribes that were relocated together in new mixed groups and renamed after the responsible mission. For instance the Payomkowishum were renamed "Luise単os" after the Mission San Luis Rey and the Acjachemem were renamed the "Juane単os" after the Mission San Juan Capistrano. The overall cultural genocide of the mission era resulted in the original linguistic, spiritual, and cultural practices forbidden and lost.
Father Junípero Serra was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 25, 1988, this being one of the steps towards canonization, or promotion to sainthood, in the Roman Catholic Church. Some Native American groups are opposed to this, claiming that the missions seriously mistreated their people. They point to the harsh conditions of mission life, substantial Native Californian population and cultural losses, and Serra's own justification of Indian Reductions and beatings. In 1780, Serra wrote: "that spiritual fathers should punish their sons, the Indians, with blows appears to be as old as the conquest of the Americas; so general in fact that the saints do not seem to be any exception to the rule." Referring to “The Missions of California; A Legacy of Genocide, edited by Rupert Costo and Jeannette Henry Costo, book review editor, Raymond Starr of The Journal of San Diego History, writes, “Ironically, it is the interviews with the scholars defending Serra that contain the strongest evidence against the mission system. The ethnocentrism of the interviewees and their, at times, embarrassing lack of knowledge regarding Indian ways, lead to numerous questionable assertions. Thus, Doyce Nunis
comments that until Serra's arrival "the Indians had no sense of fidelity to each other" and that "living just meant eating and staying alive. "Harry Kelsey states "I think the Indians lived in misery before the missionaries came." David Hornbeck asserts that the Indians had "no strong social, political, or economic structure." From the interviews in the Serra Report, one gets the impression that Serra's work can be defended only by demeaning the culture and traditions of the native Californians.â€? â€œThe work of A. L. Kroeber, Sherburne Cook, Robert Heizer (all cited in the text) and others establishes that the arrival of the Europeans was a cultural and demographic catastrophe for the California Indians. Too often it is forgotten that Serra aimed not just to convert the Indians to Catholicism but to eradicate Indian culture as well. It is in this sense that the book's subtitle. "A Legacy of Genocide" is justified. Many of Serra's fiercest critics are individuals actively engaged in efforts to heal Indian society by recovering and honoring the traditional ways that bound tribes together for centuries. The attempt to sanctify a man who dedicated his life to the destruction of those ways is, understandably, galling to them.â€?
Dr. Diana Tumminia, Dept. of Sociology, CSU at Sacramento, Sacramento, Ca created a virtual memorial to all the California Indians who died in the many years genocide. Dr. Tumminia writes, “In California, various school systems assign a learning segment on the California Mission system. Ironically, I get mail from younger students who have to complete the California Mission assignment. Some grade school and middle school students want to know why the genocidal aspects of the California Mission system and the native revolts against repression are hardly mentioned in their school curriculums. If these aspects are mentioned, the reasons for the rebellions are not explored. Some students would prefer to work on Native American and Chicano history projects. I support this alternative.” Incidentally, I just visited the Serra Museum at San Diego's Presidio Park. In one line in the exhibit, the museum mentions a native revolt, but gives no reasons for the rebellion. Again, the museum silently prefers not to remember the genocide.” Dr. Tumminia’s “California Indians Memorial” includes a timeline of historical events related to native, non-native relations, and the effects of Federal, State, and Territorial policies over time related to the American Indians of California. 1769 - Early Contact. Father Serra at San Diego with military support. Spanish barter with indigenous peoples. Soldiers build
