Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where Credit is Due

Those of us opposing Tribal casinos here in Massachusetts owe a huge debt of gratitude to the many people and organizations across this country who've paved the yellow brick road for us, and are truly responsible for this victory.

While I have a lot more things to say about the notion of a "fix" for a ruling that ain't broke, first I'd like to take the time and thank those folks whose combined efforts have turned the tide against the federally institutionalized fleecing of America. My special thanks to a friend who compiled this list.

The Citizens Equal Rights Alliance has chapters in 37 states and each chapter has a different issue - although all of them face issues with failed federal Indian Policy, including land into trust, jurisdiction on reservation land, boundary lines blurred or tribes trying to reestablish old boundary lines which have long since disappeared.

CERA describes itself as a growing not-for-profit corporation of concerned citizens that stand against discrimination, and supports the continuation of free enterprise and equality in our communities.

The recent Wisconsin v. Stockbridge-Munsee tribe opinion made in favor of the State and was forced by Shawano County Concerned Property Taxpayers Association, and North East Wisconsin Citizens for Equal Rights. Curt Knoke, CERA board member, was heavily involved in this win.

Probably the biggest win is the Sherrill, NY case against the Federal Government. The amicus submitted by CERA changed the course of events in the colonies. Judy and Fred Bachmann were center stage on this one, along with State Representative Dave Townsend, and County legislator, Mike Hennessey.

CAlifornia POLY/POSY has been a big influence nationwide. Jon Bowen, Kathy Bowen.

The most recent victory was made possible by the Rhode Island Statewide Coalition with Harry Stahley as Chairman, Jim Beale as President and the thousands who belong to the group. Most especially Harriet Lloyd, who, every morning — even on Christmas Day — wakes up with the sunrise and puts together RISC-Y Business, a daily e-mail compilation of news articles, commentaries and letters that goes out to more than 4,000 people who have signed up for it. Lloyd, who lives in Westerly, talked with Providence Business News recently about the philosophy behind the e-newsletter and the political power of the Internet.

Additonal thanks to Kate Waterman and Harriet Allen of the Charlestown board of selectmen. Special thanks must go to Governor Carcieri who kept this alive for the courts and to the late Bruce Goodsell who was influential in seeking out the help of CERA in writing the amicus brief in the RI case.

Many thanks also to:
Upstate Citizens for Equality, Richard Tallcot, Chairman and Board of Directors of CERA, plus the 7 -8 thousand members across New York State.

Cayuga-Seneca Chapter Chairman: Richard Tallcot, Vice Chairman: Russ Wheeler, Secretary: Phil Knapp, Treasurer: Mimma Kisor, Elected Trustees: Rich Ricci, Harry Eno, Connie Eno, John Rancier, Andy Anderson, Mary Gratton, Eleanor Casey. This group just forced their Governor to sign the tax on Indian sold cigarettes, and was active in the case which was dismissed by the 2nd circuit court of appeals on the Cayuga Indian land claim.

And most especially to those of us here in Massachusetts, I'd like to extend my personal and heartfelt thanks to Carol Kelley of CERA.

I first encountered Carol at the Nichols School in Middleboro for the now infamous Glenn Marshall forum. She was at the microphone, soundly and assertively setting one of the Tribe's lawyers straight on a point of law. In fact, as I recall, she shut him up.

The next time I encountered Carol, she was seated next to me at an early CasinoFacts general meeting. I was trying to remember where I'd seen her when she turned to me and said in that unmistakable voice, "I love your shoes..."

And that's Carol - sharp as nails, strong as steel - and as warm as a summer day.

Thanks for standing with us Carol, and for always being there when we needed you.


Anonymous said...

You're right about the decision being the work of many, but Carol is an abundance of solid information.

And she was correct about the provision in the law that the attorney deliberately attempted to mislead.

There has been far too much abuse and misuse of the process nationally.

Anonymous said...

Very nice blog, Gladys.

I hope to be just like Carol when I grow up.

Anonymous said...

These are the people who were on the front lines. We have much to thank them for.

Kudos to you, Gladys, for pointing that out.

carverchick said...

A most wonderful and long needed blog Gladys. I thank every single person who has fought the flawed indian policy and stood up for their rights, their homes, their friends, neighbors, and communities. I thank all of those who have fought hard and lost their homes, their lives. We have learned much from all of you...and your stories, as heartbreaking as they are.

I want to extend a very special thank you to Carol...I love have been a beacon of light - our hope through all of this.

I want to also thank my many wonderful friends I have met because of this casino are my silver lining in all of this.

thank you also to... got this train rolling and had to give up your home because of it. pillar. other pillar.

Everyone CFO....I don't know what I would have done without all of you.

Carver BoS, Mike Donnolley, and all members of town government...your vocal opposition made me proud to say I am a Carver resident and re-enforced our reasons for choosing to raise our family here.

I am so proud of, and happy for everyone who has fought this fight...our fight, and the fight for communities across this country.

A most momentous day.

Jacquie said...


You rock. If you wrote a book about your life, it would be a best seller.

Looking back, it was amazing to see how out of sheer chaos- a grassroots movement was formed- and so much strength and individual talent blossomed.

I would like to clarify though, that I made a choice. It was a decision to move based on the best interests of my family.

There are many families that don't have a choice across this nation, like Carol. My heart goes out to them. Carol has persisted in this fight for well over 19 years. Imagine the energy.

Thank you Carol and thanks for hosting a wonderful time last evening!

Anonymous said...

Gladys you put it all down perfectly. All I can say is, YES! a beautiful commentary to all the right people and to a beautiful lady, Carol Kelly.

A lady in the purest form with a heart of gold. She gave me the knowledge to stand up for the rights of all U.S. citizens, and this includes many Native American's that didn't want to lose those rights and experienced the investers ruining their tribe's culture and tearing their tribe apart. I hear them, I am with them and will fight this discrimination with them. We cannot have human rights without equal rights. This is why I proudly joined CERA.

Thank you Gladys for giving credit where credit is due.