Friday, April 28, 2006

INSURANCE: The Ultimate Gambling Casino

Okay, I promised you I'd share a little bit about what I have learned these last 2 years. I hope this helps someone out before we all end up in the county home. Insurance is a good thing. I am not saying I'm not glad to have it, but there are some things you need to know. I'll just "pick a place"and start. "Yes, we accept CIGNA" and "Yes, we are contracted with CIGNA" mean 2 different things. Most doctors offices will "take" any insurance payment they can get. A lot of plans nowadays offer the "go wherever you want, see whoever you want" option, but the doctor's office does not always play along. The doctor "accepts" CIGNA payments, but is not CONTRACTED with them. What does this mean? It means that CIGNA will pay them a little bit and they will take that. But there is no room for a write-off so the balance is my responsibility. Now did they tell me that? I guess I did not ask in the right terminology. When an insurance company is CONTRACTED with the doctor's office, it means they know what the doctor is going to get paid and the doctor knows and he accepts their deal and knows he will get his money. HE has to write off a certain amount (that those poor suckers who don't have insurance have to pay.....) Then you have a nice little balance that is bearable. I got the bill from the emergency room physician. Insurance paid nothing. The doctor is not CONTRACTED with CIGNA, you see. Now the ER is, and the Radiologist is. But the doc is not. See, they're all different entities. So when you take YOUR 2 year old who has fallen down the steps and cannot move her arm and is screaming in pain, make sure you whip your card out and have them make a fast call to see if the emergency room doctor is CONTRACTED with your insurance company and if he's not, have them call the next guy on the list to see if he is contracted and will he come in at 8:00 pm on Superbowl Sunday night. See, I just didn't think about doing that. I wanted to know if Annalynn needed a cast. and I wanted to know fairly quickly. Guess I over-reacted. Now I find it hard to understand why I can have my insurance pay a certain amount and then the doc has to write off the other $200, but my sis, who DIDN'T have insurance has to pay the whole thing. If they can "write off" $200 for me, why can't they do it for her??? OH WAIT, it's the same reason that I pay $5.97 for that roast because I have a KROGER PLUS CARD and my sis pays $26.85 for it because she never took the time to fill out that little piece of paper. ROLL THE DICE BABY!!!!!!!!!!! See what ya get!!! YEEE HAWWWW!!!!! NEXT BLOG: "TIME IN A BOTTLE.........."

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Memorial Day

We are honored to be helping LaPorte Vineyard host the Dancing the Way Native team again this year. It will be Memorial Day, tentative time will be 6-8 pm. When I get all the details finalized, I will post. If you want flyers to put up or brochures to pass on to anyone, please let me know and I will get them to you as soon as we finish them. This is a Native Dance team that focuses on helping us understand God made us as we are and it is PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE/HONORABLE/"RIGHT" to worship Jesus with feathers, sage, drums, dancing, whatever. Please pass this on to anyone that you think would be interested. Except feather-stealing federal agents. they can stay home.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Native Things - Final Part 5

PAT'S COMMENTS: This should have been put up before the last post. I got them a little out of order. I just wanted to convey Robert's feelings. I will post again only if I receive any new updates as to this certain situation.

Date: Fri, 24 Mar 2006 01:40:50 EST
Subject: thank you for your prayers Robert Soto

Dear Friends:

I wish I could describe the day and the feelings that went through my heart and mind as we delivered my two roach feathers to the federal agent today. As you may already know, our area of the world is warm and sometimes very hot throughout the winter. We have not had rain or even a cold day almost all winter. But this morning when I woke up, not only was it colder than normal, but it was a super gloomy day with rain. As went to pick up two of our elders to help us out in our ceremony, I almost felt that God our Creator was weeping with
His children.

Words can't really describe what was going through my heart as about 25 of us gathered outside the lawyer's office complex with our ceremonial regalia and prayed. I prayed that God would give us wisdom. I prayed that God would continue to guide us. As I prayed I reminded my people that Romans 8:28 was still in the Bible, that all things do work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. I reminded them that God was still on the throne and that He was still in control. I reminded them that we have
to be patient for the greater good that will come out of this day and the
event that was about to follow. As I finished praying, one of our honored elders, a decorated Korean war veteran, held the two feathers in his hands. The feathers were wrapped in our traditional ways, as if we were about to bury one of our own. The drummers started singing our traditional farewell song in our Apache language as we slowly started our way to the room where the federal agent was waiting for us. As we slowly proceeded through the hallway, workers came to support us and then stood bowing down as in prayer. As we entered the room, the federal agent was waiting for us. He could not look us in the eye. We
stood there and sang our song. When we finished our song, I lit some sage with the very same feathers that I was giving up and blessed the bustles and feathers that were being taken away. Then all the people came and smudged themselves. Then our drum sang a farewell song. It was a powerful song. There was not a dry eye in the room. Our people were crying as we had just lost a loved one. In many ways, we had.