El Presidio, the fort. Some native people convert to Catholicism as part of the trade process; others are forced to work at the mission. 1729-1834 Many populations are captured and forced into slave labor. In the mission system, soldiers abuse women and spread venereal disease, which repeatedly decimates populations. Other diseases, such as measles and small pox, ravage indigenous populations. Friars punish Indians with flogging for any infraction, including running away. Native Americans build the Mission System at tremendous personal costs. 1775 - Presidio soldiers pursue two runaways, Zegota and Francisco. They escape and organize a Kumeyaay rebellion. They burn the San Diego Mission. 1777 - Santa Clara Mission epidemic. 1782 - Santa Barbara Mission built. Spanish disrupt Chumash economy and spread disease. See Chumash. 1793 - Ohlone people pressed into service. (San Francisco) See Ohlone 1785 - Led by female chief Toy Purina, San Gabriel Mission Indians revolt. Many rebels killed, while others exiled to Santa Barbara Island. 1795 - 200 Indians fled Mission Dolores
1804 - San Diego, friar who flogs cook is poisoned. At Santa Cruz, Indians kill another friar. 1820 - 20,000 Native Americans in Mission System. They are called neophytes. They are mistreated, beaten, sexually assaulted, or killed for infractions, particularly running away. 1824 - Chumash revolt at Santa Barbara, Santa Inez, & La Purisma Concepcion. Juana Maria 1829 - The Spring Creek massacre. 1834 - Governor of California frees Indians from missions, but without land they are forced into servitude with wealthy landowners. Many migrated to Los Angeles. 1837 - Genocidal raids against native people. Jose Maria Amador kills 200. 1839 - 1849 - Johann Sutter keeps 600 to 800 Indians in virtual slavery. 1846 - A member of the Donner Party kills his two Indian guides for food. 1847 - Indian district of Los Angeles razed. Native Americans required to live with their "masters." 1848 - Indians exploited in gold panning operations. "Digger's ounce" invented. See Maidu. California Indian Policies. More Maidu. 1848 - Treaty of Guadelupe Hildalgo honors Native-American land rights. 1849- Weber Creek massacre. 1849 - The Pomo of Clear Lake rise up against their "masters." The army puts down rebellion. 1850 - Bloody Island Massacre, another site on the
history. Video of protest & memorial ceremony. 1850-1868 Active open slave trade of Indians. Children and women constantly abducted. 1850 - Known as the California Indian Slave Act by critics, The Act for the Government and Protection of Indians passed by the First State Constitutional Convention. 1850 - At Feather River massacre, Miwok attacked by militia. Antonio Garra, chief of Cupenos, leads uprising against Juan Jose Warner (Warner Springs). Pala Indians 1850-1860 Indians removed to "Farms" or pre-reservations. 1860-1890 Reservation system established. 1850-1872 Yahi hunted and killed. Ishi, the last of his tribe survives. 1852 - California legislature authorized $1.1 million to reimburse people who kill Indians. 1852 - Bridge Gulch Massacre 1860 - Indian Island Massacre, Text. 1862 - Concow Maidu Trail of Tears 1863 - The Humboldt Times editorializes for extermination. 1872 - Attack on Captain Jack of the Modocs. Modoc War. Captain Jack's Cave. Modoc profile. 1880s - Children forced to go to "Indian" schools. Boarding schools. 1883 - Banker Darius Ogden Mills presented a statue of Columbus Appealing to Queen Isabella to the State and it is placed in the State Capitol building at Sacramento. 1887 - Dawes Act allowed whites to gobble up more native
land. 1900 - Alfred Kroeber starts his research. 1911 - Ishi found in Oroville, California. film clips 1928 - Congress created the California Indian Jurisdictional Act, or Lea Act. Under it, lawsuits filed over broken treaties. 18 Treaties 1950-1960s - Termination policy of Federal Government. (Lecture) Miwok Fight to Reclaim Tribal Status Lost Tribal Status 1965 - Statue of Junipero Serra erected in Capitol Park, Sacramento. 1969 - Indians of All Nations takeover Alcatraz. Search Alcatraz Island D-Q University logo
1971 - Native American and Chicano activists occupy an old Army communications center near Davis, California. They found D-Q University, a college for all indigenous peoples. The "D" stands for the name of the Great Peacemaker Denagawida who inspired the founding of the Iroquois Confederacy (Hodenoshone); the full name symbolized by the "D" is used only in a religious context. The "Q" represents Quetzalcoatl, an Aztec prophet, who symbolizes the principles of wisdom and self-discipline. 1972 - A petition by American Indian students at Stanford University results in that school dropping its "Indian" sports team nickname and logos. Movement to end Indian mascots.
