Parade Magazine on 5/30/10 contained a brief discussion of the appointment of Kimberly Teehee as the first White House senior policy advisor for Native American Affairs. Teehee says; “Job creation is a huge priority: unemployment rates on some reservations are as high as 80%”. To my knowledge and I expect, yours, there are no special unemployment problems at all with mainstream Americans who have Indian ancestry but have opted out of their “Indian Nation”. Why would that be so?

“ Indian Country has great needs, but our future is far from bleak—more than $3 billion was directed to Indian tribes through the Recovery Act, and the 2011 budget provides a 5% increase over 2010”, says Teehee. But these tribal Indians will get access to that money only through abiding by the whims of their tribal chiefs. None of them have the option of governing their own lives unless they leave the “safety” of the reservation.

If problems like unemployment and extreme obesity disappeared from these Indian reservations— and they certainly should with $3 billion plus 5%—would Kimberly Teehee have a job? Could it be that Teehee’s continued prosperity and power are connected to the persistence of Indian tribes’ unemployment, extreme obesity and other severe social problems?

The Akaka bill, pending in the U.S. Senate, makes, by law, native Hawaiians an Indian tribe. Would that push our friends, neighbors and family members of native Hawaiian ancestry into the Indian atrocity model described above? We should hope not. No one knows for sure.

Do you want to risk it?