Seventeen thousand Chippewa Red Indians are on the warpath. But unlike their war painted ancestors,?
Seventeen thousand Chippewa Red Indians are on the warpath. But unlike their war painted ancestors, their main weapon is a seat in the UN General Assembly, not a sharp tomahawk. The Indians, forming a sovereign and independent nation in northeast Minnesota since 1866, accuse the Federal and State Governments of neglecting them an accusation thrown at legislators by several tribes in recent years - and breaking sacred treaties.
Though the Lake Nett Indians - 40 miles south of the Canadian border - live on 140 thousand acres of valuable arable farmland and forests, the annual income per head of population is only $ 3. And big timer business are encroaching on this land.
The sole means of earning money is the annual wild rice harvest around Nett lake. in two weeks of August the average family can earn over $1,200. But with Federal and local aid cut to minimum, claims for land guaranteed under treaties ignored and, the climax to twenty years battling, medical assistance slashed to barest necessities, the Indians are far from happy. Until two years ago the reservation had one week - and polio, dysentery and diptheria germs and viruses abounded.
So Indian Tribe spokesman Gerald Sheehy is carrying the fight to international level - lawyers are preparing application to United Nations in New York.
65 per cent of the population is pagan, and on Summer evenings, medicine men's drums beat supplications to the spirits, asking for better hunting of moose and deer, or better harvests of sturgeon, strawberries of blueberries.
These proud people prefer death to charity - and many might die unnecessarily if the latest reduction in medical assistance stands.
And with infant nations swelling her ranks almost daily, and filling her space, New York's UN building stands in danger of being too small. The world organization of expanding, or rebuilding conference rooms and the general assembly.