How The Government Prevents Prosperity

National Review Online posted an article today about the Standing Rock Sioux and their protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline. It seems as if there is a whole lot more going on here than tribal lands or ecology.

The article reports:

But while members of the Standing Rock Sioux and their supporters have protested the construction of the pipeline slated to run just a half-mile beyond their border, other tribes have peacefully courted deals for pipelines that run through the middle of their reservations. This stark contrast illustrates the importance of tribal jurisdiction and the detrimental effects of federal policies that limit development opportunities on many tribal lands.

In most cases, federal policies discourage developers from doing business on Native American reservations in the first place, in effect denying tribes the opportunity to benefit from energy projects such as the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL). In some cases, however, tribes have succeeded in developing their own energy resources for the benefit of tribal members and their communities.

Pipelines provide a way for Native American reservations to generate income. It should also be noted that pipelines have a better safety record than trucks or railroads. So what is going on?

The article further explains:

The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) is involved in nearly every aspect of energy development on Indians lands, including reviewing and approving pipeline agreements and rights-of-way approvals, and the process is notoriously inefficient. A 2015 Government Accountability Office (GAO) report observed that “the added complexity of the federal process stops many developers from pursuing Indian oil and gas resources for development” and that the process “can involve significantly more steps than the development of private or state resources, increase development costs, and add to the timeline for development.” The GAO report noted further that in 2014, the Southern Ute tribe reported that the BIA’s review of several of its pipeline rights-of-way agreements took as long as eight years. A simple review of a wind-energy lease on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota took a year and a half for the BIA to review. According to the developer, the delay made the project lose its agreement with the local utility, resulting in a loss of revenue for the company and the tribe.

It is a shame that our government has grown so large that it is preventing Native Americans from taking advantage of the business opportunity offered by these pipelines. Maybe the protesters need to take a look at the potential benefits the pipeline could bring to the tribe if they renegotiated the contract.




Another Reason To Stop Funding The United Nations

Trails of Tears (English version)

Trails of Tears (English version) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last time I checked, America was a sovereign country. We are not perfect by any stretch of the imagination but we are what we are. Well, the United Nations wants to make us better. The UK Guardian reported yesterday that the United Nations has stated that the United States should return the stolen land it took from the Indians. Now that could get very messy very quickly.

The article reports:

A United Nations investigator probing discrimination against Native Americans has called on the US government to return some of the land stolen from Indian tribes as a step toward combatting continuing and systemic racial discrimination.

James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, said no member of the US Congress would meet him as he investigated the part played by the government in the considerable difficulties faced by Indian tribes.

Anaya said that in nearly two weeks of visiting Indian reservations, indigenous communities in Alaska and Hawaii, and Native Americans now living in cities, he encountered people who suffered a history of dispossession of their lands and resources, the breakdown of their societies and “numerous instances of outright brutality, all grounded on racial discrimination”.

Man, there are a whole lot of connections made in those statements that I am just not seeing. I totally agree with what is being said about the horrible way we have treated the Indians. I just have a real problem with what is seen as the solution. We took land from the Indians and forced them on reservations. Would giving them back land have any impact on the way they live or their prosperity? There are specific instances where it might–In 1830, Andrew Jackson, the founder of the Democrat Party, signed the “Indian Removal Act of 1830.” The Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee-Creek, and Seminole Indians (known as the “Five Civilized Tribes”) had prospered, and President Jackson had ordered the Army to relocate them. Gold had been found on their land, and they were relocated. Is the gold still there? Is it accessible? How is the land currently being used? The answers to those questions would make an interesting addition to the discussion.

I am not sure anyone has a solution to righting the wrongs done to the American Indian. Giving them their land back really won’t change a whole lot. Giving them an education and helping them transition into the twenty-first century might, but how do you do that without destroying their culture? I will admit to being something of a pro-American snob–I think the American economic system with all its faults is better than any other economic system. I just don’t know how to enable the American Indians to take part in it successfully. I simply am not convinced that giving them back their land is the answer.

Just to be difficult, I also think the United Nations has more important things to worry about–people are being killed in Syria by their own government, Christians are being murdered in Nigeria, and there are some serious questions about human rights in China. Aren’t these things a little more pressing than whether or not to return land in America to the Indians?


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