Friday, January 8, 2016

"Sorry about that whole extermination thing": Time For Land Reparations?

The US government has a shitload of money sitting idly in accounts waiting for American Indians to take it. American Indians don't want it. They want the land.

The Lakota (nee Sioux) tribes have steadfastly refused a money settlement for the Black Hills. I suppose, if I were them, I'd want the land back, plus a money settlement to fix the vandalism incurred to Mt. Rushmore (irony, named after one of the first mooching land grabbers).

(Now, you know the deal about the Black Hills, right? I mean, aside from being sacred land, the hills are also act as a rain generator, and nice place to have in a land that can become quite arid).

We seem to forget that the Federal government set all these white settlers up to begin with - and with some major subsidies: cheap land, cheaper water, protection, roads, railroads, electricity, you name it. It's true it's a hard life, but compared to whose? Your average rancher lives a pretty soft life compared to pastoralists around the world, not to mention in the past. You don't see Mongols getting all this nice free stuff from the government.

Well, maybe it's time to give the Indians the land back. Well, maybe just land west of the Mississippi. Maybe this admittedly minor news item about the Bundy gang occupying federal land might come to some good after all.

Let me ask you this, if tomorrow, the Federal government turned over all its land to the various tribes, what would happen? Would anything happen? I'm guessing mostly no. I'm guessing the Indians would ask some people to leave some areas, but the existing bureaucracy does fairly good job of land management and stewardship, there would be no immediate reason to replace or abandon it.

My understanding is, yes, absolutely there is a little heavy-handedness in regulating on the part of the  Feds. But I also understand they and the ranchers have done a good job cooperating on land stewardship. So, part of what happens is the grazing fees could go into existing money accounts for the tribes. Government could actually work for a people that we tried to exterminate.

There would be problems, but honestly, how would this be a bad thing?

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