Report To The Terminated Mixed Blood Uintas of Utah
From: Oranna B. Felter
On Our Resolution To Repeal P.L. 671 At The 63rd Annual Convention Of the National Congress of American Indians held in Sacramento, California the week of October 2nd 2006.
(This is the long version, For the short version that appear's in the October 17th 2006, edition of the Uintah Basin Standard. click Here)
As stated in several articles in the Uintah Basin Standard and letters to the editor, the Mixed Blood Uinta Band of Ute Indians have made a tremendous effort in the last three to four months of putting the word out on the true facts about the termination of the original 490 mixed blood members of the Ute Indian Tribe.
We asked for letters of support in our goal of securing a Resolution from the General Assembly of the “National Congress of American Indians” to Repeal P.L. 671, the Act that terminated me and hundreds of other innocent Uinta’s. We sent letters to many Tribes and Individuals, both Indian and non-Indian. We had a good response back and these Letters of Support was to be presented to the NCAI in Sacramento, CA the week of October 2nd by our Attorney, Dennis G. Chappabitty.
We hoped these letters would “energize” our efforts with the NCAI that would be urged on through by two of the lead plaintiff’s in Felter v. Kempthorne, Calvin Hackford and Myself, and other case members who were able to attend this event. Due to illness, I was unable to attend NCAI and promote our Resolution to repeal P.L. 671. However some of our members drove down from Utah (At Their Own Expense) in anticipation of helping in our NCAI effort and to be with our attorney, when the Resolution was presented to the General Assembly for passage on the final day of the NCAI Conference. We believed that our Resolution would pass through the procedures of the subcommittee review established by NCAI and make it to the General Assembly floor.
When our Attorney went into the first sub-committee session on our Resolution on Wednesday, October 4th there at the podium trashing the Resolution was the Ute Tribal Chairperson, Maxine Natchees. Natchees told the NCAI Jurisdiction and Litigation sub-committee that a similar resolution had been proposed in the 1970’s and it was not approved. Natchees stated that it was the official position of the Ute Indian Tribe to “Oppose” any efforts to repeal P.L. 671 that would restore the Terminated Mixed Blood Uinta’s to federal recognized Indian status. Two Tribal Officials in the crowd supported her throughout the sub-committee session.
After Maxine Natchees put her opposition in the record, Mr. Chappabitty presented the Resolution and gave a short report on the termination of the Mixed Blood Uinta’s of Utah. Then He read the Resolution to the sub-committee and formally made a motion for approval so the Resolution could go to the next stage. When the resolution was put up for a vote approval, not one of the thirty some individuals in the room would second Mr. Chappabitty’s motion. Our Resolution “Died” in the first sub-committee.
When our Attorney called me later that day to tell me of the defeat of our resolution because of Maxine Natchees, I told him I was not surprised, as this is the kind of sneaky things the Ute Indian Tribal Council does when it comes to support of any kind for the Terminated Mixed Blood Uinta’s.
Maxine Natchees did a good job at convincing other tribal members in the sub-committee room not to support the repeal of P.L. 671 of the 83rd Congress. Our attorney said it was clear that what she said to the group in opposition to allowing the motion to go forward was the same old untruthful bull that the Mixed-Bloods happily agreed to their termination in 1954 and everything was hunky dory. What Maxine and all the rest of the tribal council members fail to realize is that by Maxine saying, “it’s okay for P.L. 671 to remain in full-force and effect”, that she is condoning and accepting this genocidal federal law. What an outrageous position for a tribal leader to take! In effect, she just put every American Indian Tribe in the United States in jeopardy of their sovereign immunity by saying “Termination Is Okay.”
Yes, President Nixon renounced the Termination Policy in 1970, but only to other tribes. There is still no guarantee when it comes to carrying forward P.L. 671 to effect the termination of the remaining Ute Indian Tribe.
Do Maxine Natchees and the Ute Indian Tribal Business Committee realize what a mistake they made when she told the sub-committee that it was the official position of the Ute Indian Tribe to oppose any efforts to repeal P.L. 671, a law that calls for the eventual termination of the Ute Indian Tribe? Do they not understand they are part of P.L. 671? When P.L. 671 was created and breathed life into by an Act of Congress this genocidal law was intended for the whole Ute Tribe as organized in 1937, the “Whole” Ute Indian Tribe meaning Mixed-Bloods and Full-Bloods alike. It is my opinion that an Act of Congress cannot be created for a whole tribe, and only a fourth of that tribe live with it! The Act either has to be “Repealed of Completed.” If the Act is completed the Ute Indian Tribe will have to be Terminated as called for in the Act. Everyone must know that the Act required that the Termination of the whole Ute Tribe should have happened ten years after the termination of the mixed-blood Ute’s.
I hope Maxine Natchees will be able to explain to the Tribal Elders and Children what she has done, by boycotting the Repeal of a law that would have saved them from Termination!! A Resolution from NCAI endorsing P.L. 671 would have started a long overdue effort to repeal this Act of Congress over Fifty Two years after this demon was unleashed on my family, hundreds of other innocent humans and myself, who was only eleven years old at the time. She just put the future of the Ute Indian Tribe in Jeopardy by going against the Repeal of P.L. 671 and saying termination is “Okay.”
The Mixed-Bloods have thought many times of calling on Congress to “Complete P.L. 671 which would call for the immediate termination of all Ute Indian Tribal Members, but we have more compassion and feelings for American Indians when it comes to tribal rights and Identities. This is why it is hard to believe that any tribal leader with compassion and humanity towards their fellow human beings and relatives would want this evil law around so it can continue to stalk and maim innocent Elders, Women and Children.
No American Indian Tribe should ever think they are immune from Termination since all it takes is a few Senators, a State that don’t support Tribes to pass this kind of bad law with only a “Stroke of the Pen.” Give it a new name such as “Self-Determination” etc. and it is done. Believe me, the Terminated Mixed-Bloods and their Descendents knows first hand, the pain, agony, and misery of helplessly watching your heart being cut out and your hands tied while others gleefully take your land, water and minerals from you!
The Ute Indian Tribe is the “Only” tribe in the United States that is arguing in favor of a “termination Act”! The only Tribe!! I blame the Tribal Council, because there is very few of the actual Tribal Members that even knows what Termination is and the immense damage it causes to anyone caught in its grasp.
The Ute Tribal Council would totally abandon it own sovereignty in order to spite the Mixed-Blood Uinta’s by defending P.L. 671 and any tribe that supports a termination Act in endangering the sovereignty of “All Tribes”.
But if this is the way that Maxine and the Ute Tribal Council want to treat their own people, the terminated Mixed-Blood’s, then we will start the process to have P.L. 671 of the 83rd Congress “Completed” as the Act called for. The time for playing around with peoples lives by the Ute Indian Tribal Council is over. If the Terminated original 490 and their descendents have to live by a law that was created for a whole tribe, then the Ute Indian Tribe and their descendents have to live by the same Law, as it was created for both. You want to keep the Law, so now you can live by it too!
Tim Giago, President of the Native American Journalists Foundation stated in his October 10th 2006 article (Quote) “Termination is an ugly word in Indian Country.” (Unquote)
Maxine Natchees, by not supporting the “Repeal of P.L. 671 is in fact saying, “Termination is “Okay” in Indian Country. We don’t want it changed, let Termination continue to live and breathe.
Hope Maxine and the rest of the Tribal Council can live with the mistake you just made… We tried, now the outcome in on your shoulders.
Oranna B Felter,
Terminated Mixed-Blood Uinta Band
Member of the Ute Indian Tribe,
Lead Plaintiff – Felter v. Kempthorne