Took Away Our Way of Life/Vacuum, Misoprostol and Knife

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Over at the Washington Independent, Mike Lillis realizes that a hell of a rider was attached to an Indian health care bill by paragon of virtue David Vitter (R-Bordello).

The controversy swirls around a federal law—known as the Hyde amendment—that prohibits abortion coverage under Medicaid, Medicare and Indian Health Service programs. While the Hyde law must be renewed by Congress each year, the Vitter amendment—which the Senate approved on Feb. 26—would apply Hyde's restrictions permanently to IHS beneficiaries. For that reason, tribal health advocates charge that the Vitter language treads on the sovereignty of Indian communities and places unique constraints on native women.

"It's a very racist amendment," said Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women's Health Education Resource Center, "[because] it puts another layer of restrictions on the only race of people whose health care is governed primarily by the federal government. All women are subject to the Hyde amendment, so why would they put another set of conditions on us?"

Under fire, Vitter has suggested a compromise: The Senate will supply with-child American Indians with complimentary blankets.

In 2007 Radley Balko suggested tossing the abortion issue back to the states.

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  1. Vitter has suggested a compromise: The Senate will supply with-child American Indians with complimentary blankets.

    Sweeten that pot with some beads and firewater, and you got yourself a deal!

  2. Vitter has suggested a compromise: The Senate will supply with-child American Indians with complimentary blankets.

    Completely tasteless, Dave. I love it.

  3. To the liberals on here–imagine what will happen to abortion rights when theres nationalized healthcare and a Republican controlled Congress.

  4. Racist because we’re imposing restrictions on the only means of health care for a race? I say what is equally racist is that the government has set up a system where many Native Americans have nowhere to turn but the government for their health care. Once within the Leviathan, degree of digestion is largely irrelevant.

    The sovereignty issue is a weird one when tribal reservations are the American serfdom. The Hyde Amendment applies to them regardless of how Native American elected officals (are there any left in Congress?) vote, too.

    If government thinks it can act in the best interests of tribal communities, they can start by helping to improve infrastructure in the area and making tribal land more attractive for arrangements between tribal and business interests (that aren’t casinos), and thereby connect our heritage with the rest of society rather than shoving them into some God-forsaken corner and forgetting about them.

    They say that it is a loss of sovereignty they are facing now, when it is little more than a cruel reminder of how little sovereignty they have.

  5. “David Vitter (R-Bordello)”

    Chuckle. Weigel is in great form today.

  6. “It’s a very racist amendment. It puts another layer of restrictions on the only race of people whose health care is governed primarily by the federal government”

    I’d ask why the Injuns don’t finally free themselves from their voluntary servitude to Paleface, but that would be considered insensitive, if not racist.

  7. Given the high correlation of alcoholism and miscarriage, isn’t this likely to be a self-correcting problem on Native American reservations?

  8. If I were a Native American, I’d be damn careful about letting Uncle Sam set up abortion clinics on my land.

    It’s not like there isn’t a certain amount of history here, as referenced with the blankets comment.

  9. ed,
    It’s really, really hard to detatch from the government teet once you start drinking from it.

    No people are more dependent on the federal government and no people get screwed over more by the federal government.

  10. Cesar | March 6, 2008, 12:21pm | #

    To the liberals on here–imagine what will happen to abortion rights when theres nationalized healthcare and a Republican controlled Congress.

    The backlash to any restrictions will be much, much stronger, because more people will have skin in the game.

  11. That’s it, ed. American Indians just don’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps, like you.

  12. If we put everyone in jail, people will finally start giving a shit about prison reform!

  13. Native Hawaiians(from what I understand, maybe prolefeed could help me out with this) are much better off than Natives on the mainland. Yet, they don’t get as much from the federal government and never did.

  14. Not to detract from Dave’s snark, but I was under the impression that the blankets thing was a load of horseshit.

  15. That’s it, ed. American Indians just don’t pull themselves up by their bootstraps, like you.

    The ones that live in my state are far richer than I could ever hope to be. My point, joe, is: who’s forcing them to stay on the reservation?

  16. Charon Asetoyer, executive director of the Native American Women’s Health Education Resource Center,

    I doubt she speaks for anyone other than herself.
    Most Indians are very socially conservative and would probably approve of the Vitter Amendment.

