Letters to the Editor

Letter: SLT’s path

June 21, 2014


To the editor:

The Journal-World recently put an aerial photo of the South Lawrence Trafficway in progress on the front page. I’ve spent a lot of time on Google Earth recently looking at Dulac, Golden Meadow, Montegut, and Isle Du Jean St. Charles in Louisiana. The Houma Nation and Biloxi-Chitimacha-Choctaw Confederacy call what’s left of this area their home.

Euro-American manipulation of the land there for oil and flood control purposes have threatened this land along with global warming and sea level rising that will cause some of these people to become global warming refugees looking for higher lands that the settlers ran them off of in the early 19th century.

In Lawrence I look at a path that’s destroyed an area where indigenous students were treated like indentured servants by BIA Christian overseers in the early 20th century at Haskell. I see a populace and politicians in historical denial. The students of early Haskell were driven to the wetlands by Christian overseers, and the Louisiana Indians were driven to the end of land wetlands by greed and racism and denial.

The descendants of both peoples now contend with canals and roadways destroying their surroundings and a populace without conscience. Whose history matters?


Mike Ford 3 years, 12 months ago

It's amazing that the LJworld allows such uneducated trolling and that as typical clueless Americans you don't know or care about the world around you. I grew up in Moss Bluff, LA, about 7 miles north of Lake Charles, LA, from 1976 to 1979. Prior to that I lived in Jonesville, LA, and after that I lived in Shreveport, LA. The area around Lake Charles and Sulphur, LA, was filled with petrochemical plants that occurred because of little or no regulation back then. It's an ecological mess now. The same can be said for the Houma area I wrote about. The flood control systems setup north of the Atchafalaya Basin after the 1973 floods cut off sediment which regenerates land mass in delta and wetland areas. All of the canals for the oil companies didn't help either. The BP spill caused a loss of livelihood for many of the Isle Du Jean St. Charles and Houma people who shrimp and fish for a living. Jay Paul from Swamp People is Houma Indian on that tv show. Is it beating a dead horse if people are willfully ignorant of their actions and proud of their ignorance? Just like a lot of dumb American acts especially in Indian Country the products were broken and the store holds the clumsy and willfully ignorant people accountable for their actions. Wetlands are always threatened by all kinds of willfully ignorant people whether in Louisiana, Kansas, California, North, Dakota, Florida, or Virginia. I remember a National Geographic article on the threats to wetlands years ago and the SLT project is just another example of heavy handed and tone deaf paternalism with willing backers of wrong actions.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 12 months ago

Needs must when the devil drives. (see http://www.worldwidewords.org/qa/qa-nee1.htm if you are not familiar with this saying.) In this case the devil is the need of people for more highways, more infrastructure to serve ever more people as the population continues to soar out of control.

It is horrifying to me that Natives were even put on reservations in the first place, and they are still on them, and conditions have not really improved.

Brock Masters 3 years, 12 months ago

Agree it was wrong to force Native Americans onto reservations, but the fact that they are still on them is a choice and the conditions are on them too.

Jeanette Kekahbah 3 years, 12 months ago

Brock what do you know about choices? Really, educate me.

Brock Masters 3 years, 12 months ago

Tsk tsk Mike, name calling is not nice.

Since you haven't figured out how to reply to a post you probably don't understand that my comment was not in response to your letter but was in response to Leslie's post.

The Indians were forced onto the reservation a century ago, they choose to stay on them today. Yes, they were treated badly but a defeated nation is very seldom treated well.

If it were in my power to go back in time and right the wrongs against the native Americans and the way the government treated them I would. But I nor anyone else has that power. So stop beating a dead horse and move on. If wrongs occur today try to fix them, but living in the past is a waste and so is blaming the white man which based on your own admission of failing to meet the blood quantum ate to be considered a Native American is just blaming yourself.

Brock Masters 3 years, 12 months ago

It is your government too. And, Mike my friend, please stay on topic. The dead horse comment was in regards to your SLT letter.

It is being built. It is over so complaining about it is beating a dead horse.

As for calling people uneducated, I can at least write using paragraphs.

You remind me of Elizabeth Warren.

