One More Way to Keep on Robbing Indigenous:
Colonial Entities Just Keep on Owing and Owing and Owing
May 18, 2011
"This story concerns all Native Americans who ever served in the U.S.
Armed Forces. We were unjustly and illegally taxed by our individual
states while serving in uniform,"
Richard Adame says.
Richard Adame is a Prairie Band Potawatomi and a 20 year army veteran
who fought in Desert Storm. He is not looking for fame or fortune,
only some justice for Indigenous veterans, many of whom are quite old
now. He insists this story is not about him alone.
"Two years after I retired, I found out that I and every other Native
American who claimed the reservation as our homes were illegally
taxed. But, no one seems to know. . . I contacted a few vet reps and
they never heard of this. This injustice was not even known to us
ground pounders. We were just doing our jobs. How were we supposed to
know that we were being illegally taxed?"
"I grew up in Kansas on the reservation and joined the Army out of a
sense of patriotism and pride in my country. Most of the men and
women in my family served in the Armed Forces."
According to treaties signed between the US government and Indigenous
nations, Indigenous who were forced to give up their land and be
relocated to reservations, would not be taxed.
Deduction of state income taxes from the pay of American Indian
veterans living on reservation land at the time of their entrance into
active duty service was first prohibited by federal law under the
Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act of 1940, Section 514, and
continued under the newer version of the law, the Service members
Civil Relief Act of 2006, section 511e.
Between 1940 and 2001, many states illegally took income tax from
Indigenous veterans. The total theft would be in the $$millions$$.
It is impossible to estimate exactly how much because each person paid
different amounts of income tax. Even the numbers of Indigenous in
the US military are not known but are proportionally high compared to
nonNative people. This group of veterans would include many aging men
who have health problems and need medical care.
Indigenous men know that it is their duty to protect our families and
communities. Whether or not joining the US military will help these
proud warriors is another issue.
At the Eagle Watch, we find this latest injustice toward Indigenous to
be very outrageous. It's bad enough that our people have been and are
being used in colonial warfare for centuries. To rob these dedicated
individuals of their pay is really offensive.
At present, New Mexico is the only state addressing this issue that
affects hundreds, if not thousands of Indigenous vets in that state
alone. See below for links to claim form.
"Some of the [warriors] are no longer with us. Our tribal history is
full of our willingness to take up the challenge of military service.
I do this because it is the right thing to do. I do this for my
Grandfather and all my other relatives who are veterans and who are no
longer with us."
If you know any Indigenous US military veterans, please pass this
article along to them. Help spread the word so that they can pursue
this matter for themselves. The states/colonial entities are not
going to just do the right thing. They will no doubt find excuses to
avoid payment. We need to put some pressure on them for their
NOTES AND SOURCES
Pottawatomi Vet: Soldiers Wrongly Taxed By JoKAY DOWE
New Mexico's Native Vets Tax Settlement Fund - BUT Only in New Mexico
Thursday, September 23, 2010 9:31
STATE TAXATION OF INCOME OF CERTAIN NATIVE AMERICAN ARMED FORCES MEMBERS
Restoring Pay 01/01/2005
Rep. Tom Udall, D-N.M.
Member, House Veterans' Affairs Committee