  17. Episiarch you are right about the whole blanket thing but it leads to extra-long threads as “everybody knows” the Native Americans were subject to smallpox genocide.

  18. No place is depressing quite like a reservation.

  19. No place is depressing quite like a reservation.

    “Non-Native” casinos are pretty depressing as well but at least you can get a drink there.

  20. If we put everyone in jail, people will finally start giving a shit about prison reform!

    Yes, they would. That’s not why your argument is silly. Here’s why your argument is silly:

    going to jail is not the same thing as going to the doctor.

    C’mon, you can do better than that.

  21. madmikefisk: Indians can go wherever they want for medical care. But they can pay for it in the private sector or with employer insurance, or they can get it for free at IHS. It’s a precursor of the two-tiered nationalized system, like the UK’s, that we will one day have.

  22. Episiarch,

    Instead of looking up “Ward Churchill,” look up “Jeffrey Amherst,” a colonial-era general.

    A letter in his hand, with his signature, describing the smallpox blanket attack he ordered, was found a few years ago.

  23. How could they know how to do that when they didn’t understand germ theory yet?

  24. joe, that was a British lord before there was even a USA. So the idea occurred to someone for real, but it wasn’t a factor in US Government-Indian relations. It was a factor in British Empire-Indian relations.

  25. But Vitter’s amendment to the effect that it does anything, can only lead to _more_ Indians–realistically, is that really racism?

  26. joe,

    I would just prefer that going to the doctor was not like going to the DMV.

    But, here’s a population whose healthcare is run by the government. How’s that going for them? Not so hot.

  27. Cesar,

    They were burning people’s bedding are far back as the plague. Who knows what Jeffrey Amherst thought the transmission vector was? He knew it could be spread through contaminated bedding.

    We don’t have to guess here. We have the physical evidence of the guy who ordered the blankets distributed discussing it. Just google it.

    Episiarch,

    OK. So? Do you think the relationship between the British and the local tribes had no influence on the relationship between the government that succeeded it and those tribes?

  28. I would just prefer that going to the doctor was not like going to the DMV.

    You mean available to everyone?

    To be serious, I agree, the government shouldn’t nationalize the health care industry.

  29. People without cars don’t get to go to the DMV. They are woefully underserved! We need to buy everyone cars!

    (I can snark, too, you know…)

  30. joe, don’t be obtuse. If the US Government (or anyone working for it) never attempted to eradicate the Indians with smallpox, it’s a lie to say they did. It’s not like they weren’t trying to eradicate them; it’s just that they were doing it in other ways.

    You see, we Americans don’t use sissy British eradication methods.

  31. Epi,

    Give it up. You’ll never convince him that the white race is not the most awful and depraved race that has ever existed in the history of the world and the only race capable of racism. He’s one of the good ones and he can see right through your lies.

  32. People without cars don’t get to go to the DMV. ?

    Yes, they do. People get IDs from the DMV all the time.

    You aren’t even trying now.

    Episiarch,

    If the US Government (or anyone working for it) never attempted to eradicate the Indians with smallpox, it’s a lie to say they did. OK. If you find anyone who says Jeffrey Amherst was working for the US government, you tell him joe is VERY disappointed in him.

  33. Just abolish the IHS. Problem solved.

  34. Nice retreat, SugarFree.

    From “smallpox blanket thing never happened” to “you hate white people.”

    If you made the slighest effort to know what you were talking about, you wouldn’t need to blow chaff like that to cover your retreat.

  35. No, you don’t care if it was the British or the Americans, that white people did it is enough. I don’t have a dog in the smallpox fight. It’s nothing that will ever be proven to the opposing party’s satisfaction. I’m really just pointing out that your RobinHoodophilia is so deep, you’re really not very worthwhile to talk to on subjects (esp. healthcare) where the poor and the racial “oppressed” are concerned.

    It’s my mistake for engaging you in the first place. My apologies.

  36. If you don’t “have a dog in the smallpox fight,” why did you feel the need to pop in an (inaccurately) assure us that the incident never happened.

    Hint: “cuz you hate white people” isn’t an answer.

    It’s nothing that will ever be proven to the opposing party’s satisfaction.

    I guess that depends on “the opposing party’s” willingness to type “smallpox blankets jeffrey amherst” into Google.

    This is not about our feelings. It’s about the historical record. You either conform your opinions to the evidence, or you don’t.

