The fervor of the nationalism sweeping the US since the inauguration of a new President has been unsettling. I wrote a letter to my fellow Confederated Salish & Kootenai Tribes the day after the election (see below), asking for us to prepare for the worst. After a month of the new administration, I should have written a letter to the Tribal Nations as well. We are being set up for termination. I am not stating termination in the manner of policies of the late 40’s and early 50’s. Each administration has constructed a new path towards our elimination. The newest group could very well place some trust land in non-indigenous hands. Here is my plea to my fellow indigenous members of Turtle Island.

Sisters and Brothers,
I am writing today as we are on the verge of another attempt to assimilate us. The confirmation of a new Secretary of Interior is not the windfall that some Tribal members would have us believe. As he arrived, for his first day of work on a horse named, Tonto, (the irony lost on many) the new Secretary assumed management of the lives of Native Nations throughout America. He has been validated by a few Tribal leaders while given the wait and see approach by much of Native land. Those few who are optimistic have a reason as oil, gas, and coal are now front and center. Those who are too isolated for big time casinos have a chance to assert their sovereign rights in the name of sustainability.
We need to guard against destroying what little we have for a short-term fix. Yes, exploiting natural resources will be profitable. At what cost are we willing to pay? When have we ever done anything, which didn’t profit non-members more? When the time to clean the inevitable mess, who foots that bill? Answer me those questions with the same sustainable tongue. Oil, gas, and coal will aid a couple generation at the most. We are not Big Oil so we cannot assume the same treatment they receive after destroying an exploited area. Any monetary gains will be used to clean the mess. Government aid will be mysteriously absent. Those Tribes who destroyed their land will back to where they are now if not worse.
Where am I going with this and how does this concern the new Secretary of Interior? When the Native American Energy Act (NAEA) was passed the inexperienced then-US Representative from Montana was one of those championing the bill. “This bill represents a significant step for tribes across the country, especially in my state of Montana. I have only been in this seat for a short time and I can tell you that the government, the federal government, has infringed on the sovereignty of our tribes to develop their own natural resources. What is sovereignty? Sovereignty is not going through a labyrinth of rules that are far greater than other federal lands or state lands. It’s not right.” (Kader, 2015) Damn, after reading that, I almost want to sell out my family for some small pox blankets.
The new administration is full of Big Oil people and the NAEA will be their entrance to our land. If you believe those Big Oil politicians are going to construct windmills and solar farms, you are sorely mistaken. The rules were relaxed not for our benefit but those greedy oil barons, eager to dig into the last bit of the Turtle’s soul. They are here to strip, rape and terminate as they have done since first Tribal/non-tribal contact. Remember those Water Protectors: Elders, young folk, sisters, brothers, cousins and others who stood up at Standing Rock. This is not our way. There are other ways to sustain your people, be innovative.

Written the day after “he who should not be mentioned” won.
My fellow CSKT Tribal members,
I am writing today because I believe we need to start planning. We are again about to live through another Republican administration. As we know, those years can be very lean on funding, especially with the Presidency, Senate and House of Representatives all having Republican majorities, the outlook is not ideal to say the least. So, as a Nation of three Tribes we need to plan for the worst while still building for the future. The tasks we need to perform will be difficult so let us try and be united as we move forward.
I am unsure where we will start but some tough decisions will need to be made which will anger some. These choices should be discussed thoroughly but promptly with each Council member holding several public gatherings. During the gatherings, our obligation is to explore what services we need, what services that have the potential to be unfunded, those services which will see cuts but are essential thus needing capital from within, and how are we going to restructure our resources to cover the capital needed to survive.
I cannot stress the importance of everyone’s participation. We must not leave these decisions to the select 10 voted into Council. They are not miracle workers, just everyday people like you and me. We should not force them to make conclusions which affect over 8500 members alone. Also, Council should not believe they have all the remedies, asking for help does not make you any less of a leader. Again, not everyone will be satisfied but I hope all will participate.
We must trust those who have been through this before as well as those who have new ideas. We cannot continue to be afraid of the new, I am sure there are methods which allow us to refurbish old systems. We know some of these systems need to be changed or replaced. Why not perform these tasks now before the storm?
Only together can we weather the oncoming storm.

Best Regards,

Jim R. O’Neill

References of interest:
Rep. Ryan Zinke Connects With Montana Indians, Could Be Next House Speaker
Controversy brews as House takes up Native American Energy Act
Frequently Asked Questions


Montana: by a Northern Californian

screen-shot-2016-10-04-at-8-47-46-amIt is no secret that the majority of the University of Montana student body is made up of Montana born and raised students (we’re talking 74% in-state). It is also no secret that there are “Keep California Out!” signs on everyone’s lawn (not really).

