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The Missouri River has an important place in American history. In 1803 the United States purchased the rights to govern the Louisiana Territory, an area which spread from the Mississippi River west to the headwaters of the Missouri River. The Lewis and Clark expedition was then sent out to find the headwaters of the Missouri, to make contact with the Indians, and to report on the economic potential for the new territory. Soon after, the Missouri became the highway for non-Indian fur traders, explorers, miners, and settlers.

In 1944 Congress approved the Pick-Sloan Plan for flood control and navigation on the Missouri River. The primary beneficiaries of the Pick-Sloan plan were non-Indian farmers. The Plan involved the construction of four dams – Garrison, Fort Randall, Oahe, and Big Bend – which would impact twenty-three Indian reservations and result in the forced relocation of nearly 1,000 Indian families. Many Indian leaders would later charge that the project selected Indian lands for dam sites rather than non-Indian lands. In carrying out the plan, the Army Corps of Engineers negotiated settlements with the Indians, ignoring tribal sovereignty, Indian law, and treaty rights.

The Bureau of Indian Affairs was fully informed about the project and its impact on Indian reservations. The BIA made no objections to the project while it was debated in Congress. None of the tribes affected by the project were consulted about it.

Former Commissioner of Indian Affairs Philleo Nash would later say that Pick-Sloan "caused more damage to Indian land than any other public works project in America." The plan ignored Indian water rights and the Winters Doctrine.

In 1946 the Army Corps of Engineers began construction on the Fort Randall Dam in South Dakota. The dam flooded 22,091 acres of Yankton Sioux land and dislocated 136 families. The reservoir also covered Fort Thompson, the largest community on the Crow Creek Reservation. As a result, the Bureau of Indian Affairs Offices were moved to Pierre, South Dakota and the Indian Health Service facilities were moved to Chamberlain, South Dakota. By placing these two services – BIA and HIS – in two different communities it became more difficult and less convenient for the Indians needing these services.

The Army Corps of Engineers, ignoring the Yankton Treaty of 1858, tribal sovereignty, and Indian law, simply condemned the Indian land that it needed. The amount offered to Indian land owners was often significantly less than the amount offered to non-Indian land owners.

The Army Corps of Engineers also entered the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota to begin construction of the Garrison Dam. The Three Affiliated Tribes of the Reservation -- Mandan, Hidatsa, Arikara -- had not been informed of the project. The dam would flood every acre of productive land on the Fort Berthold reservation.

When the tribes informed the Department of Interior that the homes and lands of 349 families with 1,544 people were to be flooded, the BIA simply told them to start looking for new homes.

While the Army Corps of Engineers altered the project’s specifications without Congressional authorization to protect the non-Indian town of Williston, they did nothing to protect the Indian communities. The Fort Berthold tribes protested to Congress and managed to stop the funding for the project until a settlement was reached.

At one reservation conference attended by General Pick of the Army Corps of Engineers, Indians in full ceremonial dress denounced the talks. General Pick flew into a rage, canceled the negotiations, and repudiated all of the agreements which had been reached as of that time. By his failure to understand the situation, the general clearly revealed his basic ignorance of the people with whom he was dealing. General Pick’s contention that the Indians were belligerently uncooperative was used by him as a reason to dictate his own settlement terms to Congress.

In 1948 the Army Corps of Engineers began construction of Oahe Dam in South Dakota. The Oahe Dam would destroy more Indian land than any other public works project in America.  The project destroyed 90 percent of the timber land on the Standing Rock Sioux and Cheyenne River Sioux reservations as well as the most valuable rangeland, most of the gardens and cultivated areas, and the wild fruit and wildlife resources.

The Department of the Interior (of which the BIA is a part) signed the final agreement in 1948 for the Pick-Sloan plan to build dams which would flood the Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. While the Pick-Sloan plan took great care not to drown any non-Indian towns along the Missouri River, it flooded 155,000 acres of the most fertile Indian farmland in the Great Plains.

The agreement denied Indians the right to use the reservoir shoreline for hunting, fishing, grazing, or other purposes. It also rejected tribal requests for irrigation development.

