This Land
July 29, 2019 7:03 PM   Subscribe

Hosted by Rebecca Nagle, an Oklahoma journalist and citizen of the Cherokee Nation, the This Land podcast provides an in depth look at how a cut and dry murder case opened an investigation into half the land in Oklahoma and the treaty rights of five tribes and how this unique case could result in the largest restoration--or the largest loss--of tribal land in US history.

On June 22, 1839, my great-great-great grandfather John Ridge was pulled from his bed, dragged into his front yard, and stabbed 26 times. His assassins stomped his chest until it caved in. They did it because John Ridge had signed Cherokee Nation’s removal treaty, a document that promised our tribe uninterrupted sovereignty over a quarter of the land in what is present-day Oklahoma. That promise was not kept.

"This Land is an incredible story that spans generations of my family and will delve deep into how one unique murder case could have a profound impact on the rights of five tribes in Oklahoma, including mine," said Nagle.

Mother Jones interview:
  • "You’re used to hearing how tribes lost land to arrows and guns. I’m going to tell you how my tribe lost land to bureaucracy and corruption. And in some ways, it’s even more infuriating."
  • "invisibility is the modern form of racism against Natives."
  • We used to not be in a box. We used to have this whole continent, but now we have this little box . . . And then what happens, over and over again, is either that box gets smaller, or the United States says, "You know what, we gave you that box, but now we changed our mind, and you don’t even get that box."
  • In a rare move, the Supreme Court recently deferred ruling on Carpenter v. Murphy and will hear it again this fall. What does that postponement mean for the case?
posted by flug (11 comments total) 38 users marked this as a favorite
I think there's (more than?) one display on this treaty/individual's actions/death in the National Museum of the American Indian. I could be remembering wrong from my visit there a few years ago but it was one, of many, of the informational exhibits that outlined the betrayals of tribes, even as the tribes in question continued to operate in good [but ever decreasing] faith.

These treaties and subsequent rulings/betrayals are so interesting to me, and especially relevant since I'm First Generation Poarch Creek*, but I find them almost completely unapproachable because, as a law abiding but cynical person,

A) they are simply too painful to consider when I attempt to put myself in the shoes of the tribal leaders/chiefs that were forced (or outright tricked) into choosing the worst of two evils only to see that even that deal wasn't worth the paper it was printed on as soon as it didn't benefit the US Government/citizens adequately (or in this case, even sooner) and

B) they are (well, short of the present administration's machinations perhaps) such obvious examples of the fact that any trust people not in positions of power put in the letter of the law being a ward against harm or a promise of equality is inherently mislaid and is fraught right out of the gate.

Perhaps B is just a rewording of A in a more general sense, but the point is that this topic shakes me to my core and until reparations are made (hint: never) it's pretty much impossible for me to go into without walking away quick, fast, and in a hurry, often softly weeping.

Thanks for posting.

*Full disclosure: The Muscogee Nation in the links the OP posted is a major opponent of many of the things our tribe is doing/has done. To be blunt, my ancestors and theirs were the same people, mine just dodged the Trail of Tears and faced different, if less deadly perhaps, consequences in the following years. I fully respect their objections, as do many of our tribal members, if not the leadership. Also, never read comments on
posted by RolandOfEld at 8:06 PM on July 29, 2019 [16 favorites]

In the sense of "shut up and listen" about understanding other people and cultures even within your own country, you could do a lot worse than to bring Native America Calling into your daily podcast listening schedule. I listened to it for many years while out on delivery routes, and found it to be deeply educational (if a bit confusing at times due to being outside their culture). The only reason I stopped listening to it is my local public radio station that was carrying it live moved it to another time on another station and not-live. I've made at least one post here on the Blue, if not several, based on things I first heard there.
posted by hippybear at 9:00 PM on July 29, 2019 [7 favorites]

Thank you for posting - digging in now!
posted by esoteric things at 9:01 PM on July 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Because I love reading a good court filing, here's the filings in Carpenter v. Murphy at SCOTUSblog.
posted by mikelieman at 4:27 AM on July 30, 2019 [5 favorites]

Thank you for sharing, flug. I do worry about what the rehearing means for the case, especially after Senator Hirono’s questioning of Brett Kavanaugh, which revealed his willingness to rule on tribal matters from a position of total ignorance.
posted by sallybrown at 7:21 AM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I really, really, REALLY appreciated This Land; I feel like it's one of the podcasts that I have learned the most from! Thanks for the post.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:24 AM on July 30, 2019

I'm on episode 3. This is fascinating.
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:40 AM on July 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

I appreciate Crooked Media running this podcast series. I learned a lot.

I hope the delay means the justices wanted to make sure they understood the issues before they made a ruling.
posted by nangar at 10:50 AM on July 30, 2019

I'm in the middle of reading a book about Ned Christie, a nationalist/traditional Cherokee politician in the 1800's who essentially was branded an outlaw because he didn't want to part of an investigation for a murder of a U.S Deputy on Cherokee land. One of the things that really struck me about the book is how white people used their privilege to completely screw over the Native population (I know, shocking!):

1. White men marrying native women to get on Native rolls and access to the shrinking reservation land,
1a. encouraging assimilation and using political means to dilute and weaken the traditional Tribal governments,
1b. outright stealing land but it's ok, because of Manifest Destiny!
2. When in trouble, navigating the two legal systems for favorable treatment (US Courts vs. Tribal Courts),
2a. Getting a pass by the local law enforcement, who then unfairly punish the Native Americans for the same infraction.
3. Using medical and cultural genocide tactics to remove Native prisoners away from their family and local population, and refusing to let Native institutions take care of their own because they would let them off "easy"
4. Literally fake news- news articles that just repeated each other without actually interviewing local people, and playing up the "wild west" and outlaw personas to sell papers

Each of the factors keep compounding and playing off each other, which magnifies each individual's action. I know that's the essence of how the white population built the US on the backs of BIOPIC populations, but this book describes each papercut in a pretty visceral way, and consistently repeats it. After 2/3rds of the way through the book, it makes sense that Christie wouldn't want to subject himself to white justice, since it would be rigged from the start. It's not a perfect biography, but there is a rawness in the language that really exposes how much the Native Americans were/are screwed over.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 11:01 PM on July 31, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Cherokee Nation has decided to, for the first time, exercise their treaty right to appoint a representative to the US Congress. It will be interesting to see what, if anything, is agreed.

If anyone expresses the slightest opposition to a nonvoting member it will serve as a giant red flag. That is literally the least that can be plausibly construed from the language of the treaty. Anything less is essentially making the argument that we should not abide by the rule of law.
posted by wierdo at 8:53 PM on August 25, 2019

I somehow managed to forget to include a link. Oops.
posted by wierdo at 10:38 PM on August 25, 2019

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