Partial Transcript: Sandra Baxter (SB): Interview with Dan Sheehan. December 10, 1976, Washington, DC, regarding Wounded Knee. Well Dan, how do you wanna start? Do you want to--
Segment Synopsis: DS shares about his professional background that leads to his involvement in working on the Wounded Knee II Trials. He then begins to discuss those arrested by the FBI for attempting to attend a funeral for a man killed.
Keywords: American Civil Liberties Union; Bellecourt; Clyde Bellecourt; Colorado; Colorado State University; Dennis Banks; FBI; Federal Bureau of Investigation; GLIDE Foundation; Great Valentine Trial; Legal Rights; Native American; Rosebud; Rosebud Reservation; Russell Means; University of Colorado; Valentine; Valentine Nebraska; Vernon Bellecourt; Wounded Knee; Wounded Knee II
Partial Transcript: DS: Okay, so that's how that one was won.
But that's a fairly important episode,
I would say, in Nebraska history, and in the history of the Native people in Nebraska, this particular case. Not so much for what it did, but for what it demonstrated that the Anglo culture was not willing to do.
Segment Synopsis: DS discusses the BIA and explains the realities of land rights for many Native Americans living on reservations.
Keywords: ACLU; American Civil Liberties Union; BIA; Bureau of Indian Affairs; Department of Interior; Joe de Raismes; Land Rights; Native American; Wounded Knee
Partial Transcript: There will come a point in time, I would hope, and I would hope that some of the churches would be able to play a significant role in this, because of their duplicity in the past, in depriving the Native people of their indigenous lands, in reestablishing control of those lands in the tribal people, that I am confident that adequate litigation could be initiated on behalf of the Native people to recover those lands.
Segment Synopsis: DS shares about the role of the Jesuit community historically and in the 1970s (present-day for interview). His work encourages the Jesuit community to address wrongs and erroneous policies in their work with Native American populations.
Keywords: BIA; Boarding Schools; Bureau of Indian Affairs; Colonialism; Education; Flathead; Flathead Tribe; Jesuit; Mission; Montana; Native American; Native American Education; Navajo; Pine Ridge; Piscataway; Piscataway Tribe; Religion; Social Change; South Dakota; Tribal Council; Virginia
Partial Transcript: DS: It's because that they're trusting people and because they are not out of tune. They are in tune with quote, the Holy Spirit. They live in the spirit.
Segment Synopsis: DS shares about the conflict between the U.S. federal government and Native Americans. He also discusses the one-dimensional media on Native American activism and rights.
Keywords: AIM; American Indian Movement; Boss Lake; Community Organization; Media; Native American; Native American Culture; Native American Religion; Onodaga; Organization; Religion; Saul Alinsky; Spirituality
Partial Transcript: SB: What was that, there's a book or something, I can't remember what it is, but calling for a reorganization of society, and it's saying that the whole society, American society, world society, really needs to look at Indian society and to reorganize itself along that lines if it's gonna be able to survive. And I can't think of who did that. I wanted to ask you just a little bit about the leadership trial with Means and Bellecourt.
Segment Synopsis: DS shares about the conditions of Wounded Knee and the discrepancies in treatment for organization. He also discusses firsthand perspectives from the court trials under Federal Judge Warren K. Urbom.
Keywords: ACLU; AIM; American Civil Liberties Union; American Indian Movement; American Indian Studies; Case Law; Discrimination; Federal Judge; Judge Urbom; Leadership; Protests; Russell Means; U.S. Federal Government; Urbom; Vernon Bellecourt; Vine Deloria; Vine Deloria Jr.; Violence; Warren K. Urbom; Wounded Knee; Wounded Knee II; Wounded Knee Trials
Partial Transcript: DS: It's a lesson that the culture had tried very hard to teach our generation throughout the '60s, and one which I hope to say that we did not take.
Segment Synopsis: DS and SB discuss the relationship between morality, spirituality, and politics during the 1970s.
Keywords: BIA; Bureau of Indian Affairs; Education; Eisenhower; Indian Reservation Termination; LaDonna Harris; Morality; Native American; Native American Culture; Native American History; Policy of Termination; Politics; Saul Alinsky; Spirituality; Termination; University Courses; University Curriculum; Vietnam; Vietnam War
Partial Transcript: DS: And when the Native people want some assistance from those of us in the Anglo community that they think can help, we have to be listening. We have to not be offering solutions. We have to be available.
Segment Synopsis: DS shares about how social change may be effected through the leadership of Native American populations. He also shares how organization might change.
Keywords: BIA; Bureau of Indian Affairs; Civil Rights; Community; Discrimination; Employment; Hiring; Hiring Discrimination; Hiring Process; Human Rights; Jesuit; Native Americans; Organization; Politics; Public Administration; Saul Alinsky; Self Determination; Social Change
-Sandra Baxter (SB): Interview with Dan Sheehan.
December 10, 1976, Washington, DC,
regarding Wounded Knee.
Well Dan, how do you wanna start?
Do you want to--
-Daniel Sheehan (DS): Well, I think that one of the best ways to do
is to give sort of a chronological, sort of oral history
of how I really encountered this thing.
I was a trial lawyer with F. Lee Bailey, out of Boston,
doing a lot of these things.
Had done a lot of civil rights law for Lee Bailey
and had done civil rights law
for the major Wall Street firm, Cahill-Gordon,
it's 178 trial lawyers on Wall Street.
And I was there for as their pro bono lawyer,
pro bono publico, for the benefit of the public.
And so I had gotten into doing
a lot of constitutional litigation
and a lot of, sort of, I guess what
might be called BCL law, you know,
a lot of movement law and stuff like that.00:01:00
And I was contacted by the director of the national office
of the American Civil Liberties Union,
one of their four national offices,
the one that had jurisdiction over
the 10 Rocky Mountain states.
And this man asked me if I would be trial counsel
for the American Civil Liberties Union,
that regional office,
in the cases that arose relating to Wounded Knee.
And I talked with Lee Bailey,
and he disagreed with my doing it.
-SB: Why did he disagree?
-DS: Primarily, because he was under investigation
by the grand jury for the Middle District of Florida,
and he knew that the Executive Department
was very, very uptight about this
Indian uprising at Wounded Knee.
And he did not wanna do anything
to in any way alienate the Executive Department00:02:00
because they were after him anyhow.
And he believed that if he was so close to getting indicted,
that anything that was done by anyone
related in the slightest with his office--
-SB: Could jeopardize.
-DS: Would be viewed as a hostile act
from the Executive Department
and would raise the chances that he would be indicted.
Well, in any event,
I indicated to him that I didn't believe
that my participating one way or another
in those Wounded Knee trials
was going to be the proximate causation
or any significant contribution
toward his being indicted or not indicted.
So in any event, I agreed to participate
with the ACLU in these cases.
I went out to Denver.
I was flown out to Denver,
and I met with the director out there.
And reviewed a number of the cases
that were floating around at that time.
We had what are referred to as the leadership cases.
That was Dennis Banks and Russell Means,00:03:00
and the Bellecourt brothers,
Vernon Bellecourt and Clyde Bellecourt,
and that bunch of guys.
And we also had another sort of general rubric of cases,
which were the wraparound, wraparound cases,
the allegations made by
-DS: Various US attorneys.
If they were traveling interstate
to aid and abet those engaged
in what had now been legally classified,
at least by the Executive Department,
as a quote, civil disturbance.