After we finished our song I looked at the agent and told him we were
finished. At that time he asked everyone except Mike and I to leave the room. We stayed behind and he talked to us. He wanted to assure us that this was not a racial thing or just picking on Indians. That he was just doing his job. He then turned to me and said, "Do you understand this?" I looked at him and said, "I wish not to say anything." We signed our charges and we left. The lawyer came to say goodbye and every one with tears in their eyes thanked him for all his help. One lady who was with us is from Switzerland. She is here to help Iris and me with our church work. She looked at the lawyer with tears in her eyes and said, "I have always read about the bad things we did to the Indian people. In Europe we think things have changed. But now I know that things
have not changed at all."

As I was getting ready to leave I asked the lawyer about a videotape that was on the table with the agent. He said he would go and ask. Basically, the war is not over. He is going to war with the Indian people in Texas. I was told that the agency is planning to invade many other pow wows in Texas. His goal is to bust any Indian person who is not federally recognized in Texas. This does not sound like he is 'just doing his job'. He has an agenda and has chosen to attack a certain people group. In Texas there are over 280,000 Native Americans. Most of these do not have their status card. So this man has chosen to go to war against all of us. Our lawyer advised us to warn all the people who put on pow wows - to warn them about the wrath that is still to come
against them from an agent who is taking this as his task to destroy who we are as Native Americans.

Tonight was a very sad night. I performed for an arts organization in
McAllen. Tonight I danced without my feathers for the first time ever. Keep us in prayer. This story is not over. He might come after me again. I guess some of us must die before the world sees that very little has changed when it comes to Native American rights.

I will be traveling tomorrow to a pow wow where I will be the head man
dancer, doing my hoop dance and will be conducting a Native worship service. Pray for us as we travel 490 miles to the pow wow. I do not feel like dancing, but at the same time I have obligations to keep. Pray for all who will come to our service on Sunday.

Love you all and thank you for your prayers. I will send you the letter with the state officials we need to contact very soon. By the way, we will try and have some pictures of the surrendering of our feathers in our website by Saturday or Sunday. Our website is,

Robert Soto Lipan Apache Warrior for Jesus

PAT'S CLOSING COMMENTS: We talk about the great freedoms we have because our men and women are "over there fighting for our freedom." I believe some of us may just never experience that freedom we boast of so much. The people who inhabited this land long before the white man came are still to this day fighting to keep their way of life alive. I belive if the white man would have worked a little harder to "assimilate" our nation might be a little better off than we are today.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Native Things - Part 4

Message: 3
Date: Sun, 2 Apr 2006 01:54:35 EST
Subject: The Next Step

Dear Friends:

I came home yesterday and will depart tomorrow to Florida. This past weekend I had an obligation as a head man dancer at a pow wow, as well as taking a dance team to a university for a two-hour educational presentation. Now I am preparing to depart again to be a guest speaker and performer at a Native conference sponsored by the Methodist Church in Leesburg Florida. I must apologize for not being able to answer all of your e-mails that I have received - from not just in the United States, but all over the world. Each of your letters
has been a source of comfort and encouragement.

Even though I was at a pow wow this weekend, I spent the whole weekend praying and seeking our God and Creator's direction and wisdom as to what to do next concerning my surrendered eagle feathers. At this time I am writing a newspaper article that I hope will make the three major newspapers in our area, and maybe others throughout Texas and the United States. Then I will be seeking
legal counsel from a lawyer that is familiar with violations of our first
amendment rights and violations in our religious practices and freedom when the federal agent rudely came into our pow wow are and started harassing both vendors and dancers.

But the next step is writing to our four government officials and informing them of the violation of one federal officer when he chose to interrupt our pow wow. I will give you some of the things I feel were clear violations of our rights a Native Americans so as to help you write your thoughts. I would like to hear that over a thousand letters came to each official to make them aware of what happened.

1. The illegal taking of our feathers which are sacred to all Indian people - both with BIA cards and without.
2. Threatening to arrest us if we did not cooperate and having to ask him four times to show me his credentials as he ordered me to give up my roach feathers.
3. A violation of our sacred rights when he forced his way into our pow wow area, after he was advised hat the pow wow was a sacred gathering and he had no right to enter into it.
4. His insistence that the pow wow was not a sacred gathering because we had advertised our event to the public in the newspapers. Thus when we invited the public, according to him, it ceased being a sacred event and gave him the right to come into our pow wow and doing what ever he desired.
5. The threat that he would not stop until every Indian in our area, the Rio Grande Valley and Texas, who was not of federally recognized status, would have their feathers taken away.
6. The threat that he or the US Fish and Wildlife Department would invade every pow wow in Texas to make sure any Indian who did not deserve the use of eagle feathers were taken away.
7. His insistence that this was not a racial issue or that he was not picking on any particular group of people or Indians, yet threatening to harass any non-status Indian or Indian without a permit from the US Fish and WildLife Service for that feather. Thus creating war on every non-status Indian in Texas; over 270,000 of whom call Texas their homes.

These are some suggestions. If you desire, you may check out my website where I have put all the letters I have written so far, including pictures of the surrendering of our feathers ceremony.

