About Cowlitz Country News
Not ICT, Indianz or Pechanga.net
Indian Country Today, Indianz and Pechanga.net are great resources. For a taste from around the country of news about Indian tribes, they are wonderful. I visit them very often. What they do, they do great! None better. But their focus is national. They miss a lot of local flavor. For the Pacific Northwest, I offer Cowlitz Country News. My goal is to gather links for tribal news in the states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho, and the Province of British Columbia.
Cowlitz Country is not really new. I started in December, 2002. But it was an email news list.
Email news list
Following federal acknowledgement of my tribe's recognition, I started Cowlitz Country News as an email news list in 2002. My name is Rod Van Mechelen. In the beginning, the list was for members of Tribal Council only. But soon I began to add members of the Cowlitz Tribe to help promote a sense of community and connection.
Toward the end of the year, I was appointed to Tribal Council, and was also elected to the then-new Health Board.
About a year later I attended a tribal communications conference at the SeaTac Marriott, sponsored by the Tulalip Tribe, where I met several members of other local tribes who were responsible for editing and publishing their monthly newsletters and newspapers. I began adding them to my list, and soon received requests from most tribes in Washington State to add them to the list.
For several years I maintained and expanded the news list. In addition, with a very strong interest in the economy and tribal independence through economic development, I created an exclusive email list for select members of the tribal community with whom to share my thoughts on the economy.
In 2005 it was very obvious to me that our economy was in serious trouble. I distinctly remember a conversation I had with my father at that time. "You're not thinking of buying a house, are you?" he asked. "Absolutely not," I replied, "housing prices are too high and we're about to go into a recession."
The following year, on June 15, 2006, I stood before government officials at the Skyview High School in Vancouver, Wash., and told them that "a severe recession is coming" and that "jobs at our casino will be wanted."
You can download the video of that here. Look for the "Cowlitz Indian Tribe Casino Project 6-15-06" link. Update: It appears that they have removed the file. That link no longer works and a quick search did not turn up the file. It's a big file--261MB--too big for me to archive on any of my sites, but if you are able to find it you will find my comment at 1 hour, 25 minutes and 26 seconds.
A year later we were in that severe recession.
Frequently over the years, but with increasing urgency, I submitted reports to my tribe's chairman, Executive Council and Tribal Council about the state of the economy. But I have never been a tribal employee.
Not a tribal employee
While my tribe's efforts to put a piece of land in our aboriginal territory, that is owned by one of our members in partnership with another tribe, into trust, I continued to expand my email news list.
But I was not and am not an employee of the Tribe, just a volunteer.
From 2003 until July 2011 I served as the tribe's unpaid volunteer webmaster. In 2005 the Culture Committee, at my request, reformed and began holding meetings, then I lobbied to upgrade the committee into the current Cultural Resources Board, and served on that board until July 2011.
In 2005 I also began work on what later became the Awards & Recognition Committee, and served as its chair until July 2011. In 2009 I was appointed chair of the new Communications Committee, and was responsible for the tribe's Spring and Fall 2010 and Spring 2011 newsletters.
From 2007 through 2010 I served on the Education Committee. From Fall 2008 until July 2011 I served as the Economic Development Committee secretary. And from July 2010 through June 2011 I served on the Executive Board and Finance Committee. I do not speak for the Tribe on any matter.
Update: Resignation from Tribal Council
In May 2012 when a coalition of progressive and neocon totalitarians on the tribal council aligned to attempt to have me effectively disenrolled from the tribe despite that I announced my intention to not seek reelection at the June general council meeting, I resigned from tribal council. The coalition, whom I referred to as "the Sisterhood," because most of the main proponents were and are women, were systematically attempting to discredit those members of tribal council who disagreed with them, refused to go along with what they wanted, or sometimes simply because the person criticized them over something very trivial.
Whether progressive or neocon, this is how totalitarians operate. For an excellent infographic that makes it very easy to visualize how progressives and neocons are two sides of the same totalitarian coin, check out Shirou Zhiwu's American Political Spectrum Simplified.
Typical of mainstream progressive and neocon totalitarians, their attacks are vicious, mean spirited, personal and vitriolic. While tribal politics are traditionally filled with factional disputes, it all seemed to me like a great waste of time and effort. There was nothing more I could accomplish on tribal council and while by my count they lacked sufficient votes to remove me from office I was both fed up and determined to expose what was going on to our members, and I could not do that while still serving on council, and so I submitted my resignation to our tribal chairman.
