Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Editorial: Walking The Homeland

By Ken Davison

It is always enjoyable to walk the same grounds that our ancestors walked. I tried to capture the essence of some sections of reservation land in a series of photos posted below.

The first two photos of the eight photos below show the cedar forest at Uncas' stronghold, Fort Shantok, and a downpour-induced whitewater of a brook that runs through that same land just northwest of the sacred cemetery.

However, we admit the other six photos of the woodline taken just in front of the tribe's existing government building are less inspiring but may show a trail of chaos that may add credence to a return of a legendary woodland giant. We dare not call him by his name but we admit that we're frankly at a loss for any other explanation. We're happy to entertain other theories offered by our readers but how else could cars be crumpled like paper and tossed into the woods, appliances tossed from a distance or street signs torn and flung dozens of miles from their origin?

Some say that tribal councilors want a new government building to impress visitors. The new building, which will be combined with a community center, is currently forecasted to cost the tribal government between $90 million and $100 million and would be built south of the existing government building. Should the tribal government embark on this costly project, government debt would pass the $200 million mark.

On more than one occasion in the past, members have heard tribal leaders grumble about the condition of the yards where some tribal members have lived so it is no surprise that tribal councilors are deeply concerned with appearances.

The plan so far is that the top floor of the new government building-community center would consist of offices for the nine tribal councilors and their staff (including the chief-of-staff and legal counsel), giving them a birds-eye view of the reservation. If in fact there is a Bigfoot-like creature walking the woodline, then tribal councilors perched by themselves on the top floor of a new building will have a better opportunity than all other tribal members to sight this creature - if it does exist at all - and take the appropriate actions to keep up appearances.

Note: Photos are continued on page 2 of this blog.