No treaty in the United States ever ``gave'' anything to the American Indian - it was always the Indians who gave something to the US,'' insists Dick Brooks. He is general manager of WOJB-FM, the only radio station broadcasting from an Indian reservation east of the Mississippi. Mr. Brooks says it is states and counties that have suppressed Indian treaty rights over the years. He sees the effort by some Wisconsin counties now to call it a federal problem and get Congress involved as a ``front door'' effort to reopen the treaties.
He is a non-Indian dedicated to setting the record straight about Native Americans.
That he and his staff have done so persuasively is clear from the wall full of awards for treaty rights coverage near the front door of the brown, barnlike station here on the Lac Courte Oreilles reservation.
WOJB has taken its share of telephoned threats, defaced billboards, and advertising losses for making no apologies about its mission of ``social change.'' The tribally owned noncommercial station was launched in 1982 with the help of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. In addition to ``All Things Considered'' and other National Public Radio staples, programs include live Indian music and discussions held around the station's square table on everything from treaty law to environment.