-SB: Right, would that be like the people
that were bringing food up, say,
that were across from--
-DS: That's right.
Well, it was interesting--
-SB: And supplying.
-DS: It was a whole variety of people.
For example, the first one
that I represented in the people,
and I represented Vernon Bellecourt.
He came down to the University of Colorado
and Colorado State University, both of those,
in early, this would be '74.00:04:00
Actually, late '73, he came down there.
And he went around speaking at a number of universities.
And at this time, a Native American man
had been shot and killed by the FBI at Wounded Knee.
And he was going to be buried.
And a request had been made by the parents
of the man who had been killed at Wounded Knee
to be allowed to bury the man
inside the FBI perimeter at Wounded Knee.
And if, in fact, the permissions were not granted
to bury him inside there,
to go through the FBI lines,
it was determined that he would be buried
at the reservation next door,
which is the Rosebud Reservation.
And Vernon had gone around to a number
of universities informing students A,
that this man had been killed by the FBI.00:05:00
B, that they were invited to come to the man's funeral,
as a quote, show of support,
for the people at Wounded Knee, the Native people.
And as he went around doing this,
the FBI followed him around.
And they were in the crowds taking photographs
of all the people in the crowds.
Tape-recording speeches that were being made, et cetera.
Now, the position that the FBI took
is that this was a conspiracy.
A conspiracy to cause people to go to either Wounded Knee
or to the Rosebud Reservation,
and there to show support for the people at Wounded Knee.
And this type of First Amendment activity
was explicitly viewed by the Justice Department
as conduct that was aiding and abetting
those engaged in a civil disturbance.00:06:00
So when a number of young folks from
the Colorado State University decided
that they were going to go to this funeral,
they got in a caravan of cars
and they started going up to Rosebud,
where that it had been determined
this man was going to be buried
since the FBI had denied permission
to come through the perimeters.
And just the instant that these people
crossed a state line, they were arrested.
Now, one of the humorous,
of which there are many, I might point out,
sidelines in these cases is that
one group of people who had come
from the GLIDE Foundation out in San Francisco,
a religious group, I think they're,
I'm not sure what denomination,
but they're sponsored by, I think,
a number of religious denominations.
They left, the GLIDE Foundation, in San Francisco
and they were arrested inside California.00:07:00
They had never even crossed a state line,
and they were arrested by FBI
and charged with interstate travel
to aid and abet those engaged in a civil disturbance.
Well, that was, you could imagine how funny that was.
But there were others that were arrested.
A fellow by the name James Star and his group
were arrested just as they crossed
out of Colorado into Wyoming, just below Cheyenne.
And there were others.
Another bunch of people, 16 folks were arrested
in a little town just in Nebraska.
This is very interesting for Nebraska history,
and I'll focus on this one.
-DS: It's called the Great Valentine Trial.
-SB: And it was in Valentine?
-SB: I knew--
-DS: Valentine, Nebraska.
Okay, the heart of America, it says.
And I'll go into some detail
about this hilarious little trial.
Well, at any rate, so I represented these folks
when they were arraigned and indicted.00:08:00
They weren't indicted, but there was a US Attorney's
complaint filed against them.
I represented a series of these people,
including a very special group of people.
In addition to the Valentine group,
were some people that were arrested up in Montana.
And these were a self-consciously
religious group of people,
who again had come from the GLIDE Foundation.
And they were bringing medical supplies
and they communicated with the federal hospital
at Wounded Knee and had been informed there
that they were running out of medical supplies,
that that facility was treating victims
of both sides who had been injured,
both FBI and Justice Department
and the Native American people,
and they were running low on supplies.
And yet the Justice Department
and the Executive Department of the federal government
was not replenishing these supplies.
So the GLIDE Foundation took up a collection in California.00:09:00
-SB: So is this the same group that--
-DS: Well, they're different
-SB: Oh, they're different.
-DS: They're just the same foundation.
-SB: Oh, okay.
-DS: But it's a different group of people.
And they sent a big panel truck
with medical supplies in it
that was going directly to the federal hospital.
The federal hospital officials knew they were coming.
The FBI officials knew they were coming.
They had been given permission by the federal authorities
at the hospital to bring these materials there,
but the US Attorney in Montana
had decided that anybody who came across his state,
trying to bring medical supplies
that would in any way eventually be given over
to the Native American people at Wounded Knee,
even if it was given over by federal authorities,
was in his opinion, aiding and abetting
those engaged in a civil disturbance.
-SB: Did he know that the FBI and the people
at the federal hospital knew that these--
-DS: Oh, he was charged with the knowledge.
I mean, he had to be.00:10:00
He is as an executive official,
he is charged with whatever knowledge
the Executive Department has at that time.
And so they took the position,
we took the position on their behalf,
that this prosecution was a direct violation
of their freedom of religion.
That we asserted that it was their intention
to bring these materials out of a Christian motivation,
is that they believed that as Christians
they had a duty to do much more
than just to go to church on Sunday.
And in fact, we cited sections of the Good Samaritan
history of the church doctrine
and that people had an affirmative duty
to help their brothers and sisters
when they were in trouble and et cetera.
Well, at any rate, you can imagine how,
I mean, they were caught completely
flat-footed on that week.
It cut through them like a knife through butter, you know.
But this effort--
-SB: This wasn't the case though
that was tried in Valentine?00:11:00
This was in Montana.
-DS: The Great Valentine Day Case,
what had happened was that a number of students
had come from Colorado State University,
and they had listened to Vernon Bellecourt.
And the next day, they had listened to him
actually on a Thursday, as I recall.
And on Saturday morning,
a group of them got together
in the little circle there at Colorado State University,
and all started getting loaded
into the cars and stuff like this,
and the FBI was spying on them.
The FBI was hiding out in the administration building
and watching this whole thing go on through binoculars,
from the administration building.
And they didn't have anybody in the crowd
because the people that were in the crowd
were just those that were going.
And so therefore, they didn't have any tape recordings
of what was being said.
-DS: So they just watched them through binoculars.00:12:00
And the people and the folks got in the car,
several cars, and they started off
to go to Rosebud Reservation.
Well, all the way out up the highway out of Colorado,
they were followed by these FBI cars,
by these unmarked cars.
The FBI are such klutzes in these cases.
I mean, anybody's grandmother would have known
that they were following 'em,
but they thought that they were getting away
with this clandestine undertaking, right?
Well, everybody in the trucks and stuff,
they were laughing, like man, oh look, here they are.
Oops, slow down a little bit,
we're losing 'em, come on, a little quicker.
Well, at any rate, one of these groups
went on up in through Cheyenne and got arrested,
just as they came across the state line up there,
by two black and whites that were put across the road.
Another group of these people,
about well, a total of 16 folks,
went off through the eastern path
and up through Nebraska.
-SB: Yeah, they take 80.
So they went on up.
Well, they ended up driving along,00:13:00
and all of a sudden they come to this road block,
just outside, just north of Valentine.
And here's this black and white placed across the road.
what was the officer's name?
I can't recall the officer's name right now,
but he had a black and white set across the road
so that anybody had to slow down,
almost to a stop to go around this cruiser.
And he was, as he testified later,
looking into the car when anybody came by.
And then he would, depending upon what he saw in the car,
and who he saw in the car,
he would make a determination
as to whether to stop these people, right.
Well, these folks came along
and he pulled 'em off the road.
