To free the land, you must first free your mind...


This is a conceptual platform for the expression of ideas and issues initiating discussion and action. The communiqué's are my perceptions, opinions and vision about contemporary issues/causes, people I admire & respect, and my goals for the future. In 2012, I will begin to focus more on the Chahta People by sharing our past to plan for the future today!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Your Opportunity to Change the Lives Of Our People

Halito Chahta Family,
“I want to become the number one employer in Oklahoma and love for the Choctaw Nation to become world renown in the future, said Gary Batton”.
This is a quote from our new Miko.  I respectfully say, number one employer of whom?  World renown to whom?  Love for the Choctaw Nation by whom?  This can’t be directed to us, the Chahta people?  I don’t know about you, my brothers and sisters but I don’t want the world to “love” the Chahta.  I would rather have freedom to vote, freedom to run for election, freedom to work and prosper without henchmen to tear down signs, to intimidate and pay voters, to pistol whip candidates at our annual gathering. I want a workplace that doesn’t see the Chahta as stupid or threatening to those non-Chahta in power.  I want our Chahta people to be informed of the true goings on within our government, I want those Chahta who have left our land boundaries to have incentives to come home or at least know that their sisters and brothers welcome their input on tribal affairs.  I want candidates to not have to be wealthy to run for office.  I want our tribal paper to present both sides of the story and hold accountable our leaders.  We all know what I want.  I have written about it over and over.  I have also prayed to our Creator God for relief from the tyranny and embarrassment of our Chahta government.

Now, I once again respectfully request you read the following letter from attorney and Chahta tribal member, Kalyn Free requesting the desperately needed changes required to truly give our people the freedom we not only deserve but are entitled to as Chahta people. To find out how to sign this petition please see Ms. Free’s email address listed at the bottom of the last page.  It’s not requested as a favor it’s requested because for the first time in forty plus years you may actually have a say in the future leadership of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.  Please pay special attention to the “CC” at the bottom of the letter.
I hope this is the Miko who will change our decades long history of being one of the most oppressed and violently controlled tribes in the United States.  We will see…
CW

KALYN FREE
ATTORNEY AT LAW

May 1, 2014

Principal Chief Gary Batton Assistant Chief Jack Austin, Jr Speaker Delton Cox & Tribal Council
PO Box 1210 Durant, OK 74701

Dear Chief Batton, Assistant Chief Austin, Speaker Cox and Councilors:
This is an historic opportunity for the Choctaw Nation and our people. As we enter this unprecedented time in our nation’s history, my hope is for this new administration to be imbued with the wisdom, integrity and compassion of those who came before us. My prayer is that you, our elected and appointed leaders, will find it in your hearts to embrace the Choctaw people, to engage with us and to welcome participation in our government.

I listened intently to Chief Batton’s inaugural address and his closing words to always “do what is best for the Choctaw people” brought hope to my heart. This chief and council have the ability to right the wrongs of the past and to chart a new and promising course for the future of our great Nation.

During the course of my career, I have been particularly blessed to have traveled extensively throughout Indian Country, having visited almost every reservation in the lower 48. Literally hundreds of times over the years, when people learn that I am a proud citizen of the Choctaw Nation, I have heard remarks of “Oh yes, that’s the tribe that doesn’t have real elections”; “that’s the tribe that is ruled by a dictator”; “that’s the tribe that appoints their chiefs”; “that’s the tribe that won’t let their people participate in elections”; “that’s the tribe that won’t let candidates communicate with the voters.”

Most of Indian Country and engaged people in the state of Oklahoma are fully aware that the past two chiefs, both of whom ascended to office by virtue of appointment, Greg Pyle and Hollis Roberts, adamantly opposed fair elections and the release of contact information for Choctaw voters. In fact, since our removal to Oklahoma, we have only had one chief, C. David Gardner, elected by the people when he took the oath of office as Principal Chief.

Countless Choctaws are cautiously optimistic that Chief Batton and the Tribal Council will reverse this medieval position and release the voter lists so Choctaw citizens can be fully informed, communicate with one another, participate in the electoral process, have a true voice in tribal government and move our Nation forward.