Jeanette Kekahbah 3 years, 12 months ago

Ok Brock so you ARE in favor of upholding and supporting "the supreme law of the lan" according to the US Constitution, right? TREATY LAW...IS..."supreme law of the land. Check it out. And have a nice day.

Richard Heckler 3 years, 12 months ago

Tons of turtles are being run over.

The turtles are wanting to escape from the massive machinery that has drained the wetlands.

Lawrence neighborhoods if more turtles are showing up in your yards and gardens these are the wetland refugees.

Scott Burkhart 3 years, 12 months ago

"Tons?" Really? Is that a metaphor for a lot or are you seriously weighing the numbers of turtles fleeing for their lives only to be killed like Syrian refugees before the onslaught of Al-Quaida or Hassad? We should set up turtle refugee camps. Maybe we can repatriate some of these refugee turtles to the south. Are there any turtle diplomatic embassies or consulates along the Wakarusa where we can get information and possibly safe haven status? Has the Obama administration been involved at all in this crisis? My guess is they probably have based on the inaction of this administration not wishing to be involved in a domestic turtle incident.

Mike Ford 3 years, 12 months ago

Not really funny since a young women is in critical condition for saving a turtle south of Lawrence nor is it funny since I was almost taken out saving a turtle between Baldwin City and Le Loup on a county road south of Baldwin City last October. A Turtle or Luksi in Choctaw is an esteemed animal. The Wyandotte and Lenape people hold turtles in high esteem. These animals are part of tribal creation stories. We warned that many animals would perish and they shouldn't perish if they're going into an area where they're supposed to be safe unless unthinking people decide they and indigenous people's religious beliefs can be negotiated and destroyed.

Dan Eyler 3 years, 12 months ago

The baker wet lands is interesting and I love the wild life, all of which will be there when this project is complete. The road being constructed is about 20 years past due. We have found no remains of humans as promised by the envirnmentalist and Indian groups. There is no doubt that wildlife will be disturbed by the construction but they will be back. As for turtles crossing the road, well like every year we see the slow moving critters lumbering along many smashed by cars and trucks. I got out of my vehicle just the other day to assist a very large common snapping turtle from the middle of the street. He wasn't vey happy with me however. But when this whole project is complete in the next year or so Lawrence will be a much better place. 23rd will become a street less traveled, needing less repairs and improved business access and for the baker wetlands, which were once not a wet lands, a much better ecological place to visit. Look on the bright side and stop finally once and for all the doom and gloom. This is a good project for both sides of the argument.

Leslie Swearingen 3 years, 12 months ago

Dan, thank you for helping the turtle. I remember growing up near Noel, Missouri in the Ozark hills where we kids were warned about the potential of the snapping turtle to take off an entire hand with one snap, which of course just caused us to dare each other to see how close we would put our fingers to the beak of one.

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 years, 12 months ago

And in a few years people are going to be saying, "Hey, we need a traffic way further south. I wonder why they didn't build it south of the Wakarusa and follow the river around to 10 highway? Now we have to build one, because look at all the apartment complexes they have built south of the river. Those people need a quicker way to get home." Actually many of us still want answers to the question "Why this route?" It wasn't that bridges are expensive. For what was spent on legal fees and time wasted, causing the price of the road to rise, we could have built 10 bridges.

Mike Ford 3 years, 12 months ago

Reservations are what's left when people can't control their colonialism habits. You know the one's they don't admit because if they did they'd have no leg to stand on much as is the case here. The Shawnee people in this area went from having 1.8 million acres in the 1830's to maybe 200 acres in federal trust in 2014. Reservations aren't necessarily a bad thing. You know if you actually went politely and witnessed a pow wow or saw a whole community infrastructure with a tribal fire department or tribal police department or community elder housing or a culture and language department or an environmental assessment department much of your outdated stereotypical and mythological comments would seem unnecessary if you became enlightened. I've seen such communities in places like Pawhuska, Oklahoma, (Osage), the Tonawanda Seneca and St. Regis Akwesasne Reserves in New York State, the Pearl River Mississippi Choctaw Community and Bok Chito Community in Mississippi, The Oneida and Menominee Communities in Wisconsin, The Northern Cheyenne Community in Lame Deer, Montana, and a number of reserves in southeastern Ontario, Canada and Quebec. The defeated nation comment is so William Rehnquist and Antonin Scalia and these days they don't sound antiquated and out of touch with reality do they? it makes one wonder if they ever ventured out to confirm their inaccurate comments. I heat these comments so often that I wonder if they have the awareness to stop saying such wrong headed things publically.