Send four letters via the US Postal service to our federal representatives.
E-mails normally are not read. Here are the four representives to write:

Senator John Cornyn
517 Hart Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison
284 Russell Senate Office Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510

Rep. Ruben Hinojosa
2864 W. Trenton Rd.
Edinburg, TX 78539

Rep. Lloyd Doggett
311 N. 15th St.
McAllen, TX 78501

I thank you for your help in this issue. I truly feel that we need to take a
stand and fight the system now, not for my sake but for the sake of all who will follow in our circle for years to come. God bless and thank you for your help.

Robert Soto Lipan Apache Warrior for Jesus

P.S. The following is a copy of a letter from Daniel Romero, chairman of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas, Inc., which you may find helpful as you formulate your thoughts for your letter to our representatives.

Dear Tribal Members and Native American Community,

On March 11, 2006, during the McAllen Pow Wow, Robert Soto's (Lipan Apache) Eagle feathers were removed by a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Agent who stopped the Pow Wow and harassed vendors while searching for eagle feathers. General Council Member of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas, Inc. told the agent that he was violating the Freedom of Religion Act by harassing dancers and vendors during the giveaway - a sacred ceremony. Not much can be done about the Eagle
feathers, but the attitude of the agent must not be allowed to set the
standard among Texas Native Americans. General Council Secretary of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas, Inc. told the agent to leave the Pow Wow, the agent responded by stating that because the event was announced in the newspaper he did not have to leave.

Question: What would happen if a Native American man or woman entered a church during a mass and ordered everyone to empty their pockets to see if they had US dollars in their pockets. The Native American person would be charged with violating a church mass, so why is it right for an agent to conduct himself this way?

Please remember that Robert Soto is the Vice Chairman of the Lipan Apache Band of Texas, Inc.

So what can we do to help Robert Soto?

Write or Fax the US Senator and US Congressman listed.

Please forward this information to any individual or to interested party.
All responses are appreciated.


Daniel Castro Romero, Jr.
General Council Chairman
Lipan Apache Band of Texas, Inc.

PAT'S COMMENTS: Day sent his letters out a couple days ago. I will be writing mine. If this has moved you for any reason, please help us by writing a letter to the people listed above. It is the least we can do to help our Native brothers and sisters. I just strongly feel that our tax dollars can be put to better use.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Native Things - Part 3

Date: Tue, 21 Mar 2006 02:34:20 EST
Subject: Thanks for your prayers...Robert Soto

Dear Friends:

I want to thank you for all the prayers and all the support you have sent, and for all your e-mails; they have brought such encouragement to our hearts. I also want to thank you for all your advice and research results you have sent us.

Today we, my brother-in-law and I, met with our lawyer and he explained in detail to us all that he had found. In reality, it sounded more technical than my mind could handle. I have learned a lot during my journey down this path that God the Creator has allowed me to go through. So I will tell you what we have to do, and what I have learned through this experience.

Our lawyer tried everything to help us keep our feathers but at the end, he could find no route to accomplish that. He carefully studied all the court cases that I sent to him that were sent to me by a lot of you, and also found several himself. While the cases I was sent seemed to work to our favor, he also found many others that did not. His concern, which is a valid concern, was that if we fought the federal government in this issue it would backfire on us with a big possibility of losing, resulting in an even greater battle for my freedom in the future, which he stated would affect a lot of areas of my life. So we decided to accept the federal agent's proposal. This does not mean they have won the war, just one little battle. We will continue to fight, but I
will explain that later. Unless the federal agent changes his mind, we are looking at the following penalties: first of all, I will receive a verbal
warning and not be charged any fines, but will have to give him my two roach feathers. For my brother-in-law, he will receive a reduced fine of $500 and all the feathers I loaned him will be taken away. The original fine was $5,000. So after much prayer, by both of us and our lawyer, we decided that this could not be fought in the court system and that the whole situation was a no-win effort in our area. By the way, the two roach feathers that I have to turn in will not be turned in to the federal agent in his office. I told the lawyer that I would turn in my feathers in a neutral place like the lawyer's office, and that as we turned in our feathers, we would have a mourning ceremony and sing a mourning song for our great loss. I will be taking four elders to our
ceremony to witness the surrendering of our feathers to the United States Government.

What have I learned from this situation?? First of all, I have learned that
if you are not a federal-recognized Indian, according to federal law, you are not an Indian. Because the United States government defines a Native American as a person belonging to a federally recognized tribe. Secondly, if you do not belong to a federally recognized tribe, you do not have the same religious and ceremonial rights as those who are federally recognized. Thirdly, since we do not have the same rights as those who are federally recognized, we cannot even call ourselves Native Americans according to federal law. Fourthly, this
means that anything we produce that is Native in character cannot be called Native American art or crafts. Fifthly, I have learned that the only legal feather is a feather issued to you by the depository set aside by the federal government. That means that even if you are carrying a BIA card, you are not entitled to carry those feathers unless you have a permit from the federal government. That also means that if you are gifted a feather and you do not belong to a federally recognized tribe, that gift is against the law. Sixthly, if you are gifted a feather, when you receive that feather you have to report to the feather depository with all the information they ask for - like who gave you the feather, his permit number, etc, and register it with the federal government and wait for a special permit that states that this feather has been given
to you by someone who legally received the feather through the United States government. This means that if any of your Indian friends who have the proper credentials give you a feather and you do not have a BIA card or your tribe is not federally recognized, that feather is illegal and cannot be used under federal law. I could bore you with more logistics, but these are the ones I remember.

