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Letter of Support of Cedric Woods

Page history last edited by PBworks 11 years, 11 months ago

 

Letter of Support for Connecticut Commission on Indians

 

James Cedric Woods

 

729 Hartford Road

 

Salem, CT 06420

 

Dear Committee on the Environment:

 

I am a Lumbee Indian from North Carolina who has resided in Connecticut for over a decade. Having grown up in North Carolina, I was aware that its historical relationship to my tribe and other non-white residents had not always been the best. I can say that this has changed for the better, and in many cases the state works hard to advocate for, support, and involve the North Carolina tribes in its various initiatives, programs, and policy formation. The North Carolina Commission of Indian Affairs is the primary outreach mechanism for this process.

 

Having lived in Connecticut for the last 12 years, I am constantly disappointed that a state which has the reputation for being inclusive and liberal has waged on-going skirmishes with the various tribes who are indigenous to this land. There have been attempts to terminate tribes, efforts to prevent their federal recognition (which impacts their individual religious freedom and access to the remains of their ancestors), and perpetual litigation. Given the very different dynamic between North Carolina and its Native population and Connecticut with its indigenous tribes, I have to ask myself the question, do the elected officials of Connecticut detest Indians and are the North Carolina officials particularly enlightened?

 

Having met and interacted personally with many elected officials from this state and North Carolina, I do not believe that North Carolina is blessed with special dispensation for political progressiveness. I am convinced that the absence of a state sanctioned entity who has as its mission to improve the condition of tribes in this state and educate the state bureaucracy as to their history has created a void in which the state has cast itself as adversary to the first people to call this place home. While I am not a citizen of a Connecticut tribe, the hostility directed at the Connecticut tribes is felt by the expatriate Indian population. How welcome are we here? At present, I am not sure. However, I believe that the establishment of a Commission of Indian Affairs would go far to healing the rift that currently exists between the state, its indigenous tribes, and the growing Native expatriate population.

 

Please vote in favor of the bill to establish a Connecticut Commission of Indian Affairs.

 

 

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