Archive for the ‘Native Americans’ Category


Tohono O’odham Nation is latest to move on enhanced ID card

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has struck a fourth agreement for enhanced tribal identification cards compliant with US travel laws with a Native American tribe, the department announced Tuesday.

DHS and the Tohono O’odham Nation, which has lands in Arizona and Mexico, agreed to standards for an enhanced tribal card to be carried by the roughly 28,000 registered members of the tribe. The identification card complies with the specifications of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI), which mandated strict requirements for travel documents for citizens of the United States, Canada and Bermuda–who may previously have not required a passport–on June 1.

“This agreement will strengthen safety along our borders while providing Tohono O’odham members a secure and standardized ID card,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a statement. “In the months ahead, we will continue to build upon these efforts-from secure identification to preparing for emergencies-with our tribal partners across the country.”

In 2009, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reached agreements with the Tohono O’odham Nation, the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, the Pascua Yaqui of Arizona, and the Seneca Nation of New York. The agency is negotiating with about another 25 tribes in the United States to provide them with enhanced tribal cards as well. ::: MORE HERE:::

BTC Commentary

Has anyone seen special effects in science fiction films or video games where a huge boss-monster is exploded into parts and then the parts regain their life and keep moving around, wreaking havoc?

Real ID as a boss-monster of sorts has exploded into many different “parts”, such as:
  • Passport cards
  • Speedpass Border Cards
  • Transport Worker Identification Credential Cards
  • Enhanced Driver’s Licenses meant for “alien migrant workers”
And now, The Tribal ID Card , U.S. leaders gotta get the Native American government compliant with the rest of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) Program.
CLUE: WHTI’s modus operandi is to get everyone on some sort of quantifiable electronic grid system.
Now – between you and me and the mosquito on the wall, I really don’t think most Native American’s are too essentially hip to the electronic grid system as part of the res.  Casino Natives now empowered by independent wealth are more like Libertarians in that they want LESS governing intrusion from the “white folks”.  They do not envy urbanites like you may think they do.  
So this brings us back to square one.  Who are the people who want us on the electronic grid system?  Well… you may start with the Council on Foreign Relations and count backwards until you arrive at the United States birthplace conclusion:  socialism run by a select few elites doesn’t work in America.   No matter how bad they want it.
The Natives are really sensitive to how this all works.  We should get out of their way and leave them alone.  I think we’ve honestly done enough.  They don’t need a special card from the United States government to tell us who they are.  
I think they’re going to tell the U.S. government what to do with their ID cards, not the other way around.

Real ID Waives Law Protecting Natives, Landowners and Ecology 4-11-08
c/o Indian Country Today

WASHINGTON – The Department of Homeland Security in conjunction with the Department of the Interior has waived nearly 40 federal laws, including the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, to try to speed construction of a border fence between the United States and Mexico.

”Congress and the American public have been adamant that they want and expect border security,” Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff said in a statement, which announced the action April 1. ”We’re serious about delivering it, and these waivers will enable important security projects to keep moving forward.”

NAGPRA, a federal law passed in 1990, created a legal process for federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to return American Indian human remains and cultural items to their respective tribes or lineal descendants. Sherry Hutt, the national NAGPRA program manager, said she was not informed that the waiver would happen before it did; she’s put in a call to DHS for an explanation.

”I want to know more about how they’re proceeding,” she said. Several tribal officials nationwide have said that they, too, were not informed of this decision.

Officials with DHS say they are trying to be mindful of culturally focused laws but have found it necessary to make blanket law waivers, since legal challenges have already greatly extended the timeline to build the controversial fence between the U.S. and Mexico.

”We will continue to work with tribal nations and tribal leaders to ensure that we are collaborating before we proceed with any major construction,” said Laura Keehner, a spokesman for DHS. ”We invite the government-to-government discussions, and definitely expect that to continue.”

Under the waiver, more than 55 miles on the Tohono O’odham Reservation in Arizona would be affected, as well as several miles on lands owned by individual Indians and on other Indian communities. In total, the waivers apply to 470 miles of land in a stretch of area from California through Texas. In making the waivers, Chertoff is striving to meet a deadline by the end of the year to survey and build nearly 700 miles of fencing. Three hundred and nine miles of fencing have already been built. NAGPRA’s waiver is but one of several recent DHS moves that are impacting Native peoples.

Several Apache landowners on the Rio Grande in January asked DHS to halt the seizure of their lands for the U.S.-Mexico border. The department has declared that it is using the principle of eminent domain to survey and possibly ultimately take possession of land. DHS is currently suing the landowners so that building of the fence can proceed. Despite the lawsuits, Keehner said that DHS is not trying to be insensitive. She even suggested that the building of the fence could be beneficial for Indians.

”Quite frankly, Indian country is incredibly [affected] by drugs coming into communities,” Keehner said. ”Building this fence is another way that helps our efforts in keeping out drug dealers, drugs and human smuggling – so it’s really better for the entire homeland.” Although legislators who support border control are happy with Chertoff’s decision-making, some lawmakers are already questioning the need for blanket waivers.

”I favor building barriers along the border where border patrol agents think they will help them do their job,” Senate Energy Committee Chairman Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., said in a statement. ”In fact, I have helped secure millions of dollars for vehicle barriers in New Mexico. But I have not yet heard any justification for why the Bush administration cannot abide by current laws in the construction of this fence.”

Federal law gives Chertoff full authority to mandate such waivers, but some policymakers are particularly concerned by this most recent instance because Chertoff provided little reasoning on why they were necessary. ”While the [REAL ID] Act gives the Secretary the unilateral authority to waive those laws, I always understood that the Secretary would make that determination only to the extent necessary, after careful consideration and analysis,” Bingaman wrote in a letter to Chertoff sent on April 1. ”I share your desire to improve security along the border and I agree that there may be certain instances where it is necessary to waive legal requirements; however, there must be a sound justification for doing so.”

In Chertoff’s announcement of the waivers, he indicated that Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne had urged him to take the action. Bingaman has also written to Kempthorne, asking for ”analyses, justifications and recommendations” on why Kempthorne felt the waivers were so important. To date, he has not received a response.

In March, the Defenders of Wildlife advocacy group and the Sierra Club filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear its argument against the REAL ID Act, which grants Chertoff his waiver power. The groups contend that the REAL ID Act’s waiver provision unconstitutionally allows the DHS secretary unilaterally to repeal laws, which they say threatens the system of checks and balances assured in the Constitution. The organizations are currently calling on tribes to file amicus briefs, if the case were to be heard by the Supreme Court.

”We want to be reaching out to tribes because this waiver process is now starting to affect laws that affect them,” said Brian Segee, a staff attorney with the Defenders of Wildlife. Beyond NAGRPRA, he said tribes should be especially concerned about Chertoff’s waiver of the National Environmental Policy Act and the National Historic Preservation Act.