Weekend Reading: From DAPL Documentary to the Native American Slaves Who Built California’s Wine Industry

Weekend Reading:

  • North Dakota Trying to Get U.S. Taxpayers to Pick Up Costs of Excessive DAPL Police Response
  • Documentary: Beyond Standing Rock
  • Federal Budget Cut Plans Could Hurt Native Radio Stations
  • Trump’s Fondness for “Indian Killer” Andrew Jackson: A Wreath and a Portrait
  • California’s Wine Industry has Bloody Roots in Native American Slavery

U.S. taxpayers might be on the hook for pipeline protest costs (Minnesota Public Radio)

North Dakota officials appear poised to go after the U.S. government — and thus U.S. taxpayers — to recoup more than $38 million in state expenses related to months of protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, though a longstanding offer from the project’s developer to pay up is still on the table.

One taxpayer watchdog group questions why the state isn’t jumping at the offer from Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, a company worth billions of dollars.

Comment: The article raises an ethical question about whether it be inappropriate for the state to take money from a business it regulates? (Hint: Yes.) I would also ask about the precedent set by a federal subsidy of such an extreme law enforcement response. If North Dakota gets federal financing, it sends a signal that such a heavy law enforcement response was appropriate. It was not.

Documentary: Beyond Standing Rock (Inside Energy)

Inside Energy, in collaboration with Rocky Mountain PBS and Fast Forward Films, presents Beyond Standing Rock, a one-hour documentary exploring the conflict of the Dakota Access Pipeline and the struggle for Native American rights against the backdrop of the new Trump administration.

Comment: Click on the link to view a 3-minute trailer and a Q&A with those involved with the project. The documentary will air on public television stations around the country in the coming months. None are yet scheduled in Minnesota yet. Keep checking the website for updates.

Will Cuts to Public Broadcasting Silence Native Radio Stations? (Yes! Magazine)

Now, according to The Hill, Trump may be setting his sights on funding cuts to organizations such as the CPB [Corporation for Public Broadcasting] and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Should cuts take effect, tribal stations stand to lose a lot, as they rely heavily on CPB grant funding. There are 60 stations licensed to tribes or tribal entities in the United States, including commercial and public radio stations. Of these 60 stations, 35 are supported by the CPB’s Community Service Grant award, which matches each station’s yearly fiscal budget then doubles it.

Comment: The publication The Hill reported on plans, put together as Trump was taking office, to privatize the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities.

Trump to Lay Wreath on Andrew Jackson’s Grave (Indian Country Media Network)

President Donald J. Trump is slated to lay a wreath at the gravesite of Andrew Jackson in honor of the late president’s 250th birthday …

While Trump reveres Andrew Jackson, once calling him “an amazing figure in American history — very unique so many ways,” Native Americans, however, consider the late president a villain directly responsible for the death of thousands of Cherokee during the forced march remembered as the Trail of Tears.

Comment: This is another example of Trump’s embrace of Jackson. Time Magazine ran a related story on Trump’s decision to hang Jackson’s portrait in the Oval Office.

As a General and as President, he [Jackson] believed in the segregation of whites and Native Americans, according to NPR’s Steve Inskeep, author of Jacksonland: President Andrew Jackson, Cherokee Chief John Ross, and a Great American Land Grab. He was ruthless, “opening Southern land for white real estate development, including his own personal real estate investments, whatever the human cost.”

From Serra to Syrah: The Bloody Roots of California’s Vineyards (Indian Country Media Network)

The Indians performed virtually all the work to make wine, from planting vines, harvesting them, and overseeing the fermentation. Yet mission rules governing their lives were so onerous Native Americans weren’t even allowed to wander the vineyards they tended without supervision. They were also forbidden to leave the missions, marry without permission, were segregated into often-squalid same-sex barracks, denied the right to raise their children and were forced to answer to a system of bells that told them when to rise, eat, pray, work, and rest. They were whipped for transgressions small and large, from stealing to wearing a dirty blanket into church. …

The first law passed by the fledgling California Legislature on April 19, 1850 was nicknamed the “Indian Indenture Act.” It stripped Native Americans of most of their rights and permitted vineyardists and farmers to force Native Americans to work against their will.

Comment: For more on California’s brutal treatment of Native Americans in the mid-1800s, see Native American Netroot’s: California’s War On Indians, 1850 to 1851.

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