To the Editor:

I was disappointed to read the federal appellate court has rejected the Kent-based Schaghticoke Indian tribe its decade-long bid to recognition.

If the tribe does not rise to legal status it is because we have killed them off.

The Kent first selectman hailed the decision as " great news" and the state attorney general as "a legal coup de grace," but what is there to crow about?

When the deeply religious settlers came to America in the early 1600s, the land was owned and occupied by the American Indians.

We drove them off their land and westward, where we slaughtered them in masses. The remaining few were sent to an Indian reservation to struggle and die.

In Kent, the beautiful fertile lands of the Indians is now owned by the town and by Kent School.

The Schaghticoke Indians were driven off their property to struggle and perish in the unfertile rocky terrain adjoining what is now the Kent School property.

To do its hatchet job on the Indians as though we have not already done enough, the attorney general used the forces of politics -- the governor, three senators in Congress, instead of relying on the merits of the case.

Shakespeare wrote: "What fools we mortals be."

Dickens said, "The law is an ass."

Harry Cohen

New Milford