It’s not racist to question racist government policy

Joe Fellegy nails it in today’s Outdoor News, Fellegy selfie Q&A: tribal state park permits and more. He calls out the Governor, DNR, various state leaders, and unnamed tribal politicos over a discriminatory tribal state park permit policy. He explains why the Governor “and his administration cannot be trusted to defend Minnesota’s best interests.”

Read more below.

Fellegy selfie Q&A: tribal state park permits and more
By Joe Fellegy    Outdoor News Minnesota    January 21, 2022

Editor’s note: Joe Fellegy this week offers readers an interview with … himself. Covered are matters of tribal state park permits, angling exaggerations, and the state’s walleye limit.

Q: Why question Minnesota’s new state park permit law, effective Jan. 1, giving free annual permits to enrolled members of Minnesota’s 11 tribal nations? Isn’t it good that they get free access to our state parks?

A: I’d call it racial discrimination, or, more bluntly, racist state policy or systemic racism. Blacks, whites, Asians, Latinos, and other non-Indians must pay the $35 annual state park fee, or the $7 daily fee, while tribal enrollees get free permits. Who in Minnesota state government would even think about making this official state law? I believe it’s atrocious!

Q: Along with unnamed tribal politicos, surely various state leaders backed this new law – the Governor’s Office, DNR personnel, the DFL-led House, GOP-led Senate, and others. Your takes?

A: As for Gov. Tim Walz, I believe he is very qualified to be Minnesota’s governor. He is smart, well-spoken, and very knowledgeable about the workings of government at all levels. He served six terms in Congress, representing Minnesota’s 1st congressional district. Like or dislike this or that Walz position on various topics, and whether one votes for or against him, we can all agree that he’s qualified.

However, on tribal-related issues – from treaty rights to state park permits – my personal belief is that he and his administration cannot be trusted to defend Minnesota’s best interests.

Q: But if you question state or federal Indian policies, aren’t you “against the Indians” and racist?

A: No! Like the late Chippewa journalist Bill Lawrence often told his friends, these days always distinguish between “the Indians,” meaning the people, and what he called the modern “Indian Industry.”

In other words, today’s rich and powerful tribal governments, and the non-Indian politicians, corporate leaders, journalists, and others who support them on this or that issue, should not be immune to discussions, debates, critiques, and relevant questions.

After all, they affect public policy and the public purse, big-time. So it isn’t anti-Indian or racist to raise legitimate questions about tribal-related politics every day of the year.

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