The Congressional Record

Committee on Indian Affairs

202-224-2251 838 Hart Senate Office Bldg Washington, DC 20510-6450

John McCain, Arizona, Chairman
Frank H. Murkowski, Alaska
Slade Gorton, Washington
Pete V. Domenici, New Mexico
Nancy Landon Kassebaum, Kansas
Don Nickles, Oklahoma
Ben Nighthorse Campbell, Colorado
Craig Thomas, Wyoming
Orrin G. Hatch, Utah

Daniel K. Inouye, Hawaii
Kent Conrad, North Dakota
Harry Reid, Nevada
Paul Simon, Illinois
Daniel K. Akaka, Hawaii
Paul Wellstone, Minnesota
Byron L. Dorgan, North Dakota

Senator McCain: State your name, please.

Witness: Dennis Dubois.

Senator McCain: And your title?

Witness: I am Chief of the Northwest Ohio Nez Percé tribe.

Senator McCain: Could you tell us a little about your background, Chief Dubois?

Witness: Well, I am the owner and proprietor of the Firewater Tavern in Cliffton, Ohio, an establishment that serves not only as a local watering hole, but as tribal headquarters. I was born and raised in Cliffton, just as my ancestors were going back six generations. I'm the second oldest of six children, though none of my brothers or sisters are involved in tribal government. My older brother was appointed Chief in 1969, but he was more interested in the ancient Greeks than he was in the Nez Percé. He was a professor of Anthropology at Cliff College, with a special interest in Classics. In 1973, he disappeared along with a valuable tribal relic, and it was then that the elders elected me to take his place. I've been actively pursuing the interests of my people ever since.

Senator McCain: Is that what brings you to Capitol Hill today?

Witness: Yes, sir. I believe that the land beneath and surrounding Cliffton, Ohio, belongs to my tribe. That it was illegally seized by the U.S. Government through the fraudulent doctrine of Eminent Domain, and that by law it must be returned. I rise in outrage that the amendment concerning Native Americans which the gentleman from Alaska has been working on is not in order. This marks the beginning of an era -- the Republican termination era -- for your Nation's relations with tribal governments. You have always maintained intergovernmental relations with Native Americans -- and this has been supported by every administration, on both sides of the aisle, since the 1960's. This is a significant departure from your belief in and support of Indian self-determination, and affronts many statutes passed by this body and your predecessors.

Senator McCain: Isn't it true, sir, that you would like to erect a gambling casino on that land?

Witness: That land was stolen from us, Senator. I don't believe that our plans for the land are relevant to our rights of ownership. However, I see nothing wrong in establishing an economic base to support the surviving members of my tribe and redress some of the atrocities that have been perpetrated upon us in the past.

Senator McCain: The good people of Ohio have expressly forbidden gambling in their state. Do you believe you have the right to subvert the will of the people?

Witness: This is the will of my people.

Senator Hatch: What say we break for lunch?

Senator McCain: All in favor...?

[The "ayes" have it.]