"Shades of the Opium War in China"

Louis Proyect lnp3 at SPAMpanix.com
Mon May 1 17:41:39 MDT 2000

(Received from Long Standing Bear Chief)

The following is a petition that is being circulated in and around the
Yakama Nation, in the State of  Washington by an organization calling
itself the Citizens STAND-UP Committee of Toppenish, Washington. This
committee has a list of 56 items they are beginning to act upon that will
result in the end of the Yakama Nation. For copies write or call Elaine
Willman, Citizens STAND-UP Committee, Box 11280, Toppenish, WA 98948.
Telephone 509-865-6225. Mrs Willman tells me she is Cherokee and that her
name is White Owl Woman.

Please distribute this as far and as  wide and you can. Thank you.

Petition To The Honorable Governor, Gary Locke

The undersigned citizens of Washington State, being 18 years of age or
older and residing on or near the Yakama Indian Nation, do herein by
signature, declare absolute opposition to a forthcoming Yakama Indian
Nation Alcohol Ban, and any future form of sovereign governance of
non-Indian persons or properties, absent fair and democratic participation
in such governance. Further, we request that each and all elected officials
of Washington State immediately pursue legal intervening recourse to
protect our personal, business, and property rights from the aforesaid ban
or any future foreign or sovereign control of United States citizen
residents of Washington State.

>From Bear Chief's column in the Yakama Herald-Republic
(http://www.yakima-herald.com) an Indian newspaper:

The call goes out and up rides Gov. Locke. He returns to Olympia and
announces he is on the verge of calling out the militia if the Yakama do
not "keep the peace." What he really means is that he will take the Yakama
out behind the shed if they do not consent to eliminate the tax and allow
the sale of the evil drug. (Shades of the Opium War in China.)

Meanwhile, the businessmen of Toppenish hold their unannounced public
meetings on the edge of town in the country club. They meet to pick apart
the Treaty of 1855. The object of their wrath is that section having to do
with the banished sale of alcohol. They decide that the politically correct
interpretation of the treaty is that the sale of alcohol applies only to

But they do not read anywhere in the treaty that it says the white folk are
granted the freedom to stop and build towns and cities in the Yakama
homeland and then call in the Washington state law, and thereby subvert the
banned sale of alcohol.

In their ability to be the Sowers of Discord, the merchants call upon the
ghost of Thomas Paine, who made it popular in 1775 to cry, "No taxation
without representation!"

But the merchants forget to point out that the real reason Paine said what
he did in his "Common Sense" publications was that the people were right to
revolt against being forced to do things without their consent! He
definitely rejected the thought that oppressive laws, made by the elite and
long dead men, should be allowed to prevail. In this instance, the Yakama
are being truer to Paine's words than the minority of white merchants in

To further confound the unknowing, there is a seeming deliberate attempt to
misinform. The boisterous few do not mention why they can never have a vote
in affairs of the Yakama Nation. It is, in fact, a U.S. federal law that
prohibits any white man or other non-Indian from having a vote in Yakama

P.L. 79-706, enacted by the U.S. Congress, says that you must be of
one-fourth or more degree of one of the 14 tribes of the Yakama Nation in
order to be a member, and thus have a vote. So, it is a racist federal U.S.
law that forever prohibits a white man or any other race from ever being
able to vote in a Yakama election. The fight, then, is not to be carried
out against the Yakama but against the white man's own racist laws.

Yep, old pard. The West, white-man style, still lives in Toppenish.

* Long Standing Bear Chief, a member of the Blackfoot nation, is a writer,
educator and lecturer. Now living in Toppenish, he can be reached at
pikanii at hotmail.com or by calling 865-5704.

Louis Proyect
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