I Give Up: Damned Filthy Injuns

I Give Up

You’d think once you’ve conquered an entire race of people, driven them into small, squalid reservations and taken their entire vast country from them through a combination of brutal massacre, germ warfare and shady financial deals and treaties, they’d have the common decency to let go of their ancient culture and assimilate or die off peacefully. I mean, what’s the purpose of completely subjugating a people if you’re not going to bring them some civilization, right? Well, some stubborn savages simply refuse to give up their heathen ways and hilariously non-Christian religion and our infallible United States Government is letting them do it by killing the very symbol of this great nation!

The US Fish and Wildlife Service has issued a permit for the Northern Arapaho Tribe of Wyoming to kill two bald eagles as part of their religious services, which apparently are way more awesome than the Catholic rites I was brought up with. In my imagination – which I’m reasonably sure reflects reality perfectly – the tribe put the the fierce birds into a cage with a single oiled, sweaty, be-loinclothed Indian warrior and let them fight to the death Thunderdome-style. Blood and feathers fly and eventually the human victor emerges from the melee wearing an eagle’s head as a hat and eating the hearts of his vanquished foes. All we got to do was sit for an hour and listen to some wizened old priest rail on about our sins then eat a solitary cracker that tasted like cardboard and Elmer’s glue.

Artist's conception of what the trial looked like.Apparently, this is a rare concession – Native Americans apply for it frequently but the permit has not been granted since at least the 1940s. Most Arapaho get the required eagle bits (the ritual, so I have read, includes more than just feathers) from the Forestry Service, who collect them from the many eagles they have in captivity that can never be released back into the wild. But last year the Northern Arapaho filed a federal lawsuit over the constant refusals and did in court what no Indian has ever managed to do anywhere else – bested the white devil.

The red states are in an outrage over the idea of a bunch of savages being allowed to murder the God-given symbol of the greatest nation on earth. Most of the time, the people in question only think about Native Americans in relation to the logos of certain sports teams, but suddenly the original inhabitants of our nation are in the spotlight again. But the hilarious part of this story is what happened next: suddenly every sister-fucking redneck in America became a conservationist. Check this unbelievable shit out:

Fox News: caring about the environment since ten minutes ago.

Now, this is a network that has championed the Tar Sands oil pipeline, decried environmental regulations as “job killers” and has been busted sending a memo making it official policy to call into question the notion of climate change every time it is mentioned on the network, but suddenly they’re hugging trees and petting bunnies, so long as those trees have eagles’ nests in them and the bunnies are running in terror as an eagle swoops from the skies to devour them. The douche in the above video even points out that environmentalists (of whom he clearly numbers himself one, despite the fact that by the look of him he drives a Jeep Wrangler and has a room devoted to the taxidermied heads of animals he’s shot with his Ted Nugent-style compound bow) have labored long and hard to get the bald eagle off of the endangered list, which they now are. And apparently killing two of them is going to put them right the fuck back on.

I consider myself an environmentalist, and have since birth, but I really don’t see the big deal here. It’s two fucking birds, guys. If it had been two blue herons or two giant ospreys, nobody would give a good goddamn, but since it’s the beloved raptor that is the emblem of America, suddenly it’s an environmental crisis. Sure, there are better ways to acquire the needed bird parts, ways that don’t require the killing of a wild bird, ways that these tribes have been using for decades now, but championing the environmentally sound way of doing things has never been a talking point for the right before, so why should it be now?

The other delicious irony here is that this is a matter of freedom of religion, something that the right are crowing Looks delicious.about with particular vehemence right now. It’s another example of the hyper-hypocritical notion that the First Amendment only applies to Judeo-Christians, and everyone else be damned.

As usual, friends, I have a solution to this problem, a compromise that I think will appease both sides. And the inspiration for this solution is none other than Ted “Cat Scratch Fever” Nugent himself: the Nuge often defends his glee for killing animals by saying that he always eats what he kills. I am an adventurous eater, as anyone who has ever put a cooked organ in front of me can attest to, and eating new and exciting animals is a favorite pass-time of mine. So I will selflessly offer my services to make things right: let the Arapaho kill their eagles and perform their rites, and I will eat whatever’s left. It is my duty as an American.

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About Andrew Nienaber

Andrew has been a bartender, ice cream truck driver, teacher, critic, writer, all-around theater professional and director of operas. This is by far the most exciting and least lucrative job he's ever had. He also has a novel called Truly, Deeply Disturbed, which is available on Amazon and other fine book-selling outlets.