And under examination,
which I'll get to chronologically here,
he stated that what he had done is,
he said first that he had set up this road block00:14:00
to do, quote, safety inspections.
When asked how many safety inspections
he did that day, he said, "None."
And so we said well, "Was it true that you,
"in fact, were doing safety inspections?"
And he said, "Yes."
And then I asked him to describe exactly what he did.
And he said, well, I put the black the white
across the road and when people came along
and slowed down, I would look in
and then I would decide whether to stop 'em or not.
And I said, well, "Can you tell me what kind of criteria
"you used to determine whether
"or not you're gonna stop 'em?"
He said, well, first he said
it was whether or not they belonged around there.
And then I asked him to describe that.
He said, well, if he recognized them.
And then I said, well, "Did you let anybody
"through that you didn't recognize?"
He said, "oh yes, yes I did."
And I said, "Well then, it wasn't just
"whether you recognized 'em or not."
He said, "no, no I guess it wasn't."
And so I said, well, "Can you tell us why00:15:00
"you stopped this particular car?"
And he said, "well, it was a Datsun."
I said, "Well, I'm a little surprised."
I said, "I can't quite understand.
"There must be something I'm missing here.
"Can you tell me why you stopped it
"just because it was a Datsun?"
He said, "Well, you know, it's a foreign car,
"one of those foreign cars."
And I said, "Well, I still don't understand."
He said, "Well, they all drive those foreign cars."
And I said, "Well, who is this they
"that you seem to be referring to?"
He said, "White hippie-type students," he said.
I said, "Well, Officer Lynch," his name was Officer Lynch.
I said, well, no, no, it wasn't Lynch.
Lynch was another dude that I ran into one time.
I said, "Officer, can you tell me,
"that that seems to sound like a term of ire of some sort.
"Can you tell me where you got that?"
He said, "Well, it was right in the communique."
And I said, "What communique was this, officer?"00:16:00
And he said, "The FBI communique
"from FBI-Omaha sent it out."
And I said, "Well, do you happen to have a copy of that?"
Well, he was sitting there with this great big, huge
manila folder in his lap, full of stuff.
And he opened up the middle folder
and he reached in and ruffled through it,
and he pulls out this communique.
And he holds it out to me.
And I said, "Well officer," I said,
"can you tell me whether you consulted
"all those materials there in your little packet there,
"before you testified today?"
He said, "Yes, yes I did."
So I reached up and snatched 'em from him
and said, "Well, he's just testified
"that he's used these to refresh his recollection
"in order to testify today,
"so I'd like to ask the court permission to inspect these."
And the judge was going, well, uh,
so I just brought 'em over and I laid 'em down
on the General Counsel's desk,
that was this director of the ACLU.
And I said, "Look at 'em, quick," I said.
So he started looking all through 'em.
And he whipped 'em all out.
And there's everything.
They've got the photographs that were taken
at the rallies that Vernon Bellecourt did.00:17:00
They've got all the memos that were given,
inter-office memos that were sent through, and all this.
Well, we had everything, we had the whole case,
bang, go just like that.
Well, he started sputtering and fuming and stuff.
"Give me back those."
And the judge didn't know what to do as a magistrate.
And I told him we had a right to have 'em,
and we won that argument,
even though the judge didn't like it.
And so we had him.
Well, the thing was really fascinating
because we went up into Valentine to do the case,
this is backtracking a bit,
but when we decided we had to go up
and get these folks outta jail,
and we demanded to have an immediate preliminary hearing
for the 16 folks that were arrested.
And so we went up into Valentine.
We had our big Volkswagen bus, camper bus.
We were the absolute outrage.
I mean, we were quote, outside agitators, par excellence.
You know, a New York, Wall Street, hippie-type lawyer.
You know, a fast-gun civil rights lawyer.
And the director of the ACLU00:18:00
come into this little Valentine town, right?
And we came cruising into this little place,
and came up through the Black Hills,
and went on into this little town.
And here was this big sign welcoming us to the town,
Valentine, the heart of America.
And we said, boy, isn't that so?
And we went in this little town
and went into this hearing room.
And it was really funny,
there were so many defendants,
they had to put the defendants all in the jury box.
They couldn't put 'em at the defense table,
and so they put 'em in the jury box.
And so here, ironically,
are the defendants sitting in the jury box,
passing judgment on the Anglo culture
as to what they're doing in this particular case.
And a bunch of townspeople sitting
in the audience and stuff.
But we started dragging these people onto the stand.
We subpoenaed them for the preliminary hearing.00:19:00
The arresting officer and a whole bunch
of these officers and stuff like this,
and it was a scream, the case was a scream,
because they admitted, right, flat out.
I mean, this officer, once we'd
gotten all these documents,
they were completely dead in the water.
Then we just started interrogating them
about why they'd done all this,
what they thought they were doing.
Well, they were absolutely paranoid, of course.
-SB: What did the Valentine papers say?
Were you reading like
-DS: Don't know.
-SB: The Valentine papers
-DS: Don't know.
-SB: Were saying at this time?
-DS: No, we hit in one day.
We hit in one day and headed out of there.
So I didn't really read what they had said.
But it would be interesting.
I don't know if you could find that.
And I'm not exactly sure what the dates were on this,
but it'd be easy enough to find out.
Just call up the Valentine Courthouse.
They'll remember this one.
It's a federal courthouse up there,
federal magistrate, up in Valentine.
So we went on through this particular hearing.
And it finally ended up going down to Nebraska,
to the judge in Nebraska.00:20:00
I can't remember exactly what judge.
He's a really good judge down there.
-SB: Baum, um.
I know which one you mean.
So it was in Lincoln?
-DS: Yes, Lincoln, Nebraska.
-SB: Bur-baum, or--
-DS: Burn-baum, Judge Burn-baum.
Something like that.
You got the guy, he's the one.
And we went on through the thing, finally.
And Finally, nolle prosequi,
that they just dropped it
'cause we were creaming 'em at the thing.
It was just humiliating,
and the whole time they did this thing.
But it was a scream 'cause,
I guess the thing that finally clinched the case
was that they brought in the US Attorney
for the State of Nebraska, a big honcho,
to argue the case against us.
And he stood up at his closing argument at this hearing,
and he said, "On the basis of the evidence
"that's been presented," well, he was trying
to maintain that all these people00:21:00
were gonna go up to Wounded Knee,
and they were gonna sneak in and go under the radar,
and they we're gonna go in
and bring all this stuff in,
and they were these commandos,
all this kind of shtick, you know, it was just crud
'cause they were heading for the Rosebud Reservation
to go to this funeral, and they knew it.
Not because they knew it,
because they were there at the rallies,
where it was asked for them to do this.
And they had the tape recordings themselves,
so they couldn't lie about what they said they heard.
So anyway, they were dead in the water.
So he stood up and he said,
"On the evidence that we've compiled here,"
he said any, what'd he say?
"A Mongoloid idiot," he said,
"would conclude that these people
"were going to Wounded Knee."
And so I just granted his point.
And I said, "That is exactly right,"
that any Mongoloid idiot would have concluded
that they were going to Wounded Knee.
And he was furious.
He was furious that he had lost.
And so we ended up getting that particular case dismissed.00:22:00
But that was one of the,
of course, all of the major trials
were not in Nebraska after that.
And we brought in the folks to testify.
The old folks came in to testify
at the leadership trials.