So what I have learned through all this is that if you are not a
card-carrying Indian with a number issued to you by your tribe which has been federally recognized, you are not an Indian according to federal law. These are laws; many of them given to the United States government by federally recognized tribes to protect the rights of those who are federally recognized. And sad to say, the law is the law. So, who am I? is my question. This is where you have to make a decision in your heart. As I told my lawyer, "I am a Lipan Apache Indian. I was brought up a Lipan Apache Indian. We have been practicing our
culture ever since I can remember. We have a history, and ancestors who made us who we are. Because of all this, I have convictions in my heart for the right to use what I feel are my God-given rights as a Lipan Apache. The law might tell me otherwise, but that does not change who I am and who God has created me to be."

Our lawyer told me that if things are going to change, it will not be in the
court system but through our governmental officials. He said that we have to unite ourselves and let our politicians know what is happening, and that laws need to be changed. Now our lawyer did tell me one thing of great interest to all who are not federally recognized. That within the next year or two, a case is getting ready to go to the Supreme Court over this issue, feathers and the those who are not federally recognized. He said there is a big possibility that the laws will change because eagles are no longer an endangered species. So keep an eye open for that, and see what we can do to help them decide for all of us who do not carry a BIA card.

I do not know about you and your tribe, but we did not survive all these
years in the deserts by hiding and running away. As soon as this is over, I need your help to inform the following representatives about what has happened. Not so much about the feathers, but of what I feel are still violations of our religious rights as Native Americans and how our circle was violated when the officer came in with no regard to who we are as Indian people. I have a letter ready to go from our tribal chairman which I will e-mail to all who have written to me the last week and a half. If you really care and want to do something to correct what has happened, I encourage you to invest $1.56 in four stamps and write to the four political representatives whose names I will provide
as soon as this is over. Many of you have said to me, "What else can I do besides pray???" Well, here will be your opportunity to do something. Can you imagine what would happen if four or five thousand letters poured into the offices of our political officials?? At least the voice of our Indian people will be heard. I am praying that more than four or five thousand letters come in. I am praying that with your help, you can get the word around and thousands more will come in. This will at least give them a little idea of the gravity of the issue and that this is not just Robert Soto in South Texas speaking, but the whole world.

All this time we have been asking you to pray for Mike and me. By the way, Mike is my brother-in-law. But there are some spiritual issues I need you to pray for. This issue has affected our children. Many of our children are afraid of the federal government now and see them as the bad people because they will not allow us to be who we are, Indians. As Dillon, one of my nephews said to his mother, "Why should we dance if we cannot wear our feathers?" I know the feathers do not make the Indian, but at the same time, they are a symbol of who we are and who God the Creator made us. In 1847, the state of Texas
passed a law outlawing not just the Lipan Apaches, but all Indian tribes from within its borders. It was at this time that we went underground with our ceremonies and language and dances. If our ancestors were captured as Indians they were either sent to the Mescalero Reservation in New Mexico, or imprisoned, or killed and scalped because the scalp of a Lipan Apache brought 100 pesos for a man's scalp, 75 pesos for a woman's scalp and 50 pesos for our child's scalp by the Mexican government. This is our history; maybe you are wondering, "Why
are you telling us this and what does this have to do with eagle feathers?" I tell you this because we will never be able to have a family traditional gathering again without the worry of a federal official deciding to make a name for himself and deciding to come and take our feathers or the feathers of anyone attending our celebration. So once again, we will have to take our ceremonies and pow wows underground and not invite the public or advertise for others to come. Pray for us, the Lipan Apaches. This will take a long time to recover.

I will write more after the turning over of our feathers. It will be a very
emotional event. Keep us in prayer.

Robert Soto Lipan Apache Warrior for Jesus

PAT'S COMMENTS: I do not feel the need to add one thing to this letter. I think it says it all.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Okay, let's rename this: Rantings of a Madwoman Part 2

Date: Sat, 18 Mar 2006 01:47:21 EST
Subject: Continue to Pray

Dear Friends:

Well, besides tribal business, today has been a quiet day. I am just sitting here waiting for a call from my lawyer. I have gotten many e-mails since Tuesday and every day they seem to pile up. I cannot keep up with all of your requests. I am thankful for your letters though, because I know and understand that I am not alone; that others are right there beside me, praying me through this crisis.

