I found last week's feature article about the Lakota Indians very interesting. It is also the plight of far too many Indians in America.
Poverty, unemployment and injustices were and are still brought upon them by our very own federal government. This began even before our government put them in internment camps, and then called them reservations. The intent of this was to destroy their rich culture, their complex language, their basic way of living, and even their physical being. This atrocious abuse is still ongoing even now.
This is epitomized by the pending case in the federal court of Cobel vs. Norton (Elouise Cobell a native Blackfoot Indian and U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton). The case is about the misappropriation of billions upon billions of dollars of earned income from land usage and mineral rights over a period of time in excess of 200 years by the Bureau of Indian Affairs in the U.S. Interior Department.
The government in this case has been held in contempt several times. It is apparent to me that the rationale for our government's actions is to never ever pay the Indians this money due them. For all the sordid details of this mass injustice to the Indians of America go to www.indiantrust.com.
All this reminds me of "Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee" which was put to music and words by Buffy St. Marie, a very proud Indian-American.
-- Bob Bock
Grumpy old men
I read John Hazlehurst's column in last week's Indy and am filled with indignation at the city's plan to sell the landmark Auditorium.
I was even more annoyed when I saw a segment on 60 Minutes about towns condemning perfectly good property and then handing it over to private developers, all in the name of higher tax revenues. This issue of enriching developers at the expense of the historical fabric of our community has to stop!
I also have a slightly selfish motive for trying to preserve the status quo at the City Auditorium. I am the treasurer of a club that currently rents space at the Auditorium. We have a model train club in a few of the basement rooms. When we got there four years ago, it was being decommissioned as the police indoor shooting range.
We are fairly innocuous tenants -- really just a bunch of grumpy old men who play with trains. However, I can't see a private developer wanting us to stay in our basement rooms. Our club started about 15 years ago in the basement of a downtown apartment building, but the owner decided he could get more money if the space was offices rather than grumpy old men.
The space that we lost was a hellish underground hole, suitable only for cave dwellers, stray cats and model train buffs, and I don't think it has been renovated into offices after all this time. We moved into the City Auditorium and have persisted through floods, leaky restrooms overhead, funky wiring and the occasional rave concert with few ill effects. We had hoped to stay there for the long term, and now that plan is in jeopardy!
Add me to your list of fighters!
-- Chris Fallis
Portland is a fine city
I am Adrian, one of the youth you reported about in your Sept. 18-24 cover story, "Life on the Streets: Images of Colorado Springs' homeless youth."
I read your article online after being told about it through a close friend. I suppose it would be keen of me to give you a status report, and dispel any rumors that might be flying around, especially concerning myself not being present in Colorado Springs any longer.
Iggy, Becky and I left in late May for Portland, Ore., to begin a road trip down the coast; however, Portland enveloped us, and a few days turned into two months.
Portland is a fine city, with many fine services, and can be quite spoiling at times. I decided that I wanted to stay in Portland and rebuild my life, whereas Iggy and Becky wanted to continue on down the road. I knew I would have to go back to the Springs and I did, in a roundabout fashion, in mid-July. I was in the Springs for a week before the city got on my nerves and I joined a carnival and left town without a second thought. The carnival was going west to Idaho, so I thought it a perfect conveyance back to Portland.
It took two weeks of hard labor to save enough for a Greyhound ticket from Pocatello, Idaho, to Portland. I have since started over here and am in the admission and financial aid process of enrolling in Portland State University for the bachelor's program. I am also the computer administrator, on a volunteer basis, for the Outside In day program, a youth drop-in program much like Urban Peak.
Colorado Springs does not have the opportunities that are here and the conservative knee-jerk theocratic politics of the Springs was growing tiresome.
In the Springs I am just a bum, but here I am a person. I don't plan on returning any time soon, except to visit those that I care about, and of course to pick up a hard copy of the Indy, which was something that I read regularly and I miss greatly.
Urban Peak is a great program, but the support they can provide is incongruent to the population of homeless youth, and I fear youth don't have the proper resources to make a life. In Colorado Springs it is far easier to stay homeless than to become self-sufficient.