Some tribal councilors and the Choctaw Nation Registration department have told me that the Election Board “does not meet until shortly before an election is called.” In other tribal governments, the requests below would be made to the election board or commission. However, Article IX Section 5 of our Constitution fully empowers the Council to prescribe election procedures and regulations. Given the unique nature and composition of the Election Board, coupled with the Tribal Council’s history on these issues and the timing restraints, I am requesting this information and cooperation from the Chief and Tribal Council.

Article XVI of the Choctaw Constitution sets forth specific procedures for our citizens to propose legislation through the Initiative and Referendum process. Section 1 of this Article mandates stringent timelines on the filing of petitions and the timing of special elections, which must be called if the petition is filed more than a year before the next chief s election.

Article XVIII Section 1 of the Constitution mandates that amendments to our Constitution may be proposed by the Tribal Council or by the filing of a petition signed by the requisite 30 percent of the voters who voted in the last chief s election, which was the 1999 election.

In order to propose legislation or amendments to the constitution a citizen must know certain factual information that is not publicly available and which only the Nation maintains records of.

Thus, I am requesting the following information:

1. Total Number of Choctaws aged 18 and over
2. Total Number of registered voters
3. Total Number of Choctaws in each county in Oklahoma
4. Total Number of Choctaws aged 18 and over in each county in Oklahoma
5. Total Number of Choctaws aged 18 and over in each state
6. Total Number of registered voters in each state
7. Total Number of Choctaws aged 18 and over with valid addresses
8. Total Number of Choctaws aged 18 and over with invalid addresses
9. Total Number of registered voters with valid addresses

10. Total Number of registered voters with invalid addresses
11. Total Number of voters who voted in the 1999 chief s election
12. Tabulated results of the 1999 chief s election; specifically, the total votes received by each candidate
13. Total votes received in each precinct by each candidate in the 1999 chief s election
14. Total votes received by each candidate by absentee ballot in the 1999 chief s election
15. If absentee ballots were segregated in the 1999 chief s election, I am requesting the total absentee votes received by each candidate by voters residing within the Choctaw Nation
16. Tabulated results of the 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2011tribal council elections 17. The names of all candidates who appeared on the ballot in the elections
referenced in #16 above and the results for each candidate by precinct and the number of absentee ballots cast for each candidate
18. A list of voters who voted by absentee in the 1999 chief s election and/or any of the subsequent tribal council elections, which include 2003, 2007 and 2011
19. A list of voters, including names and addresses, who voted by absentee in the 1999 chief s election and/or any of the subsequent tribal council elections, which include 2003, 2007 and 2011
20. A list of voters who voted in person in the 1999 chief s election and/or any of the subsequent tribal council elections, which include 2003, 2007 and 2011
21. A list of voters, including names and addresses, who voted in person in the 1999 chief s election and/or any of the subsequent tribal council elections, which include 2003, 2007 and 2011
22. A list of registered voters, including names and addresses, eligible to vote in tribal elections; please segregate this list by valid and invalid addresses
23. Total number of households the Biskinik is delivered to; it has been rumored that this number is 80,243
24. A list of all Choctaws who receive the Biskinik
25. A list of all Choctaws with complete mailing address who receive the Biskinik
26. Election Procedures or Ordinance that the Tribal Council contends are effective and will govern a special election and/or the 2015 chief and tribal council elections.

 

If the Tribal Council maintains that the Election Ordinance, referenced in # 26 above and currently displayed on the Nation’s website, is in effect and controlling, please provide documentary evidence that this Election Ordinance was approved by the Bureau of Indian Affairs. If there is a different set of election procedures, other than those currently on the Nation’s website, that the Council contends will govern special elections and the 2015 chief and tribal council elections, please provide those.

Article V, Section 1 of the Election Ordinance, which appears on the Nation’s website, purports to fully empower the Election Board with the authority to determine the date of the 2015 election, subject to approval by the chief and tribal council. Assuming only for this limited purpose that the referenced Election Ordinance is valid, please advise as to the month and year the Election Board and/or the Tribal Council intends to hold the next chief and council elections.

