From the Chairman’s Boat

 

Doug Meyenburg, Jr.

 

  Sitting in a fishing boat gives one time to ponder. Lately, something has been sticking in my craw. In April, a Minneapolis Star Tribune article was headlined “Indians want reality of sovereignty—their own embassy.” The Mdewakanton Sioux Community, owners of Mystic Lake Casino, put up a $1million “challenge grant” to buy an embassy building in Washington DC. They want each Indian tribe to be recognized as a separate nation.

 

  History shows American Indians are citizens of the United States and the state where they reside. This was granted in most treaties and reinforced by Acts of Congress.

 

  The U.S. Constitution recognizes American Indians as wards of the federal government. The term nation, when referring to Indian tribes, denotes a tribe recognized by the Federal government as qualified to receive federal benefits. To date, 562 tribes have been given “nation” status. Does that mean 562 nations within the borders of the United States? Does that mean 562 more embassies in Washington DC?

 

  If it was real, sovereignty would mean passports, green cards, non-resident angling and hunting rules, no state aid, no voting, no lobbying, no donating to candidates, or being a candidate in non-tribal elections. Citizenship has its rewards.

 

  Is sovereignty what they really want? Or is it just recognition of equal citizenship? People for centuries have fought to come to America to become a citizen. If the claim of sovereignty was real, why would tribal members want to leave all of this? We are all equal under the laws of the United States!

 

          In the current Red Lake exclusive rights discussion, no Federal, State, or Tribal agency has come forward with any document showing that the Supreme Court “Holt” case has been overturned. Therefore the State should return to its responsibility of regulating the entire Upper and Lower Red Lakes. PERM will continue to pursue this!