Restless Spirit Blog
RS Blog 161
The Origin of this blog and it's transformation into shining a greater light onto the abuse and corruption that runs rampant in Indian Country
Restless Spirit Blog
RS Blog 161
The Origin of this blog and it's transformation into shining a greater light onto the abuse and corruption that runs rampant in Indian Country
From Betty Jo Krenz:
I want you all to imagine for a moment that you have to leave your house with your children and nothing more than what you can carry in a backpack. You have about five minutes to pack and you are going to start your life over in a non-abusive home. You cannot take your kids’ toys or all of your favorite blankets.
You get to a Safe House and you, for the first time in a long time, can just breathe…
That is how most families come to Robin’s House. They appreciate a warm, safe home, but personal needs are still needed. We still need diapers and personal hygiene products, and groceries. And I believe it is important to let the kids feel at home with toys.
I am a thrift store shopper for children’s books and toys. If you feel you can help in any way please donate to Robin’s House and help me make Robin’s dream come true and the families be comfortable
Love in All Directions
Robin's House GoFundMe
Visit: Sacred Journey Lodge
Introduction: The same corrupt system that wrongly accused, convicted and imprisoned eleven innocent young men is the same system, with many of the exact same players, who are currently profiting from rampant sexual abuse of children on Spirit Lake Nation Reservation in North Dakota, as well as most if not all reservations in Indian Country, and beyond.
This Blog is documenting ongoing events at all levels of government. Events on the rez itself, often require someone to speak up and speak out, but since those who do are often abused, assaulted, threatened and intimidated by the abusers in authority, this blog is their voice.
I ignore morons but the rest of you can reach me at: Cat West Email
This is the NEW model Blog. Not all the links hook up to pages that are also smart phone/tablet friendly. Eventually, they all will be, but with over 5000 pages on this site, it may take some time to get everything on the raft.
Time to Go
I was running in the Human Race for almost too long.
I ran among other runners, and we encouraged each other on.
I reached out to hand off the baton,
My hand suddenly empty, and it was already gone.
The race was still going
As it should, as it was always intended to be,
I began researching & writing Restless Spirit in 1996. What I thought would be a simple exposé of a miscarriage of Justice became instead, a life’s work. The original goal was to keep beating my drum until two innocent men who remained in prison for a murder they had nothing to do with, were known and freed. John Lopez eventually was released on completion of sentence, and a few years ago, Richard LaFuente was, through the diligence and persistence of Texas Monthly writer (now an editor) Michael Hall and the dogged persistence of Todd Trotter, who is producing a documentary, walked out his prison, into the arms of his loved ones, and sat down to a lunch of Huevos Rancheros, a FREE MAN.
Still, I stayed on, thinking I filled some greater purpose in keeping people informed and getting people connected to each other that could do real good works in both shining the light on child abuses, rapes, trafficking throughout Indian Country, and our nation over all. So much of it starts, thrives & remains centered in Indian Country.
Throughout my years of blogging, I have been in contact with some of the most courageous, most determined people from every strata, every walk of life, who have taken great personal risks to bring information forward, to me and to others. They have not all survived. Too many were killed under mysterious or crisis circumstances. We’ll never know exactly how or why, on most of them.
But my part in all of this is no longer needed. I’m signing off of the blog. There are still great injustices in Indian Country, and there are still courageous people who risk everything and most of them remain unsung, but they will forever have my deepest appreciation and admiration.
There are those who stuck their necks out, put their names and faces to testimony to bring awareness and hopefully Justice and Refuge to the children they know are being abused, trafficked and raped. They have borne the brunt of attacks and smears for this. They have stuck together, supported each other and kept the faith.
One of the most heartening things I have seen throughout all of this, and it really bears remarking because I was extremely hard on Molly McDonald when she was a tribal court judge and her rulings were, from all the reports I was getting, making more tragedies for children standing before her.
I was merciless.