Following this the personal attacks escalated and did not abate until July 2013. In the meantime, immediately following my resignation I began publishing a monthly members-only newsletter, Cowlitz Country Report. Any Cowlitz Indian tribal member is welcome to contact me to be added to the email list to receive Cowlitz Country Report. I will need your name, email address and enrollment number for verification, and I reserve the right to decline any request.
Websites are easier than email
With all my committee work, it was hard to maintain the news lists. I lost a lot of sleep trying to keep up. And websites are quicker and easier to maintain than email lists. So here we are.
This is the most effective way to gather and quickly convey regional Indian tribe news. Even so, this and my other websites still require several hours a day. And with the current economy, I am working hard to make a lot of useful information available.
I believe this is important, because the nation and the globe are in an economic crisis that will probably be greater than anything we have experienced before.
What does the future hold?
The general consensus of the people whose views I respect is that the mainstream politicians and central banks will continue to do the same things that have not worked before. More government spending. More money printing. More policies that put more wealth into the hands of fewer people. The rest of us will get poorer.
We will have "stagflation." That's an old term for recession (economic stagnation) and high inflation. Unofficially, we already do. The unofficial rate of inflation is about 12%. The unofficial unemployment rate is 22.9%, according to ShadowStats.com.
Unemployment will remain high and go higher. The real rate of inflation is higher than reported, and will get higher. A flurry of improvement here and there will give hope. But it will pass.
The central bankers will begin to panic. Maybe they already are. The global economy is trembling on the verge of depression. Absent the intentional inflation, deflation would pull prices down and then down some more. Government debts are high. Too high ever to repay. There is only one choice: inflate. Will inflation turn into hyperinflation? I don't think so, but maybe.
Extremely high inflation and hyperinflation are hard to handle in any economy. But what happens when it's the reserve currency of the entire world? We will find out soon enough.
Years ago I read a book by Martin D. Weiss called "How to Survive the Money Panic." He predicted a lot of what we are seeing today. He has a blog. You might go see what he has to say. And I encourage you to check out the articles I have linked on Backlash.com.
If I could suggest only one thing
If I could suggest only one thing, it would be to buy gold and silver. Stocks? Sure. Do your homework, first. Here's a good place to start: The Gold Report. Casey Research is another. But one way or the other, many of the world currencies, including the US Dollar, are going to be worth less. Much less.
To insure against that, I suggest buying gold and silver. The shiny kind. If you know and trust a local dealer, use them. If not, consider Provident Precious Metals. That's not a paid endorsement. They're who I use. Take delivery. Find some place safe and secure to store them for a rainy day.
Rainy days are coming.
What does this mean for Indian Country?
This is all my opinion. Mine, and some folks I consider smart. What I write, I mean no disrespect. But I believe an emergency is upon us. For most of the west and much of the east, it will feel bad. For many tribes in the Americas, things could go from bad to worse.
It will hit Indian Country hard. Sources of government funding will evaporate. Federal obligations could be put on perpetual hold. Reservations, often hampered by heavy-handed federal oversight, will be expected to provide more services with less resources for their people.
We will probably see periods of extremely high inflation. And deflation. It could be a jagged mix. Poverty will probably be widespread.
Tribal leaders should consider building warehouses, if this hasn't been done already, and stocking them with dry and canned goods. Enlist unemployed tribal members to work on their construction. This is an emergency. Everybody needs to pitch in.
Do it now. The longer you wait, the harder it will be. This is not the end of the world. The global depression is not a "sign of the times." It's manmade. December 2012 will not herald a prophetic cataclysm. There will be a January 2013. Most of us will still be here. Mouths will still need to be fed. Illnesses and injuries will still require attention. Prepare now. Cut corners, if that's what it takes. Those who don't prepare will despair.
Already have warehouses full of food? Medicines? Clothes? Already worked with local communities to coordinate efforts? Already got gold and silver bullion coins and "junk silver" (pre-1965 American dimes, quarters, half-dollar and dollar coins that are 90% silver) stockpiled for emergency money? What else could you do?
Time for an upgrade?
If you have the basics covered, consider investing. Below I touch on "crisis investing" and suggest why now is a very good time to invest. And it is. But it could also be a very good time to rebuild your infrastructure.
Like housing. Get rid of the stick frame houses and replace them with aesthetically appealing, very low maintenance and extremely durable monolithic dome homes. Rated to last 500+ years, these homes are energy efficient, virtually disaster-proof, yet comfortable to live in, warm and inviting.
