Sacred land infringes on councilwoman’s right to retail
“We’d prefer not to have corporate chains on our sacred burial grounds,” Chief Editon said.
In the quiet isolation that is upstate New York, the Gapajo tribe prepare for their monthly lunar harvest in the Hopkinton Valley. As they finish up a full day’s toil, Councilwoman Leanne McMann throws a hissy fit in town hall.
McMann walked into her office early Monday morning and was notified that her recent petition to build an outlet mall on the outskirts of town was rejected. The mayor discovered the structure encroached on the local tribe’s sacred burial ground. The councilwoman was outraged.
“It’s just not fair!” screamed McMann as she kicked over a casino pamphlet. “I got the permit, the funding, even mapped out the blueprints myself. Pocahontas never would have done this to John Smith.”
The Gapajo tribe, who used to occupy all of what is now St. Lawrence County, now peacefully reside in their self-sustaining reservation, where they have lived for hundreds of years. The three-mile patch of natural land starts right past the “sketchy part of town” and extends down to the Exxon Gas Station by the interstate. The majority of the reserve is dedicated to a sacred burial ground, which is integral to their culture. The tribe rejected the councilwoman’s proposal, deeming the prospect of having their ancestors dwell under a Payless and an Outback Steakhouse culturally insensitive.
McMann was at a loss for how “The Shops on the Reserve” could be accused of such ignorance.
“We even mapped in a Ten Thousand Villages,” she said. “What more do these savages want from me?”
We were fortunate enough to get in contact with Chief Editon, a member of the Gapajo tribe who enlightened us on the current debacle.
“My ancestors were born and raised on this land,” he said. “It would be an abomination to have it tarnished with asphalt and cigarettes.”
Editon says the tribe had a meeting with the councilwoman upon hearing of her plans, hoping to direct her elsewhere, suggesting that she re-locate toward the local Cherokee reserve because “they’re used to being moved around.”
“I was willing to cut her some slack when she showed up with a translator, but I knew things weren’t going to go well when she slapped a bottle of Admiral Nelson on the table, just to get us loosened up,” he said.
“We gave them Thanksgiving,” McMann said. “The least they can do is give us a Banana Republic.”
Hopkinton, or the “boonies,” as some people like to call it, is the typical northern New York town. It is a minimum half hour drive to any sort of mall or movie theatre. And with the increasing price of gas, the need to be in style has been getting pushed further and further down the priority list.
“I’m sorry, but not all of us can be happy in feathered headdresses,” McMann said.
Editon, who was dressed in a plaid shirt with Nike Kicks, had no response.
With the summer coming and McMann’s seasonal clothes becoming more and more outdated, rumors have it that the councilwoman has started campaigning around town, claiming the tribe is putting curses on the local women as revenge for the petition.
“It’s true, you know, I saw it on the Discovery Channel,” McMann said. “What else do they do during their rituals? Why, just last week at Book Club, it was Carey’s turn to discuss the book, Another White Woman’s Romance Novel, but it was missing. And let me tell you something, Carey never loses a book. She used to be a librarian.”
Tomorrow the councilwoman will find an invitation to the Gapajo sponsored Green Corn Festival featuring live music, food, and a clothes drive. Wanishi.
Catherine Fisher is a sophomore cinema and photography major who lost all her money at the Gapajo casino. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.