I have gotten many e-mails from people concerning the things I have written the past three days. A lot of the letters I am getting are from people who keep repeating the same thing: "Boy, I did not know..... or I cannot believe that....." A lot of you have been given feathers and you are proud of them and I am sure you carry them with pride and take good care of them. But if that feather is not legally issued by the United States government, you are just waiting for your time when one will approach you and ask for the proper paper work.
I used to wrestle alligators back in my college years in one of the Seminole reservations. I only did it on the weekends or for special events. We always prayed that we would not get bit by one of the gators but deep inside our hearts we knew it was only a matter of time. Likewise, as I travel to pow wows all over the United States and Canada, I can assure you that a lot, if not most, of those feathers are not legal. As Indians, we take a chance for the privilege of using the feathers in our dance clothing and ceremonies. It is the
same old same old. The government tells us who can use feathers or who cannot and the government tells us who can be an Indian and who cannot. The government accepts or rejects tribes. So in many ways, our lives are still in their control.

My lawyer called me yesterday and shared with me that the proclamations truly declare that we were Indians. He said, "The State of Texas recognizes you as Indians and your city recognizes you as Indians and these are two monumental institutions." As I mentioned before, I have four proclamations that have been given to me and the tribe. The first proclamation tells the People of the State of Texas and all who read it that the Lipan Apache Band of Texas are direct descendants of the original Lipan Apaches. The second proclamation was given to us on October 25, 2003, which tells the world of all the contributions we have done for our area and Texas as Lipan Apaches. One of the statements reads: "Whereas, The South Texas Indian Dancers organization was founded by Robert Soto and his family 30 years ago to help preserve the traditions of their
ancestors, the Lipan Apache People who once ruled the area.... Whereas the Soto family are direct descendants of the Lipan Apache Chief Poca Ropa, who signed a peace treaty with Mexico on August 17, 1822, to ensure peace and safety of the people in the lower Rio Grande Valley..." The third proclamation was given to us by the City of McAllen as a sign of thanks for all we have done for them the last thirty years, and to declare January 22nd as official "South Texas Indian Dancers Association Day". One of the paragraphs states: "Whereas,
many of the Lipan Apaches' families migrated into the Rio Grande Valley Region (Primarily McAllen) to start a new life as citizens of Texas. Among those migrating was the Soto Family, direct descendants of the LIpan Apaches of Texas, whom for over 100 years have continued to practice their culture and traditional customs...." The reason he wants to prove that we are truly Indians is because the Federal Agent said if I could prove I was Indian, I could keep my
feathers. So pray as the lawyer continues to do his research.

As you go into the weekend, keep praying for us. On Monday we will meet with the lawyer and see what the outcome will be. Apart from a miracle, more than likely I will have to give my feathers over to him. So keep us in prayer as we patiently wait for Monday. Whatever happens, the name of our Lord God Creator will be glorified and all we be well. We must continue to live. Tomorrow I will travel 250 miles one way to do our Native Church Service for our Indian
Friends in San Antonio. Keep our travels in prayer. God bless.

Robert Soto Lipan Apache Warrior for Jesus

PAT'S COMMENTS: I forgot to mention in the first post, that Day and I know this man personally. He is a man of peace and posesses more tolerance and grace in his pinkie than I probably have in my entire being. He has been through a lot. For those of you that have attended a few of the Native Dance Events that Day and I have helped to host, Robert is the Hoop Dancer. He is also a Fancy Dancer and has done both when he's been here in the past. He is amazing. We don't realize what these people go through to keep their culture and traditions alive. I am going to be sending a few more posts forwarded from a native e-group Day is part of, and in one of them there was mention of constitutional rights. I have to admit, I have never sat down and read through the Constitution and Declaration of Independence. Have you? I did today. Wow. I think we have to keep in mind, the Host People of this land were already established here, had governments of their own in place, many were peacable and if not for some of them on the eastern coast the "pilgrims" would have STARVED to death their first winter here. What we were taught in school is not entirely correct. So as I read through these two documents, a few things seemed very clear to me: He who has the most guns wins, some of the "founding fathers" were of the opinion that although "all men were created equal" obviously Indians were not human and did not fall under the same category. What the colonists claim was happening to them by the king (in their writings of these 2 documents) were the VERY SAME THINGS THEY CAME OVER AND DID TO THE INDIANS. I have been hearing of a bill that, if passed, basically says all an illegal immigrant has to do is learn English, pay a fine and "assimilate into society." I have not looked into this to great length yet, as I just heard about this today. So I might be wrong here. Why are we deciding to do this NOW??? Why didn't the whiteys just "assimilate" into the society that was already here??? oh, wait, there are too many of them now to really do anything about it anyway...........
.........hhhhmmmmmmmmm.............. sounds familiar. I have listened to people I know for the last couple years rant and rave about illegal immigrants. My opinion was always one of "what does God think about how we act about this?" I have tried to go my own way and not rock the boat. People get upset that the label on their new toaster oven is written in Spanish as well as English. Well, guess what folks? In my personal opinion, this is a classic "reaping what you sow" thing so thank your forefathers for this. I might be very wrong here and may not be well versed in history and societal rules, BUT, it was okay for us to come over and just invade their territory and do what we wanted in the name of independence and freedom. In making our own freedom, we stole someone elses and to this day, some of us are still doing the same thing over and over. So somehow, we're going to have to live with things as they are now, or try to get some laws changed and then enforce them and be consistent in doing so. I believe we whiteys might end up the minority some day. SO, you better be thankful that Dora is teaching your kids some spanish. They might just need it some day. I go back and forth inside. On one hand, I don't like the fact that my husband works hard andpays for insurance and I still have to be responsible for my healthcare bills, while the folks down the street don't work because they make more on welfare and get their health care free. On the other hand, God calls me as a follower of Christ to be kind to my neighbor and love him as myself. We are supposed to seek justice but leave the judgements to Him. I guess I dont know how I feel about the illegal alien thing just yet. Here's a thought: how about the feds pay more attention to who's coming over the border rather than worry about who has a damn feather in their hair?????

