West Wing Continuity Guide
path: Home / Third Season Episodes * #307 (51) "The Indians in the Lobby"
Josh Bradley Whitford as Josh Lyman
NBC Photo: David Rose
Teleplay: Allison Abner & Kevin Falls and Aaron Sorkin, Story: Allison Abner, Director: Paris Barclay
Takes Place: Day before Thanksgiving
Broadcast: November 21, 2001
Query: Who are the Stockbridge-Munsee Indians?
Query: What exactly was the Dawes Act?
Query: Who was Mollie Orshansky?
Query: What was that book that Josh discussed with Alberto Fedregotti of the Italian Embassy?

The President wants to talk about cooking a Thanksgiving turkey and about the fact that Abbey wants to go to Camp David this year instead of the farm in New Hampshire. He is boring C.J. who isn't supposed to show it but when the President gives her an opening, she says:
"When I came in here, back in the late 50s, there was a purpose to it, but then one thing led to another and I blacked out. I mean, I can hang in there with the best of them, Sir, but somewhere in the discussion of anise and coriander and the other 15 spices you like to use to baste a turkey, I just lost consciousness." The President greets this with a scowl.
"You know that line you're not supposed to cross with the President?"
"I'm coming up on it?"
"No, no. Look behind you."
"Yes, Sir."
"Would you like to leave?"
"With your permission, Sir."
"Damn right with my permission."

C.J., having escaped from the President's diatribes, thinks she is done, but then Josh tells her there are two Indians in the lobby. They had an appointment but it was broken and they won't leave and if they have to be dragged out the Press will see and it will be a story. This makes it C.J.'s problem so she goes to meet with them:
"What tribe are you from?" she asks.
"We're Stockbridge-Munsee Indians. . . . When we were moved to Wisconsin, we signed the Treaty of 1856. In return the government was supposed to protect our reservations, provide education and health care and we would still be a sovereign nation. But then the Dawes Act came."
"You were forced to sell the land?"
"We went from 46,000 acres of tribal land to 11,000. The Dawes Act was also suppose to civilize us. Henry Dawes said that to be civilized you must cultivate the land, wear civilized clothes, drive Studebaker wagons and drink whiskey."
"The drinking part was particularly constructive advice. . . .In two generations, we'll be wiped out," one of the representatives adds.
". . . We had swamp land or land too rocky to farm so we had to foreclose or sell at three cents an acre," the other representative continues.
"In 1934 the Indian Reorganization Act allowed us to start buying back the land, bad and good, bit by bit."
"Why would you want to buy back the bad land too?" C.J. asks.
"Because the IR Act said if we put it in a trust like a National Park, it would never be taken away."
"So what you need is what?"
"An answer on our CFR 151 application."
"I'm sure that's handled by the Department of the Interior."
"It is."
"We're still waiting for an answer. . . . We've been waiting for 15 years."
". . .How many treaties have we signed with the Munsee Indians?" C.J. asks later.
"How many have we revoked?
"What were the Munsees doing in 1778?"
"Fighting in George Washington's Army."
"And why aren't you in New York anymore?"
"'Cause he marched us to Wisconsin."
"And whose land was it in the first place?"
". . . How do you keep fighting these smaller injustices when they are all from the mother of all injustices?" C.J. asks.
"What's the alternative?"

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