Indian Reservations

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Tonight I sat in on a fantastic presentation by the Marysville Tulalip Community Association. They are 400 families who live on the Tulalip Indian reservation, who are trying to stand up for the civil liberties of all reservation residents.

When I call it a "reservation" I do so with some reservation (HA!). Technically, the reservation was dissolved in the 1920s, and never reinstated. However, they do have certain sovereign rights over their lands that others don't have (like, ability to build casinos). However, these residents (tribal members and non-members) own their own land, and are thus technically not part of the reservation, though they are within its historical borders.

(In fact, most of the private landowners bought their land during a period of time when tribal sovereignty was not recognized. Those landowners really got sold out by the federal government on this; their rights got handed over.)

The worst actual act taking place today is that the tribe puts a 1% tax on all property sales, despite not actually having any legal authority over these landowners. But what they do have is the federally granted authority to place leins, and if you don't pay the tax, then you get a lein, which you can only challenge in federal court, which will end up costing you more than the 1%. Sucka.

They also talked a lot about other serious economic problems, such as the drive to keep a portion of the sales tax. But even worse is that they are buying up land that is being taken off the tax rolls. As soon as the Tulalip Tribes, Inc. buys land, the local governments stop taxing it. But what makes this even more egregious is that there is no reason to do it: land is taxable until it is converted from normal land to land held in trust by the Bureau of Indian Affairs, a process that takes nearly a decade, and is not even a sure thing.

One of the big pushes right now is to have local governments start taxing those non-trust parcels again, immediately.

There's a lot of stuff going on, but the good news is that forward progress is being made. The ultimate goal is integration, so we don't have two court systems, two tax systems, two police systems, etc. We're one nation, indivisible. Tribal sovereignty should not exist, and it only exists because of federal law, not because of any treaty, and it should be phased out and abolished.

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<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

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This page contains a single entry by pudge published on June 14, 2005 9:55 PM.

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