While I have faith that a majority of the Tribal Council will ultimately do the right thing and enact a new Election Ordinance that provides for full and open participation by all Choctaws, I recognize that this will take some time. Thus, during the interim, I am requesting a list of names of all Choctaws who have voted in every election including and since 1999. The Election Ordinance provides at Article VIII, Sections 1and 2 that any candidate who has filed for office, upon request, will be provided a list of the registered voters in each district. The incumbent tribal councilors, some of which have served more than two and three decades, have each had multiple opportunities to acquire and refine said lists. Thus, immediately releasing only the voters’ names to allow the citizenry to participate in the Initiative, Referendum and Petition process is only a small first step in allowing Choctaws to exercise our constitutional rights.

Because the Election Board is not available, I am asking the Chief and/or Council to designate an office or person(s) that I can communicate with and that can assemble the information I have requested. Clearly, there are certain parts of my request that should not be controversial and I am hopeful that I can get responses to these requests quickly. The requests that I believe can be quickly responded to are: ## 1- 14, 16, 17, and 23.

If the requested information is available in an electronic format, please provide it in the same format. For example, lists of citizens and voters are maintained in a digital format and thus are requested in this medium. Other documents, such as election results may be maintained in “hard copies” or pdfs. To the extent possible that these documents can be scanned and sent electronically, I am requesting this be done.
I will gladly pay for any research, scanning, copying or labor costs associated with fulfilling this request. I will be happy to travel to Durant and review records from our previous elections that are publicly available and make my own copies or designate for your staff which documents I wish to copy. If you have any questions about my request or wish to discuss this matter, please call me at 918.916.0716 or email me at kalyn@kalynfree.com.

In closing, Chief Batton I believed you when you said you want to do “what is best for the Choctaw people” and thus pray that you will lead by example and support the Council in their efforts to have a transparent and fair election process. My hope is that each of you will listen to your hearts, your people and pray on these things. If I may ever be of service to each of you or the Choctaw people, please call on me.

Yakoke,
(Kalyn Free)

cc: DOI Solicitor General Hilary Tompkins
      Assistant Secretary Kevin Washburn
      BIA Area Director Bob Impson

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Liberation Day: Wounded Knee 1973



Bobby Onco (1950 - 2014) Wounded Knee 1973


Forty-one years ago tonight, the Elders said NO MORE! Thus began the siege at Wounded Knee on the Pine Ridge Reservation. Many of us know the history, we know the people who were there and we know that this was the moment necessity brought the people to. The occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, DC in Nov. 1972 was the fuse being lit to an explosive and deadly confrontation between Native people and the federal forces of the United States Government. It was a time when America realized that John Wayne had failed to kill us all in his Hollywood movies!
I was 12 years old when the Trail of Broken Treaties converged on DC, and when they went under cover of night and secured Wounded Knee, just a few weeks after the Custer Courthouse riot.  The narrative is best told by Carter Camp, who joined the ancestors a few months ago and is being honored this evening in Manderson, Pine Ridge Reservation:

