Action: Rescind Wounded Knee Medals of Dis Honor

( – promoted by navajo)

Petition: Medals of Dis Honor

Twenty-three soldiers from the Seventh Calvary were later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for the slaughter of defenseless Indians at Wounded Knee.

We are asking that these Medals of DIS Honor awarded to the members of the 7th Calvary of the United States Army for the murder of innocent women children and men on that terrible December morning be rescinded.

Credit & permission for image to & by www.myspace.com/removewoundedkneemedals

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A feather was lying on the sidewalk when I left work; I picked it up and looked closely at it. Carrying it as I walked, there was a baby bird beside my car, homeless. The baby bird had no wings and just stared at the pavement in the darkness, moving its head up and down. Several thoughts came into my mind as I watched and realized picking the bird up would get my scent on it and cause rejection from its mother. I thought about the suicides on reservations, the lack of justice on reservations, climate change, alcohol and drug addiction in the American Indian population, health concerns of American Indians, and the worries of the American Indian People in general. I then looked at the bird again, relating to it.

It is precisely things like “Twenty-three soldiers from the Seventh Calvary were later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for the slaughter of defenseless Indians at Wounded Knee,” counties and national parks being named after Custer, streets and so on being named after Sheridan, and Chivington Colorado being named after Chivington, that can lead me to feel like that bird with no wings staring at the pavement in darkness. Interesting, there isn’t a town, street, river, tank, or monument named after Hitler in Israel, nor would any medal of honor be bestowed upon a Holocaust Overseer. But the dominant culture in America, a term applied only to those doing harm, needs a rationalization when there are “national indigenous movements fighting to protect their dwindling territories and the right to manage the natural resources.” Why rescind “the Congressional Medal of Honor for the slaughter of defenseless Indians at Wounded Knee” when condoning genocide works so well? Let’s take a trip to the past to make a correlation in order to outline the right thing to do.

I had gotten into a discussion with a woman in Cheyenne about Washita, and she told me how a couple men coordinated an event of reconciliation. It involved a reenactment with Sand Creek Massacre descendants and grandsons of Custer’s 7th Calvary at the same location Black Kettle was exterminated by Custer. Paramount was the re-burial of a child victim’s bones.

The descendants camped where Custer’s 7th Calvary had attacked Black Kettle’s camp one century earlier; however, they were unaware that the grandsons of Custer’s 7th would be coming over the hill firing guns with blanks in them. When the 7th Calvary’s grandsons came towards them on horses firing blanks in their weapons, there were many feelings of surprise, fear, anger, and betrayal experienced by the Sand Creek Massacre descendants. Remember, the Sand Creek Massacre descendants and the ones who were slain at Washita were the same individuals.

Unknown to the Cheyenne, a California group called the Grandsons of the Seventh Calvary, Grand Army of the Republic, had been asked to join the Reenactment-

A line was formed after the reenactment with the grandsons of the 7th Calvary, who obviously wanted to help in this healing, at the front of the line. Lawrence Hart, a Mennonite pastor, felt very angry as he watched the bones of the child being passed down it towards the front. A Native woman then put a blanket over the little coffin containing the child’s bones, which continued to be passed down the line to Hart. The blanket was then handed to him.


“Among the Cheyenne was Lawrence Hart, a peace chief and a Mennonite pastor. The celebration became tense. The final event of the day was the re-burial of the victim’s remains. The small coffin was covered with a beautiful new woolen blanket. According to Cheyenne tradition, the blanket would be given to a guest.”

“The older peace chiefs asked Hart to give the blanket to the captain of the Grandsons of the Seventh Calvary! He couldn’t believe what they were asking. This man was the enemy! Hart’s own great-grandfather, Afraid of Beavers, had barely escaped the attack by hiding in a snowdrift.”

“Hart was tense. As the captain came forward, Hart told him to turn around. Hart’s trembling hands then draped the beautiful blanket over the captain’s shoulders.”

It was a grand moment. The wise Cheyenne peace chiefs had initiated peace.
The Grandsons embraced the chiefs. Some cried. Some apologized. When Hart greeted the captain, the officer took the Garry Owen pin from his own uniform and handed it to Hart.”

