Seneca Nation asks Obama to veto cigarette mailing bill Friday, March 19, 2010
The bill prohibits the U.S. Postal Service from delivering cigarettes and certain tobacco products, effectively killing the tribal tobacco industry. It effectively kills the tribal tobacco industry.
“If signed into law, the PACT Act will seriously impact the Seneca Nation and the Seneca people,” President Barry E. Snyder Sr. said in a letter to Obama, The Buffalo News reported. “We will be subject to racial profiling for the simple act of mailing a package. We will lose thousands of jobs and important health care support. And most damaging, we will be set back in our journey to self-determination by the very treaty partner that pledged to support and protect us.”
Obama is expected to sign the bill, the paper said.
EDITORIAL FOOTNOTE: This article produced a great many thoughts, emotions, and opinions that I would like to share with you.
First, is the purpose of this legislation to take away income from the Native American tribes involved? Are the tribes keeping the Federal and local governments from collecting taxes? Are smokers avoiding paying taxes by ordering their tobacco products through the mail? Is this bill about tax monies?
Don't Native American tribal nations have a right to generate revenue to provide for their governments, which it turn provide services for their members (citizens)? Would the Federal government instead provide these services? How much would this cost the American tax payer? Is this a form of discrimination?
What about the smokers rights? This is not about second hand smoke, this is about the right to smoke. Aren't they entitled to purchase tobacco products online? Just about anything, one would want, can be purchased online. Why not tobacco?
Is this tobacco industry making large profits for people who are running these business or is it providing jobs for Native Americans and income to the tribal governments? Who is getting rich? Is anyone getting rich?
I believe that everything, on earth, was created by Mundu for a purpose. I'm not quite sure what tobacco was made for, but there is some purpose. In Native American culture, tobacco is given as gifts and used in ceremonies. It is a spiritual thing. It is considered the greatest gift one can give, in Native American culture. The very thing that is spiritual is being challenged.
Recently, it is alleged, that when Lynn Malerba was announced as the new Chief of the Mohegan Tribe, she would not give tobacco to the Nonners or Sagamores. She allegedly believes, as a medical professional (nurse), that giving tobacco is the wrong thing to do. She instead, gave corn, which is also a special gift. It took great conviction, to do what she did. A courageous stance. However tribal members I have talked to, wonder how will she be able to perform her duties as chief, if she doesn't accept the old teachings? One tribal member suggested, she use red cedar which was the custom of native people in the north east. I don't believe this should be a problem. Is she doing the right thing by the tribe?
The last thought, is about the United States Postal Service. With many things being done over the Internet, there is less and less need to use their services. Examples, would be, banking, purchasing products and paying bills. Things that were done almost exclusively by the Postal Service in the past. The Postal Service seems to do less business and keeps charging more and more for their services (stamps). Can these tobacco industries, based on reservations, use other methods to ship their products? What do you think?