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Spoiling for a fight

Author: 
Windspeaker Staff
Volume: 
14
Issue: 
2
Year: 
1996

Page 6

There's something romantic, something that appeals to us about the

outsider. We support the man who stands up against big government, big

business, big religion, for what's right.

Hollywood has made a basket full of underdog movies. We all hope

against hope for the underdog, especially when he's one of ours.

That does not mean, however, that any underdog, that any armed

resistance to the law, is legitimate. Some underdogs are just

criminals.

The cause of the so-called "free-men" in Montana, for example, is not

legitimate. They do not identify one issue that is a long-standing

problem; they don't have the support of the local community. They

simply reject the authority of the U.S. federal government to say

anything to them (but they take the fed's money).

These are outsiders and losers. Arming themselves and pretending to be

some kind of outlaw folk heroes appeals to them. It makes them feel

important.

Neither do the armed rebels at Waterhen have a legitimate cause. They

have contested--and lost--a number of band elections. They do not have

the support of the community, most of which ran away when they seized

power. When they claim to be poor, hard-done-by, discriminated against

victims, it's time for the community-- a community that has had the

strength to support Oka and Wounded Knee--to stand up and say "NO".

Not every Native person behind a barricade has a legitimate reason to

be there. Some of them are simply criminals. They should be dealt with

as such, and they should be dealt with harshly.

And, while it's worthy to support a cause, we have to be careful of

what we support. Each cause must be judged on its own merits and, if

possible, away from the rosy glow of romanticism given to the

underdogs. Legitimate causes are damaged by the illegitimate actions of

others.

Really oppressed people don't need this kind of ally. Native people

with real problems must say strongly, clearly: "Get off our side!".

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