“Accept this on behalf of all Cheyenne Indian people,” the captain said. “Never again will your people hear Garry Owen.”

Read that last sentence again said by the captain, and remember that “Garry Owen” was the song Custer had his band play right before the exterminations began at Washita.


“Accept this on behalf of all Cheyenne Indian people,” the captain said.” Never again will your people hear Garry Owen.”

The lady I spoke with said there wasn’t a dry eye left.

Now, forty years later, it’s time for “Never again will your people see a ‘Congressional Medal of Honor for the slaughter of defenseless Indians.'” Please sign the petition if you haven’t already.

Petition: Medals of Dis Honor


Twenty-three soldiers from the Seventh Calvary were later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for the slaughter of defenseless Indians at Wounded Knee.

We are asking that these Medals of DIS Honor awarded to the members of the 7th Calvary of the United States Army for the murder of innocent women children and men on that terrible December morning be rescinded.

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Mitakuye Oyasin

searching for native american movie – 1975 (?) – character named kiona

i’m looking for the name of a movie made in the 1970’s (i think) which features an actress named linn. in the movie her name is kiona. my girlfriend is named after this actress (linn-kiona) and i would really like to be able to show her this movie. any help is much appreciated.

i appologize if this forum is not meant for these kind of questions, i just cant find any other way and it would really help me a lot if i can find this movie.

many thanks,

sjors

Imagery, Irony and Absaroka: The NYTimes and the Language of Racism

( – promoted by navajo)

First off, I’m a HUGE fan of the NYTimes.  I think the decline of the newspaper is a terrible thing.  I’m a big time news junkie.  I’ve been reading the Times everyday for the last eight years.  But I’m also a Native American attorney who has studied Critical Race Theory and am highly sensitive to images of cultural stereotypes.  Imagine my reaction as I came to work early to read the papers and saw the image below before I went to DC District Court this morning for a hearing on Nez Perce v. Kempthorne.

http://www.nytimes.com/…

The image was “above the fold” so to speak on the home page of “the most liberal” newspaper in America.

First off, the fringed dresses.  I’m not going to comment on the ethnicity of the females, I don’t know and don’t want to know.  The issue is one of sexualization of “the Indian Princess.”  Don’t believe me?  Check out Disney’s Pocahontas and look again.

http://www.cel-ebration.com/…

Legendary Beauty?  WTF is that about?  I refer again to University of Arizona Law and Critical Race Professsor Robert Williams lectures on stereotypes and American Indigenous people entitled “Savage as a Wolf”  available at arizonanativenet.com.

http://www.arizonanativenet.co…

So back to the NYTimes picture.  Look at the full size image and tell me who you see in the background.  

Men dressed as US Cavalry?!  

I’m not even going to complain that the bar is charging $3 a CAN for Bud Light(my feelings on the sale to InBev are well cateloged by my comments).

The kicker came as I read the article on “Absaroka” but the final insult came in paragraph 12.  “Mr. Simpson said Absarokians mostly wanted self-determination.”

Native Americans have fought for self determination and the right to self govern ever since the arrival of the White Man…Columbus’s big mistake…the beginning of the American genocide.  We’ve been through the Termination period, Allotment, and Restoration.  We’re still fighting for self government and recognition for tribes.  The Churucawa Apache are still an unrecognized tribe because they never STOPPED fighting!

(ASIDE:  I just watched Chato’s Land on Comcast on Demand, a western with Bronson and Jack Palance which gives the painfully delivered message of the White Man as Savage…worth the 2 hours.)

My favorite newspaper, resorting to ironic stories of white people wanting self-determination ironically contrasted with images of white domination and indigenous stereotypes.  

Off to the DC Circuit for a hearing on Nez Perce v. Kempthorne where more irony awaits.  

It’s a hearing on Class Certification regarding Individual Indian Trust Accounts, where it has been well cited by the Cobell litigation that the US Government has managed to lose, not record, be held in contempt for failing to provide an accounting and living up to their duties of trustee in the cases of managing Tribal Trust corpus/property and mismanaging those funds.

