“Indian-giver” used to mean someone who gave you something and then took it back. You don’t hear this phrase anymore; it was deemed offensive to American Indians.
But wait a second. The term doesn’t apply to Indians; it applies to the politicians in Washington. In treaties between Indians and the U.S. Government, Indians have kept their word, while the federal government has repeatedly broken theirs. And the duplicity is not all in the past, either.
Earlier this year Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt was found in contempt of court for what a federal judge called a “shocking pattern of deception” that “abused the rights of Indians.” The case involved the mishandling by the Interior Department of 300,000 Indian trust fund accounts worth $2.5 billion.
Babbitt is also being investigated over a large campaign contribution to the Democrats from one Indian tribe, which may have led Babbitt to deny a casino license to another tribe. Republicans have been quick to blame Babbitt to score political points.
But what about their oversight responsibility? Why don’t they act to solve the problem?
The only action coming from Congress is to give Interior even greater control over the Indian tribes. New legislation hands bureaucrats virtually unlimited authority to redistribute federal money between the tribes. Congress complains about the bureaucracy, but ignores their abuses. Congress’ job isn’t to assign blame, but to require accountability.
As Indians have learned, career politicians speak with forked tongue.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.