1987 - In California vs. Cabazon Band of Mission Indians, the Supreme Court ruled that the states could not enforce any gaming laws or regulations on Indian reservations. In response to California vs. Cabazon, Congress passed the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (IGRA) of 1988, that gives states limited power over tribal gaming. 1990s - Sacramento Bee article, Current List of Nations Current Reservations Tribes Not Recognized by Federal Government 1996 - Ishi not last? 1999 - Demands to return Ishi's remains. Ishi's Brain. More information. 2000 - Ishi's brain returned. Miwok Fight to Reclaim Tribal Status 2000 - According to US Census, 333,346 people reported as Native American in California, the highest population concentration in US. These people who reported being Native American in California represent many native nations, and, of course, not all were indigenous to California (for example, Cherokees of California who are not indigenous). Some people who filled out the census were of mixed race, but did not report as such. There is no procedure to check for accuracy in reporting. The Native American category in the census made up 1% of Californians. When adding reported Native Americans to those who stated a native heritage in addition to another heritage (mixed race), the total count was 627,562 or 1.9% of Californians. The Native American population count has grown significantly outstripping the national rate since the late 1980s. Some of the reason for this growth is a phenomenon called "switching"---meaning that some people did not report their race formerly as Native American, but have switched for
various reasons, one being it is more acceptable now to be an American Indian than in previous decades. 2002 - California dedicates bronze plaque on the steps of the Capitol Building to California Indians. California Indian Seal Kawaiisu Tribal History 2003 - Professor Edward Castillo of Sonoma State University receives grant to develop curriculum for grade schoolers about indigenous history. Many students do not hear the real story of Native-American history until they come to college. Some time in the last few years, Capitol Park added a grinding rock to honor native peoples. 2005 - In January, D-Q University lost its accreditation. 2006- Native artists 2007 - December 15-Representatives of Miwoks accept apology. Francis Quinn, retired Catholic bishop of Sacramento, apologized for cruelties the Church committed against Native Americans at the 109th anniversary of Mission San Rafael Archangel. The mistreatment of Miwoks at the mission has rarely been acknowledged. 2007 - Remembering the old days, Yosemite / Paiute Harold Miller, you-tube video
How are we to define the harm incurred by the cumulative effects of Federal, state, and territorial policies acting to the detriment of the American Indian and American Indian Sovereignty? Could it be
considered spiritual hegemony? Certainly, given the spiritual basis of Native cultures, grounded in the relationships with the environment and the cultural expressions through oral histories and the tribal tradition of being with the land, it is of that realm. As Anthropologist Lowell Bean explains in an interview with Film Maker, Robert Lundahl: DR. BEAN: Well, as you know, history --history becomes religion (unintelligible). You look at our own cultures; ancient and important architecture that is part of our political -- our religious history becomes sacred. We deem it a treasure and we put a name on it and we put rules out that no one can endanger that. It's not unlike -- every culture does it. So if you - if there's a village site out in the desert and someone's going to put a road over it, people are concerned. That's part of their traditional history and traditional history really is sacred to everybody.”
But what we might call “spiritual” is simultaneously historical, “The continuum of land use in history and tribal tradition,” referred to earlier in this document by Plaintiff and La Cuna De Aztlan Sacred Sites Protection Circle Member Jim Guerra, and referred to subsequently as “The Continuum.” As the “spiritual” is also the “historical,” then by virtue of the examples and histories cited above, it is also economic and physical.
Just has displacement from tribal lands has lead to a high incidence of diabetes in American Indian communities, the effects of de-culturalization have had negative effects across the entire spectrum of human life and well being. “The Continuum” of land use in history and tribal tradition is the antidote. Construction of the 5 Challenged Projects will set a precedent of the purveyance of inadequate EIS’s and inadequate Section 106 consultation, procedures which aside from being unlawful actions in their own right, will facilitate the development of 245 additional “renewable’ energy projects, to be strewn across the western deserts, with limited concern for their impacts. In so witnessing we would then silently participate in the collapse of ecosystems, the extinctions of undocumented species of flora and fauna, and the collapse of whole cultures and peoples, histories and identities. In an interview with Film Maker Robert Lundahl, Dr. Jim Andre explains: “I'm a botanist, and I study the plants in the California deserts and Nevada deserts. What has really struck me by this area is the level at which we are just scratching the surface in terms of documenting the flora. You can assume roughly about 5 to 10 percent of the species out there remain undescribed to date. We continue to describe species over the last hundred years at
about 25 species per decade. There are very few areas in North America where you can go and find that kind of a frontier, floristic frontier of sorts.â€?