The obstacle to today’s certification of various tribes similar claims under one class?  Cited by the governement:  Tribal Sovereign Immunity.

The irony would lose more in the explanation than it’s worth.  

Bad NYTimes.  Bad breif and argument by the Feds.  Bad day for Native Americans.

Building Momentum For Change: Ending the Maze of Injustice

( – promoted by navajo)

Will Native American women finally get equal protection under the law?

Right now Native American women on reservations are 3 times as likely to be raped as a white woman. Due to an insanely complex series of jurisdictional issues, limited law enforcement, minimal political will and racism, perpetrators of sexual assault and domestic violence against Native American women often commit their crimes with impunity, knowing they will likely never face prosecution. All of this was documented in sickening detail last year by Amnesty International’s report Maze of Injustice

Today, Senator Byron Dorgan introduced the Tribal Law and Order Act in the Senate.

The legislation is designed to boost law enforcement efforts by providing tools to tribal justice officials to fight crime in their own communities, improving coordination between law enforcement agencies, and increasing accountability standards.

Will this legislation stop the violence?

The Tribal Law and Order Act has three primary goals:

First, it would make it easier for tribal police… to arrest non-Indians who commit federal crimes on tribal lands, including sexual assault. Second, it would increase the sentencing power of tribal courts by allowing them to put convicted tribal members behind bars for three years instead of one – and even send them to federal prison. Third, the bill would increase accountability for U.S. attorneys by requiring them to keep a record of every case on tribal lands they decline to prosecute.

Truthfully, to me, these sound like baby steps in the right direction. Allowing tribal police to arrest non-Indian perpetrators is a start… but how about letting tribal prosecutors actually be the ones to bring charges?

Right now, if a perpetrator is convicted of a crime in a tribal court, the maximum sentence the tribal court can impose is one year in jail. Murder, rape, torture… a maximum of one year in jail. This bill will expand that to three years – an improvement to be sure, but three years for rape? Three years for murder? Still very weak.

Georgia Little Shield, Director of Pretty Bird Woman House spoke about the importance of that final accountability plank for US attorneys with NPR:

“I sit with women who cry and are mad because the feds didn’t want to pick up the case. This bill, I think, would give women more of a right, that the prosecutor’s got to be more accountable for federal jurisdiction on these cases. And he’s going to have to be accountable for the cases he doesn’t prosecute,” Littleshield said.

Overall, the bill looks like a promising step forward. But the reality is that this is a journey of a thousand miles, and this is just one step. There is much more to do.

Props to the bills cosponsors: Senators Murkowski, Biden, Domenici, Baucus, Bingaman, Lieberman, Kyl, Johnson, Smith, Cantwell, Thune, Tester. Who the hell would have guessed I’d ever give props to Murkowski and Lieberman? To her credit, Murkowski has actually seemed to be somewhat proactive on these issues.

Hat tip to Pager from Daily Kos. I would have missed this without her.

Audio of the NPR story is right here.

Indian Health Service Loses $15.8 Million Worth of Equipment

( – promoted by navajo)

Via TPM Muckraker (although their link is wrong) comes this article in the Washington Post:

GAO: Indian health agency lost millions in goods.

No wonder they can’t deliver services to reservations… they are too busy losing small items like:

all-terrain vehicles and tractors, laptop computers and digital cameras.

Apparently they also managed to misplace a “jaws of life” which are used to rescue people trapped in cars after car wrecks.

I don’t have much to add other than this comes as no surprise. Under the Bush administration it appears that any agency that serves Native Americans was up for grabs to the most willing crony. However, in light of the fact that Georgia Little Shield cannot get tested or examined for the back pain she has which makes walking agonizing, it is sickening.

Georgia told me that via the IHS she has probably seen 50 to 60 different doctors as the agency rotates young physicians in and out of the reservations.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged

Congressional Black Caucus (and Barney Frank) Continue Assault on Tribal Sovreignty (Cherokee)

( – promoted by navajo)

I just received an email from a fellow tribal attorney in regards to the ongoing Congressional Black Caucus – Cherokee Nation dispute.  Apparently Barney Frank has appointed his conferees to the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act conference committee.

