Termination by Appropriation


Late Friday afternoon, Dec. 1, the Washington State senate race was finally finalized: Democrat Maria Cantwell kicked Slade Gorton out of office! Gorton is a long-time Indian hater and constant crusader to abrogate and abdicate treaty responsibilities, as well as a tireless campaigner to destroy tribal rights and sovereignty. Backed by big-money industry that sought wholescale environmental savaging for dollars, Gorton, like Custer, had it coming.

In mid-1997 the "Indian wars", never totally quiescent in the minds of some politicans and bureaucrats, re-opened with a national salvo from Sen. Slade Gorton (R-Washington). Although Gorton's been at war with Washington State Indians for more than 20 years, his 1997 sneak attack signalled the next major step in his campaign to destroy Indian tribes--and in the process, shred the very legalities that support US dealing with Indian tribes.

In 1998, Gorton was back in the saddle again, sounding the "Charge!" against American Indians.

Gorton's 1997 anti-Indian legislation, one of the most deadly assaults in recent times, was based on a HR 2107 rider that would have diminished, if not totally destroyed, the validity of Indian tribes as sovereign entities. By destroying the protections of treaty laws and obligations, this rider would have done much to advance the peculiar notion, straight from the 1600's to the 1800's, that if you legally de-construct Indians, then Indians cease to exist. Again this year, Gorton continues to use riders and add-ons, plus his rampant jingoism, to carry on what Jack Anderson referred to as a "crusade" against Indians.

In March, 1998, the New York Times said, with deadly simplicity: "Senator Slade Gorton has once again declared war on the Indians."

The Times succinct, accurate editorial can be found here.

View and print out the full text of Gorton's S 1691

These legislative attacks, which are springing up in many state houses, actually form a subtle political agenda: Termination by Appropriation. By changing legislation, bit by bit, and piece by piece, and by dismantling legitimate treaty rights, anti-Indian interests continue the old "Indian wars" legislatively.

Check out Larry Kibby's Preservation Page , especially about treaties and the anti-Indian movement

As you review these resources, it may help to keep in mind that Sen. Gorton has been one of the most consistent pro-big business, anti-environment, and anti-Indian legislators of our times. As these pages were being prepared, Gorton was defending Bill Gates and Microsoft from the anti-trust investigations. It is too bad that he never has the time or interest to defend smaller entitities, such as Indian constituents, or those "ordinary folks" who must live in environmentally-ravaged areas after his big business financial backers (predominantly logging and large-scale seafood industries) clear cut or take massive, indiscriminate harvests from the sea.

Please see Environmental Justice: a Journal for Life for environmental information and resources, including maerial on Sen. Gorton's environmental track record.

Sen. Gorton vowed last fall tht he would again raise the sovereignty issue--and he has. The National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) called representatives of many tribes to Washington during the 1997 battle against Gorton's rider; this timely and coordinated action, some say, surprised Gorton. Also fighting back were Sen.Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colorado), chairman of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, and Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) former SCIA chairman (104th Congress). In "Keeping our Word to the Indians" , an editorial for the Washington Post, the two Senators put things into both moral and legal perspectives.

The NCAI has posted an excellent web page explaining the crucial issues , including Sen. Gorton's continued onslaught against American's commitments to Indians. I urge you to read that page.
This collection of resources continues to grow as I follow the current campaign for Indian justice, as well as reorganize and redesign materials from the 1997 Gorton HR2107 archives.

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Original editorials & essays are copyright,Warm Springs Productions

Go to Environmental Justice: A Journal for Life
the index page or Indian Territory (multiple resources, including linguistics)

updated Dec 1 2000