The Tohono O'odham Nation, a reservation larger than Connecticut that stands just west of Tucson, has one of the highest concentrations of diabetes in the world. More than 50 percent of adults on the reservation have the disease, according to Indian Health Services. During World War II, Tohono O'odham men joined the military and left the native foods the tribe had eaten for ages to wither. When the men returned from the war, they took jobs in commercial cotton fields near the reservation instead of going back to their farms. At mealtime, they began eating pinto beans that the government disseminated as part of a welfare program. In the 1930s, the nation produced about 1.8 million pounds of traditional tepary beans annually. By 2001, it produced fewer than 100 pounds. The new diet wreaked havoc on the Tohono O'odham. Studies suggest that their bodies evolved to weather the feast-and-famine cycles their ancestors faced in the desert and are highly efficient at turning calories into fat.
Terrol Johnson, founder of Tohono O'odham Community Action, or TOCA, heard stories about the effects of bad sugar as a child. "My parents would say, 'This person got a leg chopped off,'" he said. "We were like, 'What?' 'That person got a leg chopped off.'" Eventually, the stories hit closer to home. Doctors amputated Johnson's step-grandma's leg. Johnson's parents told him that if he continued to eat junk food and candy he'd get the bad sugar, too. Johnson sometimes thinks back on his grandfather's unwitting contribution to diabetes on the reservation: During World War II, he learned as a Navy cook how to make doughnuts." He got home and would make doughnuts and sell them in the village," Johnson said. "He didn't know. No one knew." When diabetes began surfacing, local and national entities stepped in to work on the problem. Indian Health Services, in collaboration with the Tohono O'odham Health Department, put diabetes prevention projects in place in the community and in schools. The Tucson Indian Center began offering nutrition education, as well. A variety of integrated medical programs started offering treatment. A small group of Tohono O'odham decided to address diabetes from a different angle: Since nobody had heard of bad sugar 50 years ago when everybody ate like the ancestors did, they began to study the way the ancestors ate.
Traditional foods, such as tepary beans and cholla buds, worked well for the Tohono O'odham. Soluble fiber in the beans reduced blood sugar, slowed its rate of absorption and improved insulin production. In the second half of the 20th century, Native Americans started coming down with bad sugar. It made them sleepy, caused sluggish blood circulation and often led to amputation, a common result of the disease. In 1996, Johnson helped to found TOCA with the goal of addressing community problems through culturally based responses. In 2000, soon after Johnson's grandfather's died, TOCA and a local community college designed a survey to find out whether tribe members would eat traditional foods often if they had the option. That's all the encouragement TOCA needed to start growing tepary beans on a grand scale and teaching people how to prepare them quickly - with a crock pot and freezer. The old-time garden grew from a quarter acre at a church to one acre at a hospital. It moved to Johnson's grandfather's land, where it continued to grow. About three years ago, the Tohono O'odham Nation handed TOCA 100 acres for farming, and the farm soon will expand again. This month, the Community Food Bank bought 3,500 pounds of tepary beans from the TOCA farm. The food bank will pack the
beans into diabetic food boxes - half for the reservation and half for dissemination by Catholic Social Services. "They're such a good source of protein and such a good way to control that blood sugar level," said Melena MacLeod, the food bank's Value Food Store manager. TOCA's work has garnered national attention. The Ford Foundation and Kellogg have stepped forward with grants, and CBS featured the organization on "60 Minutes." Unfortunately, should the number of large Solar Developments currently in the application stages be permitted, their cumulative impacts would wipe out the desert ecosystems and much of the flora and fauna with their intrinsic values. Jim Andre, Ph.D: â€œOne of the things I did is I looked at â€“ once it reached about 250 proposed projects -- all ranging from 5 to 25,000 acres each, totaling 2 million acres just for California -- I decided to do a quick and dirty analysis of how many acres of public lands have been mined since the passage of the 1872 Mining Act. We will exceed that total number of acres in three to five years if all these proposed projects were to go through. So in a flash we would basically have the largest most disruptive impact that have been recorded in a short period of time. That is -- that is remarkable. That is a remarkable thing. When you consider the importance of these systems to provide corridors for species to
move as climate changes, whether it's human caused change or just the natural course of variation in climate change, you've really done in the entire ecosystem at that scale.”