Kill the Indians - PART 1

Date: Fri, 17 Mar 2006 02:02:02 EST
Subject: Re: Thanks from Robert Soto

You have my permission to post my articles. Here are all three. God bless.


Dear Friends:

I have an urgent message to share with you but before I do I must thank you for your prayers yesterday during our pow wow. It was one of the most successful spring pow wows we have had. The good thing is that we made enough money to meet all our expenses for the pow wow and still have enough money to take all the workers out for a hamburger after the pow wow. God moved in the hearts of a lot of people and we had an awesome time. One Indian lady came to me and said, "I traveled 150 miles to your pow wow to ask you a big favor. On Monday, I will be operated on and I am scared and need your prayers. I came to ask
you to pray for me on Monday, that God our Creator will help methrough this operation." I did what I could to bring some peace and comfort and then I prayed with her. Keep Susan in prayer as she will have back surgery on Monday. The pow wow went great. It is one of two pow wows we sponsor each year. This is our small pow wow, one day only and attracted about 75 dancers in the evening. Thank you so much for praying.

Now comes the urgent prayer request. As you know, there are many things in our Native culture that are sacred to us. One is the circle we form when we do a pow wow. The things we do within the circle are done with great respect and reverence. Some of the objects we wear in our outfits are treated with great respect and honor and we cherish the honor of having them. One such object is the eagle feathers that have been passed on to us as a reminder of who we are as Native people. We treat our Eagle Feathers with great respect and take care of them. Well, this has been a battle from the beginning. Today, the federal government controls who may have and who may not have Eagle Feathers. It has set its rules and regulations that restrict us as Native Americans from using them in a good and sacred way. Well, in spite of a good pow wow, we have a big problem. On Saturday afternoon, my brother-in-law was called outside the circle by what he thought was a tourist with a question. It was a federal agent who started to harass him and who eventually took his bustle away. As this was happening, I came out and he started harassing me about my roach feathers and told me - without showing proof - that he was a federal agent, and to
take my feathers off and give them to him. I asked him four times to show me proof that he was a federal agent but in the process he continued to harass me and threaten me. He told me 'I could do this the easy way or the hard way'. He threatened to arrest me if I did not give him my roach feathers. After the fourth request, he showed me proof that he was a federal agent and then demanded I give him my roach feathers. I told him no and that as a Native American I had the right to wear these feathers. He then demanded I prove I was
Native American, which I did. Then he proceeded to take away my brother-in-law's bustles. I turned to him and said he could not take them because those were my feathers, which they were, and that I had loaned them to him, which I had. He told me that I did not have the right to lend my feathers to anyone and that I was the only one who could legally use the feathers.

(PAT'S COMMENT - Okay, if he said Robert was the only one who could legally use them, then why did he continue to try and take away the roach feathers? sounds like the government once more contradicting itself, something that happens way too often)

The argument continued and at the end he took the feathers with him and then proceeded to enter the circle to harass other people. I tried to stop him with the argument that this was our sacred gathering but by this time he was out to prove a point and he barged into the pow wow and started to harass some of the dancers and vendors. He eventually left but with a set of bustles and roach feathers that I had loaned to my brother in law. We will be meeting with him on Tuesday to argue the point.

So I am asking you now to pray for me. I need to know you are behind me. I am one man who will be facing the federal government on Tuesday or Wednesday. I have a feeling that unless the Lord intervenes, this will be a long, drawn-out battle. Our tribal chairman will be sending an official complaint to the federal office on Monday, and I have been advised to take this to the local news as personal harassment and discrimination against our legal right to use
these feathers. Pray that the Lord gives me wisdom to say and do the right thing when we do meet. If ever I needed your prayers and support it is now. I will keep you updated as things develop. This has not been the first time we have been harassed, but this is the first time they have taken feathers away from me. The bustle that was taken was made out of feathers that were given to me back in 1970, and the roach feathers were given to me by an Indian lady who I
helped through the dying process of cancer about ten years ago.

God bless.