Ah-ho, My Relations,
I ask you to remember that our reasons for going to Wounded Knee still exist and that means the need for struggle and resistance also still exist. Our land and sacred sites are threatened as never before. Even our sacred Mother herself is faced with unnatural warming caused by extreme greed.
In some areas of conflict between our people and those we signed treaties with, it is best to negotiate or "work within the system." But, because our struggle is one of survival, there are also times when a warrior must stand fast even at the risk of one's life. I believed that in 1973 when I was 30 and I believe it today at 70. But to me Wounded Knee '73 was really not about the fight, it was about the strong statement that our traditional way of living in this world is not about to disappear and our people are not a "vanishing race" as wasicu (white) education would have you believe. As time has passed and I see so many of our young people taking part in a traditional way of living and believing, I know our fight was worth it and those we lost for our movement died worthy deaths. [...]
Today is heavy with prayer and reminiscence for me. Not only are those who walk for the Yellowstone Buffalo reaching their destination, today is the anniversary of the night when, at the direction of the Oglala Chiefs, I went with a special squad of warriors to liberate Wounded Knee in advance of the main AIM caravan.
For security reasons the people had been told everyone was going to a meeting/wacipi in Porcupine, the road goes through Wounded Knee. When the People arrived at the Trading Post we had already set up a perimeter, taken 11 hostages, run the BIA cops out of town, cut most phone lines, and begun 73 days of the best, most free time of my life. The honor of being chosen to go first still lives strong in my heart.
That night we had no idea what fate awaited us. It was a cold night with not much moonlight,  I clearly remember the nervous anticipation I felt as we drove the back way from Oglala into Wounded Knee. The Chiefs had tasked me with a mission and we were sworn to succeed, of that I was sure, but I couldn't help wondering if we were prepared. The FBI, BIA and marshalls had fortified Pine Ridge with machine-gun bunkers and armored personnel carriers with M-60s. They had unleashed the GOON squad [Dick Wilson's Guardians of the Oglala Nation] on the people and a reign of terror had begun. We knew we had to fight, but we could not fight onwasicu terms. We were lightly armed and dependent on the weapons and ammo inside the Wounded Knee trading post, I worried that we would not get to them before the shooting started.
As we stared silently into the darkness driving into the hamlet, I tried to foresee what opposition we would encounter and how to neutralize it. We were approaching a sacred place and each of us knew it. We could feel it deep inside. As a warrior leading warriors I humbly prayed to Wakonda for the lives of all and the wisdom to do things right. Never before or since have I offered my tobacco with such a plea or put on my feathers with such purpose. It was the birth of the Independent Oglala Nation.
Things went well for us that night, we accomplished our task without loss of life. Then, in the cold darkness as we waited for Dennis and Russ to bring in the caravan (or for the fight to start), I stood on the bank of the shallow ravine where our people had been murdered by the 7th Cavalry [in 1890]. There I prayed for the defenseless ones, torn apart by Hotchkiss cannons and trampled under hooves of steel by drunken wasicu. I could feel the touch of their spirits as I eased quietly into the gully and stood silently, waiting for my future, touching my past.
Finally, I bent over and picked a sprig of sage — whose ancestors in 1890 had been nourished by the blood of Red babies, ripped from their mothers' dying grasp and bayoneted by the evil ones. As I washed myself with that sacred herb, I became cold in my determination and cleansed of fear. I looked for Big Foot and YellowBird in the darkness and I said aloud:
"We are back, my relations, we are home."

