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SUMMARY AS OF: 7/15/2004--Reported to Senate amended. (There is 1 other summary)
Declares that the United States acting through Congress: (1) recognizes the special legal and political relationship the Indian tribes have with it, the solemn covenant with the land we share, and that there have been years of official depredations, ill-conceived policies, and the breaking of covenants by the Federal Government regarding Indian tribes; (2) commends and honors the Native Peoples for the thousands of years that they have stewarded and protected this land; (3) apologizes on behalf of the people of the United States to all Native Peoples for the many instances of violence, maltreatment, and neglect inflicted on them by U.S. citizens; (4) expresses its regret for the ramifications of former offenses and its commitment to build on the positive relationships of the past and present to move toward a brighter future where all the people of this land live reconciled as brothers and sisters, and harmoniously steward and protect this land together; (5) urges the President to acknowledge the wrongs of the United States against Indian tribes in U.S. history in order to bring healing to this land by providing a proper foundation for reconciliation between such entities; and (6) commends the State governments that have begun reconciliation efforts with recognized Indian tribes located in their boundaries and encourages all State governments similarly to do the same.
Provides that nothing in this Joint Resolution authorizes any claim against the United States or serves as a settlement of any claim against it.
Please, go read up on this and thank each Sponsor. Then let your Senator know you want his/her vote in support of this Joint Resolution.
In a file photo Michael Scanlon takes the fifth at the witness table at a Senate Committee on Indian Affairs Oversight Hearing Nov. 17, 2004. Scanlon was charged Friday, Nov. 18, 2005, with conspiring to defraud Indian tribe clients of millions of dollars in a scheme that lavished golf trips, meals and campaign donations on a member of Congress
WASHINGTON - In a widening scandal on Capitol Hill, the government charged a partner of lobbyist Jack Abramoff on Friday with conspiracy to defraud American Indian tribes of millions of dollars in a scheme that lavished trips, sports tickets and campaign donations on a member of Congress.
Michael Scanlon, an ex-aide to former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, is headed to federal court Monday on a single count contained in a criminal investigation, which typically is a prelude to a guilty plea and cooperation with government investigators.
The eight-page information says Scanlon and a person identified only as "Lobbyist A" provided "a stream of things of value" to a member of Congress, identified only as "Representative No. 1," to aid an effort to pass legislation.
It has been a matter of public record for more than a year that Scanlon and Abramoff had a fee-splitting arrangement and represented several American Indian tribes.
Rep. Bob Ney (news, bio, voting record), R-Ohio, was identified by his lawyer late Friday as Representative No. 1.
"I've talked to the Department of Justice on this and he's not part of this conspiracy," said Mark Tuohey, a Washington attorney representing Ney. "Yes, he did perform certain acts — his office did — and there was certain other wining and dining situations like other people do, but he's the victim. He was misled."
Ney's name surfaced almost a year ago in a Senate Indian Affairs Committee investigation as having extensive dealings with the two lobbyists and their tribal clients. Abramoff and Scanlon were paid more than $80 million between 2001 and 2004 by six American Indian tribes with casinos.
"One thing I have learned here from our grandparents and our elders is patience," said Carlos Hisa of the Texas Tigua tribe that hired Abramoff. "You just sit down and wait. Give them a little bit more rope, as they say, and they will hang themselves."
Ney early this month started a legal defense fund. He has denied any wrongdoing and says he was duped into backing Abramoff's clients.
Abramoff's lobbying network stretched far and wide in the halls of Congress. The Associated Press reported Thursday that nearly three dozen lawmakers pressed to block an American Indian casino in Louisiana while collecting large donations from the lobbyist and his tribal clients.
DeLay, R-Texas, is among those facing scrutiny for his associations with Abramoff, including a trip to Scotland and use of Abramoff's skybox at a Washington sports arena. DeLay relinquished his leadership post after his indictment on state felony charges in Texas.
In addition, the Bush administration's former top procurement official has been indicted for not telling investigators that Abramoff had business before the official's agency when the official went on a golf trip to Scotland — a trip outlined in the court papers on Scanlon.
In the Scanlon case, prosecutors say that the former DeLay aide and the lobbyist "sought and received Representative No. 1's agreement to perform a series of official acts."
The acts, said the court papers, included "agreements to support and pass legislation, agreements to place statements into the Congressional Record, meeting with Lobbyist A and Scanlon's clients, and advancing the application of Lobbyist A for a license to install wireless telephone infrastructure in the House of Representatives."
Scanlon and Lobbyist A provided "a lavish trip to Scotland to play golf on world-famous courses, tickets to sporting events and other entertainment, regular meals at Lobbyist A's upscale restaurant, and campaign contributions for Representative No. 1, his political action committee and other political committees on behalf of Representative No. 1." Abramoff owned Signatures restaurant in Washington, D.C.
Ney started helping Abramoff clients in 2000, when the congressman entered comments in the Congressional Record against a man who was standing in the way of Abramoff's plans to purchase gambling boats in Florida. Four months later, the man was murdered.
Abramoff has been indicted by a federal grand jury in Florida on charges of fraud and conspiracy stemming from his role in the 2000 purchase of the fleet of gambling boats. He has pleaded not guilty.
Ney took a golf trip to Scotland in 2002 that Abramoff sponsored. House members are allowed to accept trips from outside groups but not from lobbyists. Ney said in March that Abramoff told him a GOP policy group paid for the trip. The group said it didn't pay for the trip, and tax records subsequently showed Abramoff's charity paid for it. Ney has denied any wrongdoing.
