Fortunately, Federal court rejected Palin’s challenge to invalidate all subsistence fishing

Dear Editor,

Ellen Goodman’s column in the Post-Bulletin, “Third branch of government also give us reason to worry,” is a chilling reminder of how much we depend on the United States Supreme Court, not only for protecting the freedoms we enjoy but for enacting Constitutional change that affects every day American life as well. In the September 29 issue of News From Indian Country, the commentary, “Sarah Palin’s hostile record on tribal issues in Alaska,” written by two lawyers in Anchorage, Alaska, explains why we need to be concerned.

Representing Native American interests, Lloyd Miller and Heather Kendall Miller relate how, in order to expand sport and commercial fishing and drilling for oil, Governor Palin has consistently opposed Alaskan Native peoples’ rights to hunt and fish, despite their dependence on a subsistence way of life since Native villages are spread across a largely roadless area covering 373 million  acres, and subsistence foods are still fully 60% of the local diet.

Fortunately, not only has the Federal court in Alaska rejected Palin’s challenge to invalidate all the subsistence fishing regulation the Federal government has ever issued to protect Alaska Native fishing in navigable waters (her lawsuit is known as Alaska versus Kempthorne), but her battle against tribal sovereignty – in which she has sought to block Alaska tribes from even exercising authority over the welfare of Native children – was also  rejected by her own state court as well.

All this may have something to do with why over 100 tribal leaders from throughout the United States have now endorsed the Obama-Biden presidential ticket – even though John McCain has a long history of working with tribal  leaders while he sat on the United States Senate Select Committee on Indian Affairs!

The challenges Americans now face each morning, just trying to break even financially, may require unprecedented change in how government conducts affairs if we are to recover in this decade. Rather than bailing out financial institutions, in order to promote the general welfare for ourselves and our posterity, shouldn’t we be spending the $700 billion on what we really need?

We could do without nuclear weapons and, subsequently, missile defense systems as well as armed submarines, armored tanks and unmanned bomber drones. Ending wars wasteful of resources and lives, rebuilding decaying infrastructure and retooling for a peacetime economy would open doors to  jobs – hence assets spent that markets need to survive.

Unwanted children as well as those living in poverty need opportunities to fully  develop, requiring an education beyond high school that military establishments could afford, once the decision is made to teach war no more.

An embargo on Saudi Arabian oil would limit resources that Wahabbi Muslims presently carry to build madrassas in Pakistan and Afghanistan – breeding ground schools for Taliban’s suicide bombers, and of terrorism  against the United States, Israel and girls’ education.

Contained within the Constitution is a provision for its own amendment when government lacks the confidence and the support of the people. If bonds were issued for the money being withheld to pay the 2008 taxes and the Federal Income Tax discontinued, and if property taxes were redirected for federal jurisdiction, the size of household mortgages could be reduced –  the housing market stabilized – and recovery could be funded. Challenge corporations having hundreds of billions of dollars deposited in foreign banks to invest in the U.S.A!

Joseph Biden has spent his career as a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Barack Obama taught Constitutional Law for ten years prior to  being elected the Senator from Illinois, so it seems they’d make a good team if the Constitution needs to be amended. Electing a black man as leader of our democracy would do Supreme Court Justices proud.

How we vote on November 4 can spell the difference in whether there will be liberty and justice for all.

Joanna C. Rovelstad

Rochester, Minnesota




Joanna Rovelstad was co-founder of Indian Center, Inc. in 1974 – with Charles Deegan Jr., Chippewa, a community support program for American Indian students in nursing at Rochester Community College; and she was consultant to the American Indian Health Care Association (HIHCA) in 1984, helping prepare plans for possible location of a National Health Sciences Center in Rochester.