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Lethbridge Herald Newspaper Archives

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Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - June 29, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta The leihbridge Herald Third Section Lethbridge, Alberta, Friday, June 29, 1973 Pages 23 to 28 The view from Coster's battlefield IVEXT TIME INDIANS9 LAST STAND? CROW RESERVATION, Mont. The last time there was a war here it was Indians vs. whites, the battle of the Little Big Horn which the In- dians won. The next time there is a war here, it may very well be Indians vs. Indians, a bat- tle between moderates and militants which nobody will win. The second battle is not ac- tually forecast. Right now it is only speculation. Many nervous residents here believe this res- ervation may be the next tar- get for an American Indian Movement demonstration, pro- test, disruption, takeover or, perhaps, war The speculation has some merit. AIM radicals, who last jear seized the Bureau of In- dian Affairs in Washington, and who recently lifted a 70- By Tom Tiede, Newspaper Enterprise Association day siege of Wounded Knee, S.D, have repeatedly warned that such activities will con- tinue. Says a spokesman "The idea has been to focus atten- tion on the problems of Ameri- can Indians; now that we have the attention can't just let it fade." Thus AIM will doubtless strike again. Possibility And the Crow Reservation seems a likely possibility. Tucked away in southeastern Montana, only a few hundred miles from Wounded Knee, ac- tually, the reservation is a na- tional shame, a showcase of historic Indian plight. Impov- erished, exploited, aimless, the Crow land and people are microcosms of all that has failed in Indian management. To begin with there is the twisting of history here Little Big Horn, as every schoolchild knows, is the site of Col. George Ouster's "last stand.'1 It has been commemorated in media reports, film versions and text- books as the courageous Ther- mopylae of a heroic band of U.S. cavalrymen. In reality, say local histori- ans, it was the Indians who were courageous and don't for- get, victorious. Says Crow tri- bal secretary Frederick Left Hand: "Custer was sent out to murder Indians on their tradi- tional and legal homeland. The Indians did what anyone would do in such a case defend themselves. But do we com- memorate the Indian defense of home and property? No, we commemorate Custer's death while trying to invade and pil- lage and murder." Triumph True enough. The U.S. gov- ernment has erected a "Custer National Monument" on federal land in the heart of this res- ervation. Graves mark the spots where Custer and his men were alleged to have fallen There's nary a monument to Indian pluck, wit, persever- ance or victory. Indeed, the victory should be institutionalized If only be- cause it was the last Indian triumph of any sorts in this area. In the more than 100 since Crows were deed- ed "eternal" rights to reserva- tion territories, they have suf- fered a long and unbroken string of defeats. For example. According to tribal spokesmen, the Crow were originally (in 1851) as- signed 38 million acres of res- ervation land. "But by says secretary Left Hand, "it was down to eight million acres.'1 Then came a gold rush in the Black Hills of nearby South Dakota, "and by 1920 we only had 2.8 million acres left." There was more chipping away after 1920 and so, today, all told, the Crow have lost nearly 36 million acres of home: cur- rently the reservation consists of a thoroughly shriveled 2 25 million acres. Agreements "But even the 2.25 is not all says Left Hand. "We have treaty agreements which stipulate that none of this land is to be owned by outside in- terests yet more than a mil- lion of our acres are owned by outside people. So if you really want to get down to hard reality, the Indians themselves only own about 1.25 million acres now." At that, Indian ownership is unprofitable. Though several nonreservation corporations do a brisk business on Crow land, Crows themselves do poorly. Left Hand says the average in- come among the reserva- tion Indians is that's a vy. Forty-two per cent of the working force is unem- ployed. Says one man, who hasn't worked in 18 months: I'd like to work in town (har- but they ain't too hot about Indians there. I one guy tell me he wouldn't hire roe because I didn't have enough work experience. I asked him how I could get the experience if nobody would give me a job, but he didn't answer. I had to laugh at that." Bitter The laughter here is bitter. Frederick Left Hand says that he sometimes thinks "we should do the same thing to the whites as they've done to us wipe them out." Yet for all the hostility, the poverty, and exploitation, there is vir- tually no interest here in be- coming another Wounded Knee. Tribal members say they agree with the ideals of AIM activ- ists, but disagree with their tactics. "We have no sympathy with says Crow tribal chairman Dave Stewart. "I re- member when AIM took over the BIA building in Washing- ton. I heard there was a Crow jouth among them, so I caDed him up to chew him out. But he said it was all a mistake for him. He said he joined the AIM march because he liked what they stood for and, be- sides, he thought it would be a good chance to see Washing- ton. Then he just got swept up by the building seizure and couldn't get out. I think that says a lot for AIM. They pres- sure people into obeying. Per- sonally, I don't think they rep- resent many real No solution here anyway. Times are hard, history is indecent, gov- ernment is ineffective, yet no- body thinks the solution to Crow problems is loaded in the muzzles of AIM rifles. "The trouble with AIM's says a Crow official, "is that they may succeed only in doing what Custer never could. One of these days those people are going to push the U.S. too far and that'll be it. Everybody will start shooting and this tim-j it could be the Indian's last stand." The Crow Reservation in Montana: a national shame, a shoivcase of historic Indian plight in the U.S. The glorious beer of Copenhagen Today's lesson in English usage By STEWART MacLEOD OTTAWA (CP) Okay Class, please open your various fed- eral government publications for today's lesson in modern English usage. And let's not worry ourselves any further with the transport department's "anthromorphic test device." We've established beyond a doubt that it refers to a dummy. Instead, let us turn to the Unemployment Insurance Com- mission's phrase to "experience an interruption in earnings." Tnat used to be called "being fired." No questions' Another outdated expression, NOW THERE'S TWO SUPER SAM FOOD STORES FOR YOUR SHOPPING CONVENIENCE Open everyday including Sundays and Holidays until 9 1016 9th Avenue South (Formerly 23rd Street North (Formerly Krai's) PALM ICE CREAM QQ0 gal. carton Coke or Ginger Al ;