Large Indian Tribes Hurt by Obama Regulations on Coal

(p. 1) . . . some of the largest tribes in the United States derive their budgets from the very fossil fuels that Mr. Trump has pledged to promote, including the Navajo in the Southwest and the Osage in Oklahoma, as well as smaller tribes like the Southern Ute in Colorado. And the Crow are among several Indian nations looking to the president’s promises to nix Obama-era coal rules, pull back on regulations, or approve new oil and gas wells to help them lift their economies and wrest control (p. 14) from a federal bureaucracy they have often seen as burdensome.
The president’s executive order on Tuesday [March 28, 2017], which called for a rollback of President Barack Obama’s climate change rules, is a step toward some of these goals.
At the tribes’ side is Ryan Zinke, who as the new interior secretary is charged with protecting and managing Indian lands, which hold an estimated 30 percent of the nation’s coal reserves west of the Mississippi and 20 percent of known oil and gas reserves in the United States.
In a recent interview, Mr. Zinke noted that he was once adopted into the Assiniboine and Sioux tribes and said he would help native nations get fossil fuels to market.
“We have not been a good partner in this,” he said. “The amount of bureaucracy and paperwork and stalling in many ways has created great hardship on some of the poorest tribes.
“A war on coal is a war on the Crow people,” he continued. “President Trump has promised to end the war.”

For the full story, see:
JULIE TURKEWITZ. “Tribes That Live Off Coal Hold Tight to Trump’s Promises.” The New York Times, First Section (Sun., APRIL 2, 2017): 1 & 14.
(Note: ellipsis, and bracketed date, added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date APRIL 1, 2017, and has the title “Tribes That Live Off Coal Hold Tight to Trump’s Promises.”)

Let Individual Indians Own Land on Reservations

Mortgaging homes is a common way for entrepreneurs to provide initial funds for their startups. So our keeping individual Indians from owning land on reservations, cuts off their access to funds for entrepreneurship.
The commentary quoted below is related to a book edited by Anderson and contributed to by Regan.

(p. A13) . . . , Native Americans showed a remarkable ability to adapt to new goods and technology. Italian trade beads became an integral part of American Indian decoration and art. The Spanish horse transformed Plains Indian hunting and warfare.

Over centuries, however, these adaptations and innovations have been replaced by subjugation by the U.S. government. In 1831, Chief Justice John Marshall declared the Cherokees to be a “domestic dependent nation” and characterized the relationship of tribes to the U.S. as resembling “that of a ward to his guardian.” Marshall’s words were entrenched when Congress became trustee of all Indian lands and resources under the Dawes Act of 1887.
In recent decades, the government has paid lip service to “tribal sovereignty,” but in practice Native Americans have little autonomy. Tribes and individual Indians still cannot own their land on reservations. This means Native Americans cannot mortgage their assets for loans like other Americans, thus allowing them little or no access to credit. This makes it incredibly difficult to start a business in Indian Country. Even when tribes try to engage in economic activity, the feds impose mountains of regulations, all in the name of looking after Indian affairs.

For the full commentary, see:
TERRY L. ANDERSON and SHAWN REGAN. “It’s Time for the Feds to Get Out of Indian Country; A permit to develop energy resources requires 49 steps on tribal lands and just four steps off reservations.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., Oct. 8, 2016): A13.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date Oct. 7, 2016.)

The book mentioned at the top of this entry, is:
Anderson, Terry L., ed. Unlocking the Wealth of Indian Nations. Lanham, Maryland: Lexington Books, 2016.

American Indians Suffer from Lack of Property Rights

(p. A15) There are almost no private businesses or entrepreneurs on Indian reservations because there are no property rights. Reservation land is held in trust by the federal government and most is also owned communally by the tribe. It’s almost impossible for tribe members to get a mortgage, let alone borrow against their property to start a business. The Bureau of Indian Affairs regulates just about every aspect of commerce on reservations.
Instead of giving Indians more control over their own land–allowing them to develop natural resources or use land as collateral to start businesses–the federal government has offered them what you might call a loophole economy. Washington carves out a sector of the economy, giving tribes a regulatory or tax advantage over non-Indians. But within a few years the government takes it away, in many cases leaving Indian tribes as impoverished and more disheartened than they were before.
. . .
What American Indians need first is less regulation. There is a reason that Native Americans say BIA, the initials for the Bureau of Indian Affairs, really stands for “Bossing Indians Around.”

For the full commentary, see:
NAOMI SCHAEFER RILEY. “The Loophole Economy Is No Jackpot for Indians; Running casinos or selling tax-free cigarettes can’t substitute for what tribes truly need: property rights.” The Wall Street Journal (Thurs., July 28, 2016): A15.
(Note: ellipsis added.)
(Note: the online version of the commentary has the date July 27, 2016.)

The above commentary by Riley is related to her book, which is:
Riley, Naomi Schaefer. The New Trail of Tears: How Washington Is Destroying American Indians. New York: Encounter Books, 2016.

Heart Disease Affected Ancients Who Differed in Culture, Class and Diet

EgyptologistPreparesMummy2013-06-16.jpg “Egyptologist Dr. Gomaa Abd el-Maksoud prepares the mummy Hatiay (New Kingdom, 18th Dynasty, 1550-1295 BCE) for scanning. Hatiay was found to have evidence of extensive vascular disease.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the WSJ article quoted and cited below.

(p. A4) SAN FRANCISCO–It turns out there is nothing new about heart disease.

