Sunday, July 12, 2009

Why are no Native Americans in the Minnesota State Legislature?

This letter to Brian Melendez tells the truth about how limited democracy is in Minnesota and we finally hear the truth about racism in the Minnesota DFL. It's about time.

I got this letter on its 6th forwarding. I hope it keeps making the rounds.


--- On Wed, 7/8/09, greg paquin wrote:

From: greg paquin
Subject: Minnesota Senate District 4 (seat)
Date: Wednesday, July 8, 2009, 7:15 PM

Wednesday, July 8,


Brian Melendez, Chair, Minnesota Democratic
Farmer-Labor Party


Dear Mr. Melendez,


I am writing to inform you that I will be running for the Minnesota State Senate for the District 4 seat.


I would like to run with the endorsement of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party in the Primary Election.


As you are aware, there isn’t one single Native(Anishinabe) American sitting in the Minnesota State Legislature; not in the Senate, not in the House.


This needs to change.


And the change needs to take place now.


Barack Obama promised change. I intend to fight on behalf of
Indian(Anishinabe) people to see to it that we get the change that we assumed was coming. Real jobs at real living wages. Our children going to school, not tossed behind bars and forgotten. We lack adequate health care. Native(Anishinabe) American women suffer sexual abuse at rates far higher than the general population.


Our land and our resources, the wealth of our Nations, were stolen out from under us in the most brutal manner and nothing has been done to make things right.


Native (Anishinabe)Americans are the largest single minority population in the State of Minnesota and we have no representation in the State Legislature; anyone can see that this is unfair.


I intend to try to change this with or without the support
of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party; I would like to do this with support from the DFL if at all possible, if not, I will use other means.


As a long-time union member of the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United
States and Canada (UA), I have always been a loyal supporter of the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party.


Should I not hear from you in seven days, I will decide after consulting with my campaign committee and my many friends--- Native and
non-Native--- whether to seek the DFL endorsement during the Primary process and Election or run as an independent candidate in the General Election.


Minnesota Native(Anishinabe) Americans, including myself, have repeatedly sought assistance from the local DFL elected public officials who we helped in every way to elect. WE now need their help on a variety of issues of importance to us from jobs to education, housing and health care and environmental concerns, we find ourselves shut out of the political and decision-making process by these same politicians who could not have been elected without the votes of Anishinabe people who are now ignoring our problems and concerns when it comes to doing things by way of finding solutions. Solutions which are often as simple as doing what is right to make sure Anishinabe people get jobs. Often we don’t even hear about jobs until the work is completed. How do others hear about jobs, even in our own communities, before we do? This is not right.


I organized the “We Shall Remain” conference in Bemidji.


Many Native Anishinabe and non-tribal people, from all walks of life showed up at this conference fully expecting to be able to explain and tell elected officials what our problems and concerns are. The only public official who showed up was the Beltrami County Sheriff who informed us that he didn’t know how many Native Americans worked on his staff but he knew the population in the Beltrami County Jail was more than 50% Native American. This was a figure not lost on those in attendance since the current unemployment on most Minnesota Reservations is 50% or more. There is something terribly wrong with this picture and the present DFL State Senator from District 4, Mary Olson, refuses to talk about resolving the injustices creating these problems.


I want to most vigorously point out to you that the MN DFL claims to have a policy that decries discrimination; yet, for all these years the MN DFL has done not one thing to assure Native( Anishinabe) Americans are elected to state and federal offices. There is something wrong with this picture here; you want our money and our votes but you don’t want us sitting as equals with all other Minnesotans in the State Legislature or the halls of Congress.


Certain measures have to be taken in order to ensure that Minnesota Indigenous,Anishinabe people get the seats they are entitled to in the Minnesota State Legislature; those measures have not even been considered, let alone taken.


We are entitled to at least two seats per tribe. I am quite sure most Minnesotans will find this very reasonable. Democracy requires this.

 Anishinabe Native Americans are entitled to District 4, 4a, 4b, 2, 2a, 2b seats in the Minnesota State Legislature as a beginning to right this wrong of no representation.


I intend to do everything I can do to make sure that Senate seat 4 is held by an Native Tribal Member citizen, because this is what justice requires.


It is my hope that other Native(Anishinabe) Americans will join my efforts to secure the other five seats.


Most Anishinabe, Native Americans are working people, yet you treat us as if only the cash you get from the casino managements counts for anything. This, too, will change once I am elected to the Senate District 4 seat because the people of Minnesota will be hearing the truth about gaming revenues. If these revenues can be used to elect non-Tribal Natives to political office who then turn around and ignore our problems we can find a way to make sure these gaming revenues remain in our communities being used for meeting the needs of our own people now living in dire straights as the economy declines. I know many families who need food more than politicians need campaign contributions.


It is my hope you will also broach my concerns, distributing this letter, with the Minnesota Democratic Farmer-Labor Party’s State Central Committee.


I await your response,


Gregory, W. Paquin Hotpasstheketchup@yahoo.com651-503-9493 cell  218-209-3157 home1511 Roosevelt Rd Se Bemidji, MN 56601

gregory paquin
minnesota, bemidji
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