She was/is related to the core evil out there, the Yanktons, who murdered Eddie Peltier and who were able to frame 11 innocent very young men for their crime, among them, John Lopez and Richard LaFuente.
Molly’s brother, Russell McDonald was one of the most destructive forces on the rez. When he got elected to Tribal Chair, his corruption and abuses of others became epic.
It was while he was at the height of his power, a time when family members have the most to gain by standing by him and the most to lose by standing up to him, that Molly stood up to him.
It involved personal risk of a level few can imagine, much less survive. It was bone jarring courage on her part. Redemption is the rarest courage in Humans. Also the most beautiful.
The woman I had berated and demeaned for her callousness and seemingly uncaring while on the bench, come forward at the most dangerous time, and did the right thing, over and over again.
It cost her dearly. She even dis-enrolled from membership in the tribe. She lost a lot by doing that, but she gained my respect.
To be clear, the woman has never spoken to me, never helped me with anything, but her singular and consistent act of defiance in the face of corruption, to me is one of the most shining moments of courage and integrity I have seen out there. And I have seen MANY.
I’m winding down the blog now, knowing that there are good people out there fighting the good fight for the kids, and they need nothing more from me.
The blog will stay posted for a few years as I work on curating all the thousands of documents and tens of thousands of emails into a searchable database.
I expect to become involved in related issues that are both political and personal. I will have a new website sometime next year, and it will have a tab where you can see postings that relate to Indian Country and Spirit Lake specifically, among others, as well as other issues that are important to me.
I encourage everyone who has ever read this blog and wanted to help to visit the links at the top and make a donation to Robin’s House or to Todd Trotter’s Documentary, “Incident At Devil’s Lake”, and to donate to the Innocence Project.
Get involved. Stay involved. Connect with others where you can. The more we come together, the more we stick by one another, the stronger we are and the more we can get done.
Indian Country needs allies now, more than ever and we need The Good People in Indian Country to show us how to stand with them as they fight to protect Mother Earth. The battles being fought now, on so many levels, cannot be ignored.
Keep an open mind. Keep a skeptical eye on what you hear or find, and make sure, as sure as you can, that what you know is the Truth.
August 10, 2016
Will I Dream? ---- Printer Version (4)
One of the greatest movies ever, in my opinion, was “2001: A Space Odyssey”. I put several of the seven basic plots together in a way that was for its time, unique.
Man versus Machine is the part most people remember. The HAL 9000 was literally trying to kill the astronauts. But that aspect of it also made the machine more Human because murder is such a Human thing. So was the machine trying to become Human? Did it want to be Human? Perhaps Human without all the things that hold Humans back: Decency, a conscience, integrity, compassion, or Love.
HAL had programmed in phrases that made it able to mimic caring, compassion, concern, but it was above all, devious and full of treachery in pursuit of a goal that would fulfill its mission, but which no one else could really understand or relate to.
Just as our hero is killing the machine by pulling out the ports that supplied it with information and energy, it began to revert back to its early programming, singing “Bicycle built for Two”
He and the machine were similar. He had become like the machine in small ways and the machine had become like a Human in some ways.
In order to cure the problem he had to face the problem. He had to ‘go within’ and examine the corrupt pieces that were destroying his life. He had to self-examine and remove the pieces that were costing him his life: Jealousy, Treachery, Fear, Ignorance, Selfishness… things we need to examine in our own lives and remove before they become so ingrained that removing them causes us to bleed to death.
For each of us it will be different. But remember, when he went within, he was protected. He wore the space suit which was symbolic for protecting himself while healing himself.
And, as he was ‘killing’ the machine, the hero also felt pangs of grief for that machine that had taken care of him throughout his journey. He would have to continue his journey without his companion, because his companion was killing him. But the machine was also the only one he could relate to because his journey had left him emotionally disconnected from earthbound Human Beings.
