Gorton Sounds Buglecall
of Racism & Hatred
Sen. Slade Gorton's 20-plus year war with Indians has taken on a new frenzy as the aging senator, under fire from his own political party, continues to use "Americanism" to whip up racist flames. Reminiscent of the agenda and attitudes of Col. John Chivington and the racist hatred that spawned the Sand Creek Massacre in 1864,
Gorton's political attack on Indians is finally showing its real agenda: spawning hatred and racism.
The Republican senator from Washington is skilled at wrapping his racism and real intentions beneath an American flag, substituting bumper-stick jargon for truth. In fact, the "American Indian Equal Justice Act" is not about justice, anymore than Chivington's massacre of hundreds of peaceful villagers was about "justice."
This excellent article from the Tacoma News-Tribune clearly shows the endgame of Gorton's onslaught. It is posted here under these terms:
"NOTICE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, material appearing here is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for research and educational purposes.""
"Officially, it was a field hearing of the U.S.
Senate's Committee on Indian Affairs.
But at times, Tuesday's gathering in Tukwila
more closely resembled a circus.
About 600 people showed up to present views
on U.S. Sen. Slade Gorton's controversial
proposal to do away with tribal sovereign
immunity - the federal policy that protects
American Indian tribes from civil lawsuits.
For Northwesterners, the opportunity was a
Committee members in attendance included not
only Gorton, whose strong views on tribal rights
have made him the congressional antichrist to
many American Indians, but also Sen. Daniel
Inouye of Hawaii and Colorado's Ben
Nighthorse Campbell, the Senate's most
outspoken tribal supporters.
The crowd, twice as large as expected, jammed
the meeting room and spilled out into the lobby
of the Doubletree Inn, eventually forcing hotel
managers to expand the meeting into additional
Tribal representatives from as far away as New
Mexico and Minnesota - many in traditional
feather-and-bead costumes - banged drums
and chanted in unison. The pungent smell of
burning sage drifted through the hotel.
Meanwhile, non-Indians harmed by recent legal
developments on tribal shellfish and hunting
rights, cigarette taxation and land-use
jurisdiction waved signs and shouted.
In the hallways, Indians and non-Indians openly
insulted one another, exchanged racial epithets
and in several cases came close to violence.
When American Indians brought their drumming
and chanting into the hearing room, those in
Gorton's camp rose to their feet and drowned
them out with loud renditions of the national
anthem and the Pledge of Allegiance.
Sen. Campbell, the committee chairman,
gaveled down the noise and sternly warned
that the meeting would end if the disturbance
Tuesday's hearing was the committee's second
on Gorton's American Indian Equal Justice Act,
his proposal to open tribes to lawsuit.
Currently, tribes cannot be sued in state or
federal court unless they give their consent.
Gorton said opening the tribes to civil lawsuits -
for which he has little apparent support in
Congress - would force tribal governments to
take responsibility for their actions, ensure
equal application of laws and force tribes to
pay state taxes that many now refuse to pay.
"Sovereign immunity is an anachronism,"
Gorton said. "It's not an Indian doctrine, it's an
English doctrine, based on the idea that 'the
king can do no wrong.' It has been
progressively abandoned in every
governmental sphere - expect tribes."
Tribal officials, on the other hand, say if
Gorton's proposal became law, the cost of legal
defense would destroy tribes' ability to act as
governments. The Equal Justice Act is really a
veiled attempt to do away with tribes
altogether, many Indians believe.
"It puts tribes' assets at risk," Henry Cagey,
chairman of Washington's Lummi Nation, told
Gorton. "It puts the tribal future at risk. There
has to be a better solution to deal with conflict.
This bill does not do this. It is bad legislation."
Washington's former governor Dan Evans also
testified against the legislation, calling it "a
blunt instrument whose effect would be to
ravage tribal independence at a time when,
finally, after more than a century, tribes have
been given the opportunity to create modern
independent governments, including
responsible court systems."
Susan Williams, an attorney whose
Albuquerque, N.M., firm represents 15 tribes,
told the committee the law is unnecessary. The
trend among tribes in the past 10 years,
Williams said, is to voluntarily limit immunity -
especially in business dealings with private
There are problems, she said, but they are not
widespread or consistent around the country.
"This proposed legislation is a blunderbuss
when in fact what we need is a surgeon's
knife," Williams said.
Opponents of the Muckleshoot Tribe's
amphitheater on the Enumclaw Plateau near
Auburn took Tuesday's opportunity to draw
national attention to the tribe's controversial
King County Councilman Chris Vance testified
in favor of Gorton's bill, saying it would have
kept the amphitheater from being built.
"If the tribes continue to refuse to voluntarily
respect the rights of their neighbors, then those
citizens need to be allowed to go to court in
order to protect themselves," Vance said. The
committee has scheduled a third and final field
hearing on the proposed law for Thursday in
The News-Tribune writer, Rob Carson, did a good job of showing the actual outcome of Gorton's political attacks. The hatred Gorton spawns under the guise of "fairness" and "the American way" is an old racist ploy to engage people's mob actions while lulling their ability to think critically and independently. Gorton clearly longs for the "wild west" days of clarion calls and cannons; not having those at his disposal as Chivington did, Gorton substitutes bumper sticker politics for truth, justice and conscience.
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