contibuted by Per Sewen

Boston Globe - McCain & Indian Affairs Content


This story appeared in today's Boston Globe. It's a major series of statements by McCain that are clearly an attempt to manipulate and coopt the press and the truth. Since declaring his candidacy, MANY people have asked McCain questions about Black Mesa and his sponsorship of the1996 congressional bill (in writing, in person, by email, and by demonstration [including on 9/24 in Boston]). This bill is about to go into full force February 1--the day of the New Hampshire primary--with all its tragic consequences. McCain has continued to pressure for its implementation, and his congressional aide for Indian affairs is quoted in the current (Jan/Feb.) issue of the magazine "Mother Jones" as saying on McCain's behalf that nothing can stop the forced relocation from proceeding.

Udall was the senator filmed & quoted in "Broken Rainbow" (1985 Academy Award-winning documentary) as saying (this is a paraphrase) that he doesn't see why the Indians of Black Mesa should be so upset about relocation--people get relocated in America every day, for instance, when an interstate highway comes through their living room...

Kelsey Begaye, the Navajo Nation President, has called these laws (1974 & 1996) "harsh and terrible..."

Black Mesa is sacred. Only its people hold it still from destruction with their presence and their lives.


thank you,


Boston Globe Online / Nation | World /
McCain seizes opportunity to discuss Indian affairs

By Curtis Wilkie, Globe Correspondent, 1/28/2000

HAMPTON, N.H. - Though he campaigned as a ''proud conservative Republican'' along the New Hampshire seacoast yesterday, Senator John McCain departed again from his party's mainstream by empathizing with the plight of American Indians.

It is an issue that McCain embraced early in his congressional career when he took up Indian causes that other Republicans ignored, and McCain said he regretted that he was rarely asked about the issue as a presidential candidate.

His chance to discuss Indian affairs came in response to a question at a Hampton town meeting. McCain responded by calling the treatment of Indians ''one of the darker chapters of the American people.''

He described a Lakota (Sioux) reservation in South Dakota ''where people live in the worst conditions of grinding poverty.'' McCain criticized some of the tribes for imposing their own rigid bureaucratic rules, ''stifling free enterprise'' on the reservations. In some cases, entrepreneurs are forced to wait two or three years to start businesses, he said.

Traveling in his campaign bus, McCain was asked to elaborate on his interest in Indian issues. He described a lonely battle in the ranks of congressional Republicans.

When he arrived in Congress in 1983, McCain said, he was recruited for a Republican slot on an Indian affairs subcommittee by Representative Morris K. Udall, the Democratic chairman of the House Interior Committee.

''The only way I got it was that nobody else wanted it,'' McCain said. ''When I talked to a lot of Republicans'' about taking the Indian affairs post ''they said: `They don't vote and when they vote, they vote for Democrats. Don't get involved.'''

McCain said he was persuaded to take the job after an ''eloquent speech'' by Udall, a fellow Arizonan who made great strides to support Indian causes. Though a Democrat, Udall became one of McCain's mentors.

After taking the position, McCain said, he was approached by another Democrat, Representative Sam Gejdenson of Connecticut, on behalf of ''this little tribe up in Connecticut that had been having trouble getting recognized.''

McCain said he looked into the case and discovered ''the Republicans had been the ones blocking it.'' He determined that the Indians' plea was legitimate and won recognition for the tribe.

''Know which tribe?'' McCain asked, then answered his own question. ''The Pequot, now the proud owners of the largest casino in the world.''

McCain's work on behalf of a cause unpopular among Republicans was praised yesterday by Bob Neuman, a former spokesman for the Democratic National Committee and longtime aide to Udall, who died in 1998. ''John McCain has been absolutely spectacular on Indian issues,'' Neuman said.

While discussing his break with Republican doctrine, McCain had kind words for Bill Bradley - considered something of a renegade among the Senate Democrats. ''From time to time Bradley took on issues that didn't make him popular. For example, he was an Eastern senator who got involved on water issues in the West, on some land issues, on issues where some of his colleagues said: `This guy ought to stay out of it, it's my state.'''

This story ran on page A27 of the Boston Globe on 1/28/2000.
Copyright 2000 Globe Newspaper Company.


