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In a series of columns keying on Martin Luther King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech, I’ve asked Indians to dream. I’ve asked whether we have dreams worth risk and multi-generational effort. Without dreams, it’s hard to see how we have an Indian Martin Luther King or an Indian César Chávez. It’s hard to see a need for the tactics set out by the other kind of Indian, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, an English-educated Hindu lawyer whose life ended as MLK’s, by an assassin’s hand. By the time of his death, Gandhi carried the honorific “Mahatma.” In English, “Great Soul.”
I am not a Hindu like Gandhi or a Catholic like Chávez or even a Baptist like King, though my great grandfather was a full blood Cherokee Baptist preacher. I am a mere student of political science and history who can see what works. Gandhian tactics are only available to those willing to risk their freedom and perhaps their lives.
While Indians have few relevant traditions—we did do some non-cooperation—Gandhi suggests that the highest level of organizing is “parallel government.” We already have parallel governments.
Those governments do not, as a rule, dream inter-generational dreams or offer much to those who do. Therefore, should dreamers run for tribal office?