“Oh where are you from?” – Seemingly interested older Montanan

“Sacramento, California!” – Me

“…I’m sorry…” – Now uninterested and bitter older Montanan

“I’m not 🙂 Thanks for having me!” – Smiling me

Take a minute to listen up. I may not speak on behalf of the rest of the Californians in Montana, but I have a perspective I’d love to share. The second I stepped on University of Montana’s campus I knew that it could be my home away from home. The city of Missoula, hell the state of Montana, felt like hugging someone that you haven’t seen in years. I’ve been here for 4 very short years and no, I don’t plan on staying, but yes I will be back to visit. The reason being that it offered the experience of a lifetime for this particular time in my life.
For anyone who’s interested, University of Montana allowed me to step away from most everything I knew in Sacramento (yes I had seen snow, every year in Tahoe minus the recent winters). I was able to clearly establish my values as a young adult, assess the type of future I wanted, and walk away with some of the best friendships I will have for a lifetime.
You see, us Northern Californians appreciate tall trees, snowcapped mountains, cleaning our campsites and wandering to find that adventure just doesn’t end. I can single-handedly agree that California has some extreme undesirables. But so does Montana (hello Meth Capital), so does Colorado, so does New York, and Wyoming and every other state you can name. How do you think Arizona feels hosting all the frail Montana old-timers looking for warm retirement? Probably a mix of “stay in your own state” and “please contribute to our economy; look we have handicap approved EVERYTHING!”

I’ll leave on this note. The amount of times that people think that I’m a Montanan prior to asking is remarkable. Let’s just say I’ve had to convince just about everyone I meet with a valid California drivers license. My experience with those who are excited to have me is what makes Montana “the last best place”. The nay-sayers couldn’t keep me out if they tried.

By: Lia Sbisa, proud Sacramento Native and Montana Visitor

Think Government Healthcare is a good idea? Join the Army.

While in the US Army from 2009-2013, I got to experience and listen to many stories from individuals that had received sub-par medical services at the hands of Army Docs. Anytime one of us had to visit a military facility, there was constant harassment of the atrocious things that we believed would happen to that poor bastard when he went in. And it was always funny as long as you weren’t that poor bastard. These jokes didn’t come from nowhere however, and the ranks were full of true stories that made our jokes hit just a little too close to home. Here are two of the best ones that I have heard. Government Healthcare at its finest. While the situations are undoubtedly serious, it wasn’t me in that chair. So you can laugh, cringe, cry, or sob at these, but I knew these guys. And I think it’s funny.

…Staff Sergeant Johnson, of the US Army, laid back onto the large chair in an Army dental office while the doctors and assistants bustled about. He watched them as they busily moved equipment into and out of the room in preparation for the procedure. An IV stand here, a tray of instruments there. Everything was sterile and ready to take care of the man. The nurse finally approached the waiting patient and prepared the gas that would render him unconscious for the duration of the dental work. The assistant asked if he was ready and lowered the mask onto his face.

“Just take a few deep breaths and we’ll see you in a little while Mr. Smith”

Mr. Smith? That’s not right. The Staff Sergeant was fading quickly and barely mumbled,

“I’m not Smith I’m Johnsonnn….”

And that was the last thing he remembered until he woke. Unfortunately for Mr. Smith, he was scheduled for a root canal. Luckily for our Sergeant Johnson, the assistant heard his last minute confession and searched his pockets to find his ID. After confirming they had the right guy and the right file in the same room, they performed the correct procedure. I think the story would have been more fun if he would have gotten the unnecessary root canal.


The next story is one that could have been much more serious than a sore jaw, but the remedy to the situation was much more personal.

…Sergeant Akers knee was swollen to twice the size it should have been before he decided that it was time to go in. His wife drove him to the clinic and he hobbled into the ER. It was a busy night and they waited… and waited… and waited. Finally he was taken back to be seen and a flustered doctor blew in to the room a few minutes later. After a quick examination and few questions, the doctor concluded that all was needed was for Akers to “man up” and put some ice on it. Not happy with the answer, but with no other recourse, he hobbled back home.

A few days later, his leg would no longer fit into his uniform and nothing was getting better. It was time to go back in and try again. This time it turned out much differently for him however. Akers had an infection in his knee and was only a day or two away from facing an almost certain amputation. Long story short, he had to have what is called a PICC line inserted. A PICC line is essentially an IV that can be used for an extended amount of time and goes almost directly to the heart. So Akers is getting this inserted under his left arm and they start pushing fluid into the PICC line. This immediately caused him to lose his vision and fade to unconsciousness rapidly. Not normal. When he came to a short time later, he was understandably leery of trying again. The doctor however didn’t feel the same way. He looked at Akers, shrugged, and said,

“Hell, lets try again. See what happens.”