The government hated that Native people found the perseverance to stand up for their rights and lashed back with corrupt criminal investigations and divisive tactics through the US Attorney Generals office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Examples were made of several Native people who dared to speak up, but the movement had already started and advances have been made, which is eloquently stated by Janet McCloud:
Before the organization of the American Indian Movement in the 1970s, Indian reservations and urban Indian communities were pockets of poverty.
In some areas there was no employment for any Indians; average unemployment was 80%.
The infant mortality rate was one of the highest in the world, and diseases attributable to starvation and severe malnutrition were epidemic.
The average life span for all Indians was 42 years.
Large extended families lived in one room shacks and in abandoned, wrecked cars. Most Native Americans depended upon their two feet for transportation.
Health care for Indians would more properly be called health brutality. Indians were often used as human guinea pigs for abominable experiments.
The Bureau of Indian Affairs had total control over all Indians, their land, rights and resources, and it was open season for all exploiters. For a minimum fee the BIA had a green light to do any type of damage to Indians or take everything that Indians owned.
No rights were respected or defended — not human, treaty, civil, constitutional or an Indian's right arm.
AIM sacrifices The struggle of the American Indian Movement to create positive social changes for their people is well known, but not the sacrifices they made.
Some of these unsung warriors made the supreme sacrifice; they lie in unmarked, untended graves across the land. Many others sit forgotten in dingy prison cells. Yet all Indians benefit from these sacrifices.
There were and are other organized resistance groups of Indian people, like the Red Power movement of young college educated Indians who created a movement philosophy, and the fishing rights activists of the Northwest who organized an effective resistance to protect the aboriginal rights of Indian people. But the American Indian Movement was unique, for it was nationally organized and internationally known.
AIM's brave and daring efforts to uplift the lives of their people, to challenge a powerfully hostile enemy, and to promote a better social order for all Indian people, inspired not only their own people but the oppressed and downtrodden of the world. AIM became heroes for the North Vietnamese, the IRA of Ireland, the peasants of southern France, the aboriginal peoples of Australia and Africa. The entire world knew and admired AIM.
The greatest beneficiaries of the American Indian Movement are the tribal council leaders, who are quick to seize the opportunities created by the movement, and to claim unwarranted credit for the positive social changes won for Indian people. Tribal officials often hate and renounce AIM, and the BIA and FBI can always call on the worst of these tribal leaders to slander the AIM leadership.
Today, the beneficiaries of the movement live in new homes, drive cars, live longer, have better health, are better educated, have good-paying jobs, and much more. But AIM leaders are recipients of vicious, slanderous poison from the ungrateful and jealous-hearted.
Few will acknowledge that real change only began to take place across this land after the tremendous sacrifices of the young warriors of the American Indian people.
Where are the tribal leaders who take the credit for all the positive changes in Indian country? Back in Washington, D.C. fighting for more program monies, smoke shops and gambling or liquor licenses.
The American Indian Movement supports the efforts of all the tribal leaders and programs that genuinely promote the health, education and welfare of Indian people. Neither AIM nor any other organized resistance movement of Indian people begrudges one benefit their people receive; they rejoice at all improvements, for this was what they fought for. But the warriors never grabbed the benefits for themselves, and the few who did were never true movement people.
That is how you tell the difference between leaders and opportunists.
Bureaucrats and sorcerers. The tribal leaders and others who denounce AIM justify their base actions by pointing out the human weaknesses of individual AIM leaders or warriors, with never a glance at their own. Individuals, unfortunately, do have weaknesses. But the survival of Indian Nations and sovereignty does not rest upon the shoulders of anyone man or woman, no matter how strong.
Indian people are in real need of effective social service programs. Four hundred years of abuse at the hands of European immigrants have left deep scars on Indians. It will take many years and many more dollars to improve the lifestyle of Indian people. Yet racists expect change overnight and clamor for an end to tax dollars spent to rectify the atrocities committed against Indian people.
Indian people with dedication and expertise are generally considered a threat by despotic tribal leaders. If they do not silently walk the sacred "program guidelines," they soon find themselves standing in long unemployment lines. The potentially good social service programs are constipated with bureaucratic red tape from D.C., which protects tribal leaders in all their outrageous acts against their people; the FBI and BIA are quick to come to the defense of the tribal bureaucrats.
And who protects the Indian people now that the FBI has almost destroyed the American Indian Movement? Nobody. Do tribal leaders who claim the credit for AIM's labors and sacrifices rush to protect and defend Indian people against the onslaughts they face today? If you call them for assistance or help, do they answer your calls? Do you get past their secretaries? Only rarely.
Our future as a distinct people in control of our destiny rests upon the strength of our collective unity and common purpose.
Indian people can disagree till doomsday about which defensive strategy is best, or whether we should even resist. If we continue to disagree on politics, policy and philosophy, and enter into destructive personality clashes, we will lose all. Our enemies never rest. They are ever unified around the purpose of achieving our total destruction.
A backlash is striking with deadly force, and without much opposition, at the most defenseless segments of Indian people. Our children in public schools are ganged up upon and beaten. Thousands are political prisoners in non-Indian foster homes. Indian women are being sterilized at an unprecedented rate. Racist courts overpopulate the prisons with Indian youth, where they are psychologically and physically brutalized and beaten, with no one to protect or defend them.
The American people themselves do not call the shots in this land. Policy and politicians are set and run by an international cartel of financiers, who constantly intrigue and plot for greater profit and control over the world's resources and human labor. Even the educational systems are set up to meet their needs for a never-ending supply of cheap, easy to control industrial slaves, cannon fodder and consumers. This master cult of financial sorcerers uses people as playthings and pits us one against another. We all end up the losers.
Remember our warriors. The war against Indian people and Nations is far from over. Indian people from Akwesasmi sit starving and freezing in ditches trying to protect their traditional chiefs and leaders from U.S.-puppet Indian leaders and the New York SWAT teams. The sacred Black Hills of the Sioux Nations are set to be exploited by uranium interests in 1980. Indian people from the Southwest are dying from low-level radiation poisoning. Indian children were still placed in foster homes in the International Year of the Child, and Indian clan-families are disappearing.
We need our warriors, and where are they? Dead in unmarked graves; in prisons; in hiding, pursued relentlessly by the FBI; or paroled to one county in one state, unable to travel or forbidden to talk for or about their people lest they be imprisoned again.
How many Indian people whose lives have improved remember our dead or imprisoned warriors?
Dead warriors
Tina Trudell and family
Anna Mae Aquash
Dallas Thundershield
Buddy Lamont
Pedro Bissonette
Hilda Red Bear
Richard Oakes
Raymond Yellow Thunder
Wesley Bad Heart Bull
Philip Celeay
Frank Clearwater
Clarence Cross
Maurice LeDeaux
Angelo Martinez
Joe Stuntz
Jimmy Little
Frank Condon
Byron DeSersa
George Gap
Hobart Horse
Sandra Wounded Foot, Jr.
Calvin George
Nelson Small Legs, Jr.
John Waubanascum
Arlin Pamanet
Baby Girl Yellow Bird
Jancita Eagle Deer
Robert Rosares
Tom Bad Cob, Sr.
Jeanette Bissonette
Richard Lee Lamont
Charley Killsree
Terry Williams
Filmore Stands
David Dobbs
Leon Gaze
Lloyd Broncheau
Political prisoners, Dec. 1979
Leonard Peltier
Rocque Duenas
Ted Means
Russell Means
Dennis Banks
Vance Yellowhand
Mary Settler
It is time Indian people, the beneficiaries of the American Indian Movement, took some time to count their blessings, to give credit where credit is due, to send a card and a few dollars for legal defense to the imprisoned warriors. An investment in them is an investment in the future.
Don't forget them. We may never see their like again.