I just received an email from a fellow tribal attorney in regards to the ongoing Congressional Black Caucus – Cherokee Nation dispute.  Apparently Barney Frank has appointed his conferees to the Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act conference committee.

The Native American Housing Assistance and Self Determination Act is being used as a vehicle to further the dispute between the Congressional Black Caucus and the Cherokee Nation.  The CBC has promised to hold up funds because the Cherokee Nation has voted, twice, to remove the Freedmen, who cannot prove they are descendents of tribal members.

While I am not a fan of the decision by the tribe, http://thehill.com/… control over membership is an aspect of the inherent sovereignty tribes enjoy because of their status as PRE-EXISTING SOVEREIGNS.  

The Supreme Court has affirmed this in the case of Santa Clara Pueblo v. Martinez, where a Pueblo restricted tribal membership to essentially patrilineal descendents.

http://www.utulsa.edu/…

Senator Obama, our Presidential Candidate and a constitutional law scholar, has indicated he disagrees with Watson and supports the Cherokee Nation’s sovereignty, while disagreeing with the decision.

http://thehill.com/…

Rep. Dianne Watson has been laboring under the misapprehension that the Cherokee’s sovereignty stems from a post-Civil War Treaty.

http://thehill.com/…

Congresswoman Watson has united the CBC and caused unnecessary tension within the Obama coalition, by attacking not only the Cherokee Nation, but also holding up funding for all tribes and undermining tribal sovereignty across a broad front.  Now is a time for building coalitions, not fracturing them.

Congressman Frank is exacerbating the problem.

“Last week the Chairman of the Financial Services Committee (Barney Frank) appointed the House NAHASDA conferees. It appears as if only one conferee, Congressmen Pearce (R-NM), has a federally recognized Tribe in his district. The remaining Majority conferees are predominately Members from the Congressional Black Caucus. Chairman Frank announced on the House floor that he made his conference appointments in order to ensure the Cherokee issue would be addressed.”

Once again, racial politics in America is pitting one minority group’s interests against the interests of another.  This is not change we can believe in.  This is an unnecessary attack on tribal sovereignty and poor strategy by Democrats in the months before a critical and historic national election.  

Once again, Nancy Pelosi has failed to lead the House and keep Democrats united under one tent.  

Indian Country is not unanimous in supporting the effects of the ouster of the Freedmen.  But we are united in defending tribal sovereignty.  

Pelosi should know better.  Watson should know better.  Barney Frank should know better.

2008 Native American Netroots Caucus Recap

Native American Netroots Caucus

July 17, 2008

I wanted to write this diary sooner but I was simply redlining the entire time we were in Austin.  There were so many things to do at the same time that it was hard to choose at any given moment.

I was also responsible for another intensive project and that was moderating the photo pool at flickr for the entire convention.  My work is done there but the pool will continue to grow as people get home and upload their photos.

Now I can refocus again on our caucus.

The Native American Netroots caucus began on Thursday morning at 9 a.m.  I was nervous that no one would show up since many people fly in later that afternoon and I was competing with many other things scheduled at that time. I feel extremely fortunate that we ended up with about 16 participants.  I was completely pleased with all of their contributions.  I felt it was our most productive caucus since we started 3 years ago in Las Vegas.

I briefly introduced myself (you can find a more detailed account of   my background as an assimilated Indian here.) and I urged everyone to please help me grow this blog; as they encounter folks in other blogs who care about our people to please encourage them to join and contribute with diaries and comments.

IMG_4192

More below:

Our next topic was the Quilt project by Rain and Loggersbrat at Street Prophets.  They have been doing this project since Las Vegas and this year the focus of the quilt is Native American Netroots blogger’s signatures.  Loggersbrat brought patches for everyone to sign.  Rain is working on the legalities of raffling or auctioning off this quilt on the internet and then we at Native American Netroots can decide what to do with the proceeds.  The ideas currently are helping with a “wiring” a rez project and/or helping a NDN candidate.  Comment below with your suggestions.  These funds won’t be available until next year.  Rain and I are going to have the quilt blessed.  I have also taken on the project of mailing patches, special pens and return envelopes to bloggers who could not attend Netroots Nation 2008.  Dengre, Carter Camp and Meteor Blades come to mind.