Robert Soto Lipan Apache Warrior for Jesus

(PAT'S COMMENT - Okay, at this point you might be saying 'they're only feathers, big deal' Well, we all have things that mean a great deal to us. I have a big black Bible that was my grandpa's. He died several years ago. This bible means a great deal to me. It has grandpa's handwritten notes in it, family birth and death history, and a lock of my grandma's hair from when she was in her 20's. How would I feel if I had it with me one Sunday in church and a federal agent just walked down the aisle and demanded I turn it over because it contained "improperly handled remains of a dead person" in it? GIVE ME A FREAKIN BREAK. Want to go into the whole "well the law's the law thing? then EVERY TIME YOU DRIVE 56 OR OVER, YOU DESERVE A TICKET. )

Dear Friends:

How I wish I could write to each of you personally to tell you how much I appreciate your thoughts and prayers. It has been a source of peace to my heart and comfort to my soul to see how many of you have written just to tell me you are praying for us. I am no stranger to the laws concerning eagle feathers. As Native people this is the chance we take when one is given. I tell people that if they are not willing to pay the price of the feather not to have it in their possession.

The purpose of my first letter was not to raise anger in your heart, but it
was two-fold. First of all, to make you aware of the situation and my desire for you to help me with your prayerful support. The second reason is that you need to realize that when you carry an eagle feather with you, you need to treat it with great respect as a special gift from God above and to be willing to pay the price for the ownership of that feather. Do not abuse the privilege. As a traditional person, anger comes to me when I see Christian Native Americans abusing or using the feather in a wrong and dishonorable way.

The feathers that were taken away from me were feathers that I have had since 1970. I have treated them with great honor and made sure that through the years, even when they were not being used, they were properly stored and taken care of. That is why even today they look like they just came from the bird. They were one of my first fancy dance bustles, so if I do not get them back, they will be missed.

Now I would like to ask you to continue to pray for me. I got the expected call today from the federal office in our area. I am to come to the federal building and meet with federal agents on Wednesday morning. They told me they do not need my brother-in-law any more since the feathers were mine. Now comes the problem. I have been advised by people who know the law not to go to the federal office alone, without legal representation. A good friend of the family will be investigating the federal agent tomorrow and will be seeking
advice from a federal officer and some lawyers on my behalf. His advice was not to go until we know his true intentions. So I ask you to pray for me as I seek the wisdom of people who know the law and for the police chief who will conduct the investigation concerning the federal officer who confronted us and took my feathers.

I was also told to file a report with our local police department and declare the articles taken as stolen, since they were taken without a warrant and the proper law personnel. This does not mean we have won the case. Keep this in prayer. This has taken a lot of my time today. This is time that I need to continue our ministry and plans for future travel. God bless.

Robert Soto Lipan Apache Warrior For Jesus

Dear Friends:

Well, I'm sure that I'm sounding like a broken record by now (that is, if you are old enough to know what it means when one says 'you sound like a broken record'!). So one more time I come to you - first of all, to thank you again for all your prayers and your kind words through e-mail. Since Monday night, I have received about 300 letters from people all over the world. So now I ask you to pray, one more time, for God's wisdom in this matter.

I found a lawyer who has taken my case. I truly appreciate Attorney Art Cisneros who is a born-again Christian and has offered to help us without charge to settle this out of court. We had our first meeting this morning. Now he has to do his research to see if he can find any provision or loophole in the law to help me keep my feathers.

So here we go again. I have known from the beginning that is essentially a no-win situation. We are at the mercy of the law, and the law is the law; and until the law changes, Indian people - both with or without BIA recognition - will suffer the loss of feathers. Because when it comes to possessing eagle feathers, the only legitimate feather is one issued by the federal government to Indians who are BIA card-carrying. Having a status card is not enough. One must possess a piece of paper that states that the feather or feathers in your possession have been issued to you by the federal government. So when it
comes to eagle feathers, we are at the mercy of the United States government once more; and only the US government determines who has the right to possess or not to possess one. I have known this all my life since I got my first eagle feather back when I was sixteen or seventeen. I have also found out that even if you are given a feather by someone who can legally possess one, it is illegal. As I have said all my life, it is just one more way for the United States government to control and conquer our lives as Indian people.

My tribe is not federally recognized, but I do have a status card. You say, "How can this be?" Well, our tribe is in its fourth step out of seven I
think, before we can be federally recognized. This means the United States government has issued us a tribal number that is used to complete our roll number. So each time a person applies for membership status he is given a number, which is required by the federal government for federal recognition. But since the
tribe is not quite there yet, our numbers are not valid until we are in full
control of the United States government. Yes, this number does help us in many ways, but when it comes to eagle feathers, it is useless.

We have not given up the fight as of yet, but I must confess, one incident will not change nor bend the law.

So what does this mean to me? What will eventually happen is that more likely we will not have to spend any prison time for the feathers but we will have to pay a fine that averages about $3,000 each, and give up all the feathers that were taken from us. This will include my two roach feathers that I refused to give up because of my rights as a Native American.

