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Native trusts.

* I appreciate the sentiment expressed by Patricia Powers regarding the mismanagement of Individual Indian Money Accounts (NCR, Sept. 30). I also appreciate the reasons that she articulates for support of the Indian Trust Reform Act of 2005.

But I nearly cringe toward the end of the article when I read that "the religious community must demand redress" for the mismanagement of the money accounts. It is this thought process that led to the Dawes Act of 1887 as well as a majority of U.S. government policies that have been detrimental to Native peoples for centuries. It is always under the guise of "helping Indians" that we suffer the most. And to state that "Native Americans are too small a group to obtain justice on their own" is ironic when my brother sat in the Supreme Court as treasurer of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation on Oct. 3 to hear oral arguments over our clash with the state of Kansas over a fuel tax issue. As tribal nations combined throughout the United States, we are the largest group of landowners besides the federal government.

If the religious community really wants to help Native peoples, please stand behind us in support of policies we create rather than supporting solutions concocted by non-Natives who believe they know "what is best for those Indians." Let us stand together for the decolonization of federal Indian law and a return to an era of true government-to-government relations.


Mayetta, Kan.

[Wab-Nish-kum is a citizen of the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation.]
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Title Annotation:LETTERSi
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Letter to the Editor
Date:Oct 28, 2005
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