From Rain:

Star Quilt: here it is, pinned to the design wall.  Each diamond has muslin in it for signing. It won’t look so shaggy when it is sewn together.  The background will be shades of dark blue.

quilt project

Here is Loggersbrat at the Street Prophets Quilt table:

IMG_4233

I found my signature from last year on the quilt behind her:

IMG_4232

Last year, YearlyKos Scholarship recipient Kevin Killer attended our caucus and I was so pleased to announce that:


Kevin Killer won his primary!

Kevin Killer, an enrolled member of the Oglala Sioux Tribe, hometown Pine Ridge, SD, is a candidate for the State House of Representatives District 27 in South Dakota.  Kevin also attended the 2007 INDN Campaign Camp, where our entire staff and trainers from across the country paid attention to this young rising star.  He has organized for many progressive campaigns, and we’re sure his experience will pay off in his own race.  

Keep track at http://www.indnslist.org/

We wish him luck in November and in my handouts was a reference to http://www.indnslist.org/ where you can be aware of all Native American candidates running for public office.

Someone commented that many people on the rez will only vote if the candidate is Native American.  A goal to have more NDNs run is a good one.

Next I wanted to open up a round table discussion of our issues this year.  Each year I have asked for input about what to discuss and this year I received some of the best input ever and that is what I used for our agenda.

I am referring to original AIM organizer Carter Camp who lives on the Rosebud reservation in South Dakota.  His personal knowledge of life on the rez, politics and organizing are priceless to our group.

Below are excerpts from his suggestions:

(Emphasis mine)


Very few Democrats recognize the part native voters play in western politics where we are often the swing vote between parties. The fact we live on or near our reservation homelands puts us all together in certain districts giving our votes a powerful concentration. Even in states where we’re not as numerous this pattern gives us clout in districts on or near a rez. Also our people aren’t registered in the numbers they could be or should be. Therefore if the party were to put some money and effort into voter registration in ndn country it would pay big dividends.


Indian Country politics are diffuse and centered around tribes and the surrounding legal and lobbying community that our efforts generate. Whole law firms specialize in ndn law and politics. They have a lot of influence along with various Congressional aides and Department under secretaries etc. who guard the purse strings in DC. It’s an enormous industry but largely unknown unless one has to deal with it. Now with gaming it’s even larger. Did you know that every Department in the Government must have an “Indian Desk” to serve our Tribes? I’m just telling you these things so you’ll know how pervasive Indian affairs are within this government. We’re all over the place!


Republicans have always seen our pitiful budgets as the easy place to cut funds. Reagan devastated funding for ndn country and we have never caught up. The IHS is so underfunded it costs lives every day. Same with our education funds and reservation schools. Housing is so bad on the rez that it’s common to see three or four families living together. Plus what we have is falling apart through neglect and age. America’s poorest counties are always reservation counties like Shannon County or Todd County here in S.D. they fight to see who will be the worst, poorest county in America year after year. I guess in the end most of our problems are directly tied to the endemic poverty we face. The only solution America has is to become economic refugees and leave our homelands and people. Many have done so but to the rest of us that’s a solution we reject as genocide.

[snip]

This fall GOTV will be very important but first we need to get our people registered and motivated to vote. Frankly most of us don’t give a shit about wasicu politics. It takes a lot of convincing to get out the vote on the rez plus the regular old methods won’t work, they’ve been tried many times. A voter registration drive that is based on our culture might work but it hasn’t been tried.

By using our culture I mean things like going to dances with contests and adding prize money if the winner has a voter registration card, but actually participating in the celebration also. Or by utilizing the twenty district chapters, where the local politics really happens, to register each district. Plus the district chair and leaders know where everyboody lives which is no small deal in these wide open spaces. Many ndn homes have several adults living there who won’t admit it to strangers while someone they know would have no problem. Things like that could vastly increase our power in politics here.

