Racism Is Alive and Well

The following is a news article that appeared in the newsprint in 1952. Due to all the hype that is going on about the real threat of terrorism that is being brought forth by the various news sources of today, I feel for our Indian community to know and understand the present, we must know and understand our past. This was the mindset of the government then and nothing under the sun has changed which is evident by some of the recent court decisions both federal and states. Racism is more prevalent today than it has ever been but the governments try to hide behind the constitutions, Civil Rights Act, and other documents that have a warm and fuzzy sound. CCA

Memorandum on Bill Authorizing the Indian Bureau to Seize, Search, Arrest and Shoot Indians.

S.2543-A Bill to Amend Section 3055 of Title 18, United States Code, entitled "Crimes and Criminal Procedure" With Respect To The Powers of Law-Enforcement Officers Of The Bureau Of Indian Affairs (Introduced by Senator McCarran on January 29, 1952)

Indian Bureau employees will be given the unprecedented power to seize, search, arrest and shoot Indians (and possibly non-Indians as well) without a warrant, on or outside of reservations, if Congress enacts the Bureau-sponsored S.2543, introduced on January 29, 1952. The bill would write into law the following language:

"Special law-enforcement officers of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, AND THEIR DEPUTIES, may CARRY FIREARMS and may make SEARCHES AND SEIZURES permitted by law for the violation of any Federal law OR REGULATION specifically applicable to Indians or their restricted or trust property. Such officers and their deputies may MAKE ARRESTS WITHOUT WARRANT for any violation of such laws OR REGULATIONS that has been committed in their presence, or for any felony cognizable under such laws if they have reasonable grounds to believe that the person to be arrested has committed a felony and may execute arrest and other lawful precepts issued under the authority of the United States, and may command all necessary assistance in the execution of their duties.

Under this language any violation of any Indian Bureau regulation is treated as a crime and the Indian who violates such a regulation is subjected to search, seizure, arrest and imprisonment. The authority to Indian Bureau employees to carry firearms (without conforming to state laws) is evidently intended to enable Indian Bureau employees to shoot down Indians who refuse to obey, illegal and unconstitutional regulations. These powers would not be limited to Indian Reservations. Under this bill, if it becomes law, an Indian Congressman, judge, or general could be arrested by the Indian Bureau for violating any Bureau regulation. Such regulations are issued today by Area Directors of the Indian Bureau and other officials of the Interior Department, telling Indians how they may spend their own money, use their own irrigation water, cut their own timber, lease their own land, and hire their own lawyers or business manager. Under a recent Solicitor's ruling the Commissioner of Indian Affairs claims a "plenary power" to control the conduct of all Indians, on or off Indian Reservations, by means of Bureau regulations which he considers "reasonable".

This bill would give the Commissioner of Indian Affairs and his subordinates a power to arrest, seize and shoot persons who have never violated any law, if only they violate the Commissioner's "regulations". This is a power which no other civilian official of the United States now possesses.

This bill is obviously part of the Indian Bureau's new program to reduce Indians to the condition of prisoners of the Bureau. It would apply to American citizens of the Indian race the same coercive measures that were applied during wartime to American citizens of Japanese descent in the concentration camps operated by War Relocation Administrator Dillon S. Myler."

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