Just showing the whole history of what had happened
and all this kinda stuff.
And the judge, the judge was extraordinarily good
in allowing all this evidence to come in.
To show the whole backdrop,
of the history of what had happened at this place,
and the real pathos to the Anglos and what had happened.
But in the final analysis,
it wasn't the blatant immorality of the Anglo position.
It wasn't the lying, and the cheating,
and the conniving of the Anglo culture
that had come down against these people.
It wasn't the brutality of the Anglo people
either in this particular case or the entire history
that really caused us to prevail in that case.
It was required that the Native American lawyers,00:23:00
who had learned the tools of combat
for the Anglo culture, the legal tools,
were able to get the case thrown out
because we proved that the FBI
was engaging in criminal conduct even during the trial.
They were wiretapping the lawyers.
They were following the lawyers.
They were engaging in egregious improper conduct
for litigation all throughout the trial.
And we finally briefed that
and demonstrated it so clearly to the judge,
that the judge was compelled
to dismiss the case.
- Oh, okay.
It's all right.
-DS: Okay, so that's how that one was won.
But that's a fairly important episode,
I would say, in Nebraska history,
and in the history of the Native people in Nebraska,
this particular case.
Not so much for what it did,
but for what it demonstrated that
the Anglo culture was not willing to do.
Was not willing to face the truth of the matter.
Was not willing to face the history
that had occurred in that state.
Was not willing to face the bankruptcy,
the moral bankruptcy of the posture
of which the Anglo culture found itself in that case.
But they had to go to what they viewed
to be sort of a technicality to dismiss the case.
Now, that's all by way of sort
of the legalities of the thing.
I spent a considerable amount of time up in South Dakota,
up at, on Pine Ridge, up at Wounded Knee.00:25:00
There are a number of things that stand out up in there.
One of them is all the bullet holes in the church,
which I guess is a fairly moving thing
to everyone who sees that, where the Native people were.
That what had happened, was a really interesting one,
is that the, I cannot overstate
the disdain in which I hold the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
-SB: What do you think should be done
for the Bureau of Indian Affairs?
There's a lot of discussions.
-DS: I think all you got to do is enforce the treaties.
They're the simple, the simple line
on these things are enforce the treaties as the first stage.
-SB: Don't you see that there's a conflict?
I see that the Bureau of Indian Affairs
being in the Interior Department,
is a conflict of interest right there.
-DS: To have the Anglos administer
the Bureau of Indian Affairs is a conflict of interest,00:26:00
whether they're in the Executive Department,
Department of Interior, anywhere.
-SB: But I think it makes it very bad
being in the Department of Interior.
For example, with strip-mining, there's been,
they're wanting to get in there--
-DS: There are a lotta points,
lotta points that could be made
about why it is particularly egregious
to have the BIA in the Department of Interior,
given their other areas of jurisdiction,
but the problem is is that even if you cured that problem,
a fundamental problem is still obtained.
I think, for example, there is an article
which I co-authored with a good friend of mine
that was published in the South Dakota Law Review
in the spring of 1975.
The author and formal author on the thing is Joe de Raismes.
Small D-E, space, capital R-A-I-S-M-E-S,
Joe de Raismes.
Now, he was General Counsel
for the Native American Rights Committee for ACLU National,00:27:00
and I was co-counsel with him.
And so we authored that particular thing.
And in that one, I think that you can get
a good sense of what my sense of the thing is.
And is Joe's now, is that the Bureau of Indian Affairs
is a colonialist enterprise.
It's a classic neo-colonialist enterprise,
very similar to the regime we set up in South Vietnam.
Very similar to the Park government
which we've set up in South Korea, and a number of things.
It is a vestige of colonialism.
And it is run for the interest of the colonial power,
not for the people themselves.
And it is an attempt to give the impression
of indigenous participation,
whereas the interest that it fosters,
the values that it uses,
everything about it is non-Native American.00:28:00
-SB: Right, that's been the whole history of it,
like with The Dawes Act.
-DS: Sure, sure.
-SB: Awful, awful.
-DS: Entirely, entirely.
And the problem of dealing with,
the fundamental problem of dealing
with the Native American problem
is that without a really fundamentally radical perception,
it seems to be a quagmire.
You can't really figure out what to do about it.
It reminds me a lot of people spending
a lot of their energy trying to rearrange
the deck chairs on the Titanic.
You know, there's really a biding concern
was sort of getting all the chairs in a little line.
Only if we could get the chairs in a line,
everything will be all right.
But they're ignoring the fundamental problem
of the initial invasion of the Native people's lands,
and the willful, malicious,
and malevolent lies that not only were told,
but that are still being accredited.
And one of the more impressive sights
is to get a map from the National Geodetic Survey00:29:00
and put one of these things up on the wall,
and you'll see these huge patches of bright yellow,
which are classified as undeveloped public land.
-SB: Get Indians in those spaces?
-DS: Their indigenous aboriginal land
has been taken away from the Native people,
but not given to them in the reservations.
That you'll find virtually in every one
of these big, huge tracts of this yellow land,
you'll find one little tiny rock pile corner
where the reservation has been established.
And that nothing has been done with all this land.
There have been no dams built there.
No public parks established there.
No national forests established there.
No national water lands established there.
No national grasslands established there.
The federal government at this point in time
does nothing but hold those lands00:30:00
out of the hands of the Native people.
So it's not a matter of this being sort of ancient history.
That somehow, oh, it's too bad we made those mistakes,
but there's nothing that can really be done about it now.
That is the big lie.
It's the big lie.
There will come a point in time, I would hope,
and I would hope that some of the churches
would be able to play a significant role in this,
because of their duplicity in the past,
in depriving the Native people of their indigenous lands,
in reestablishing control of those lands
in the tribal people,
that I am confident that adequate litigation
could be initiated on behalf of the Native people
to recover those lands.
-SB: Are you in the process now or are?
-DS: I've been in the process
of trying to talk the United States Jesuit Order,00:31:00
which has played at least as large a part,
as any other religious organization
in the history of the Native people,
both positive, and unfortunately, negative.
I've been trying to persuade these people
to take it as a particular aspect
or dimension of their mission, to address this problem.
-SB: Do you run into any resentment by Native Americans
towards the Jesuits, for example?
-DS: Oh, sure.
-SB: From this because--
-DS: Deservedly so, sure.
I would say not much more than is deserved.
It has been hard-earned by the Jesuits.
I think that they're, on the other hand,
are a very large number of Jesuit men who,
and especially those who have the most direct contact
with the Native American postulate,
who know full well the errors00:32:00
that have been committed in the past by the order,
and are fully desirous of rectifying those errors.
The problem is is that like most other Anglo people,
who do not know about Native American issues,
the provincials and the hierarchy of the order,
share the same kind of myths,
as do most of the Anglo people now.
And they somehow think that it's past (audio distorts)
and a lot of the people in the Native American postulate,
or engaging in the Jesuit order at least,
is an attempt to raise the consciousness
of our provincials in a large number of our men
to try to be strong enough,
to face the responsibility for our participation
in erroneous policies in the past.
There's no need to--
-SB: Like the--
(car horn blaring drowns out speaking)
-DS: Like what?00:33:00
-SB: Like the schooling, where a lot of boarding schools--
-DS: Oh, that whole ugly history,
sure, and worse, and worse.
And it's very difficult.
