By B.H. Bates
You can fight for your right to ‘parrr-ta!’ You can fight for your sister’s honour. And it’s even understandable to punch some jerk in the nose for pinching your ass. But where do you draw the line – between a kick in the pants and a bullet to the head?
Unless you live in a cave, or on some impoverished reservation, without a radio, televison or newspaper – you should know about the ‘war’ going on in the middle east. The whole thing reminds me of two little boys in a schoolyard dispute: “You shoved me first!” “No way! You shoved me first!” With the United Nations playing the part of a spineless teacher, and the United States as the big bully, egging on the combatants: “Fight! Fight!”
Now I know there’s more to it than that, but really, if you were Chief, would you be willing to put the lives of everyone on your Rez on the line, over a patch of dirt? Dirt, that’s been there long before you were born and will be there long after you’re dead? What if some idiot said: my gods bigger than your god? Would you, as the heap big Chief, be willing to crucify your own son? I know if I lived on a Rez, with a Chief who’d be crazy enough to do something like that … I’d move my tepee!
If you think that the on going Native land claims have been going on for only the last few generations … you’d be wrong. They’ve been going on for hundreds and hundreds of years. Even before uncle whitey showed up at the wigwam door, we Natives have been fighting over the best hunting grounds. With mighty bows and swift arrows we sent other Natives to the ‘happy hunting grounds,’ just to lay claim to, basically, dirt and rocks.
I’m just glad we Natives didn’t have’um the sticks that made thunder (guns), back then. Who knows what might have happened? Would Natives have been so nearsighted and stupid enough to kill off every last tribe, except their own?
Everyone deserves their place in the sun and under the stars. But what price would you put on the ground that you stand on? Would you take someone’s scalp, simply because they tepeed in your backyard? Would you slather honey on someone’s bottom and then tie them to an anthill for an acre of prime bottom land? What if I stole a rock from your yard … would you pick up another rock and throw it at me?
I think I may have a solution to our land claims: Why don’t we just call a ‘do-over’ and we can start from the beginning. Everyone who’s not a Native – get on a boat and we’ll start again from scratch! Manhattan, for some ‘Beads and trinkets?’ … my ass!
Here’s a: “Did you know?” Did you (a regular every day Injun), know that the lawyers, who are supposed to be helping Natives negotiate disputed land claims, are being paid by the same government we’re negotiating against? Does that sound very ethical to you or is it just me? And this is the part that really burns my brown bottom; All of that money, that all of those lawyers will earn, over all of those years … is going to come from the sale of those disputed lands! In other words we’re going to get it up the – you know where!
Who was the idiot who made such a stupid deal? Take, for instance, the lawsuits brought against the large tobacco companies. The lawyers who were on those cases only got paid if they won, and only an agreed upon percentage. Do you remember the ‘hot coffee’ lawsuit? Do you think the lawyer got McDonald’s? Drug companies, tire companies, car companies, right down to toy manufacturers can kill hundreds, if not thousands, of people and they get a better deal on lawyers than we do! Hell, even a mass murderer like Saddam Hussain has gotten better legal advice than the Natives of this land.
Just think of all the money to be made, if all of these land claims were to be settled? We’re talking about billions and billions of dollars. Now if I were the chairman of a large legal firm, I’d put in a bid and take these land claims to court ASAP. Then I’d buy an Island with all the money I made … maybe Hawaii.
If lawyers could settle our land disputes, maybe they could go to the middle east, stand between the warring factions and wave their legal briefs at them. I know that I, for one, would just love to see a lawyer get it in the end!
Iif you have a bee in your bonnet about Bee in the Bonnet column, or suggestions for future articles please feel free to contact B. H. Bates at: firstname.lastname@example.org