In 1950 Congress enacted legislation which established the guidelines for the negotiation of a settlement for Indian lands taken by the Oahe Dam project in South Dakota. The legislation made the Army Corps of Engineers and the Secretary of the Interior responsible for negotiating favorable settlements with the tribes. The legislation required that the settlement include payment for Indian land and improvements as well as for relocation costs.

The Standing Rock Sioux in 1951 attempted to hire their own attorney, to be paid out of tribal funds, to help in the negotiations regarding lands taken in the Pick-Sloan dam projects. The tribe wanted legal counsel which would be totally independent from the politics of the Department of the Interior. However, Commissioner of Indian Affairs Dillon Meyer rejected their choice of an attorney and allowed only a one-year contract.

The attorney selected by the tribe, James Curry, was an outspoken critic of the BIA and was one of a number of Indian claims lawyers against whom Meyer had a personal vendetta. The tribe protested Meyer’s decision to the Department of Interior. The Department of the Interior did nothing as Meyer continued to publicly attack Curry.

Federal representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers and the BIA met with the Standing Rock Sioux and the Cheyenne River Sioux in 1952 to seek an agreement over lands taken from them under the Pick-Sloan dam projects on the Missouri River.

The Standing Rock Sioux asked that they be allowed to spend $500 to have their attorney attend the conference with them. Commissioner of Indian Affairs Dillon Meyer refused the request, calling it a "highjacking game." The Secretary of the Interior overruled Meyer’s decision.

According to one representative from the Cheyenne River Sioux: "This is not a happy occasion. We are here to participate in the gutting of our reservation."

Representatives of the Cheyenne River Sioux in South Dakota testified before Congress in 1954 regarding land claims from the Oahe Dam of the Pick-Sloan Project. The representatives paid their own way for the BIA would allow them only five days in Washington which was not enough time to cut through the federal bureaucracy. The representatives also realized that Congress was more comfortable hearing from Indian stereotypes than real Indians. Thus, Little Cloud was instructed to speak in Lakota at the hearings, and Chasing Hawk was to translate his remarks into broken English, even though both men spoke their adopted language fluently. Members of Congress were delighted.

In the end, Congress awarded the Cheyenne River Sioux nearly $11 million which was $13 million less what the Indians felt was just compensation for their losses.

In 1958 the Army Corps of Engineers filed suit to condemn Standing Rock Sioux land which was needed for the Oahe Dam. Tribal attorneys countered with a motion to dismiss because Congress had not given specific authorization to condemn tribal land. Support for the Indian’s case was provided in the 1868 Sioux Treaty which stated that land can be taken only upon payment of just compensation and the consent of adult tribal membership.

Judge George Mickelson, a former South Dakota governor, found for the tribe stating: "It is clear to this Court that Congress has never provided the requisite authority to the Secretary of the Army to condemn this tribal land. Such action is wholly repugnant to the entire history of Congressional and judicial treatment of Indians."

Two weeks after the Oahe Dam was closed and the reservoir began filling, Congress passed a settlement which provided a little more than $12 million to the Standing Rock Sioux. This was $14 million less than they had requested.

In 1959 the Army Corps of Engineers began work on the Big Bend Dam in South Dakota. The project was located on lands belonging to the Crow Creek Sioux and the Lower Brule Sioux and would take 21,026 acres of Sioux land. The reservoir would flood the town of Lower Brule.

In addition, the reservoir created by the dam would flood the reservation lands which had the greatest potential for irrigation and thus destroy the possibility of implementing plans proposed by the BIA and the Bureau of Reclamation for irrigation projects on the two reservations.

The Army Corps of Engineers filed a condemnation suit against the Crow Creek Sioux and the Lower Brulé Sioux in 1960 to obtain land for their Big Bend Project. Congress had not specially designated any power of eminent domain to the Army and the Army ignored the Court ruling regarding the Standing Rock Sioux. The Army Corps of Engineers was allowed to take title to the land. Neither the tribes themselves, their lawyers, the BIA, nor any of the Indian rights organizations protested this decision.

In South Dakota, the Army Corps of Engineers delivered payment to the Standing Rock Sioux for lands needed for the Oahe Dam project in 1960. In the midst of a fierce winter, the tribe was also given an immediate eviction notice. Indian families were forced to gather their possessions and leave the land. However, the government had not yet made available funds for the construction of new homes and the people were forced to live in trailers which they had to maintain at their own expense. The eviction date established by the Corps had been an arbitrary one. Tribal members could have remained in their old homes until the more favorable months of summer without interfering with the completion of the Oahe project.