Researchers who examined 137 mummies from four cultures spanning 4,000 years said Sunday they found robust evidence of atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, challenging widely held assumptions that cardiovascular disease is largely a malady of current times.
An international research team of cardiologists, radiologists and archeologists used CT scanners to evaluate the mummies, hunting for deposits of calcium in arterial walls that are a telltale sign of hardening of the arteries that can lead to heart attacks and strokes. They found that 47, or 34%, of the mummies had such deposits, suggesting, they said, that cardiovascular disease was more common in historic times than many experts think.
. . .
The same researchers reported similar findings in 2009 from Egyptian mummies. Because those specimens were believed to have been from the upper echelons of society, the researchers surmised their calcified arteries could have developed from high-fat diets. But by expanding the research to other cultures, including Puebloans of what is now the U.S. Southwest, the researchers believe all levels of society were at risk, regardless of diet.

For the full story, see:
RON WINSLOW. “U.S. NEWS; Telltale Finding on Heart Disease.” The Wall Street Journal (Mon., March 11, 2013): A6.
(Note: the online version of the story has the date March 10, 2013.)

“Before British Settlement” American Indians Lived Lives of “Violence, Terror and Stoic Suffering”

TheBarbarousYearsBK2013-03-09.jpg

Source of book image: http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Mfln_Fc2NF4/ULE7koH_h7I/AAAAAAAAD1Y/4AOrpodtoac/s1600/9780394515700.jpg

(p. C8) Mr. Bailyn opens with an account of the Indians of eastern North America in the years before English settlement. He reviews their economy, technology, religion and much else, drawing examples from the Powhatan, the Pequot and other tribes. He emphasizes the violence, terror and stoic suffering in their lives rather more than the contemporary specialists in the subject would, but brutality–on just about everyone’s part–is a major theme throughout this book.

For the full review, see:
J.R. MCNEILL. “BOOKSHELF; Before Plymouth Rock, and After.” The Wall Street Journal (Sat., November 17, 2012): C8.
(Note: the online version of the review has the date November 16, 2012.)

Book under review:
Bailyn, Bernard. The Barbarous Years: The Peopling of British North America: The Conflict of Civilizations, 1600-1675. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2012.

Socialism Failed in Jamestown

(p. 226) Stephen Slivinski discusses “Economic History: The Lessons of Jamestown.” In the years after the Jamestown settlement of 1607, the settlers often lacked food. “The company sent Sir Thomas Dale, a British naval commander, to take over the office of colony governor in 1611. Yet, upon arrival in May–a time when the farmers should have been tending to their fields–Dale found virtually no planting activity. Instead, the workers were devoted mainly to leisure and ‘playing bowls.’ . . . All land was owned by the company and farmed collectively. . . . The workers would not hope to reap more compensation from a productive farming of the land any more than the farmers would be motivated by an interest in making their farming operations more efficient and, hence, more profitable. Seeing this, Dale decided to change the labor arrangements: When the seven-year contracts of most of the original surviving settlers were about to expire in 1614, he assigned private allotments of land to them. Each got three acres, 12 acres if he had a family. The only obligation was that they needed to provide two and a half barrels of corn annually to the company so it could be distributed to the newcomers to tide them over during their first year. Dale left Jamestown for good in 1616. By then, however, the new land grants had unleashed a vast increase in agricultural productivity. In fact, upon returning to England with Dale, John Rolfe–one of the colony’s former leaders–reported to the Virginia Company that the Powhatans were now asking the colonists to give them corn instead of vice versa.”

As quoted in:
Taylor, Timothy. “Recommendations for Further Reading.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 24, no. 4 (Fall 2010): 219-26.
(Note: ellipses added by Taylor.)

The Slivinski article is:
Slivinski, Stephen. “The Lessons of Jamestown.” Region Focus 14, no. 1 (First Quarter 2010): 27-29.

Chocolate Evidence of Early Indian Trade

CacaoJarsInRuins2009-11-11.JPG“Tests of jars found in the ruins of Chaco Canyon in New Mexico confirmed the presence of theobromine, a cacao marker.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited below.

(p. A14) ALBUQUERQUE — For years Patricia Crown puzzled over the cylindrical clay jars found in the ruins at Chaco Canyon, the great complex of multistory masonry dwellings set amid the arid mesas of northwestern New Mexico. They were utterly unlike other pots and pitchers she had seen.

Some scholars believed that Chaco’s inhabitants, ancestors of the modern Pueblo people of the Southwest, had stretched skins across the cylinders and used them for drums, while others thought they held sacred objects.
But the answer is simpler, though no less intriguing, Ms. Crown asserts in a paper published Tuesday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: the jars were used for drinking liquid chocolate. Her findings offer the first proof of chocolate use in North America north of the Mexican border.
How did the ancient Pueblos come to have cacao beans in the desert, more than 1,200 miles from the nearest cacao trees? Ms. Crown, a University of New Mexico anthropologist, noted that maize, beans and corn spread to the Southwest after being domesticated in southern Mexico. Earlier excavations at Pueblo Bonito, the largest structure in the Chaco complex, had found scarlet macaws and other imported items.

For the full story, see:

MICHAEL HAEDERLE. “Mystery of Ancient Pueblo Jars Is Solved.” The New York Times (Weds., February 4, 2009): A14.

(Note: the online version is dated Tues., Feb. 3rd.)

CacaoJar2009-11-11.jpg

“Researchers believe ancient Pueblos used the jars to drink chocolate.” Source of caption and photo: online version of the NYT article quoted and cited above.