Indian Problems

The Sunday Olympian: Just why do our public officials, after being appointed to head certain departments of our state government, take it upon themselves to make certain laws and to interpret existing laws to fit their personal beliefs? Take our Game Department which has a great crusade going on at present with the Nisqually Indians and their fishing rights. Possibly the department has been ill advised. It is my understanding these Indians take all the eggs from the fish they catch and turn them over to the state hatchery. This is one way they try to cooperate. I also believe they will do their best to see that there will be fish in the river for their children to catch and live on, the same as their parents did.

* * * We are spending millions all over the world and still are not making friends. We do the same on integration, which was not asked for but now is a major problem in our country. Why not sit down at a conference table with these Indians and work with them and help solve their problems? Maybe a few dollars spent on a small hatchery on the reservation would prove a good investment for the state and I am satisfied it would receive the best of attention. There are 30 or 40 growing children on the reservation who would enjoy taking care of a small fish hatchery. This would be in line with the Youth Corps now being organized by the government. Tell these Indians we will try to get the correct interpretation of the Indian treaty signed by our ancestors. It will take time and patience. * * * Meanwhile let’s not make more enemies than we already have. We do not solve these problems by jailing an Indian who thinks he is right. He loves his family and will go to jail again to protect the rights he has had and still thinks he has. Also, if he goes to our local law enforcement agencies with a complaint, treat him as a human being and help solve his problems. Don’t just say: take it up with the Department of Indian Affairs. A little kindness goes a long way.

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