So pray for the following. Pray that the fine may be reduced and that God will provide for the need. We do not have the money and it will have to come from above. The second thing is that I still feel that my civil rights and religious freedoms were violated when the federal agent stormed into our pow wow and started harassing people. He said the event stopped being a sacred gathering the moment that we advertised and invited the public. My argument is, what about the church? How many times has a church advertised and openly invited people to attend a special event like a Christmas program or concert or any
other special event? Does openly advertising such an event delete it from being a sacred event? The answer is of course, no. So why should not the same feelings be toward our Native American events? While the public is invited to learn more about us, our circle is still a sacred place and a place where we can honor and glorify our God Creator through our dance, songs and prayers. When the agent stormed our pow wow, we were holding the first of two honor dances with a giveaway which I had to miss because I was following him around to make sure things did not get out of hand. So I need wisdom as to what course of
action I should take against this violation of our right to assemble as Native people in our circle, which is sacred. So pray that God will direct me to a good lawyer that can handle civil and religious rights violations and who knows the law.

My next meeting with the lawyer will be on Friday or Monday. At that time he will advise as to what plan of action we should take.

So pray for me until Friday or Monday. By the way, the federal agent told the lawyer that if I could prove I was a 'real Indian' he would let me keep my roach feathers. So today I gave the lawyer copies of four legitimate proclamations: two from the State of Texas and one each from two Texas cities. One of the proclamations from the state was given to the Lipan Apache Band of Texas in which it proclaims to the state the good we have done in preserving our culture as Lipan Apaches. The second proclamation by the state was given to me
and my family and declares us as descendants of the Lipan Apache band of Texas. The other two are from two cities which recognize what I and my family have accomplished as Native Americans and as Lipan Apaches. Sounds like they have acknowledged that I am a 'real Indian'.

God bless you and thank you for your prayers.

Robert Soto Lipan Apache Warrior for Jesus

PAT'S CLOSING COMMENTS: Why are they "illegal?" BECAUSE ONCE AGAIN THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT HAS MADE IT THAT WAY. Originally, these laws were written, to my understanding from the research I've been doing on this, to protect the eagle from poachers and becoming extinct. So whether or not you got the feathers from someone who DOES have the right to have them, DOES NOT MATTER. Whether or not Robert received these feathers from someone who WAS "legit" in the government's eyes, DOES NOT MATTER. SO WHAT HAPPENS TO THE FEATHERS NOW? They either end up in a museum somewhere as "rich native culture" (and I'm sure the placcard won't include the fact that they were STOLEN from the "native") OR I guess some fish and game warden is gonna find some bird missing some feathers and shove 'em back in.............The FEDS might wanna start using some of their manpower to get to the border and ARREST SOME ILLEGAL ALIENS and leave the INDIANS alone. For crying out loud, how long is the US going to KEEP THIS UP?????????? Any of us would have a FIT today if the cops busted in and took stuff without a warrant. And you know what? If you have enough money for a good attorney, YOU WILL WIN!!!! Don't matter if the stolen VCR was bought legitimately at the local pawn shop, it was in YOUR HOUSE so you must have taken it. ......right? (if you don't "get it" just sit and think about it a little. think hard enough, you'll get it..............)

Does anyone stop to think that birds do lose feathers? It's called molting. And some birds don't live forever? THEY EVENTUALLY DIE. Yeah, arrest the guys that are shooting the birds and selling feathers on ebay, okay? Can this fed PROVE these feathers were obtained illegally? Does one have to give each feather a microchip to show which bird died of old age and which Indian said a prayer of thanks and picked up the bird and removed feathers to use in a bustle? When your parakeet loses a feather, do you look at it as a sacred thing or do you throw it in the garbage on top of the coffee grounds? Does it seem like I'm being just plain stupid about this? Guess I've just seen and heard enough. Today, I am NOT "proud to be an american. I am not PROUD of what our government has done and still continues to do to a people group so rich in culture and spirit. How much more spirit can we kill off???


Over the next few days, I am going to be posting some lengthy blogs. One has to do with health insurance and things some of you may not know, especially younger adults that maybe have not had to deal with a hospital trip or the birth of a child. There are some things you NEED TO KNOW so you don't end up going broke over an emergency room trip. I've just had some situations over the last several years and have been disgusted with the whole thing. I have learned a lot and want to share what I have experienced.

The next set of blogs will have to do with something near and dear to Day's and my hearts: Native America. The hatred for the people who were here first, put here by Creator, that still runs strong today. If this story moves your heart, there is something you can do to help. I have been just absolutely disgusted with the whole thing and again, I don't normally "speak out" but this time I am. It's stuff like this that does NOT make me "proud to be an American...." (yes, I support our guys and gals laying their lives on the line........don't go there.........stick to the story at hand.........).......but when we are at an event where the pledge of allegiance is spoken, you will not find us with our hands over our hearts. You will see us with bowed heads praying for our country.......(yes, I know they are over there fighting for our right to do that and for that I am thankful...........again, don't even go there....)

Please forward either of these sets of blogs-to-come to anyone you think might be interested. I welcome any and all feedback, opinions, questions and legitimate corrections. So stay tuned to this channel over the next couple days............