I viewed that as a spiritual journey in some respects. Someone who was once more Human, now detached from his own humanness except for his fear of being destroyed. Like a spirit without a body, traveling on, letting go, remembering the beginning of all lifetimes and the end of all lifetimes all at once, and suddenly he is struck by the continuum memory, the river through which we all flow, and he realizes his connection from the womb to the grave to all of Humanity and finally to the Universe itself. All the stars are worlds.
He was struck with how at once he was infinitesimal in the Big Picture and how at the same time he was part of something Powerful and Eternal. All his regrets became about the things he had not done, all the love he had not connected to, and the cycle of returning and leaving was a way of collecting more eternal memories and progressing through that continuum.
Material things held no value. They were empty. They held only pain.
As the Computer realizes it will die, no matter what tricks it tried, it gave one truly human question to its creator/destroyer: “Will I dream?”
Ultimately, as Humans, our ability to dream is what creates us, makes us grow. The accumulation of material things, the competition we have with others to show status, leaves us empty and in great pain at the end of a long journey.
The Power of Storms
Life is short. Both great pain and great joy will pass and we will know both. One will drag us down, the other will lift us up, light as a feather, and balance us like a hawk on the wind, able to see the world from great heights.
We can only do what we can do while we are here. It is up to each of us to connect to those who are struggling and connect with them and find the better part of ourselves. Our greatest strength in this mortal coil is in unity and compassion.
It is also up to each of us, when we are tumbling down into darkness to reach out, spread our fingers like feathers on the wingtips of eagles, and find those who will reach back, and help us to find out balance in the storms.
We take what help we can find and we learn from it to help others when they are tumbling in the storms. The less judgmental we are of others, the less insecure we are of ourselves and the more we can add to this world and the more fulfilling our journey will be.
Anger is a storm. Fear is a storm. Ignorance is a storm. Happiness and great Joy is the wind we balance our spirits upon.
A young man, 21 years old, ended his life this past week. He was making great strides in putting together a future, and then suddenly, for reasons great to him, unknown to those who loved and cared about him, he saw nothing in this world worth keeping him here.
We are losing too many young people. The system that abused them for generations leaves them with more and more limited options. It takes a toll. Not having proper services or qualified people to run departments, just sucks the light and life out of the community.
I will never understand why Cora Tiger is in charge of Suicide Prevention when she knows nothing, has no credentials, and does nothing. When there’s an emergency and people come to her for help, she hands them a pamphlet. Her only qualification is that her daughter committed suicide.
Those who seek help, find only fog. No one reaching back to help them up, or to find their balance. The system just says phrases to make it sound like it cares, but it doesn’t. If it did, all these years, all that money, would have gone into getting qualified people into such an important department.
That department alone is responsible for these suicides multiplying out there. The power ports need to be pulled on it. Power ports in this case would be the unqualified who are connected to the system that keeps the defects in place at great risk to the community.
I don’t know if Dacotah Skye Old Rock reached out for help, but I know that if he did, those who are supposed to provide it, would hand him a pamphlet.
Big PictureGetting the perspective of a Big Picture, especially of one’s life, is hard to achieve by ourselves. That’s why, generally at the end of our life, people who knew us recite to others, all that we meant to them, all that we accomplished.
Up close, while we are in the struggle, we can’t see it for ourselves. We are painting a picture in our life that we never see all of, until our spirit is balanced on the winds and we can see more and farther than ever we could while we are here. We can see how far we have come and how much farther we have to go or could have gone.
The greatest regrets I can imagine is the one that shows we could have gone so much further, done so much more, connected to so many more. The things we think are so important right now that involve what others think of us, or what we have, or what we don’t have, mean nothing in that bigger picture.
All that counts is how many we connected with. All that counts is where we made it better for someone else. All that counts is how much we tried, not how far we got. How many we reached out to help, not how many reached back.
And dreams. The most important connection we have as Humans to other Humans and to the world around us, and to the Universe in which we all tumble and flow, is our dreams.
