The following information was provided by Bill Sebastian
Date: Mon, 25 Oct 1999 09:00:45 -0400
From: Bill Sebastian <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Organization: Intelligent Compression Technologies, Inc
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.03 [en] (WinNT; I)
Subject: Re: URGENT: Need info on McCain
He was the sponsor of Senate bill 1973: the Navajo-Hopi Relocation
of 1996, which ultimately became PL 104-301. He wrote the introduction
to the bill, and the bill was pushed through Congress by him. The bill
was disguised as a settlement that would prevent relocation, so that
McCain's introduction to the bill sounds like his only interest is preventing
McCain has on many occasions declared that he is against forcible
relocation. However, the bill authorized relocation for all people who
failed to sign unfair leases with the Hopi gov't.McCain is the senior
citizen from AZ, and thus Congress looks to him for leadership in establishing
policy for the region. In this leadership capacity, he could propose a
wide range of humane solutions, but instead chose to support an effort to
complete the relocation process begun in 1974.
POSSIBLE QUESTIONS TO McCAIN
1) PL 104-301, which you sponsored in 1996, authorized the
relocation as of February 1,2000, of Navajo families who did not sign
leases with the Hopi Tribe. A number of families have refused to sign
these leases. Do you feel that the forcible relocation of native people
who are living on their traditional land is a good way for the US
government to open the new millenium ? Does this reflect the way
that you believe the US government should treat its Indigenous peoples ?
2) PL 104-301, which you sponsored in 1996, ratifies a settlement
agreement under which the Navajo families who sign leases are not
allowed to vote or participate in the government which rules them.
Why do you feel that Native Americans are not entitled to vote or
to have civil rights ?
3) PL 104-301, which you sponsored, authorized $25 million
Hopi Tribe if they could obtain the signatures of 85% of the 112 Navajo
families on leases. Did you anticipate that placing a $260,000 bounty
on each signature would lead to abuses in the process through which
these signatures were obtained ? Are you familiar with reports from
the Navajo families that signatures were obtained under the threat of
jail or immediate eviction ? Do you feel that signatures obtained under
these circumstances constitute an endorsement of your policy ?
4) PL 104-301, which you sponsored, set up a livestock permitting
system for Navajo families that left many of the families without
protection for their herds. Many of them are elderly people who
depend on these herds for their survival. Do you believe that the
confiscation of the sole means of survival of elderly people benefits
the US government ?
5) PL 104-301, which you sponsored, completes the settlement
a land title dispute between the Hopi and Navajo Tribal
governments. The key figure in the history of the land dispute
was an attorney named John Boyden, who formed the current
Hopi government and obtained BIA recognition for it in 1953,
and who was the architect of the original relocation legislation
back in the 1970's. Boyden was also working for the Peabody
Coal Company. Do you believe that it is appropriate for Congress
to continue policies that are based on land title established by a
coal company ? Are you willing to consider legislation that revises
the land title to reflect the traditional occupancy and use ?
6) Most other nations now recognize the right of Indigenous
remain on their traditional land. S1973, which you sponsored, requires
the relocation next year of people whose families have occupied the land
for hundreds of years. Why do you believe that the US should not
recognize their right to remain on their land ?
POSSIBLE RESPONSES FROM McCAIN
McCain's usual responses to this type of questions include:
1. He completely opposes forced relocation
2. He and his candidacy are strongly supported by the Navajo Nation
With respect to his supposed opposition to relocation:
A. Why did he sponsor a bill that called for it to occur on Feb 1, 2000
B. If his bill did not threaten relocation, no one would have
the Accommodation Agreement he supports. The only reason anyone
signed the leases was that they were told they would be relocated if
they didn't. Relocation was used as a threat to force an unjust and
inhumance solution upon the people: it was the foundation of
McCain's policy. McCain's saying that he opposes relocation is
like someone who is robbing a bank with a gun saying they oppose
murder with guns because they only shoot the few people who resist.
With respect to his support by the Navajo Nation government:
A. The question is not whether government officials support him, but
rather whether the policies that McCain advocates represent a
just and humane solution to the issue. State and tribal officials do
not always respect and protect all the rights of all the citizens within
their jurisdiction - for example, look at the role of the Southern
governors in supporting discrimination in the 1960s.