Under 1944 legislation dealing with the electricity generated by the Pick-Sloan dams, Indians should have qualified as preferential low-cost power customers. However, the government simply ignored this and the Indians did not receive low cost electricity from the dams located on their land. It took Congress nearly 40 years to recognize that a wrong had been committed. Therefore, in 1982 authorized the Departments of Energy and Interior to make Pick-Sloan pumping power available to the Standing Rock, Cheyenne River, Crow Creek, Lower Brule, and Omaha Reservations in South Dakota and Nebraska. However, Congress did not provide for the construction of new transmission lines to these Indian projects. Existing lines owned and operated by Rural Electrification Administration cooperatives were unable to give the tribes a reduced delivery rate.

In 1983 the state of South Dakota attempted to exercise exclusive jurisdiction over hunting and fishing in the Fort Randall and Big Bend Dam project areas on the Lower Brulé Reservation. The Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Indians and as a result both the state and the tribe enforced their regulations within the area. The state, however, was limited to enforcement over non-Indians.

In 1988 the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe announced that they would no longer recognize South Dakota hunting licenses in the Oahe Dam project area and that hunters must obtain a tribal hunting license.

Congress authorized in 1992 nearly $91 million to the Standing Rock Sioux in compensation for damages caused by the Oahe Dam project. The legislation also established an irrigation area on the reservation and transferred the administrative jurisdiction of the land taken in the project from the Secretary of the Army (Corps of Engineers) to the Secretary of the Interior (Bureau of Indian Affairs).

In 1999 Lakota protesters established a camp on LaFramboise Island in the Missouri River in South Dakota. The camp was in protest of the Water Resources and Development Act (WRDA) which would give treaty lands to the state of South Dakota. The lands were taken from the Cheyenne River and Lower Brulé Sioux tribes by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1947 as a part of the Pick-Sloan dam project. The land was no longer needed by the Corps.

In 2000 the Army Corps of Engineers agreed to delay raising water levels in Lake Francis Case in South Dakota to allow the Yankton Sioux Tribe to recover scattered human remains. The Indian burial site was uncovered when the water levels behind Fort Randall Dam dropped. Supposedly the Army Corps of Engineers had relocated all burials in 1950 before the reservoir filled.

Native American Netroots Web BadgeCross Posted at Native American Netroots

 An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.

                red_black_rug_design2

Originally posted to Ojibwa on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 09:10 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I'm loving these teachings (16+ / 0-)

    Thank you.  What's emerging is a long, painful process of redress, not close to finished.  I had no idea about dams utilized as a political weapon before reading this series.

    climate.gov---POTUS' New Science-Based Climate Change Agency

    by GN1927 on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 09:24:31 AM PDT

  •  Thanks (11+ / 0-)

    These help with the de-indoctrination of the rest of us, who grew up being taught that the Western Expansion as "manifest destiny" rather than genocide, and that Indians were just the enemy that the heroes had to face on tv and movies.

    I've been lucky to have long ago known someone who studied with a Lakota elder, and who passed some of the wisdom on through word and action.

    We are all relatives -- thanks again.

    Humoring the horror of environmental collapse: ApocaDocs.com.
    Now with a free funny/scary book!

    by mwmwm on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 09:39:25 AM PDT

  •  As usual, thanks for teaching me some of (10+ / 0-)

    the American history I didn't learn in high school or college.

  •  why Dashle lost his Senate seat (11+ / 0-)

    Tom Dashle joined with the state to make an underhanded backroom deal to allow the state to take over river side lands that belonged to the tribes before the dams were built. He had forgotten his own saying that Democrats in South Dakota can't win statewide elections without winning big margins on the reservations. His betrayal and subsequent loss was never mentioned in the post election pundit reviews and to this day most progressives have no idea why he was rejected.

    This also affected the Obama campaign when they thought Dashle could help Obama by using him as their front man against Hillary Clinton. Dashle worked in South Dakota for Obama but avoided the reservations while the Clinton campaign built on the good will Bill had on the reservations and sent him to rural S.D. including the reservations. Obama won the native vote but his margins were much less because he sent Tom Dashle among us without consulting tribal leaders or Indian progressives who could have warned him.

