Monday, October 12, 2009

Finally The Pioneer Published This Letter 10-11-09

At election time all the politicians come looking for native American votes and our money — dollars derived from Indian gaming revenues. The real story of what these politicians are doing for Indian people is told in the employment statistics of local county governments:

Beltrami County:.. 16 native Anishinabe out of a workforce of between 385-400 employees

Cass County ... six native Anishinabe out of a workforce of 300 employees

Itasca County … one native Anishinabe out of a workforce of between 380-400 employees

Hubbard County ... Unknown native Anishinabe out of a workforce of 195 employees

Crow Wing County ... one native Anishinabe of a workforce of 489 employees

Our counties receive tremendous resources from the state and federal governments not to mention local tax revenues paid by Indian people, too.

How can anyone claim that affirmative action guidelines are being adhered to when we find this kind of racism in hiring practices at the county level of government?

Is there any wonder unemployment on Indian reservations is over 50 percent and poverty is all pervasive?

Is there any doubt that the disgraceful and deplorable conditions of poverty among native Americans is not the result of an official government policy of institutionalized racism permeating the highest to lowest levels of government?

How can we expect that affirmative action in hiring policies will be enforced on all these huge construction jobs now receiving billions of dollars in “stimulus funds” if no one has monitored and enforced affirmative action guidelines at the county government level where employment practices are easiest to control?

Obviously, this situation results because we have not one single native American sitting in the Minnesota state Legislature demanding accountability from any level of government and none of those making the claims they are looking out for our rights are doing anything.

Fewer than 30 native Americans are employed out of over 1,500 workers employed in the five county governments comprising Senate District 4; how does the present senator explain this?

This situation is a disgrace; just like the poverty which institutionalized racism in hiring practices breeds.

Gregory W. Paquin