Akers can be a little rowdy anyways and at this point was having no more. When the doctor reached for the plunger, Akers reached out and got a firm hold on his manhood. Looking him right in the eyes, he calmly told him,

“We’re not going to do anything that neither of us want, right?”

Now that he had his attention, they sat there awkwardly and waited for the commander of the hospital to pay the two new best friends a visit. Turns out he was allergic to the medication that was being given to him and the situation was just as serious as Akers believed. Good thing for Akers he wasn’t shy.


These stories are just two of many such experiences throughout our armed forces. However, don’t misinterpret these stories. The armed services are full of consummate professionals who are excellent healthcare providers. These stories are simply a product of the system that they are forced to operate in. Overworked and understaffed is many times the norm in these facilities. These stories are meant to be humorous, and not meant to demean those in the medical services. However, the stories are a product of Government Healthcare and should also serve as a warning to those that believe it would be a good idea.


February 28, 2016

This presidential election is one of the most unique in recent history. It is nothing like the Obama-Romney election of 2012 or the Obama-McCain election of 2008. The two front runners for both parties are about as polarizing as you can get and for the first time in history, a woman is leading the polls on the democratic side and will likely win the nomination. Bernie Sanders is gaining ground from Millennial voters on the democratic side, but it is not clear yet whether this will carry him to beat Clinton. The republican side has been in a dog-fight for months, with Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio fighting for the 2nd place position, Carson and Kasich fighting to not be last, but all them combined with the GOP leadership are scrambling to topple the front-runner, Donald Trump.

A brilliant business man, Trump understands how to both get everyone talking about him and how to push his opponents off the deep end. He freely expresses controversial and rude statements towards immigrants, women, and his opponents. Never apologetic, Trump has gained a massive following for his comments and policies that don’t fit within the GOP voter block. He is an entertainer, but has a high chance of winning the republican nomination. It doesn’t seem like he plans his Everyone around him is trying to crush his momentum in any possible way. The news for the week revolved around his opponents calling Trump out to release his tax returns and Trump’s unwillingness to condemn a former leader of the KKK.

“NeverTrump” is trending on twitter, people are voicing their opinions and reasons to not vote for Trump. This isnt the first, and certainly wont be the last criticism of Trump on social media. Yet somehow, none of the negative things said against him or his campaign seems to gain any traction that would have any effect on his momentum. Trump is leading in all national and state polls, going into Super Tuesday it seems unlikely that he won’t come out on top.

I guess all that is left is the fight for second place, and the democratic nominee who would hopefully have enough support to beat him. It’s going to be an ugly fight until November, where the probability of “President Trump” grows from a possibility into a scary reality.

Trump Rejects Primaries in Favor of Fight Club

Donald Trump in a bold move has announced his intentions to settle the remaining GOP primaries via “something akin to fight club”. donaldtrump1

In a shocking turn of events the real estate mogul turned self funded politician announced his plan at a NASCAR rally in Chattanooga, Tennessee  ahead of the state’s primary.

“Look at these guys, scrawny fellas right? America was made great by burly beavermen who chopped wood with their own damn hands. We are a country united by our strength and love of protein shakes. Our founding fathers gave us the right to bare arms yet I haven’t seen a politician actively stand by that constitutional right since. Listen folks, we need a leader that knows how to lift.  How can we respect a candidate who doesn’t respect mad gains?”

“You guys ever see that movie Fight Club? I think that was a good system. Men asserting their power with their fists. The voting establishment of today doesn’t guarantee us a strong president or one with mad judo skills for that matter. Look at how they do this in Russia people, Putin came to power by boxing a bear and look where Russia is today. The point I’m trying to make here is that voting won’t give us the strongest leader ; which is why I’m calling out Rubio, Cruz, Kasich, and Carson to be men. Mano a mano, Trump Tower, Tomorrow”

In an interview later that day when asked why he took this drastic turn he responded by calling the other candidates “sweaty nerds who don’t even lift”, he followed “that this is probably their only chance at winning”.

Self-provided photo from Trump’s 2013 WWE Hall of Fame induction

“I can do like 8 pull ups, these losers don’t stand a chance”

With Trump currently standing in the WWE Hall of Fame and being a former owner of Monday Night Raw this move to take his dominance in the polls to a physical arena comes as no surprise to pundits the world over. Vice President Joe Biden has already stepped forward to offer his skills as referee. Leaders the world over are already firmly grasping their lunch money in anticipation of the results of this election year.