We lose our dreams, we die. It’s important that you share your dreams with those who will listen, and that you nurture and grow them for yourself when there is no one around to tell them to.
Guard your dreams. Protect your dreams. Nurture your dreams.
And when your world turns dark, and someone hands you a pamphlet, keep reaching and reaching until someone reaches back or you find your way. And what you learn you use to heal yourself. And what heals you, you can offer to someone else to help them find their balance.
Sometimes life is just the tips of feathers connecting in the wind, restoring balance. Sometimes it’s a full on hand to wrist grasp of a trapeze catcher, swinging you across that abyss and throwing you to a safer perch.
The system needs to be gutted, like HAL 9000. One piece at a time, so it can’t hurt anyone ever again. However, like HAL 9000 we are dependent on the system to provide care and compassion, services and fairness, so we must replace the corrupted parts with better parts. We must replace that which we remove, with better.
And we have to maintain that system as we are changing it out, improving it. We have to monitor it. We have to do the work of staying vigilant. We have to remove the corrupted parts in a way that does not destroy the whole system because the system is needed so that those of us, for reasons we may or may not understand, need help we alone cannot provide. The system is meant to be there for all of us, as a connection where good faith efforts go in, and healthy, helpful assistance is there for those who need it.
It connects us all. But it is failing all of us. But we need it. Without it, we all perish. We all lose our connection to the greater portion of us. It is key to our greater unity and our strength.
Follow the path that leads to greater unity. Follow the path that appreciates diversity. Follow the path that brings more love and kindness, more compassion, more understanding. There we will find more light. There we will find one another. There is where we will find that we belong.
We’re going to have to let go of a lot of old prejudices, biases and self-examine our choices and beliefs, keeping what is good for us and letting go of that which has held us back.
At the natural end of this path, we will find Peace. Until then, we must dream.
You know where to find me.
August 1, 2016
Treasure Hunters, Take Heed ---Printer Version (5)
Carl WalkingEagle finally died. That cancer ate him up and made him suffer. I wouldn’t wish cancer on my worst enemy, and I know he suffered hard. But not as hard as the suffering he inflicted on the tribe, all the money he stole/embezzled and kept for himself.
Now the treasure hunt begins. Cash stashed in coffee cans, some buried, some stashed. Safe Deposit boxes scattered over at least 5 states: ND, SD, FL, NV & California. Bet NLO wishes she could get her mitts on some of those. Millions of dollars frittered away, some invested in questionable properties (resorts in Las Vegas, Florida businesses--- Talk to Ed Brownshield, they may have had some dealings). Oh, it’s going to be fun.
The Hookers and girlfriends he kept on the side probably know more about where his money is planted than does his widow. Somehow, that just seems right.
The Sundance Fiasco
Chaske still doing Sundances, still violating every rule of the Red Road—that’s okay, he’s Black Road so he thinks the rules don’t apply to him. Keven Dauphinais has pretty much taken it over as his. His drinking and drugging don’t seem to bother those who dance with him, but it should. It sucks the light out of them and leaves them in ever spiraling sickness and sadness, which they think they are curing by dancing with him… vicious cycle.
How many old men did Kevin try to start fist fights with this last time? How many women did he put the moves on? Not sticking his hand into that boiling water ever again, though, is he?
He’s taken to tying his sister, Clarice, to the Tree in the center of the ring where only the men should be. He’s taking power for himself. Nothing is healed. Now you wonder why nothing is going right in your life? You wonder why your children vanish? Pay no mind, you have forsaken your spirit.
Under the Heading of “Give them Exactly What They Say They Want” Rob Port’s SAY ANYTHING BLOG Scores a bullseye. Rob’s a Conservative, I’m a Dem, but I got to hand it to the man, he can rip into an issue, pull the guts out and ask if we’re all looking at the same thing.
