Monday, 31 July 2017
Federal Indian Policy: “Mom Always Liked YOU best!”
It’s 83 years late in coming, but at long last the Indian Reorganization Act of 1934 (IRA) is finally getting its first-ever review, and hopefully serious reform. IRA (48 stat. 984) forms the backbone of federal Indian policy across the country and has been extended, expanded, and abused far beyond the original intent of Congress.
In order to understand IRA and its major impacts on America, let me share an analogy. Imagine an American household with a single mom and a couple of sons, Johnny and Jimmy. One day Mom calls the family together to make an announcement. “Johnny, you were here first; Jimmy you were here second. Therefore, Johnny, you are more valuable and important than your brother. And Jimmy, you have intruded upon Johnny’s room, his life and his world, so a big chunk of everything you earn from now on and forever will be given to me, Mom, and I will redirect your earnings to Johnny. You really don’t belong here, Jimmy, because you were here second.”
This is exactly what has been happening in our country for 83 years. Since the Tribes (Johnny) tell the government (Mom) that they were here first, the non-tribal inhabitants (Jimmy) have become second-class citizens.