  37. If American Indians are citizens of independent (although enclaved) nations; it’s time the Indian health service and all other special purpose, special jurisdiction programs disappear.

    Enough already, we stole your land fair and square…doesn’t make you my dependent ad infinitum. And as another commenter mentioned, I’d be real careful about wanting ‘forked tongue white devils’ abortion clinic in my neighborhood!

  38. Yeah, and the Indians had never contracted smallpox before Amherst gave them those blankets?

    Come on. They were dropping left and right from it and other eurasian/african diseases since Colombus walked off the boat.

  39. They were dropping left and right from it and other eurasian/african diseases since Colombus walked off the boat.

    Even before that. Theres now evidence the old world diseases actually came slightly ahead of the European explorers. There would have been some kind of demographic disaster for the Indians, regardless.

  40. White people start being scared. We will be TAKING back “fair and square” our ancestral homeland very soon.

    Fuck Ya.

    11year Navy Veteran
    Tlingit Warrior

    Blogimi Dei

  41. So how does the British officer namesake for Massachusetts’ most progressive city discussing the possibility of infecting Indians with smallpox in letters become “the US Government exterminated Indians with smallpox infected blankets”?

    You have to really hate the White Man to make that leap.

    FWIW there is no evidence that Amherst’s “plan” was carried out much less that it worked.

  42. If the indians EVER want to take this country back, aborting their fetus is a step in the wrong direction.

  43. “A letter in his hand, with his signature, describing the smallpox blanket attack he ordered, was found a few years ago.”

    And it was vetted by???

  44. “Yes, they do. People get IDs from the DMV all the time.”

    So why shouldn’t they have to present their ID card in order to vote, given that everyone has one?

  45. The backlash to any restrictions will be much, much stronger, because more people will have skin in the game.

    how do you figure?

    unless by “skin the game” you mean “stuck in the vacuum tubing” in which case i misunderstood your colorful local expression.

    [rimshot]

    but seriously, are you suggesting people don’t already have a stake in abortion? or that having the government stop paying for them would change the landscape because everyone else would get their care from the government, and programs tend to expand rather than contract?

  46. They took the whole Cherokee Nation
    And put us on this reservation
    Took away our ways of life
    The tomahawk and the bow and knife

    They took away our native tongue
    And taught their English to our young
    And all the beads we made by hand
    Are nowadays made in Japan*

    *OK, China

  47. Blue,

    Irrelevant. We have a letter from the guy talking about doing it. Yes, Indians caught smallpox from other sources, too. So?

    Mistuh Charlie,

    Quotation marks are used to mark out a passage of text as being the words of another. Please, point us to where I claimed “the US Government exterminated Indians with smallpox infected blankets.”

    Cloud Man,

    And it was vetted by??? That strikes me as the sort of question one could find the answer to by googling the source.

    Find out. Or don’t. I’ve done the reading; you can, too!

  48. I saw a doctor in Idaho for a while at the local medical clinic in north Idaho that was Tlingit. He was trained in western medicine and was training in the old ways by a medicine man in Nevada. Best damn doctor I have ever had. By far.
    He had a tattoo on his arm with the head of an indian chief and the script read:
    “Better off red than dead!”

  49. The backlash to any restrictions will be much, much stronger, because more people will have skin in the game.

    Perhaps, a backlash from some parts of America. Huzzahs from others. Liberal Americans know that they are sharing a country with a roughly equal number of conservative Americans — knowing that, why do they want to give the Federal government so much power?

  50. Seriously, Mikes?

    You’re sitting there wondering why people support universal health coverage?

    It’s that much of a mystery?

    You can’t answer that question yourself?

    BTW, you should do some research before you talk about “roughly equal numbers.” Support for abortion rights in the 60-70% range.

  51. joe, your reply barely had anything to do with my remarks:

    You’re sitting there wondering why people support universal health coverage?

    Of course I understand why people want universal health coverage. My comment asked why so many liberals are so focused on the idea that “if only the right people were in charge” instead of considering that there is too much power in the system itself, or considering that the wrong people are going to be in charge roughly half of the time.

    Support for abortion rights in the 60-70% range.

    That’s good to know. How many of those 60-70% care so much about the issue that they would participate in a backlash?

  52. By they way, I’ll answer my own question. They do it because they’re human and its a common human foible to see only one side of things. There, see, I understand that, too.

  53. Socialized medical care exists. Try military medicne.

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