Update on U.S. v. Al Bahlul — More Docs & Government’s Position Comparing Seminoles to Al Qaeda Condemned

We posted Tuesday on the government’s characterization of the Seminole Indians during the 19th century Indian wars as equivalent to Al Qaeda. That posting is here.

The defendant in that case has filed the following response brief, smartly pointing out the history of Gen. Jackson’s invasion of Spanish Florida, which likely was motivated by American slaveowners’ concerns about slaves escaping to Seminole territory. Jackson himself, of course, was a slaveowner. Here is that excellent brief:

US v al Bahlul – Reply on Specified Issues (15 March 2011)

An excerpt:

In the lead up to the First Seminole War, Florida remained under the nominal control of Spain, but Spanish authorities were unable to “enforce peace on the border,” and more importantly, “were unable to prevent black slaves from fleeing to Florida and joining the Seminole Indians.” John K. Mahon, The First Seminole War, November 21, 1817–May 24, 1818, 77 FLORIDA HIST. Q. 62 (1998). While the motivation for the invasion of Florida was partly territorial expansionism, the “principal objective was to break up the free Negro settlements which were becoming increasingly a menace to the slave systems of adjacent states.” Kenneth Wiggins Porter, Negroes and the Seminole War, 1817–1818, 36 J. NEGRO HIST. 249, 254 (1951).

Additionally, this case has received coverage on Huffington Post here.

And the Center for Constitutional Rights has condemned the government’s position in this press release: Balul Final 3-16-11

Wisconsin Badgers Now to Play Schools with Indian Names & Mascots

From the Badger Herald: “The University of Wisconsin will now be able to schedule games against teams with American Indian symbols and names after the Faculty Senate approved a new policy regarding athletic competitions Monday.

“According to the new policy, UW may schedule competitions with schools that are not on the NCAA list of colleges and universities subject to restrictions.

“The Badgers are now permitted to play schools including Central Michigan University, Florida State University, Mississippi College and the University of Utah — all of which have American Indian names, because tribes have endorsed the use of their names and, therefore, the universities are not subject to NCAA restrictions.

“American Indian Student Academic Services Coordinator, Aaron Bird-Bear said UW recently updated its mascot policy to reflect the 2005 NCAA mandate reviewing American Indian mascots in higher education.

“Bird-Bear said UW’s initial American Indian mascot policy was issued 12 years prior to the NCAA’s 2005 mascot review.”