I mean, like any human beings,
they're unable to sort of face
the errors of their past and really grow like that,
but it's something I do believe that they have
taken a dedicated position to try to do.
And we're working at that now.
I'm surely not pleased with progress
that's being made there.
-SB: What are some of the specific changes
that you would like to see done by the Jesuits,
say, that are in contact on the reservations?
-DS: Oh, a lot.
-SB: For example, like in South Dakota?
-DS: Well, there are different ones.
For example, there are,
oh, there's so many awful things.
There are some that are easier to point out
right off the bat than others.
For example, up in Montana,00:34:00
the Jesuits are now in possession
of literally thousands of acres of land
that belong to the Native people up there.
The same thing is true of the Piscataway Indians.
Now, those are Flathead Native people up in Montana.
The Piscataway Indians down in Virginia,
the Jesuit order owns 7,000 acres
of their best farm land down there.
And I haven't been able to figure out
how to get it back to them.
So it's sad.
And there are instances,
those are the sort of examples of really gross problems,
that you have the order itself holding lands
that belong to the Native people and won't give 'em back.
Now, whatever the fineries of the analysis
as to why we won't give them back,00:35:00
I just don't find them very persuasive, personally.
I'm sure I don't appreciate
a lot of the subtleties perhaps
that the provincials do, but--
-SB: I think there's a feeling sometimes that,
well, we're taking care of it,
and if we gave it all to the Indians
in one big lump sum--
-DS: No, it's not that bad.
The Jesuits tend to work more subtle than that.
The problem is the fundamental one
that exists on any reservation you've ever been on,
I assume, is that the basic conflict
between the traditionals and the Tribal Council.
The tribal councils are really, again,
a vestige of colonial power,
they're arms of the BIA, for the most part.
There are, and one has to point out very rapidly here,
there are specific exceptions to that.
The Navajo people, for example,
and some others that there are some
really spectacular exceptions to that.
But for the most part, the tribal--
-SB: For example, Pine Ridge?00:36:00
-DS: For example.
And I must say that I am not as familiar
as I should be with the new administration up there.
I do know that Earl Wilson was a,
well, I won't go into great lengths
about Earl Wilson because I don't think it's necessary.
Most people are familiar with him.
But the fact is is that
the missionaries of all the roots of denominations
that are on these reservations,
the problem is that, is the problem
that I think they reflect more generally in society,
is that they're on the wrong side.
That somehow they don't really bond
with the poor and the oppressed people,
the ones who original Christianity talked about.
-SB: It kinda goes back, I think,
to the colonialism idea that the missionaries
are very much tied in with the whole,
that whole mindset of colonialism.00:37:00
That somehow they really believe that the way
that significant social change will be effective,
so as to benefit the poor and the oppressed,
is to somehow align themselves with the rich and powerful
and try to talk them into it, acts of charity.
And I think that you see manifest
in the Native American postulate,
the exact same kind of crime
that the missionaries of both Jesuits
and the other groups of people that are there
feel that they have to align themselves
with the Bureau of Indian Affairs,
and the federal Executive Department,
Department of Interior, Tribal Council, et cetera.
And, at least in my personal opinion,
that is not the alliance
through which significant social change
is going to take place on those reservations.
That the people, the indigenous people,
the people who are in tune with their
original traditional spiritual beliefs and power,00:38:00
are the people who hold the council fires.
And that, the possession of the council fires
is a spiritual concept with the Native people,
and it's where the fire and the energy
of their native traditions reside.
And the Tribal Councils, as a rule,
know very little of this.
They're Anglo-fied, most of the tribal,
that's how the Tribal Council people get there.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs sets up a procedure
saying that, look, while we promised
unconditionally to give you these things
as a trade-off for your agreeing to live on a rock pile,
and give up all the rest of your lands,
while we agreed unconditionally to give you these things,
medical supplies and things like this,
they just unilaterally changed their position
and said, well, we agreed to do this unconditionally,
we now, after the fact, place a condition upon it00:39:00
that you have to agree to elect a Tribal Council.
And you have to agree to elect a Tribal Council like this.
And they go ahead and they set up
this rather bizarre parliamentary process,
in which as you probably know,
less than 3% to 4% of the people
on most reservations even participate.
And so the people who end up in those positions
in the tribal councils, from my perspective,
and I can say from the perspective of many, many people
who live on those reservations,
do not hold legitimate power.
They do not adequately represent the Native people,
but they are, in fact, those people with whom
the Department of Interior and BIA wants to deal.
They have been sent to Anglo schools.
They have been taught Anglo ways.
They dress, think, believe, and pray in the Anglo way.00:40:00
And therefore, the Anglos can consider them
their kind of people.
And that's the sort of diplomatic recognition
that has been extended by the United States to those people.
And just as we give diplomatic recognition
in foreign countries only to people
who agree with our economic perspective.
-SB: Right, it goes back to the same problem,
like when the United States was trying
to buy land and they would try to deal with the chief,
or say well, they have to have
-SB: One person that would be the representative--
-DS: They'd search for one until they found one.
If the traditional chief wouldn't do it,
then they'd go to someone else,
and then they'd pull some drunk out
from under a rock somewhere and say,
this is chief drunk rock and he signed.
And then it becomes a procedural hassle
of saying, then look, if you wanna argue about this
and you wanna say he doesn't represent your tribe,
then let's go to court.
And it's bizarre.00:41:00
And in my opinion, malevolently motivated.
Not a good faith mistake, not anything else.
That it was malevolently motivated.
This land lust, this resource lust
that has characterized our government
since its inception has been, at least a temporary
downfall of the Native people.
The problem that the Native people have, in my opinion,
is that they trust and they believe.
And no matter how many times
the Anglo people come to them
and look them right in the eye and lie to 'em,
when they come back the next time,
the Native American people want to believe
that they're honest--
-SB: Is that because that they want to believe if--
-DS: It's because that they're trusting people
and because they are not out of tune.
They are in tune with quote, the Holy Spirit.00:42:00
They live in the spirit.
Or at least they did until their,
I think that there's a direct correlation
between how much the Anglo culture erodes
the traditional native culture
in how out of tune the Native people become,
so that they try to comatose themselves with alcohol,
is another straight plot of the Anglos
to destroy their culture.
I think the solution is a radicalized
mobilization of the Native people,
very similar to that which
the American Indian Movement has attempted to undertake.
I think that it is only through
the waging of war against the Anglo culture,
through all non-violent means at their disposal,
through the mass media, through the courts,00:43:00
through every other means that they have at their disposal,
will the Native people come back
into possession of their land,
which is, of course, the key.
Anything short of the Native people retaking
their aboriginal lands will not address
the fundamental awn-u-ee or anxiety
that presently plagues the native culture
in the United States.
-SB: But the problem with that is
is that through, the media does not really cover
the activities of the Indians
unless it is violent, unless it's Wounded Knee,
unless it's a takeover of a BIA building--
-DS: Well, I haven't, you didn't hear me suggest
how they did the media.
-SB: Oh, okay, how did they do that?
-DS: They've gotten the media.
-DS: They've gotten the media in specific times.
I was at Boss Lake when the Onondaga took it back,
and I'm one of the attorneys that represents00:44:00
the Five Indian Nations, the Iroquois Confederacy up there.
And the fact is, the fact is that one
has to put together a coalition of effort.
That there are those people among the Native people
who will seek violent alternatives.
The problem is is that they were very uncoordinated there.
