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Melinda Gopher
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My name is Melinda Gopher, I am an Ojibwe Native, or Anishinabe, I reside in Missoula, Montana. I am a lifelong civil, treaty, and political rights activist. I am a paralegal, feature writer, and screenwriter. My first screenplay is entitled "Thundering Eagle’s War." It is based on the life of a Lakota/Blackfeet Marine who witnessed the brutal massacre on the Mogadishu University grounds during a routine evacuation, and questioned the U.S. non-engagement in Somalia just prior to the start of the Persian Gulf War in 1991.

Thundering Eagle is an exploration of U.S. mismanagement and complicity of the extremist terrorism threat, and touches on racial attitudes and behaviors in the U.S. military. Thundering Eagle’s experience reflects the U.S. maltreatment of Native American troops as an on-going recurrence over 100 years after the last Indian battle was fought.

I am following the health care reform efforts in my state based upon my perception of Sen. Max Baucus’ callous disregard for the well being of Native American constituents who are an ever-growing, powerful swing vote in his home state. Some tribal communities have unemployment rates spiraling above 60 percent; to us, his latest bungling of health care and the public option is expected.

Blog Entries by Melinda Gopher

Calling on Obama: New Health Positivism

(0) Comments | Posted June 26, 2012 | 12:23 PM

It looks like its going down in flames. The conservative United States Supreme Court is expected to strike down Obama's signature health care law; the U.S. media characterizes this as the centerpiece of his domestic legacy. In reading the analyses so far, it seems that in simple terms:

  • The health...
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Renewing Robert Gopher's Legacy Of Courage & Sincerity

(1) Comments | Posted March 4, 2011 | 11:16 AM

In his 68 years, Robert Gopher, or Listening Thunder, crammed a great deal of social activism, and civil rights into his busy and demanding life. He was a product of American segregation, having been kicked out of the first grade for wearing his traditional braids at Great Falls' now infamous...

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Open Letter to the President and Congress: Do not cut 'Save America's Treasures'

(0) Comments | Posted October 29, 2010 | 1:06 PM

Dear Mr. President & Members of Congress:

I am writing this open letter to you to ask that the Save America's Treasures program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation be spared from budget cuts and be preserved for generations to come. The mission of Save America's Treasures...

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Open Letter to Shakira: A Call for Hemispheric Unity

(7) Comments | Posted May 4, 2010 | 11:49 AM

Dear Shakira:

I am a Democratic candidate for the U.S. House in Montana for the 2010 cycle. I am writing to you to ask you to heed the call to action on the need for passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People by the

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Ojibwe Candidate for U.S. House Demands Non-Recognized Inclusion by Obama

(3) Comments | Posted April 23, 2010 | 1:27 PM

After New Zealand's reversal this week of its opposition to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, UN Ambassador Susan Rice stated that the Obama administration will review the current U.S. policy of rejecting this internationally accepted convention.

She stated this week a...

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Missoula City Council Passes Historic Civil Rights Law

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2010 | 5:26 PM

The ordinance was controversial from the start. The city saw an unprecedented amount of opposition and support in response to this ground-breaking ordinance. Montana human rights groups scrambled to beat back last minute organized assaults on the effort by notmybathroom.com. The group called out some resident's...

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MT's Rehberg (R) Vulnerable: Facing Progressive Tribal Opponent

(13) Comments | Posted April 9, 2010 | 6:08 PM

This is not the greatest time for me to run for political office; I have young children, a teenage daughter that need my attention. I am midway through the goal of proceeding to law school. I have lived a life of delays, disappointments, and dreams deferred. I come from a...

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The Center Policy Abyss: Minority Voters Losers Again?

(0) Comments | Posted January 26, 2010 | 11:22 PM

The discussion of the latest strategies of the White House and Congressional Democrats brings to mind a saying that the Ojibwe wise men and women had resigned themselves to: "It matters little who is President, and who gets elected: we will always be poor." This latest scenario is an example...

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America Needs Another Fair Housing Summit to Abolish Financial Apartheid

(0) Comments | Posted January 11, 2010 | 11:40 AM

"I have a passion for social justice, and a lifelong commitment to the principle of equality. In Montana, the principles of fair housing with the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, were slow in coming. By the late 1980s, Montana was one of a few remaining states lax in...

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Sen. Baucus: You Are a Caviar Senator in a Hotdog State

(1) Comments | Posted January 4, 2010 | 10:44 AM

I write this as I read the latest on the evaporating hope of a public option, the progressive option of last resort. I am like most who had realized in late summer that the single payer movement was hopelessly outspent, out-manuevered, out-lobbied. The reform intent of the entire year,

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Baucus and Hill 57 Victims of 30 Year Chemical War

(2) Comments | Posted December 21, 2009 | 2:38 PM

At 1:00 a.m. EST, December 21, 2009 -- The U.S. Senate passed a procedural vote on the chamber's health care legislation. The bill intends to generate a vast expansion of the health care coverage to 30 million Americans. The progressive wing of the Democratic party is not happy with this...

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The Baucus-Hanes Flap: Status Quo in Montana Politics

(11) Comments | Posted December 19, 2009 | 11:13 AM

The latest revelation of Senator Baucus' attempt to gain a political appointment for his girlfriend, Melodee Hanes, is nothing new to Montana politics and the entrenched "Baucus political party machine," that has Montana politics in a strangle hold. Senator Baucus' abuse of power is only now becoming evident because of...

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An Open Letter to President Obama: From Hill 57 to the White House

(3) Comments | Posted December 10, 2009 | 12:17 PM

As the second youngest of eight children of an Ojibwe family, I grew up on Hill 57, outside of Great Falls, Montana. I lived in a two room house, more like a shack. It was put together with scrap lumber, Hill 57 was a collection of such ramshackle homes strung...

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The Historic Obama Tribal Summit: Uphold the Spirit of America's Founding

(4) Comments | Posted November 12, 2009 | 11:25 AM

On this week of Veteran's Day 2009, Indian Country witnessed the historic meeting of the Obama administration with Indian tribes on November 5, 2009. What should have been a national celebration was a staid, meaningless political affair. Indian country felt excluded, Mr. President. We have powwows, we celebrate, we eat,...

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Misplaced Loyalties: Montana Native American Elected Leaders and Voters Silent in Health Care Debate

(6) Comments | Posted September 18, 2009 | 2:02 PM

Native Americans in the state of Montana have much at stake in health care reform, yet, this pivotal and powerful swing vote has had scarcely anything to say on this issue. Montana is home to a 10 member Indian Democratic legislative caucus. Senator Baucus works closely with the Montana-Wyoming Tribal...

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Fear and Loathing in Montana: Racial Tensions and Xenophobia Palpable at Rep. Rehberg's Town Hall

(4) Comments | Posted September 2, 2009 | 2:43 PM

Melinda Gopher reported from Hamilton, MT, as part of HuffPost's Eyes & Ears Town Hall Watch.

Hamilton, MT--At an August 21st town hall meeting at the Hamilton High School theater, Montana's sole congressman, Denny Rehberg (R-MT), decried the public option as a government takeover of health care. He...

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