By Donna R. Bassett and Edward W. Bassett

BOSTON Dec. 10 (UPI) - The New Hampshire presidential primary coincides with the next forced relocation of American Indians while U.S. troops continue to block ethnic cleansing in Kosovo, and the world's largest coal company prepares to expand its strip mining of American Indian lands, according to published government documents and leading authorities.

Two presidential candidates, Democratic Vice President Al Gore and Republican Sen. John McCain, have stakes in the ethnic cleansing and strip mining issues. Spokespeople for both have declined to comment on the forcible relocation of Navajos or say if their candidates have accepted campaign contributions from the Peabody Coal Co., which calls itself the world's largest coal company and is already strip mining the Indian lands in northern Arizona. McCain, the Arizona senator and chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee who sponsored the 1996 Navajo-Hopi Relocation Act (Public Law 104-301), urged the use of force to stop ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Gore, the leading Democratic candidate, has written a book, "Earth In The Balance: Ecology And The Human Spirit."

Gore wrote that "Native American religions ... offer a rich tapestry of ideas about our relationship to the earth" in his chapter on "Environmentalism of the Spirit." McCain's election campaign Internet page says, "we have a profound duty to be responsible stewards of the natural treasures that sustain us." He says that "to waste, to destroy, our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land will result in undermining (in) the days of our children."

.On February 1, the day of the New Hampshire primary, "321 households" (approximately 1,200 people) are scheduled to begin forcible relocation, according to an Oct. 1, 1999, report by the U.S. Office of Navajo-Hopi Indian Relocation (ONHIR), an executive commission that reports directly to President Clinton. Already, some 15,000 Navajo Indians have been forcibly relocated.

Asked if President Clinton could call a temporary halt to the relocations, Paul Tessler, the legal counsel to the ONHIR commission said, "I presume the president could direct us to do something or not to do something."

Because of the destructive impact of involuntary relocation on people who have strong religious and cultural ties to the land, "this is a case of ethnic cleansing," according to California Institute of Technology anthropologist Thayer Scudder, who has testified before Congress on the Navajo situation and has been recognized by leading international anthropological organizations for his 40 years of work in this area.

"It's not intentional ethnic cleansing," he said. "It is due, primarily, to the ignorance, insensitivity, and arrogance in all three branches of the U.S. government," going back to 1848 when the U.S. government first took control over the lands now used for Indian reservations.

Unlike the phenomena in Kosovo, there have been no mass executions that grabbed international headlines. But a much larger part of the Kosovo situation were the hundreds of thousands of people forced off of their land.

"Can you imagine," Scudder asked, "any circumstances where 15,000 (white) Americans living on Indian land would be forcibly relocated? Can you imagine any circumstances where 15,000 rural black Americans" would be forcibly relocated?"

"The Japanese relocation 1942 was larger," he noted, "but this is the largest forced relocation in the United States, in a rural area, since the Japanese war relocation. And it is just as unethical and just as much ethnic cleansing."

Noting that the relocation costs are now "over $350 million," and will probably escalate "to over $400 million," Scudder said, "imagine how that (money) could have been used for the joint development of Hopi and Navajo Indians."

Furthermore, a tangled set of laws now lets the U.S. Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) impound Navajo Indian sheep and arrest Navajos for simply repairing their homes. These laws also allow the government to bulldoze those repaired homes.

Although U.S. law has established that American Indians are citizens and have the right to vote, a 1974 U.S. Appeals Court ruling (Healing v. Jones) said that Hopis and Navajos "only have rights through their tribe," and not as individuals, according to former ONHIR Executive Director Leon Berger.

Instead of individuals owning property on Navajo and Hopi lands, the two tribal councils have the authority to lease lands on behalf of tribe members. Therefore, both tribal councils began to profit from mining leases after an estimated $10 billion in coal deposits was discovered in the area during the 1950s.

Peabody Coal now is "in a beautiful position because the government" is relocating the Indians, said Berger, who resigned from the NHIR because he felt "the commission did not work hard enough to achieve a compromise that the law made possible." Scudder noted, "it's much easier to mine land where there are no people."

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