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July 29, 1978 - Image 8

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1978-07-29

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Page 8-Saturday, July 29, 1978-The Michigan Daily
On finding
the courage
to wage war
The Middle Parts of Fortune
By Fredrick Manning
St. Martin's Press
247 pp. $8.95
By Stephen Bennish
The Middle Parts of Fortune, presents a
philosophy which made participation
possible for the soldier who examined the
moral implications of combae. Manning ar-
ticulated a philosophy no recent author has
affirmed, one to which no satisfactory
alternative has yet been offered.
The Middle Parts of Fortune is a hybrid of
existential and Nietzchean philosophy.
Battlefield philosophy is difficult to incor-
porate into a war narrative and is suc-
cessful in only the best war novels, of which
Ernest Hemmingway's A Farewellto Arms
is the best example. In recent works, bat-
tlefield philosophy has been relegated to
existential novels, in which traditional
ethical questions may be ignored.
Hemingway articulated the change in the
literary view of war when he wrote "they
wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fit-
ting to die for one's country. But in modern
war there is nothing sweet nor fitting in
your dying. You will die like a dog for no
The Middle Parts of Fortune has an in-
teresting publishing history. Despite an
anonymous circulation of 520 copies in
Great Britain in 1929, the work is only now
being published in this country for the first
Despite the critical praise it received on
initial publication, Manning'a work was
considered inappropriate for general cir-
culation. The battlefield descriptions were
unusually vivid, and by the standards of
times, there were potential obscenity
problems with the dialogue.
The Middle Parts of Fortune merits a
review now because it represents the
demarcation point between novels in which
there is regard for the nobility of the en-
deavor, and modern war novels, in which
such values are regarded as obsolete.
Manning's protagonist, Private Bourne,
is a member of the British Army fighting on
the Somme and Acre fronts during the last
half of 1916. Bourne remains little more
than a stylistic device throughout the book;
he experiences little character develop-
ment and the plot line is weak.
Bourne considers himself akin to one of
Nietzche's superior men, and thus is
alienated from his fellow soldiers.
see THE, Page 14

Native Amer

By Rene Becker
I N SEPTEMBER of 1817, a group of American
Indians met with Michigan Governor Lewis
Cass and Ohio militia leader Duncan McArthur
at Fort Meigs, a large military camp
overlooking the Miami River near the Michigan-
Ohio bordtr. The purpose of the conference was
to sign a treaty.
The Chippewa, Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes
were represented in the delegation. They were
descendents of the once great Algonquian nation
whose land holdings at one time extended from
the Rocky Mountains east to Labrador, and from
the uppermost part of Manitoba to North
Carolina, and they had come to sign a treaty
relinquishing still more land to the white man.
After ten days of negotiations, the 1817 Treaty of
Fort Meigs was signed, and the proud chiefs and
warriors left as they always did: with less land,
but with their honor intact.
One hundred and seventy-one years later, a
replica of the fort stands in place of the original.
Picnic tables and swing sets have replaced much
of the historic memorabilia. Few remember the
history of Fort Meigs, and fewer still are aware
of that obscure treaty of 1817-but Indians
haven't forgotten.
When Paul Johnson, a Native American of
Chippewa and Ottawa lineage, expressed an in-
terest in attending the University of Michigan he
was told by his grandfather that under an old
treaty he and all children of the Chippewa, Ot-
tawa and Potawatomi tribes were entitled to
free education at the University. But when John-
son broached the subject with the admissions
department he was informed this was not the
case. The point became moot when Johnson was
admitted to the University under a football
Johnson, however, wasn't satisfied, and he
began to investigate his grandfather's claim. He
found that in Article 16 of the Treaty of Fort
Meigs, the Chippewaw, Ottawa and Potawatoii
granted 1920 acres of land to the "College at
Detroit", with the understanding that the
descendents of these tribes would be afforded the
opportunity to attend the college in exchange.
The institution that was planned to be the
"College at Detroit" actually became the
University of Michigan, and the state Supreme
Court ruled to that effect in 1856.
WITH FURTHER investigation Johnson dis-
covered that the University Board of
Regents, by the terms of the 1817 treaty, were
managers of a trust for the children of the Chip-
pewa, Ottawa and Potawatomi tribes. He infor-
med the Regents that they, as trustees, had
failed to provide the children of the three tribes
with and education. Also, the land which the
tribes granted the "College at Detroit" had been
sold. Johnson charged that the Regents never
accounted for the profit from the land sale and
had "comingled the trust funds with other
monies' and had used the funds for purposes
other than that which was intended in the treaty.
But the Regents told Johnson that no such trust
existed. They said the land was an outright gift.
The Regents said they had acknowledged the gift
in 1932 by passing a resolution "in recognition of

this first benefaction received by (the Uni
sity)." The resolution established a scholars
for five American Indians at any one time,
sisting of cash equal to four years wort
On August 5, 1971, Johnson filed a class ad
suit against the University Regents
Washtenaw Circuit Court on behalf of
children of the Chippewa, Ottawa
Potawaomi tribes. He asked that the Reg
account for the monies received from the sal
the trust lands, that they be relieved of t
position as trustees, and that the University
forced to provide for those whom he represen
a complete education including tuition, bod
supplies, food, shelter, medical and dental c
"and such other expenses incident to bein
But after seven years the case has still
been resolved. The reason is simple: the Uni
sity made numerous attempts to get the c
thrown out of court. First, the Regents char
that the Washtenaw Circuit Court did not h
jurisdiction in this case because a federal is
was involved. When this failed, they argued
the state Court of Claims in Lansing had juris
tion, and that therefore the case should
dismissed; this motion was also denied.
In May of 1973, the Regents again sough
dismiss the lawsuit this time on the grounds
the "plaintiff has failed to state a claim u
which relief can be granted." But a year 1
Circuit Judge Edward Deake denied
Regents' request. In his written opinion, Ju
Deake stated that depending upon the evide
produced at the trial, "this Article could
rationally interpreted to support either plain
claim or the defendent's claim." The Reg
also claimed that if a trust did exist, they w
not derelict in their duties as trustees. D
said the Regents would have to prove this el
in court.
THE REGENTS also argued that trea
signed after 1817 had extinguished any t
that could have existed between the Indians
the University. Deake dismissed this argun
and questioned the authority of "those per
signing the subsequent treaties to abrogate
rights of these plaintiffs."
Finally, the Regents claimed that altho
they have, at some point, had a duty to pro
the children of the three tribes with an educat
the passage of time had excused them of
trustee duties. Deake ruled that they would h
to prove this at the trial.
Later, the Regents challenged the legalit
the issue being filed as a class action suit. T
contended that because Johnson did not h
blood ties to the Potawatomi tribe he could
represent the Potawatomi class members.
court ruled "there is one class (descendan
the signatory tribes), and Johnson's m
Chippewa-Ottawa lineage makes him do
qualified as a class representative."
In November of 1974 Deake ordered JohnsO
notify the tribal organizations of the litigat
and to obtain their consents, and once this
done he set the trial date of August 21, 1978.
So, after seven years of legal rigamarole,
tribes will finally have their day in court, b
they stand a chance? It is difficult at first g
to see how Article 16 of the treaty can be
strued to have established a trust for the chil
of the three tribes, and for their descendan
be managed by the Regents. But Elmer

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