Okay, that’s a gross way of saying “he unpacks issues thoroughly” and in this case, brings out the dirty laundry as well. He quotes extensively from the Wall Street Journal Article by Naomi Schaefer Riley. Who has also written a book: “New Trail Of Tears; How Washington is Destroying Indians”
“Real Sovereignty for Native Americans Would Mean Property Rights and Policy Autonomy”
Think about that for a few minutes. Let it marinate your brain. All this talk about sovereignty for First Nations isn’t about sovereignty at all. It’s about covering up crimes committed by and for the powerful and politically connected.
The government wants us to not investigate child rapes, child abuse, child trafficking on or off the reservations so they put in these massively over reaching laws (not legally passed laws, mind you) that say every child’s safety and, AND Heritage is up to every/any tribal court in the land to determine before any decision regarding the safety of that child can be considered. All agencies and departments in the land would have to, by law, defer to Tribal Courts and their arbitrary, politically inclined decisions as to whether that child’s safety can be investigated, or the abuse, the rapes and the trafficking of those children can be investigated, left up to tribal courts, which have abysmal records.
One other thing about Tribal Courts is that the highest sentence they can render upon anyone found guilty of any crime in their courts, is 5 years. That’s why when Q-Ball agreed to be tried and found guilty for rape, it was only if it was in tribal court. It was a vicious rape of his young cousin and she suffers physically and mentally, emotionally and spiritually to this day from what he did to her, but he only got a 5 year sentence. Federal Court, where that should have been adjudicated would have given him 20 years or more.
But I digress. All this ‘saving the heritage’ and ‘sovereignty’ babble coming from those who have a lot to lose if a large scale investigation into child trafficking roots in in Indian Country were to come about, sounds so noble, doesn’t it?
But in this one article, all this talk about ‘sovereignty’ is proven to be a smoke and mirrors, bullshit mask offered by those who profit and prosper from the corruption in Indian Country, while at the same time, those Good People who struggle to survive and protect their Cultural Heritage in Indian Country, live under third world oppression that is systematically designed to keep them from getting ahead, unless they ‘play ball’.
Real Sovereignty would include all the Rights that everyone else in the Country has. That includes property rights. You know, they would own their own homes and properties, be able to buy and sell, use as collateral to start businesses, go to college, all that sort of thing.
But the second most valuable thing in Indian Country that keeps the corruption in place and keeps the corporations that exist only to extract resources thriving amid that corruption and destruction of communities, is the property, and that property holds great wealth.
Indians are not allowed to own their own homes the way you and I own ours. And they can be, with less than an hour’s notice, forced to leave their homes, property, animals and belongings if the corrupt tribal councils issue an order barring them from being on the reservation. It happens a lot.
How do we know our politicians don’t really want First Nations to have REAL Sovereignty?
“There are almost no private businesses or entrepreneurs on Indian reservations because there are no property rights. Reservation land is held in trust by the federal government and most is also owned communally by the tribe. It’s almost impossible for tribe members to get a mortgage, let alone borrow against their property to start a business. The Bureau of Indian Affairs regulates just about every aspect of commerce on reservations.
Instead of giving Indians more control over their own land—allowing them to develop natural resources or use land as collateral to start businesses—the federal government has offered them what you might call a loophole economy. Washington carves out a sector of the economy, giving tribes a regulatory or tax advantage over non-Indians. But within a few years the government takes it away, in many cases leaving Indian tribes as impoverished and more disheartened than they were before."
And because there are no Property Rights for the individuals living on the reservation, all the funding and money that comes into the reservation goes through their caretakers: The BIA Liaison Agent who no one oversees and whom the BIA will not investigate for corruption regardless of how may reports are filed, evidence presented, complaints made. The BIA/BLM have absolute say over who/which companies/corporations get to drill for oil, frack for gas, dig for gold & minerals, log for timbers, and the damage done is heaped upon those living on the rez, as we’ve seen with the dumping of truckloads of radioactive wastes from the oil patch.
