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Published: Sunday, December 9, 2012, 12:01 a.m.
Tribes


Enforce treaty's alcohol ban

In regard to the Nov. 18 letter, "Taxation issues: Everyone needs to pay their share": This does not go far enough. In reference to the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot, Article 10, at the request of tribes bans alcohol from reservations. It reads as follows:
The above tribes and bands are desirous to exclude from their reservations the use of ardent spirits, and to prevent their people from drinking the same, and therefore it is provided that any Indian belonging to said tribe who is guilty bringing liquor into said reservations, or who drinks liquor, may have his or her proportion of annuities withheld from him or her for such time as the President may determine.
Treaty interpretation: The vague or ambiguous language in historic Indian treaties is required by law to be interpreted as the tribes would have understood them when they were negotiated.
Since all treaties signed by Isaac I. Stevens, Governor of Washington Territory and Superintendent of Indian affairs for said territory is based on the 1855 Treaty of Point Elliot. This being said, I firmly believe that all reservations and tribes with treaties based on the Point Elliot Treaty, with casinos, taverns, cocktail lounges, stores or any other establishments selling or offering for refreshment these ardent spirits, i.e., liquor, wine and various types of beer, be immediately closed until such time as all ardent spirits are removed.
There can be no doubt as to the interpretation of Article 10, as requested by the chiefs, headmen and delegates of tribes and bands of Indians who signed the treaty.
Frederick S. Williams
Arlington
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Jon Bauer, Opinion Editor: jbauer@heraldnet.com

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