The Appalling State Of Our Indian Reservations, Redux

Update: For those of you coming here from the Grand Forks Herald article, please click this link to read my response to the banishment.
For the January issue of the Dakota Beacon magazine I wrote a column entitled “The Appalling State Of Our Indian Reservations.” I also posted that column here on Say Anything. I’m publishing it again at the bottom of this post.
It has come to my attention recently that photocopies of the column have been circulating up on the Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation along with this website’s URL and the phone number for Beacon editor Steve Cates. I am happy to learn that my column has generated so much attention (comments have been trickling in from readers of it visiting SA) and I welcome all to the debate over the conditions on this state’s reservations. It is a serious problem, and one that needs lots of attention. I have been contacted by the Turtle Mountain Times and they’ve asked permission to reproduce my column in the edition of their publication on newsstands now. I was happy to agree to do so and will be writing a second, follow-up column to appear in the next issue.
Many of the responses I’ve gotten, both in comments and via email, have taken exception to some of the descriptions I made of conditions I had observed during a visit to the Belcourt area in late 2006. I’m not surprised that people would be defensive about my descriptions as I was very blunt in making them, but I don’t think it’s very productive to get angry at me simply for pointing them out. Anyone who has spent any length of time on the Turtle Mountain Reservation (and a lot of other reservations, for that matter) knows that my descriptions are accurate. These conditions exist. They’re real, and we should not dismiss them or sweep them under the rug simply because talking about them makes some angry.
What I’m saying is “Don’t shoot the messenger.” I wouldn’t write about the Indian reservations if I didn’t care, and I wouldn’t be trying to draw other people’s attention to the problems of the Indian reservations if I didn’t want them to care as well.
Here’s the original column:

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