Monolithic domes make great gymnasiums, schools, churches, warehouses and greenhouses, too.
A bad economy can be a good time to start a business. This is the time when tribal economic development offices should be bustling with activity.
The world is getting smaller. English is the international language. It might be replaced by Mandarin, Catonese, Hindu or some other language, someday. But for now, English is the language of international business. Still, it is a good idea to know one or more of the major languages. If my tribe had a reservation and a funding base (like a casino), I would suggest buying all of the Rosetta Stone courses. A tribe cannot have too many members who are fluent in the major languages of the world.
What about education programs? Be prudent. Higher education has turned into a bubble. Those with the aptitude for math, science, engineering and other useful disciplines should be encouraged to go as far as they can in school. For the rest, skills are more important. The country is full of people with useless degrees struggling to pay off their student loans by working at fast food joints and other lowpaying jobs. Most of them would have been better off attending a technical college to learn a useful skill.
Oh yes! One thing I almost forgot. Consider buying guns. Hope for the best, plan for the worst. The worst includes desperate people trying to take what we have...again. Buy guns, teach gun safety courses, be prepared. I like Springfield Armory's .40 S&W handgun and their .308 M1A rifle.
A few years ago I began to invest in the stock market, again. This might seem like a very bad time to invest in stocks. But times of crisis are often the best times in which to invest:
"Buy when there's blood in the streets, even if the blood is your own." - Baron Rothschild
Fear is very high right now. But the world goes on. Wonderful inventions are still being invented. Extraordinary women and men are still hard at work creating the as yet unheard of household brands of tomorrow. Fortunes will continue to be made. Maybe once in a lifetime are there opportunities like this to invest while stock prices are extremely low.
"Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful." - Warren Buffett
But you have to be smart. Charging in and buying a little of everything in sight might work. But the odds improve when you do your homework. I subscribe to several newsletters. You might want to do the same.
In 1979 I read a book called "Crisis Investing," by Doug Casey, head of Casey Research. I have long been a big fan of Doug Casey, and I will subscribe to one or more of his newsletters, soon.
Other advisories I like include Agora Financial, Stansberry Research, and the Financial Intelligence Report.
Many advisories give away a lot of free information, and I post links to a lot of their articles on my main website, Backlash.com. I started doing that in October 2011.
Above, I mentioned that I maintained an email list for a select few about my thoughts on the economy. The few outside of Indian Country who know me, think of me as an expert on fathers' rights, I guess. That's ironic, really. Many years ago I published a newsletter, called The Backlash!, that advocated for real gender equality. I wrote articles on men's issues and published articles by writers who were expert on fathers' rights, but I have always known far more about economics.
My degree, from the University of Washington, is in Business Administration. Milton Friedman, a "Chicago School" economist, was a hero of mine. Two quarters shy of a degree in accounting, I changed to operations management. I didn't like tax accounting.
Following graduation, I became very active in the King County Libertarian Party (think Ron Paul). In fact, I attended the 1984 National Libertarian Convention in Seattle, and it was quite a thrill to see Russell Means, there. He ran to be the Libertarian candidate for President. I will never forget his words: "What the federal government is doing to Indian Country, it will do to the whole country." He didn't win, but I was very impressed by his dignity and grace. And history is proving him right.
During those years I began reading books by Murray Rothbard and other proponents of the "Austrian School" of economics, like Doug Casey. But I didn't read enough to understand the difference between the Chicago and Austrian schools, and I confused the two.
The Chicago School economic policies, along with the Keynesian economic policies, are responsible for the mess our economy is in. The principles of the Austrian School of Economics hold the keys to our economic salvation.
With the global economy getting worse, I wanted to reach more than just the select few on my private email list. That's when I decided to repurpose the home page of my main website, Backlash.com, to feature links to the great articles published by the several brilliant men and women whose efforts I have come to admire.
Many of them also have books, and I post Amazon links to them. If you buy any of them, I'll get a buck or two and you'll get a good book plus my appreciation. But you don't need to buy the books. You can learn much just from the articles and even more from the newsletters.
My hope for CCN
My hope is that you will find Cowlitz Country News useful. That it will help bring the tribes of the Pacific Northwest together. And that the information provided through my other site will help you to survive and thrive in the crisis that is now upon us. It is what I have to offer.
Untsa Uq'n Naway
I see you.