I pray and feel confidant that this spirit will arise as the need calls for it. I only hope that we all remember the success'es as well as the excess'es of those times. It is a lesson for us to learn from and continue to grow so that one day, we may not observe a Liberation Day, but an Independence Day of our own.
This Sunday, March 2nd, join me on my show Eaglemanz: Chahta Nation as  we visit with some of the veterans of Wounded Knee.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Carter Camp: R.I.P. 2013

"We Decided that our Indian people are more
important to us than long jail terms."

Carter Camp, Ponca Nation, Wounded Knee 1973


Carter Camp painted as a warrior at Wounded Knee
Remembering people of their words and actions has been my way of mourning, as a way to keep their spirit alive in our memories. His words above exemplified what it means to commit to being a true Warrior for the people. He lived this way of life as so many people can attest to. Those words take me back to when I began to understand what the American Indian Movement was about in the early 70's. It began as a civil rights organization in Minneapolis in 68, but through the influences of Henry Crow Dog, it soon evolved into a spiritual based movement as Crow Dog stated that in order for AIM to be successful, it had to have a spiritual foundation.

That foundation inspired a spiritual/cultural revival among Native people across these lands and into the urban areas and the prisons. Carter Camp was one of those who formed multiple AIM chapters in Oklahoma, and Indian people began to stand up, while so many who had assimilated into being an American quickly deplored those actions, such as the occupation of the Bureau of Indian Affairs by the Trail of Broken Treaties in 1972, Wounded Knee 1973, and so many other actions that have taken place around the country.

In 1983 or 1984, I met Craig Camp while I was serving a 12 year sentence for burglary. Craig and I visited often during the time I was temporarily assigned to a medium security facility for use of its core law library. It wasn't too long after that I received a letter written on the back of a poster (that is probably floating around in Canada now) from Carter. One thing he wrote that stuck in my mind is that we have to determine the direction of our struggle, we cannot allow non-Natives determine this for us. Just a few years later when I was litigating Native prisoners right to wear their hair long, Carter, along with Richard Ray Whitman organized a press conference in our support.

Finally, after serving over 7 1/2 years, I was kicked out of maximum security, and then the prison system altogether. The words of strong Indian people like Carter Camp, Steve Robideau and Standing Deer inspired me to to commit to my own way of being "In Total Resistance". The sacrifices of so many people in the movement, including their lives, assured me the ones I made were nothing. I had chosen to remain in prison while our lawsuit was ongoing. I waived my parole for about three years until our case was appealed to the state supreme court. Even though we lost the case in district court, by the time we went to trial, we had forced the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to back up from "No Exceptions" to their repressive grooming code; to acknowledging that wearing our hair long was a spiritual practice and constitutionally protected. When the case went on appeal, I agreed to appear before the parole board. In record time, I was out and on the campus of the University of Oklahoma.