This country and it's political bodies are cunning in their ways to steal Indian land. If they couldn't kill everyone then they try to assimilate through Christianity and land allotment If that doesn't work then in places like Virginia in the last century they have someone like Mr. Plecker working for the Commonwealth of Virginia going around marking Indian people as colored or African. The same thing happened in Alabama and Louisiana. Then if that doesn't work then science is perverted for phrenology and blood quantum or paper genocide. If that doesn't work then congressional termination or the BIA criteria for federal acknowledgment is used. Due to American Colonialism and tribal removal we don't all look like your helmet mascots.

Mike Ford 3 years, 12 months ago

Your political affiliation loves to have a straw woman in Mrs. Warren. The current BIA head, Kevin Washburn, Chickasaw Citizen, doesn't look much different than her. and yet there are indigenous people at the other end of the spectrum like Mr. Ernie Stevens, Jr, Wisconsin Onieda, and head of the National Indian Gaming Association, or New York Oneida Chairmen Roy Halbritter whom you would stereotype an indigenous based on appearance. Stereotyping is usually negated by facts. By the way, blood quantum had nothing to do my ancestors being left off the Dawes Commission Rolls. This commission was set up to assist in the theft of commonly held tribal lands in Indian Territory so that Oklahoma could exist and the Sooners could complete their land theft. There is trust land and historical territory for specific tribes in Oklahoma but maybe one reservation and even that's been affected by White greed and court decisions in the last two years. My ancestors were given blood quantum numbers and rejected because they didn't remove to Indian Territory to begin with. In closing there' so much information out there that this isn't really a dead horse is it?

Brock Masters 3 years, 12 months ago

Doesn't matter why, if you're not recognized as a Native American by the government or a tribe the you're just a white man like the rest of us.

Jeanette Kekahbah 3 years, 12 months ago

lmao...at what you said...but doesn't matter why...as you said. white or wrong, right?

Mike Ford 3 years, 12 months ago

Ish ikhana nakni nahollo? Chahta anumpa li. Sa okla ut nahollo micha Chahta micha Biloxi micha Nahollo. Sa okla's yakni ut Mississippi micha Alabama. Chahta imanumpa ish anumpa li hinla ho? There are descendant Delaware or Lenape who chose to take US Citizenship in 1867 and stay in this area and maintain a cemetery. I'm no different than them or the Apalachee Tribe of Louisiana who are secure enough in their tribal identity that they haven't pursued state recognition there. If you'd left the comment intact that hurt your feelings it stated that the US Government left enough Choctaw people behind that there are two federally recognized Choctaw tribes in LA and MS with between 10,000 and 11,000 tribal members and four or five state recognized Choctaw communities in AL and LA with over 10,000 tribal members, not to forget that much of the Creole Community has Choctaw ancestry in their background. Tech9 the KC Rapper has Creole and Choctaw ancestry as does Will Hayden from the Discovery Show "Sons of Guns". Louisiana has a huge Metis population and unlike Canada just chose to leave people there. Why would I worry about the stamp of approval from a colonial government? I've never claimed to be anything different than a Choctaw descendant from the MS/AL Gulf Coast so your point is moot. As for the relevance of all of this you opened the door to this conversation. It's so much easier for you all when we're just mascots on a helmet with no backstory of omitted American history isn't it?

Brock Masters 3 years, 12 months ago

Well Mike good for you.

It has been interesting discussing this with you.

Until next time.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 years, 12 months ago

"Euro-American manipulation of the land there for oil and flood control purposes have threatened this land along with global warming and sea level rising that will cause some of these people to become global warming refugees looking for higher lands that the settlers ran them off of in the early 19th century." Wow! I did not realize that we were "Euro-Americans" What's that?? And I did not realize that building this long delayed road was going to cause the climate to change and the oceans to rise. Isn't someone fuming and flaunching just a bit??

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