Saturday, January 07, 2006

Native American Reaction to Abramoff

Throughout the Abramoff scandal I've wondered how the the Native Americans who he bilked out of tens of millions have felt about him. WaPo has a story on reaction of the Coushatta Tribe of Louisiana, who were taken for $32 million which is more than $38,000 for each of their 837 tribal members........

It was thievery, tribal members said, that echoes the historic losses of Native Americans to European settlers.

"Abramoff and his partner are the contemporary faces of the exploitation of native peoples," said David Sickey, a member of the tribal council. "In the 17th and 18th century, native people were exploited for their land. In 2005, they're being exploited for their wealth."
But even more rankling to many Coushattas is the knowledge that Abramoff had, in released e-mails, referred to some of his Native American clients as "monkeys," "troglodytes" and "morons."

"That hit a nerve," Sickey said, frowning and pausing. "That really hit a nerve."
The old tribal council, which entered into the agreements with Abramoff and Scanlon, has been swept from power. Many voters said they were disappointed with the former council members but doubted that they had enriched themselves.

"He cheated us. He deceived us. And he shouldn't get away with it just because he's big in Washington politics," Sylestine said.

"We want justice," Kirk Langley, a tribe member who works at a millwork shop, said during a cigarette break. "And we want our money back."

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