There's such a remnant of the old native ways
that unless one can coordinate
that activity which is going to occur anyhow,
unless one can coordinate one's own activity,
either media, legal, or other with that,
they'll be stranded and they'll be isolated.
And the Anglophiles will, or the Anglos,
will come and get 'em,00:45:00
like the state troopers in New York.
I mean, nothing is anymore bizarre
than to see the New York State Troopers
surrounding a whole bunch of Native people
in the snow with hunting rifles, you know?
They do know, I know that the state troopers
feel that there's a great moral imprimatur
against their ever really shooting the Native people
because they know that that'll draw the media,
that'll be really bad news for 'em.
But it's still a bizarre scene to really be part of.
And in my sense that what's gonna happen,
if the Native people are not going to totally assimilate,
if their culture is not going to be totally destroyed,
except for the chics, who like beaded moccasins,
or all that despicable--
-SB: Those that always say that my grandmother
was a Cherokee princess.
-DS: Yeah, right.
Yeah right, oh, did you know I had native blood?00:46:00
That stuff, unless that's gonna happen,
if that's not gonna happen,
it's going to require an extraordinary
elevation of consciousness of the Native people themselves
to move back into their traditional ways.
-SB: Do you think that there's a movement
towards trying to retain the native ways?
For example, by AIM?
-DS: Oh, sure, clearly so, clearly--
-SB: Made a really, a strong interest by
more and more Native Americans--
-DS: One of the things I'm concerned about,
and it's a risky thing to say,
but it's true, so I'll say it,
is that while there is a good deal
of lip service, at least paid,
in this new movement to the traditional ways,
to the spiritual dimension,
the power of the great spirit,00:47:00
I'm not sure that many, many of those people
who talk about it, really know what they're talking about.
Yeah, we'll be done here in a second, I think.
That the power to revitalize the Native people
lies in the path of the spirit
and much like missionaries talk about
spiritual things, but know nothing of them,
in our unwitting, at least pawns, of colonial power,
I think the same thing is,
there's a danger of the same thing
on the other side is that as an organizing device,
almost a Saul Alinsky type of organizing device,
once you talk about learning traditional ways,
but learning how to do the dances,
and learning how to use the feathers,
and learning those types of things,
is not going to bring the power.
The power is going to come through the medicine00:48:00
of the Native people.
I've experienced it, I know it's there.
And unless the medicine people themselves
can become allies of this movement
back to the traditional ways
and become the focal point and the source of power
for this movement, it's not going to happen.
They'll be crushed.
And they'll be scattered to the winds,
the culture of the Native people.
-SB: Yeah, I think that that is a problem.
I have, well, the first person I interviewed on this,
and he was getting, he's an Omaha,
and lived in Omaha, not on the reservation.
And is now just kind of getting back into that.
And he was talking about the whole spiritual thing.
And he had a very rough life with alcohol
and had been in prison and the whole thing,00:49:00
but kinda getting back into it.
Like when he said he was in prison,
and he was very close to his grandparents,
lived on the reservation, they didn't move into Omaha.
And his grandmother died when he was in prison.
And he had a vision of her, right in front of him.
And they came in and they,
and he said, "My grandmother died."
And they said, "How did you know?"
He says, "I can tell you what time it was."
And it really shocked him.
It was such a shock 'cause
he had never had anything like that.
His grandparents had told him about different things
and that sort of stuff,
but he didn't even know how to speak in Indian,
and he was kinda getting back into that.
But that whole experience just felt
so shocking, oh yeah.
-DS: That'll shake you up.
Well, it's a serious problem, a very serious problem.
Not entirely unlike the problem
that faces the more general culture.00:50:00
I mean, we're clearly headed toward a cataclysm.
Our own perverseness is leading us to destruction.
And much like the solution, or hopeful solution,
that exists for the Native people,
I think the same thing is true of us,
is that unless we come to understand what that is,
it assures them the claptrap
the people have been trying to foist on us,
of go to church on Sunday
and then do this and do that.
I mean, there's nothing in there that people can discern.
But in my opinion, there is something going on.
Having to do with consciousness.
Having to do with the elevation of consciousness,
the discerning of unitive powers that are at play.
And if we can tap into these things,
into this power, there is some hope.
And it's a very bizarre thing.
As I said, the most important thing00:51:00
in my opinion to understand is that it's not
what they're trying to tell you it is.
It's not the kinda stuff you get
typically in your Sunday mass.
It's not the kinda stuff you get in your Sunday sermons.
That is civil religion.
And that is co-opted, it is neo-imperialist.
It places more importance on the country
and the economic desires of the country,
or the vested interests in the country,
than it does in true spiritual power.
And so the fact that it's mysterious
doesn't mean it's not true.
But the most important thing for people to know
is it ain't where they say it's supposed to be.
That it's somewhere else.
That the power lies outside of those institutions.
And the Native people know that,
the Native people know that.
And I hope not only for the sake of the Native people,
for the sake of all of the people of the world,00:52:00
that they're going to be able to encounter that.
They're gonna be able to rediscover that and get us back.
The Native people know the way.
What was that, there's a book or something,
I can't remember what it is,
but calling for a reorganization of society,
and it's saying that the whole society,
American society, world society,
really needs to look at Indian society
and to reorganize itself along that lines
if it's gonna be able to survive.
And I can't think of who did that.
I wanted to ask you just a little bit
about the leadership trial with Means and Bellecourt.
-DS: It's all right.
It's hard to say because it's weird,
the dynamic of the trial was correct.
It was fundamental.
It was placing the very relevant issue before the court.
-DS: The court, I must say in my opinion, felt
out of joint about it.
He knew where the power was coming.
He knew the truth of it,
but given the expertise that he had in Anglo law,
he couldn't figure out any way to make it legally relevant.
I mean, that's how perverse the Anglo law is,
is that there's so many trials
where the truth doesn't make that much difference.
-SB: Right, right.
-DS: That you have to be able to somehow
legally categorize it to make it relevant.
-SB: Can I hold you for just a second?
Okay, I think we were.
-DS: Yeah, I guess that was sort of one of the fundamental
things that I discerned in the trial was that,
is that the judge just knew
that the arguments were being made,
while he did go to the extent
of allowing the arguments to be made,00:54:00
even though the prosecutor screamed and hollered
about how the law was relevant.
-SB: Was this Gro-pan?
-DS: Yeah, yeah.
That it wasn't really relevant.
The judge being the moral man that he was
knew that somehow it was relevant,
and he would not allow himself
from a moral point of view to rule it out.
And yet, as the evidence kept coming in
and coming in, and coming in,
showing the horrible history,
he began to, I think, in my opinion,
believe that he wasn't really able
to do that much from a legal point of view about it.
That somehow all of that,
given the extraordinary superiority
that was placed upon the value of property
by Anglos over morality and over people,
wasn't gonna be able to find the handle00:55:00
to justify the people, for example,
the thing that started it all.
You know, where the BIA has given
a virtual exclusive monopoly contract
to sell for rip-off prices things
that the people need on the reservation
through this teepee place owned and run by Anglos.
And the people go in there to protest this
and do the same kinda thing
that they did to Berkeley and the universities,
go in and sit down and do that kinda thing.
The response was so overwhelmingly different.
If you get a bunch of middle class white students
go into a university, Harvard University,
University Hall, and they sit down,
then they close the doors and they lock 'em in
and they've got administrators in there,
Steve Ah-stod, and old Dean Watson and everything.