-- Adrian Accaira
Editor's note: Urban Peak's telephone number is 630-3223 and its Web site is
Life in Colorado Springs
I wanted to send you this letter and tell you my story. I have encountered many challenges in my life. Some of them range from medical problems to mental-health problems.
The greatest challenge is to get a job and then work on getting my GED. That would complete my goals in life. The story that you ran two weeks ago about all the homeless young people in this city really hit home. See, I'm having the hardest time in this city trying to find a company that will hire me for a job. I get help from the El Paso Department of Social Services. All I get in cash assistance is $100 a month--that's all I get in benefits.
See, the state and government system is not working for me. See, if someone reads my story in the city maybe someone can help me get a job or hire me. I have been going to Pikes Peak Workforce Center every day and putting in applications for jobs and to Goodwill Industries and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and pretty soon I am going to be homeless, too.
I can't pay rent and bills, food and child support. I have been all over this city putting in applications. See, I have a learning disability and I have my name on a waiting list with the Resource Exchange for my supported services for Medicaid and state funds to help me get some kind of training to get a job. Thank you for reading this letter. Can you help me, please?
-- Ronald George
Editor's note: If you have a job for Mr. George, contact the newspaper and we will put you in touch.
A novel idea
Wouldn't it be great if George W. would decline to rerun for the presidency and then contribute his millions in campaign money to the U.S. Treasury, to make up a little for the huge deficit he has caused?
This 87-year-old former Republican thinks so.
-- Marilyn R. Blum
The party, not the people
One of the foundational principles of representative government is the assumption that elected officials fairly represent all the people they are elected to serve. In El Paso County this basic principle is absent.
Because of the Republican Party's large majority in our county, candidates for elected office, selected by the party power brokers, are guaranteed election. The successful candidates are determined not in the general election, but in the nominating process of the Republican Party and its wealthy constituents.
The makeup of the Board of County Commissioners, and our delegation to the Colorado State Legislature is evidence enough.
The result is obvious. Our county government and our delegation to the state Legislature represent the "party" not the "people." Ideology trumps concern for the needs of all citizens. There would seem to be some truth in Will Rogers' observation that we have the best government money can buy.
-- Charles Merritt
Separation of church and hate
I am one of those "born from above," regenerated, fundamental, radical, Bible-thumping Christians that probably 95 percent of your readers can't "tolerate." Oh, no!! The "t" word.
Anyway, I do believe in the complete separation of church and state. In fact, let's go a step further. Why don't all you pro-abortion, tree-hugging, ultra-radical, lunatic left, Christian-hating, "free-thinking" -- and even worse -- liberal "Christians" and Democrats separate from us fundamentalists completely?
I wonder what would happen if I were in the position to let all you folks who think alike pick out 70 percent of the United States. Whatever you don't want we Bible-thumping, radical Christians will take. You run your "tolerant," feminist, God-hating, liberal part of the country and we'll run our 30 percent.
We, of course, will have a Constitutional Republic, schools that actually teach reading, writing, math, U.S. history, civics, etc. No psychobabblers allowed. We might even have the 10 Commandments (not the 10 suggestions) in the schools. Kids will obey, will behave, will advance in school based on merit. In sports the first three places will get ribbons, awards, etc. The rest will try harder next time, or maybe never place at the top. That will be an indication for them to try something else.
Let's see what our 30 percent of the country will look like compared to your 70 percent after, say, a couple of generations.
You can tax people as much as possible, since the politician knows best on how to spend your money. You can have abortion (child-sacrifice mills), socialist government (better known as mob rule), welfare, psychobabblers dealing with all the invented disorders, the created "victims," of, well, everything!! You can have courts where the judges do not have to follow any objective standards. They can rule any way they want, depending on their feelings. Like the 9th "Circus" Court of Appeals. It could be your role model.
Just a suggestion. You see, there are many of us Bible-thumpers that would love to have separation from all of you folks.
-- Don Fahrenkrug