In private e-mails released by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, Abramoff said he had persuaded Ney to attach language to an election reform bill to help an American Indian tribe in Texas reopen a closed casino. Abramoff directed a Texas tribe, the Tiguas, to donate to Ney's re-election campaign and his PAC by e-mail.
In another e-mail, Abramoff told a Tigua representative that "our friend" had asked them to pay for the Scotland trip. The tribal representative, Marc Schwartz, later testified to the Senate that "our friend" referred to Ney.
Ney's election campaign failed to report the use of Abramoff's $1,500 luxury suite at a Washington Wizards basketball game in 2003.
Charges outlined in documents filed Friday allege that Lobbyist A solicited an American Indian tribe in Mississippi in 1995 to provide lobbying services on taxes and other issues relating to tribal sovereignty.
The lobbyist then allegedly recommended that the tribe hire Scanlon's company, Capital Campaign Strategies, while concealing the fact the Lobbyist A would receive 50 percent of the profits from the tribe's payment to Scanlon.
The Mississippi tribe paid Scanlon's firm $14.8 million from June 2001 through April 2004, while Scanlon concealed from the tribe that 50 percent of the profit "was kicked back to Lobbyist A pursuant to their secret arrangement."
The court papers detailing the conspiracy charge say that Scanlon and Lobbyist A had identical kickback arrangements for tribes in Louisiana, Texas and Michigan. The amounts of money were $30.5 million for the tribe in Lousiana, $3.5 million for the one in Michigan, and $4.2 million for the one in Texas.
In the early 1990's I asked my staff writer at Indian Country Today, Avis Little Eagle, to write an investigative series on fake medicine men and women. She tackled what turned out to be a 10-part series with trepidation.
It seemed that everywhere we turned in those days, there was another catalog or news story featuring medicine men and women of dubious distinction. An eerie similarity arose in the backgrounds of many of these would be healers and spiritualists.
So many of these new age shaman made similar claims. They had been adopted by a medicine man (it was always a man and he was usually Lakota or Cherokee). They had learned all of the centuries old methods of healing and ministering by these traditional teachers and when they felt they were ready, they set out on their own to spread the good news of Indian medicine and healing.
In the many catalogs where their ads were placed most had assumed names they presumed to be Native American (Blue Dove, Swift Deer, etc.) and set up shop. They developed a system of monetary charges for sweat lodge ceremonies, vision quests and so on. Of course, every true Lakota and Cherokee knows that there are no charges for the services of the medicine people.
Most of the new age shaman were not Indian at all. When questioned about their roots by Little Eagle they became angry and defensive. Many proclaimed their rights to practice Indian medicine by virtue of their adoption by Lakota holy men. Many would not, or could not, reveal the names of their so-called mentors.
Others said, usually quite vehemently, that they never enrolled with an Indian tribe and never would because it was the government?s way of keeping them down. They would say, ?I don?t need a Bureau of Indian Affairs number to know who I am.? Most didn?t understand or realize that it was an Indian tribe that considered who or who is not a tribal member not the BIA.
Little Eagle, who last month was elected vice president of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and who is the editor and publisher of the McLaughlin, SD, based Teton Times, a weekly newspaper that serves her tribe, began to grow more apprehensive as her weekly series progressed because she was now receiving outright threats.
One fake shaman, Harley Swift Deer Regan, became very vocal in his threats. He had just been featured in an HBO Special called ?Real Sex? in which he allegedly revealed the sex secrets of the Cherokee people. Then Principle Chief of the Cherokee Nation, Wilma Mankiller, protested the lack of authenticity of this show to HBO executives demanding a retraction of the shows contents. Of course, that never happened.
Regan's phone calls to Little Eagle became more ominous. But he wasn't the only one. Some of the women shaman exposed in the investigative series by Little Eagle also went from a defensive position to an extremely offensive stance. They also threatened Avis with lawsuits and worse. Of course, as the editor of Indian Country Today, Avis came to me with all of the threats and I had to really encourage her not to give up on the series but instead to let me handle the threatened lawsuits.
You have to understand that some of the false shaman professed to have extraordinary powers. They attacked Avis with threats of a curse or they told her that they would put bad medicine on her and her family. A series of personal bad happenings to Avis totally unrelated to the series or to the shaman only served to increase the fear that was developing in her mind.
At last Avis started to write Part 10, the final issue of the series. It was a summation of all the nine other parts of the series and her conclusions. As I walked by to pat her on the back as she labored at that last part she had a look of great relief on her face. Her lunch hour came right in the middle of it so she cheerfully headed home to eat.Not five minutes had passed since her departure when her computer monitor suddenly exploded in smoke and flames. Wow! All of the staff still in the office reacted in horror. I immediately told the crew to get her monitor out of there and replace it with an exact duplicate. Of course all of the memory was in the hard drive so nothing was lost and her computer was just sitting there ready for her to resume the article when she returned from lunch.
I swore my staff to secrecy and no one ever told Avis about the mysterious fire that erupted in her monitor. In fact, this is the first time I am revealing this because Avis did finish the 10-part series that day and breathed a sigh of relief. I?m afraid she would have reacted quite differently if she knew what had happened while she was at lunch.
A coincidence? One would suppose so, but no doubt those who delve into the dark regions of illicit shamanism do so for a reason. Evil can be manifested in many ways and in this day and age of modern technology; many of us do not understand the depths of spiritualism, real and imagined.
The series by Avis exposed many false shamans and she believes to this day that the new owners of Indian Country Today should retrieve her series from the dustbins of the newspaper morgue and re-publish them because there are still many false shamans out there.
(Tim Giago is the president of the Native American Journalists Foundation, Inc., and the publisher of Indian Education Today Magazine. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org by writing him at 2050 W. Main St., Suite 5, Rapid City, SD)