I found it ironic and timely that the story about the Supreme Court's decision in Plains Commerce Bank v. Long Family Land and Cattle Co. appeared in the same issue as the story about Dan Coyis, founder and president of White Bison Inc. [Vol. 28, Iss. 5.]
Coyis, in ''Bringing the Spirits Home,'' is quoted as stating: ''Whatever was done to them, it's handed down through the generations. ... Once you understand where it comes from, you can stop it from continuing. Once you understand the history, you can finally break the cycle.''
It is unfortunate that five members of the Supreme Court apparently have so little understanding of not only U.S. history in general but more specifically judicial history as it applies to the issue of sovereignty specifically and American Indians in general. It reminded me of something I read that I believe can be attributed to the late Vine Deloria Jr., when he observed that the problem with the dominant Euro-American culture is that they abandoned their own traditions when they first arrive in Turtle Island. As a result, they do not know their own history and lack a long history of tradition. Without such understanding, the U.S. Supreme Court failed to ''finally break the cycle.''
I witness this daily as a college history instructor attempting to teach students who lack such basic knowledge about the history of all peoples and traditions in the United States. It is indeed sad, and the U.S. Supreme Court reflected this in their ruling in the Long case. A further example of why it is indeed important who will become president of the United States. Either Sen. McCain or Sen. Obama will be appointing Supreme Court justices.
- Larry M. Holmes Jr.
History instructor, Vernon CollegeVernon, Texas