Levi Rickert, editor-in-chief in Native Condition. Discussion »
Prior to the summer of 2009, the last time I heard about the tea party was when a group of non-Natives camouflaged as American Indians met in Boston Harbor to protest taxation without representation.
Non-Natives camouflaging as American Indians makes me nervous. This is one reason I have opposed the inappropriate use of Indian imagery in sports for decades.
The modern-day tea party makes me equally nervous. Just the name caused me to steer clear of this group.
For over 16 days the tea party kept this country hostage by shutting down the federal government trying to attack the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare. So bent on tearing down the president of the United States, they caused a standoff that hurt Americans in many segments of American society.
This group of fanatics caused a disgrace in Congress, in this country and in the eyes of the world.
Standards & Poors reported yesterday the cost of the federal shutdown to taxpayers comes with a hefty price tag of $24 billion.
Sadly, the federal government shutdown hurt Indian country at a disproportionate rate. Already among the poorest citizens of this country, American Indians have suffered greatly as tribal governmental employees scrambled to get tribal members to health care facilities and keep food on tables. Programs to assist tribal members meet their most basic life needs were closed down.
The Chippewa Cree Tribe, located in central Montana, declared a financial disaster this part Tuesday because of lack of federal dollars during the shutdown.
Some could argue, it is time for American Indian tribes to get past governmental assistance or dependency. And, most progressive American Indian thinkers agree. Many tribes have made great strides to do so in recent decades. However, there are still poor among us because our tribal citizens were “left for dead” a long time ago and stripped of land and natural resources and it comes down to the lack of sharing of wealth by those who own the wealth in this country.
Even as the federal government goes back to work today, it is hopeful Congressional leaders get no one political group should ever be able to hold this country hostage again over ideology of the likes of tea party fanatics.
It is time for Congress to govern, not be led around by the tea party.
posted October 17, 2013 9:10 am edt