Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Dennis Chappabitty: Surviving Racists "You Damn Redskin!" .

Our friend and attorney to disenrolled tribal members in California, Dennis Chappabitty has his story on actual racism and his survival when attacked by four white men...

Attorney Dennis G. Chappabitty, a member of the Comanche Nation, shares his encounter with hate and racism in Oklahoma:

I engaged in a pitched, life-and-death, brutal, bloody battle with four racist young white men on a lonely dark rural road in Creek County, Oklahoma in 1971. I was a 22-year-old college student and a citizen of the Comanche Nation of Oklahoma.

Recent reports of racism rearing its hateful head out of the filthy muck in Rapid City, South Dakota; Ferguson, Missouri; and Norman, Oklahoma compel me to tell my personal story of survival against racists who were out to kill me while screaming, “You damn redskin, your kind of cowardly red trash needs to be beaten and killed!”

That night in September 1971, I was hitchhiking to Stillwater, Oklahoma from Chicago to attend my final year of college at Oklahoma State University. The trip was great with good folks sharing their food and company all the way to Tulsa from Chicago where I visited my Chiricahua Apache uncles who lived there.

I was on the outskirts of Tulsa very late at night with no cars stopping when a red Chevy Camaro quickly sped by, abruptly stopped, then backed up. I ran up to the car and asked, “Are you going to Stillwater?” They told me to get in. It was a tight fit in the small back seat with two guys while two others sat up front. They could have been frat boys. My pack was stashed in the trunk as we all sped down Highway 51 West.

Get the Story: "YOU DAMN REDSKIN"


Reinstatement_Restitution said...

Dennis, thanks for sharing the story of your personal struggle and especially the outcome. None of us are defined by the cowardice and bigotry of the corrupt tribal leaders who seek to terminate us as Indians.

They won't face us because their souls are stained with shame.

They won't give us due process because hearings would reveal the corruption and deceit in their actions.

They won't give us equal protection under the law because their hearts have turned to stone and they see us as threats to their freedom to steal from the people.

This is the racism and injustice we face from our own people.

The BIA has sided with the tribal leaders against us. They have created a policy to deny us benefits simply because some crooked leaders say we don't belong to our own tribes.

Why does the BIA deny us eligibility for federal benefits simply because our tribal membership is under dispute? Forget about jurisdiction for a moment. I am not saying the BIA should interfere with internal tribal affairs. I am saying that the BIA is denying us due process also.

We did not get a hearing, we did not get to present evidence on our behalf, or have an opportunity to be judged by a jury of equals. We were declared guilty of being non-Indian and denied eligibility for federal benefits.

There is no reason for the BIA to turn against Indians who they once recognized. Especially when they have ruled that it is an internal tribal matter. If it is an internal tribal matter, why does it affect our eligibility for federal benefits? The tribes do not dictate to the federal government, but the BIA is acting as though the tribes define eligibility for federal benefits.

We have an opportunity here to hold the BIA accountable for abusing our civil rights. This is not the kind of action that is protected by the APA. I have only just come to this conclusion so before acting on it, there is some discussion that should ensue.

So here are some questions for those of you who have been thinking about the ramifications of disenrollment. Eligibility for federal benefits is tied to membership in a federally recognized tribe. The BIA policy manual states that tribal members who have lost their membership are not entitled to per-capita distribution.

Does the BIA have to provide hearings for disenrolled Indians to fulfill the requirements of due process?

Does the BIA have the power to determine eligibility for per-capita distribution?

Can the BIA legally affirm tribal decisions that violate the civil rights of tribal members?

We need to get this stuff straight before we proceed with the next actions. It appears to me that eligibility for federal benefits is determined by the BIA. Tribes cannot determine this status. When the BIA set this policy in place they did not think it through carefully, and Indians have been wrongfully denied eligibility without any recourse, without notification, without a hearing, without an opportunity to present evidence, without representation, without even being charged with wrongdoing.

This smells very bad.

Anonymous said...

Shit, I thought Chappibity was a black man. sorry.

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