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.