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http://www.heraldandnews.com/articles/2003/12/03/viewpoints/letters/letters.txt

Voices need hearing

12/3/02

An important issue currently facing our community is the right of the indigenous tribes to obtain restoration of their lands. This is an issue that concerns the entire community, not just tribal members. It is the intent of this letter to encourage all community members to become actively involved in the resolution of the restoration question. 

I may not be one of the "first" Americans, but still I am very proud to be an American. I am a part of country that guarantees me the freedoms of free speech, religious choice, and equal vote.

As a proud American, it is essential that I exercise these precious freedoms and that I do so in an informed manner. It is also imperative that I act not just for my own self-interest or the self-interest of a few, but that I consider what would be most beneficial for the general public as a whole. To do any less, is to fail my country, my fellow citizens, and myself.

In order to be informed, I must ask questions and search for answers. I would encourage those who read this letter to do the same. I have many questions, but a few which I will put forth here. 

Exactly what land would be restored to the tribes?

Would privately owned land be part of the restored lands? How would present property owners be compensated for giving up their land? Who would write the laws which govern the Indian lands and who would enforce those laws?

Would state and local police have any jurisdiction and could they pursue suspects on to the Indian lands? Would a tribal system of justice and tribal court be formed?

Would the Indians create a tribal police force and who would pay their salaries? Most importantly, does the federal government have the authority to make the final restoration decision without the vote of the general populace? These and many more questions need asking and answered.

Personally, I will be writing and calling my state and federal representatives in my search for answers. I will voice my questions and concerns to Congress, the Department of the Interior and the White House.

It is important to me, an American, to let my voice be heard and I encourage you as an American to do the same.

Marianne Keysor-Rodgers

Beatty

 

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