COMMENTARY: To own or not to own…

by Jan 23, 2021OPINIONS




Observations and random thoughts. 


It’s been a turbulent couple of weeks in our country. We have a new President of the United States who has been officially inaugurated and sworn in. We have a Senate that’s divided 50-50 but with Kamala Harris as Veep, the Democrats basically now have control of all three houses of government. It’s a new beginning and a long-awaited ending to a confusing horror story spanning four long years.

Something unthinkable happened at the Nation’s Capital after a rabble-rousing speech given by none other than the 45th President, Donald J. Trump. The rabble were roused and attempted a takeover, an insurrection, of the House and Senate chambers and if you believe the first reports, tried to hunt down those 

Congresspeople that disagreed with their mistaken beliefs that the election was stolen. Some were armed with American flags mounted on poles that they used as weapons. Six people died, including two Capitol police officers. I find it ironically funny that the very people shouting, “Stop the Steal”, were attempting to do just that, steal an election. And, to hammer in the irony, these “supporters” of the “thin blue line” attacked and tried to do grievous harm to…wait for it…police officers. As a reward for their efforts the FBI are now hunting down the participants of the attempted takeover and have been jailing them to await arraignment and trial. Stay tuned, these trials should be fun to watch.

At home, on the Rez, we sorta became the proud owners of a casino in Indiana. My first thoughts upon hearing many of the details of this acquisition were, well, they weren’t printable, we’ll just say that. I’ve been to Indiana and except for the outhouses behind the gas station that were built on two little hills, yep, no excavation, there’s absolutely nothing memorable about Indiana. Don’t believe me? Watch a film called Hoosiers, the people there are still the same.

Anyway, it seems that we are spending 250,000,000 tribal dollars on a venture that we actually have no real control over. And, it seems that somehow the property the casino sits on wasn’t part of the negotiated deal. And we don’t have control over the actual day-to-day operations. Whew, had to stop for a second, all them zeroes made me dizzy and slightly queasy. 

Included with the purchase of this casino building, a new limited liability company, or LLC, would be established to oversee this new type of investment we’ve entered into. This board would have 5 members but only 2 of 5 members can be EBCI so in reality, we’re in the minority when it comes to decisions affecting our own investment?! I’m confused. How did we, the EBCI, negotiate such a deal? Were the terms negotiated or did someone simply hand us an offer we couldn’t refuse? Who are our negotiators? I think we need someone like Bruce Willis’ character on The Fifth Element to be our negotiator in future deals. Heck, I volunteer. Those pale-faced gentlemen would then have to deal with a crusty, old, braid-wearing Native guy who, in addition to plain old English, also speaks fluent Vulgarian. That’s my language. It makes salty sailor talk sound like polite chats at afternoon tea. I use it when needed.

I saw that the latest Lumbee attempt to circumvent the process hit a wall in the U.S. Senate despite the efforts of NC’s band of misguided elected officials. That’s too bad. Now if Deb Haaland, as Interior Secretary, will just make it all go away. I’ve always said that if the Lumbee were really a tribe they would have taken that little stroll to Oklahoma with the others. The reality is, they probably bumped up against us in the old days, were basically wiped out for their troubles, pushed eastward and then became totally assimilated by the whites. Or, they were never anything other than what they are now. No language, no traditions, no culture, no dice.

Ledford is a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians currently residing in Albuquerque, N.M.