The very next month, I ran into Carter at a pow wow for Dukakis in Shawnee. We were visiting with Karen Koassechony when an Oklahoma-style thunderstorm exploded. Carters ride had left so we ended up at Karen's house for coffee and discussions about the movement and Leonard Peltier. When the storm passed, Carter and I walked to the bus station so he could get a bus to White Eagle. While we were waiting, the cops rolled up on us and asked us for our ID's and what we were doing out so late. Carter said, "Our ID's? Isn't this still America? What do you need our ID's for? We are just waiting for the bus so I can get home I was stranded at the pow wow when the storm hit!" We produced our ID's and had the flashlights in our face before he gave them back and left. Carter said, "I bet you that he won't be asking any white people tonight for their ID's for standing around like we were. He's looking for Indians to bust!

Since that time, we've done benefits, rallies and campaigns together. In November 1999, Peltier sent word to me to ask Carter if he would come to DC for the Leonard Peltier Freedom Month. That was a powerful month as many people came from the Dakota's, I learned so much more about history, true Indian history that many people will never know unless you were there and lived it.

Carter and Linda Camp at Crow Dogs Paradise

I think how fortunate I have been to visit with him and his family at his home or at Crow Dogs, there was always something more to listen to. Maybe I can not recall so much of his exact words, but those were words that have influenced me. And that is why I am reflecting at this time, because there is no more discussions around the campfire. And even more importantly, there is no more for his wife of a lifetime and his family. Their grief and loss is more than immense. My thoughts...prayers go out to them.

As difficult as it may be for some at this time, we should all give thanks for Indian people like Carter who fought to make a difference. We should pray their sacrifices will not be forgotten, nor should we stand aside to wait for the next warrior to stand up to risk it all by saying "No more!".
Honoring Dance for Carter at White Eagle with brothers and sister
We should all be that voice that says "NO MORE!
NO MORE will I swear blind allegiance to a government that has no honor to uphold its promises to our Indian people!
NO MORE will I allow corrupt tribal governments to grow fat off of the people by selling out!
NO MORE will I accept that our people are defeated nor allow my childrens identity be confiscated!
NO MORE will I accept the illegal national boundaries imposed by European immigrants across the lands of Indigenous Peoples!
NO More will I allow the next sports team, TV fake/reality show or electronic gadgets become more important to me than our Indian People!
Our voices should echo through intent and deed what our departed relative said at Wounded Knee 1973 when surrounded by federal forces who fired tens of thousands of rounds at our Indian people! The same place where in Dec. 29, 1890, the US soldiers fired cannons and rifles killing about 200 women and children and 90 men. When those words were said in such a sacred place, those were a commitment to a way of life!

Achukma and Yakoke for those lessons and your support Brother. Journey well!

Ben Carnes,
Chahta Nation, Indian Territory

Postcript:
Yesterday evening after conclusion of ceremonies at the center, Carter led us in his last caravan to his final resting place at the Ponca Tribal Cemetery. I estimated a two mile procession as vehicles pulled over on both sides of the highway a show of respect. As we turned left towards the cemetery, I saw one Elderly Indian man who had parked on the side of the road and stood beside his truck, a solitary figure wrapped in a blanket with his fist held high in the air giving honor to a warrior. It was a very tearful moment for me seeing this.
At graveside more prayers were offered and written statements were read, including one from Leonard Peltier. Then it was done, families and friends began making the trip home. As I drove home, I reflected upon the past few days. It had ranged from sadness/grief to exuberance and celebration when it was announced that Carter Camp would be receiving a citation from the State of Oklahoma recognizing him for his lifetime of service to Native people.
When I got home, I saw another statement as follows:

Carter is my AIM brother and friend for 40 years. He was not afraid to speak, write or confront the HIDDEN TRUTH or THE BIG LIE [AMERICAN GENOCIDE ON THE NATIVE PEOPLE] that the U.S. tries to HIDE IN THEIR MANIFEST DESTINY POLICY. In the 1973 occupation of Wounded KNEE, he was the first one in and the last one out and then was imprisoned for his heroic actions. THIS DID NOT BREAK HIS SPIRIT and he continued the resistance for 40 more years. I am very honored to have walked with him on the Red Road.I am sure that he received a Honored Welcome in the spirit world by the ancestors. Thank you for your example. Chief Billy Redwing Tayac, Piscataway Indian Nation

 YAKOKE!