Letter to the Editor: Native Americans need a voice in our political system
The following is a submitted letter to the editor. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Perham Focus. To submit a letter, email firstname.lastname@example.org or mail it to Perham Focus, Box 288, Perham, MN 56573.
To the editor:
Proponents of Line 3 successfully defined the issue as one of a caring corporation, creating blue collar jobs by fixing an old pipeline. Opponents allowed themselves to be defined by Line 3 supporters as having ideas that were, at best, impractical hippie nonsense or, at worst, libel to kill the nation's entire power supply, including little Johnny's Xbox game system.
Speaking of systems, many Native Americans are cursed with a yearning to vomit and it is not because they opposed or supported Line 3. It is because we still deny them the right to democratic decision-making that should be the hallmark of our nation's American Indian policy. Let us consider doing a few things to change the system.
First, Native Americans need to be free to exercise their political rights, namely the elective franchise and the right to seek and, if elected, to hold office.
Second, the head of the Bureau of Indian Affairs needs to directly elected by Native Americans. It will make the Bureau legitimate in the eyes of Native Americans.
Third, we need to strongly consider creating additional Congressional districts that would be comprised of the recognized reservations. Doing so would give real political power to Native Americans as most of these Congressional representatives would likely be American Indians themselves.
Let us commit ourselves to the political rights of Native Americans and to the proposition that American Indians should have a real democratic voice in shaping their policy.
This letter was originally published in the Fargo Forum, a sister publication to the Perham Focus.