Judge Richard G. Kopf – Deconstructing the Mythology of the Standing Bear Case


I agree with Judge Kopf that there is a mythology surrounding  Standing Bear v. Crook case and believe it was perpetuated by those who were “bent on publicizing the Indian cause.” I am particularly interested in how this mythology played into Elk v. Wilkins. While there is little written or known about John Elk, there was sentiment that the legal team involved in Standing Bear sought out Elk to continue the pursuit of this cause. A couple years ago, I found an article written in  “Seen & Heard” (1904) and think about it whenever I hear about either of these cases. The whole piece on both cases starts at page 4753, but the excerpt starts on page 4762 and describes what happened after Standing Bear.

After Judge Dundy’s decision, Bishop Clarkson, of Nebraska, and James Cook urged Mr. Tibbles to continue the fight. He did so with vigor, and for the next five years lectured on Indian reforms all over the United States. To push the matter still further, one Presidential election day Mr. Tibbles went to Omaha and induced John Elk, a full blooded Indian, to go to the polls and vote.

Today in History – Improvements in Indian Law

Thirty years ago today (according to this site) Senator Mark Andrews introduced Senate Resolution 127 to make the Select Committee on Indian Affairs a permanent committee.

Today is also Professor Matthew L.M. Fletcher’s birthday.  Happy Birthday, Matthew!

State of Washington City and Tribal Leaders Form Coalition Against Coal Trains

AP Story here.

Early this month, the Sierra Club and other conservation groups sent a 60-day notice of intent to sue to coal companies. The groups intend to file in federal court against the companies for violating the Clean Water Act. Stories on the notice are here and here.

The most recent previous post on this subject is here.

Audio of Casey Family Programs Press Briefing

Last Monday, the Casey Family Programs held a press briefing on the amicus brief in support of ICWA in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. The audio is here.

The press release and other information is here and can also be found through a previous posted blog here.

One of the organizations that signed onto the brief was National Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), which was holding their annual conference last week. As a CASA volunteer and volunteer coordinator, I had the opportunity of attending the conference. I also assisted in the presentation of an ICWA workshop to other CASA volunteers and staff. If anyone would like the handout we used in the presentation or more information let me know.

Washington and Oregon Governors Ask for Review of Coal Export Consequences

This week, the governors of Washington and Oregon asked the Obama Administration to review proposed coal export terminals. The Seattle Times article is here and the Huffington Post article is here. The letter linked in the Seattle Times article is here.

An excerpt from the Seattle Times

Western coal producers, saddled with low prices and weak demand in U.S. markets, are eager to send more coal from the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming to Asia. Much of that coal is on federal lands, but some is on tribal, private or state lands.

The proposals include two export terminals in Washington to be in Cherry Point, which is near Bellingham, and in Longview. There are also proposals for terminals in Oregon.

The prospect of using the Pacific Northwest as a launch point for coal exports has triggered intense controversy in both Oregon and Washington.

Seattle Human Rights Commission’s official comments are here. The Commission’s resolution on coal and the impact on Indian tribes is here. (Thanks to C.S.)

Finally, here is a Northwest Public Radio story about the potential effects of the proposed export plans on the Lummi Tribe.

Previous posts are here and here.

NPR on Brazil’s Surui Tribe

Here. An excerpt:

Chief Almir Surui, 38, has built alliances with American technology companies, environmental groups and lawmakers in the capital, Brasilia, and in cities far beyond Brazil. And the Surui reserve, called Seventh of September for the date in 1969 when the outside world made its first sustained contact with the tribe, has become a hotbed of technology designed to protect the jungle.

The Indians use smartphones to monitor illegal logging and Google Earth Outreach to show the world what their reserve is like.

“Our model calls for saving the forest and fighting for sustainable development,” says Chief Almir, as he stands in the middle of the forest surrounded by chirping birds and many species of trees. “It’s a challenge because it’s very important to do all this. But other countries do not always pursue responsible policies.”

First Same Sex Couple Married by Little Traverse Bay Band

AP Article here features a quote from Cherie Dominic, who is pictured below today (on her birthday!) with the newly married couple. Congratulations to Mr. Barfield and Mr. LaCroix!