I read the letter (Sept. 6)from Ross O. Swimmer, assistant secretary of the Interior for Indian affairs, on the Hopi-Navajo dispute. I immediately thought of the interview in Reason magazine recently of Russell Means, the Indian activist.
Means recommends that the Bureau of Indian Affairs be abolished immediately. He says it is demeaning for the government to have a federal bureaucracy oversee the affairs of an ethnic group. There is no Bureau of White People’s Affairs, no Bureau of Negro Protection, but if your skin is red, a Washington paper-pusher must approve your private actions and keep you on welfare.
If an Indian finds it shameful for his people to be under federal auspices and advocates an immediate dismantling of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, then why don’t we do both the Indian nations and the U.S. budget a favor by phasing out this useless department and declare every Indian territory a free and independent sovereignty? We had 1776. What independence can an Indian child look forward to?