And they don't charge those people with kidnapping.
And they charged them with a misdemeanor of trespass.00:56:00
And yet when the Native people do virtually the same thing,
go in there and sit down at this place
and lock the place up, they immediately send in FBI
and helicopters, in these blue jumpsuits,
these bizarre para-military operators
that they send in there,
with big high-powered .30-06 rifles--
-SB: It's like SWAT.
-DS: Yeah, exactly, in they come, you know.
And they're the ones that initiated
that kind of activity at Wounded Knee.
That they came in and landed, and the judge knew that.
But the problem was that given the sort of,
it's like a bully at a school,
'cause he walks around waiting
for someone to rub up against him.
And when they just barely brush up against him,
he turns around and beats 'em into a pulp.
You know, just for the show of the display of strength,
like all bullies, because they're paranoid.
Because they're basically anxiety-ridden about their power.00:57:00
No matter how much power they got,
they're never satisfied, they're still insecure.
And that's the kind of thing
that was going on at Wounded Knee.
Any sign of defiance, given the sort of
almost self-conscious immorality--
-SB: I know I shouldn't have interrupted you like this,
but I forgot the name of the place--
-DS: Almost the sub-conscious immorality
of the Anglo position is what explains
their kind of gross overreaction to a demonstration.
And the problem was is that they even commented
I think in, throughout the student days when,
but in those rare instances where they did respond
to some of the students with that kind of violence,
they got violence in return.00:58:00
And so all this talk about, oh, the Natives
being naturally violent, all this kinda stuff, is hokum.
You land on virtually anybody in our culture
with guns and that kinda stuff, and they'll fight.
And that's the kinda thing that happened at Wounded Knee.
And I think that Urbom, Judge Urbom, knew it.
And he could tell it.
The way it was going on, the power of the case
that was being presented.
Now, my posture in the thing
and the posture of our office, the ACLU,
was very strictly legal.
What were the legal rights?
And as I said, we participated in drafting those briefs.
Here's illegal conduct on the part of the prosecutor,
violation of rights, we played a significant role
in getting the case dismissed.
Whereas, the Native people, Vine Deloria,
and the other people, Sam,
well, and the people that were participating
-SB: When to use it.
-DS: They went to the real test00:59:00
-SB: Middle ground.
-DS: Of putting the fundamentals to the court.
And Urbom, you could just tell was just wishing,
please, give me something,
so I can get a handle on this thing to dismiss this case.
And that's what we provided for him.
And that's sort of the ACLU
and civil liberties community participation in the trial.
And it was, for me, personally,
a very difficult type of experience
because one doesn't like to have
to go to those kind of tools if--
-SB: It's almost like copping out in a way
when you know here's the real issue
is a morality type of thing,
but unfortunately we're in a situation
where we can't use that, the morality of the thing.
-DS: It's a lesson that the culture
had tried very hard to teach our generation
throughout the '60s, and one which I hope
to say that we did not take.01:00:00
Just as today, for example,
when our men who refused to fight in Vietnam,
when they offered them this insult
of coming back and admitting you were wrong,
and that we were right in doing the war,
and we'll give you a slap on the wrist
and just a general discharge kinda thing,
nobody responded virtually.
Said forget it.
And we're still working at that one,
trying to resolve that thing morally
'cause I would hope that our generation
is not gonna do that.
And yet, I was very troubled by the fact
that I knew, I knew that the prosecutor
wanted to get these guys.
He'd do anything he could to get these people.
And given the fact of the matter
that they were doing all that stuff,
I felt duty bound to present it, our office did.
And Urbom, given the quandary that he was in,
moral quandary, chose that out.01:01:00
And went down that line.
But it's a very, sorta tragic kinda case law.
It's in a lot of ways a very heroic
experience that occurred there.
And I daresay it's not over yet.
That the Native people will have their land back.
And that if we have to fight for it,
on their side, we'll get it back.
And if violence is necessary, violence will be used.
Violence will be used.
We'll have to see, we'll have to see
what's going on, what's gonna happen,
but the important thing to know is that it is not over.
That the Native people, much like the oriental people,
know that a path is a path of a thousand years.01:02:00
And that they'll stay,
no matter what the insult, no matter what the disgrace,
no matter how deprecated their tribal traditions seem to be,
there are those who still know,
and they will stay on the land.
They will have the land back, just like we,
the people now have Vietnam back from these predators.
And it'll happen again.
-SB: Do you think that there are more Anglos
that are realizing
say more of the Indian tradition,
and more of the things that the Indians follow?
I think oftentimes what's happened is,
like the Dawes Act, which goes back a while,
but it was supported by a lot of well-intentioned
sort of people who thought, well listen--01:03:00
-DS: I'm not a big fan of liberals.
I mean, I don't believe
-SB: But I mean you know.
-DS: --liberals are well-intentioned.
I don't believe they are, I don't believe they are.
-SB: But saying, we need to have to have
much more of an understanding
because what happens, even with liberals,
or well, people who think, okay,
we'll set up this thing,
we'll give 'em this and this,
and maybe that is not,
without knowing what the history of say, the Indians are,
what really sticks into that culture.
How do you get more people to realize,
for example, let me give you an example
for mineral rights, say, on a reservation.
And say, well listen,
some company bids and they have to get approved
and they have these little negotiations
with the BIA and the Tribal Council01:04:00
and the company and that whole thing--
-DS: None of which entail the Native people.
-SB: Right, right.
And they'll say, listen, we'll bring in
this land, we'll--
-DS: We'll bring in more white ways.
-SB: Right, and we'll set up, this looks like--
-DS: Oh, that's right, I'll bring the cancer.
Who needs that?
-SB: That a lot of people
would say, listen, and that looks good
because look, they're gonna get jobs--
-DS: It looks good to them.
-SB: Right, because they're gonna get,
right because they don't understand--
-DS They're the enemy.
-SB: That they would rather,
that the Indians would rather just have
that land, the way it is,
and not have all that in there,
and not bring all that disruptive influence.
Like the instance, let's say,
okay, you bring in this, you have housing,
you employ some of our people,
but what happens when you leave?
And we're left with--
-DS: But that's not the issue.
I don't think that's the issue.
I think the issue is that what you have
is a coalition of Anglo people,
all the way from the liberals,
to the worst that you can characterize,01:05:00
and they're all in the same camp.
They just have different rationales.
I'm giving more of an analysis,
but my concern is generally about liberals.
That it is really, it's applying to the Native people thing.
But I'm very concerned about this sort of
big wave of chic Native American courses at colleges
and all this kind of stuff.
You know, LaDonna Harris and her crowd.
I'm very concerned about that.
Those people are not gonna help the Native people.
They lack an appreciation which,
for example, Saul Alinsky had,
that you have to know, and live, and breathe
with the people who you're talking about.
There is knowing what has to be done
to come up with all these liberal solutions
of, oh, we'll give 'em houses,
and we give 'em school buses,
and we'll give 'em education and all this kinda stuff.01:06:00
Classic liberal claptrap.
And that the Native people themselves
have to know what they want.
And the Native people themselves want one thing.
They want their land back,
and they want the Anglos to get out of there.
That which, those portions of their culture
that have been temporarily destroyed,
they do demand reparations for that, like any people would.
But they don't, and that is opposing the termination.
They don't want termination in that sense,
but when they use the phrase termination,
I mean, they don't want termination
of the promised reparations.