When “The Continuum” is disrupted and the links between the social and the natural broken, solutions for future problems become unavailable. Sacred sites and cultural resources are components of an expansive library of indigenous knowledge about how to live both on the land and with the land. And as the Tohono O’odham battled an addiction to sugar in their diets, so the dominant society looks to renewable energy implementations in order to provide relief and to mitigate its addiction to the use of fossil fuels with their destructive byproduct, atmospheric carbon. In the first case, the answer was found in the traditional indigenous practices, so too can the dominant society come to understand “renewability” through a traditional relationship with the land, if we so choose. Or perhaps we will stimulate yet another a “boom cycle” followed by a bust, a fast tracked “Gold Rush” that destroys cultures and the environment in the name of “Overriding Concerns.” And if we do, we will revisit the evils of our past. As Preston Arrow-Weed remarked earlier: “They’re destroying a past. They’re destroying - - just like if I
went over there and took your Driverâ€™s license and took your birth certificate and took everything that you had and took your camera and kicked you out going down the road. You have no past, no nothing. The only thing you got is your memory.â€? [EXHIBIT B]
The forced removal of American indigenous peoples from their ancestral lands is one of the darkest chapters in American history. Perhaps few today realize, however, that this forced removal did not result from isolated acts of Western settlers; rather, it was set in motion by the federal government. In 1827, the Cherokee nation, located within the boundaries of the state of Georgia, adopted a written constitution modeled after the U.S. Constitution, which declared them to be a sovereign, autonomous nation. At the time, the Cherokee nation possessed "a thriving agricultural economy, a written language, and a formal government, including a legislature, and courts. The following year, the state of Georgia passed a law assimilating Cherokee lands into Georgia's northwestern counties. In 1829, the state passed a law rendering the Cherokee territory located within Georgia boundaries subject to the laws of Georgia, effectively abolishing existing Cherokee laws and customs. The Cherokee nation filed suit in federal court to enjoin the enforcement of the Georgia laws, but the matter was
dismissed for lack of jurisdiction. A year after dismissing the case, however, the Supreme Court, in an opinion authored by Chief Justice John Marshall, determined the Cherokee nation to be "a distinct community, occupying its own territory, . . . in which the laws of Georgia can have no force, and which the citizens of Georgia have no right to enter, but with the assent of the Cherokees themselvesâ€? Prior to the Court's decision, however, Congress had passed the Indian Removal Act, authorizing the President to compel Indian Tribes living east of the Mississippi River to migrate westward. Additionally, in 1830, the governor of Georgia had announced that gold had been discovered on the Cherokee lands, prompting widespread trespasses onto Cherokee territory by Georgia citizens searching for gold. Therefore, the governor of Georgia, together with numerous state officials, announced that they would not obey the mandate of the Supreme Court. Moreover, upon learning of the Worcester decision, President Andrew Jackson is fabled to have retorted: "Well, John Marshall has made his decisionâ€”now let him enforce it." When they realized that the executive branch had no intention of honoring the decision of the Court, the Cherokee nation reluctantly entered into the Treaty of New Echota in 1835. Soon afterward, "[n]early sixteen thousand Cherokees walked `silent and resigned' from Georgia to their
new homes in what became eastern Oklahoma. This journey has been called the `Trail of Tears' because the Indians were leaving their ancestral lands under the most harsh conditions imaginable." "The Cherokee are probably the most tragic instance of what could have succeeded in American Indian policy and didn't. All these things that Americans would proudly see as the hallmarks of civilization are going to the West by Indian people. They do everything they were asked except one thing. What the Cherokees ultimately are, they may be Christian, they may be literate, they may have government like ours, but ultimately they are Indian. And in the end, being Indian is what kills them." -Richard White, Historian
The pattern of legislative and regulatory actions by the Federal Government, has caused great harm to American Indians and dates from the nationâ€™s inception. It is a tragic legacy given the potential for cultural interactions, shared histories, and future perspectives that are possible for the development of sustainable and thriving communities. The permitting, siting, and implementation of large solar projects on tribal/public lands continue this pattern of disregard and abuse. We are all members of a community. We desire to address the public interests.
We cannot be separated from the environment. As Lower Elwha Klallam Elder Beatrice Charles stated in the film “Unconquering the Last Frnntier,” by Film Maker Robert Lundahl, “We were just Indians and that was the treatment we got.” In ruling for declaratory and injunctive relief, the court has an opportunity to establish a more consistently respectful and sovereign path and recognize the importance of communities. “Enough is Enough.” –Beatrice Charles, Lower Elwha Klallam Elder, 2005. From “TheVillage of Chi-Whit-Zen, video, by Film Maker, Robert Lundahl.
__________________________ November 16, 2010
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Published on Jul 17, 2013
The Final Bullet: Harm and The Removal of the American Indians From Traditional Lands, Land Based Cultural Practices, and “The Human Environ...