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Stevens 'getting' tribe concept

Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, is quoted in the Anchorage Daily News as saying, ''I really didn't realize how important the tribe concepts are here in Iraq, but the tribes are really enormous families, long-standing families.''

Maybe after all these years he's finally getting it. In the summer of 2000, Ted tried to terminate self-government funding to small Native tribes in Alaska. His comment during a press conference to reporters was, ''They are no more tribes than this group seated around this table in this room.'' And how many times did Ted try to tack on riders to make Cook Inlet Region Inc. a tribe, even though we told him repeatedly that CIRI is a corporation, much different than a tribe, which is [a] family?

I guess it just goes to show it's never too late to teach an old dog new tricks.

- Patricia Wade

Palmer, Alaska