And that's all that these termination fans
from Eisenhower all the way on down were into,
is they wanna stop having to pay
any of that money to these people.
And they're all the time doing this quid pro quo,
oh yeah, you want us to take our BIA outta there?01:07:00
Okay, then we'll take all of our promised funds outta there.
I mean, it really requires a radical,
a fundamentally radical analysis
to be able to, in my opinion,
to serve what's really going on in these native areas.
-SB: Well, part of the problem is that, it seems to me,
is that too many people try to impose
what they think are good values for themselves
and what they would want on to the Indians.
For example, like when the Indians,
give them United States citizenship.
Well, Indians didn't want that.
-DS: Well, that was when the people
who imposed it on 'em didn't think they did either.
It was done strictly so they could oppose
jurisdiction over them and move their five
major laws, acts on to them,
and all that other kinda stuff.
You got to understand, that's what a radical analysis does,
is it tends to stop believing the rationales
that are set forth by the other side.01:08:00
And they tend to believe that the motivation
is just as malevolent as it has ever been.
-DS: And that the song and dance, the gandy dance
that they come at them with,
they're not gonna take the head fake.
And that they're just gonna sit back and oppose it.
And that's what has to be done.
There has to be a radicalization of Native people.
It can only be done, I think,
through the spiritual dimension, through their,
just like it can only be done here
in the Anglo culture and in other cultures,
it can only be done through a spiritual dimension,
to really radicalize.
Now, there have been experiences
where there seems, at least, to have been
a real radicalization of a whole people
without at least a self-conscious spiritual dimension,
for example, in China.
And for example, in Vietnam, and some other places.
But Chile has a certain greater familiarity01:09:00
with other traditional spiritual things.
That's why the church down there
seems to be playing a much more significant role
in the radicalization process than it has in Asia.
I do believe very strongly
in the radicalizing power of the spiritual dimension.
And that's why I do believe that
that's what's gonna be the agent
of change among the Native people.
And when the Native people want some assistance
from those of us in the Anglo community
that they think can help, we have to be listening.
We have to not be offering solutions.
We have to be available.
If they want to ask us something
just to give our humble opinion
as to what can be done,
it's an extremely difficult thing
for people to do, especially lawyers.01:10:00
For example, and I'm not sure what the status
of this particularly is,
but George C. Scott and Marlon Brando
were supposed to be making a movie,
along with Dennis Banks
and some of the people in the Oglala Sioux.
I don't know what the status of that is,
but peculiarly enough the people
who come out being the chief bad guys
in that whole scenario are the Anglo lawyers,
who come in and flit in and out.
And they begin to, the people begin to see that
that's a tool of power,
and they start to shift to that,
and they start to let go of their other
traditional tools of power, the gun,
and their belief in the land.
They start to shift away and then they leave.
And so they're caught at midstream.
It's a subtle dynamic, but it's one
that's of fundamental importance
to appreciate from the point of view of the Native people.01:11:00
And so in a lot of ways, it may well be true
that the Native people will be better off
without any reliance upon anybody in the Anglo community.
Now, it's not a judgment for me to make
because that could clearly be one
of the more self-serving Anglo types of decisions
is let 'em do whatever they wanna do themselves,
you know, that whole kinda send 'em back
to Africa routine, you know?
-DS: So I just try to stand open.
If the people that I know who are Native people
would like to have some assistance from me,
I try to be as humbled about that as possible
and be open to doing that.
Well, I do have my own opinions as to what
I think are some of the solutions to the problem.
I have my own perception of what
the dynamic of they history has been.
I have my own levels, minor though they may be,01:12:00
of appreciation for the things
that are moving in the native culture,
but clearly, as Alinsky pointed out,
that they people themselves have to choose.
And they'll do that.
-SB So it's been the sorta thing where
you come in and say, boy it's such a deal, you know.
I have, hey listen, this is what I'm gonna do for you,
and that sort of thing.
You know, I mean, that's just--
-DS: It's a fundamental problem when you're organizing
first thing, that people encounter,
that some are more sophisticated than you think
and growing to learn to listen to others.
It's what has to be done.
But the Native people are on the rise, in my opinion,
much like the black people were in the '60s.
The Executive Department made the same,
wanted to crush them, to infiltrate their organizing,
to wiretap and surveil them and to bust them.
And I think that they have clearly,01:13:00
the Native people have clearly suffered
a temporary, at least, setback
with the campaign that's been waged against them
by FBI and an Executive Department in general,
Department of Interior.
But I do feel very strongly
that they have the spiritual resources to rebound from that.
And I daresay they will.
-SB: Do you foresee the abolishment of the BIA at any time?
-DS: Yeah, as it exists now, sure.
-SB: Do you think they'll fail?
That'll be a while off?
-DS: Well, there's a process now.
I drafted the briefs and wrote the case
that was argued in the Supreme Court,
which in fact, legitimitized any discriminatory
hiring on behalf of Native Americans in the BIA.
Regulations saying that if, in fact,
there were two people who were equally qualified,01:14:00
that the Native American person got it, Ma-dran-el.
And we won that case.
I was very troubled by the case.
I'm not a big blood line fan,
you know, arguing blood counts, as to who gets a job.
It's just, the whole history of that is so odious.
But I did, in fact, make at least
that single uncomfortable, though it was exceptional,
to my general standards, in that it did draft
and draw a case and and argued it
to the lawyer who had to go do it, and we prevailed.
So that process of over time,
if it can be effectively enforced,
will eventually cause the Bureau of Indian Affairs
to at least come over into the hands of all Native people,
then it will be a sort of an internal native problem
that you got all the apples and stuff in the BIA01:15:00
and it will be up to the people themselves to change that.
But I'm not sure that that really is gonna
offer any long range solution because
the processes through which those people are selected
are still totally Anglo.
That is not a native process.
However much I might not like primogeniture,
or live the divine right of leadership
or the inheritability of leadership,
it's not my choice to say in other people's culture.
And I daresay that the Department of Interior
and the Executive Department are going to suffer
some stunning losses through the courts
of vast portions of land.
And I wish, I really wish,01:16:00
that the Jesuit order could assist
and be the agents to assist them
in obtaining that land back as reparations
for the wrong that we have done in the past.
And I deal with my client in that case,
the Jesuit order, social ministries division on that,
which is the social justice division
all the time on that issue.
Doesn't seem to be one that they have matured to
at this point.
-SB: So they're still not.
Do you see that as taking some more effort,
say, from like people from, like yourself,
to try to get, that are within the Jesuits,
to try to get them
to come around with that?
-DS: Oh, sure, sure.
I mean, it's the only way.
They won't listen to anybody but Jesuits.
So I mean it's, so that's one of the reasons why--
-SB: That's one of the problems maybe too.
-DS: Oh, I don't doubt that.
I don't doubt that.
And that's why I personally have a conflict01:17:00
going on in me as to whether or not
to continue on into the Jesuit training,
to become a Jesuit, to be a voice inside speaking to them,
or to stay outside as one of the people
to try to elevate the consciousness of the Jesuits
to believe that they have to listen
to people other than Jesuits.
So it's a quandary in that sense to me.
But it's something I'm working on personally
to try to figure out which one is the better way to go.
I'm not certain.
-SB: Well, I think we better conclude
and you can go get lunch.
Thanks a lot, Dan.
-DS: It's my pleasure.