    Now the native vote is fast growing and dynamic while the non-Indian vote is diminishing in most counties excepting the cities. Democrats have a chance to turn S.D. blue or at least purple if they would attempt to have a presence on the reservation and quit ignoring what is a loyal constituency. We generally vote democratic or don't vote so for progressives to win in South Dakota they need to understand our issues such as how devastating the dams on the Missouri have been (and still are) to our people.

  •  Thank you (8+ / 0-)

    I wish these were on the front page.

    Money=speech; every dollar has a right to be heard. The Supremes

    by orson on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:07:34 AM PDT

  •  Another great diary. Thanks. n/t (5+ / 0-)

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:12:20 AM PDT

  •  the winters doctrine, for those who do not (6+ / 0-)

    know, is basically a US Supreme Court decision that is a doctrine establishing Indian reserved water rights to all waters necessary to satisfy the purpose of the reservation, which was usually agricultural use, fishing, instream flows. These rights were established by the creation of the federal reservation. They are really one of the better water rights in terms of priority, uses etc., except when the feds ignore the law.

    Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's need, but not every man's greed. Mohandas K. Gandhi

    by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:20:36 AM PDT

  •  Neither were the tribes allowed to harvest timber (7+ / 0-)

    before the reservoirs filled. We gave them the crappiest land in the Dakotas then stole the sliver that could sustain them. The winter grazing lands and the only truly arable acres were along the river. As a result poverty on the reservations is comparable to third world countries.

    Elizabeth Cook-Lynn, a Crow Creek native, has written very poignantly about Pick-Sloan and the effects on the tribes.

    muse.jhu.edu/demo/wicazo_sa_review/v015/15.2jahner.pdf

    www.jstor.org/stable/1409208

    www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-83699673.html

    http://www.amazon.com/...

  •  9 Billion kWh in 2009 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa

    The Missouri River hydropower dams generated 9 Billion kWh of carbon-free power in 2009.  Just something to think about in a world which is concerned with climate change.

    •  stolen from it's owners (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gogol, TiaRachel, Kitsap River, Ojibwa

      the irony is that the tribes who live there and owned the lands are the USA's poorest humans. The dams put underwater the best and sometimes the only farmlands and left the people bereft. Was it worth it to a world where poverty is also a major concern? I guess it's all in one's perspective. Our babies die at several times the rate of other Americans and our reservations suffer 85% unemployment, but, the USA gets some cheap energy.

      •  Is eminent domain theft? (0+ / 0-)

        I thought only crazy right-wingers thought that eminent domain was theft.

        •  it can be theft (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gogol, Kitsap River, Ojibwa

          as the diary explains those lands belonged to soverign nations and were taken in violation of the treaties which are the supreme law of the land according to your Constitution. These treaties trump laws such as eminent domain. So in this case it was outright theft. I hope now you can chage that ignorant belief that "only right wingers" think eminent domain is theft.

          •  Umm... (0+ / 0-)

            Treaties are laws, but so are the statutes which authorized the eminent domain.  A more recent law supersedes an earlier law.  That's how statutes work.  So, it's not theft.  You can argue on public policy grounds whether the eminent domain was advisable, but not on the grounds that the action was illegal.

            •  wrong (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gogol, TiaRachel, Ojibwa

              treaties can't be over ridden by laws no matter how recent or ancient. Ask any competent lawyer if you don't believe me. You're totally wrong in your thinking. In todays world when my people have trained Constitutional attorneys we would have been able to stop those dams but back them our legal affairs were handled by our trustee (the BIA) who sold us out for political expediency.

              I can see you have no idea what you're talking about but I expect your misunderstanding of law and history are common place so thanks for allowing me to set you straight and educate some others at the same time. Ignorance does have its usefullness at times.

        •  Yes, it can be (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Charles CurtisStanley, Ojibwa

          Suppose your house is in the way of where a big developer wants to put something private, and the municipality condemns your house and takes it via eminent domain to turn it over to said big developer. See Kelo v. City of New London for an example.

          Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

          by Kitsap River on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 10:52:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, it is (0+ / 0-)
          1. Taxation is theft too, but that doesn't automatically mean it is or should be illegal. The Constitution is our document telling the government what it may and may not do, and in it, we give the government authority to tax and use eminent domain, with restrictions of course (for a public use, and having paid just compensation).
          1. Nothing in 1 suggests eminent domain or taxation is always a good thing, even within the restrictions, just that it is not illegal. Principally, I don't support taxation on anything except the use of natural resources (land, oil, water, etc..).

          I don't know if I support eminent domain for any reason (if the owner's use of property is the source of a public bad, he/she can and should be evicted with no compensation. See Mugler v. Kansas page 123). However, eminent domain for public use (not "public benefit" or "public purpose" but "public use," or the public's act of employing anything to any purpose) is clearly allowed by the Constitution. Eminent domain for private use is clearly not Constitutional, including for "economic development," both because the public recognizing a benefit is not a use, and because economic development from eminent domain is impossible

    •  Think what about? Take it a bit further... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gogol, peace voter, Kitsap River, Ojibwa

      or perhaps re-read the diary (generously assuming you've read it once). Because you don't seem to be addressing the same topic -- in context, I can't figure out what your point actually is.

      I point you to this, from the diary (my emphasis):

      In the midst of a fierce winter, the tribe was also given an immediate eviction notice. Indian families were forced to gather their possessions and leave the land. However, the government had not yet made available funds for the construction of new homes and the people were forced to live in trailers which they had to maintain at their own expense. The eviction date established by the Corps had been an arbitrary one. Tribal members could have remained in their old homes until the more favorable months of summer without interfering with the completion of the Oahe project.

      Under 1944 legislation dealing with the electricity generated by the Pick-Sloan dams, Indians should have qualified as preferential low-cost power customers. However, the government simply ignored this and the Indians did not receive low cost electricity from the dams located on their land. It took Congress nearly 40 years to recognize that a wrong had been committed. Therefore, in 1982 authorized the Departments of Energy and Interior to make Pick-Sloan pumping power available to ...Reservations in South Dakota and Nebraska. However, Congress did not provide for the construction of new transmission lines to these Indian projects. Existing lines ... were unable to give the tribes a reduced delivery rate.

      That's only one of several examples. Yes, dams are generally beneficial, and hydroelectric is wonderful. But they also flood previously useful land, causing hardship to those who had lived on and from that land. Don't you think that those who were forced to give up their sustenance should receive some sort of repayment (maybe profit-sharing) from what was made from the land that was peremptorily taken, without payment stolen from them? Because that's what the diary is about.

      •  right, plus they ignored the U.S. Constitution (5+ / 0-)

        under the Constitution our Treaties are supposed to be the "Supreme Law of the Land". But the treaties were broken and ignored and native people were denied their Constitutional rights under American law. Because it happened when our people were totally dominated by the Interior Dept and its BIA we wern't able to fight it. I know many families whose lands are now underwater who live in abject poverty where once they had prosperous farms.

        It's funny that the commentor turns from saying it's carbon free energy to talking about "crazy rightwingers" and eminent domain. I guess it shows where he's really coming from.

        •  Yep. And no response to me, either. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peace voter, Kitsap River, Ojibwa

          I thought I'd leave the gritty legal details to someone more knowledgeable (also, 'legal' and 'moral' aren't exactly always the same) -- but I suspect this is one time that my general approach of "assume cluelessness rather than malice" is a fail.

          •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

            "Stolen" is a legal rather than a moral term.  If someone wants to argue that Congress' application of eminent domain is immoral, I'd be willing to hear it, but I feel obligated to clear up misconceptions that cacamp apparently has about Congress' power to authorize eminent domain in these cases.

            •  Sorry, nope. And I'd bet that cacamp has (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kitsap River

              just a bit more experience in this particular legal venue than you (and if that weren't true, then you'd probably already know each other.)

              •  I'm perfectly willing to let... (0+ / 0-)

                cacamp cite some case law that supports his contention, but he cited none.  If he or you want to argue that the Head Money Cases or Lone Wolf v. Hitchcock are no longer good law, then please do, but that hasn't happened.  It's not good enough to just guess about how the law works.

                •  the specifics of the Head Money (2+ / 0-)

                  and the Lone Wolf cases you cite - I seem to recall the decisions in these pertain to specific versus general applicability as to whether statutes override treaties.