No one is accountable. But a few, a few very well-connected, get very, very rich. The waters are polluted, the ground unfit, wounded beyond healing in ours or our children and grandchildren’s lifetimes, but a few get very, very rich.
And the systematic stereo typing of Indians lays the blame of this all at the feet of those who are suffering and struggling, never attached to those who get very, very rich.
But without property rights, there’s no accountability, no way to hold tribal councils accountable for their corruption, nor the damage done by them, to property or to people.
That’s the system the government wants to keep in place. A system where there’s a lot of wealth for a few very powerful, all the way deep into the highest levels of our government, and only despair, injustice and poverty for the rest.
Because if you put in place a system of REAL Sovereignty, the Good People would have a say on what is done on their lands, and it would not be up to their government babysitters to decide for them. They could hold their local and tribal governments accountable.
That would upset many applecarts.
Representative Kevin Cramer introduced a Bill to reduce ‘flaring’ of natural gas, which is essentially, wasting the resource because of sloppy, short cut extraction & refining techniques used by the corporations. Quick & Dirty would be another way to put it. It makes the corporations rich, but it leaves the tribes with less profit and with wasted resources that could have generated income for years more, as well as polluted air, water and wounded land.
One would think that would be a ‘no-brainer’ and of course being less wasteful, more profitable and more long-term profitable for the tribes as well as for their ‘corporate partners’ would sail through, right?
BLM was against it. (They prefer the quick and dirty). The excuse is weak, pathetic, racist and insulting, but it is all that stands between what the government says about respecting First Nations and ‘generously’ giving them sovereignty; and their hackneyed portrayal of Indian People as unable to think for themselves, unable to really govern themselves. Indian People, if you listen close enough to the opposition, require government babysitters. Babysitters, mind you, who drink up the booze, drug the kids and have wild parties that leave a lot of destruction in their wake.
Quoting Kevin Cramer: (from Say Anything Blog)
“I was just with the President of the United States on a North Dakota reservation a week ago where he talked about honoring sovereignty and here the administration seems to be going against that very concept of sovereignty for the tribe,” Cramer told Michael Nedd, the assistant director for minerals and realty management for the Bureau of Land Management, during questioning before the House Natural Resources Committee."
Michael Nedd responded:
“Congressman, what I can say again that the secretary’s authority under the Indian Minerals Leasing Act certainly allows the BLM to work with the tribes in managing those trust lands,” Nedd said. “In working through the tribes with consultation, the BLM certainly incorporates their input into that. And so the administration feels again they have enough authority to proceed to conduct the work on the authority Congress has given them. This bill would just inject confusion and the administration position is that we they have enough authority to do that.” (Emphasis mine)
Get that? Treating First Nations People like First Class Citizens would just be “confusing”.
Confusing to whom? What I find “confusing” is that Nedd says they can’t do that, but also claims they already have the authority to do what’s being asked for in the Bill.
If they already have the authority, then why not allow that language in the Bill? Now, I’m really confused!
In short, the Federal Government doesn’t’ think that entire tribes of people are civilized enough, educated enough, able enough, smart enough to run their own land, their own property, but that same system is willing to hand over without question, the lives of children as if those children are property.
Read the articles. Buy the book. You’re going to learn things about what you haven’t been told and you’re going to learn about the lies you have been told about what’s really going on in Indian Country.
It’s about stealing the wealth. It’s not about protecting heritage or culture. It’s not about protecting children. Trafficking in children is just one of the multitude of crimes that make a few people very, very wealthy out there.
Let’s not ‘confuse’ things by talking ‘Real Sovereignty’. Let’s just play politics with it, and really change nothing except to let it get even worse. No, to MAKE it even worse.
And you wonder why there’s higher unemployment, drug and alcohol addiction, suicide and youth suicide, rapes and murders in Indian Country?
It’s all about the Benjamins. The Treasure Hunters, the Pirates, they’ve been running this for too long.
You know where to find me.