                  It's been a few decades since I studied these and unfortunately, I don't have the time or energy to review them again, but perhaps your blanket statement that these cases set precedence of statute or Congressional law over treaty rights isn't as straightforward as you suggest.

                  "We are one, after all, you and I, together we suffer, together exist, and forever will recreate each other."
                  Teilhard de Chardin

                  by exmearden on Wed Mar 31, 2010 at 01:10:53 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

        •  If you look at the link I gave above... (0+ / 0-)

          to the Head Money Cases, you'll see that the Supreme Court has held that treaties have the same status as other statutes.  All statutes are the "Supreme Law of the Land".  I'm not saying that I think it's a great thing that Congress can unilaterally abrogate treaties.  I just don't understand where you are getting this idea that it can't.  Certainly not from any Supreme Court opinions.

        •  Not only RWs ignore treaties (4+ / 0-)

          Left-wingers, especially environmentalists, ignore them all the time, one in particular. You should have seen them tear into the Makah because they caught a whale.

          It says so right in the treaty that the Makah have a right to go whaling. It is a traditional, cultural method of living and their whaling canoes were (and are) something to see. But as soon as word got out, the Makah and other Indians or Indian-looking people all over the Olympic Peninsula were hassled, bigtime. People were refusing to serve them in stores, that was one way; yet when Japanese tourists come through, there is no hesitation to serve them, let alone a refusal. The Japanese catch a lot more whales than the Makah. Why attack the Makah and not the Japanese? The Makah were even harried and harassed on the water to the point where it became dangerous for them on the open sea.

          Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

          by Kitsap River on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 11:00:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I don't dispute that (0+ / 0-)

        The tribes involved didn't get what they should have.  I just think that these diaries are very one-sided in not discussing anywhere what the benefits of these dams are.

        •  The purpose of the diaries (5+ / 0-)

          is to show the impact of the dams on Indian nations. The focus is not on the benefit of the dams, but on their impact of Indian people and their cultures.

        •  You may not be the only person who (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gogol, Kitsap River, Ojibwa

          reads these diaries as anti-dam, but I have a hard time understanding how you get that (especially with all the detail in this particular installment). It's an unpleasant history, and yes, it's difficult to face the conflict of "I benefit from this" with "others are hurt by this" -- but that's really something Progressives (and all Democrats, and really every other adult, even libertarians) need to be able to handle.

          I've found a bit of glossing over in some of Ojibwa's other diaries on occasion -- it's easy to over-generalize while editing your own material, writing is tougher than it looks -- but the way I pointed it out was to clearly state the issue, dig up the relevant info showing that a different preposition, I think it was, would be more accurate, and present the material in an unchallenging way. Because I wasn't challenging his main thesis, just clearing up a point.

          I'm sorry, but your initial comment here really doesn't suggest that you've read anything but the headline. I've read, well, most of the diaries in the series, and I haven't gotten "and so dams are bad!" out of any of them. The message I get isn't that dams shouldn't exist -- it's that both the benefits & the hardships of making such a dramatic change to the terrain have not been evenly distributed -- or more simply, that in all these cases, when the US gov't was given the choice to assist, leave alone, or damage Native peoples, it's generally chosen damage (I would be interested to know about any cases in which the other options were taken).

          •  I haven't found this as anti-dam (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gogol, Charles CurtisStanley, Ojibwa

            I've read about our often-shameful history in this country, something which is all too often not merely glossed over but covered up, kind of like sweeping dirt under the carpet. I am hoping Ojibwa turns his sight to the west and covers the Lower Elwha dam.

            Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

            by Kitsap River on Tue Mar 30, 2010 at 11:03:51 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Obijwa Gives a Great Summary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ojibwa

    Obijwa a great summary of the struggles of tribes along the Missouri River. I would recommend if any one wants more information to read Michael Lawson's Dammed Indians Revisited. There are some other important aspects to the Missouri River that are interesting to point out or to research further. Pick's political manuevering to get his plan passed through is really interesting. Another aspect that is lost in the whole debate is the evolution of the State of South Dakota in their hopes of damming the river. The Pick-Sloan Plan was not a fly by night operation jammed through, but joint effort by organizations in twenty years of work.

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