I spoke with a Navajo attorney today who represents this tribe in DC for a major law firm. She spoke about how the South Dakota delegation is the best at providing earmarks for Indian projects while the Arizona tribes hate McCain because he won’t earmark any of their projects. The explanation of course is that Senator Johnson and our single Congresswoman Herseth-Sandlin both owe their election in a red state to the native vote and they make no bones about it. We’re 9% of the electorate here and most elections are decided by less than that. We might turn this state blue if we voted in numbers. Same with Oklahoma where we’re 8-9% too. But it would take lots of dough and so far no one’s done it.

……

My take away from his comments are:

1. the fact that many reservations have the percentages to be swing voters

2. the GOTV on the rezs has not been properly conducted  

3. See above again for specific suggestions about GOTV on the rez

I gave this information to my contact in the Barack Obama campaign and he is going to give it to the field directors in the states that have reservations.

Another point was brought up by someone that registering is one thing but that getting rez residents to return to polling places is often very difficult.  Requesting absentee ballots at the time of registering would help here.

Carter Camp also requested that we not forget about Leonard Peltier.  I made a handout with the following information:


Mr. Peltier’s committee has gone through one of its periodic revamps and is now being run by his family on the rez in North Dakota. It’s been thirty long years since his mistrial and he is far over the guidelines for parole in an aiding & abetting conviction. The FBI has been successful in their campaign against him. Once his case was known throughout the world but all attempts failed to get justice for him. Now he’s old news and younger native people barely know his name. This is to remind you that a brave warrior is still paying the price for our struggle for sovereignty in the sixties and seventies. –Carter Camp


peltier logo

Friends of Peltier

http://www.FreePeltierNow.org

This is being sent on behalf of contact@whoisleonardpeltier.info

URL:

http://www.whoisleonardpeltier…

———————-

June 26 was the 33rd anniversary of the firefight at the Jumping Bull property on the Pine Ridge Reservation.  The LP DOC will represent Leonard at the annual Little Big Horn National Monument event in Montana, as well as the Oglala Commemoration in South Dakota. We’re

also helping participants in the Longest Walk II mark the day by sending t-shirts and other materials their way.

Due to the political nature of the Peltier case, a high level of public awareness is critical if we’re to succeed in obtaining Leonard’s release.

Here’s some of the things you can do to educate your community about the Peltier case:

— Set up literature tables at events/public places. Download literature at  [see URL on first page] and don’t forget our petitions and sample resolution which you can locate on our main menu.

— Plan showings of electronic media. While “Incident at Oglala” is out of print, copies still in circulation are often available for purchase from Amazon.com, eBay, etc., and VHS and DVD copies are available to rent in many rental outlets. Amazon.com also offers a downloadable, low-cost digital version.  We also strongly recommend “Warrior,” on VHS. Order online through

Native Videos at http://www.nativevideos.com/wa…

— Write letters to editors of local newspapers, encourage community television stations to highlight the case, and place calls to radio

call-in shows. Express your opinions and educate others.

— Hold book readings featuring “My Life Is My Sun Dance” by Leonard Peltier.

If you’re planning an event, please let us know. We’ll be happy to add the information you provide to our calendar of events and otherwise promote your event in any way we can.

Thank you for all you do on Leonard’s behalf.

Sincerely,

Betty Ann Peltier-Solano

Coordinator

Time to set him free… Because it is the RIGHT thing to do.

——————————————————————————-

To subscribe,   send a blank message to freepeltiernow-on@mail-list.com

We had many important comments.  I asked all of the attendees to please join our blog and comment under this diary and write about their comments that they made in our caucus session.  

*********************************************

Update #1:

A local blogger, Susan Van Haitsma came to our caucus and here is her post at Austin American Statesman:

First Nation Netroots

First thing Thursday morning at Netroots was a Native American Netroots caucus.  The session was facilitated by Neeta Lind, a Navajo woman living in the San Francisco Bay area.  Lind said that she hadn’t been politically active until the 2000 election, but since then, she’s been blogging with a passion as navajo at Native American Netroots and on the site of the San Francisco Kossacks, a group that formed about two years ago and now hosts about 300 active bloggers.

I asked Lind how it felt to meet bloggers in person after knowing them only through their online personas.  She said that when the SF Kossacks held their first meet-up, “people were jumping over each other” in excitement.  

Those sentiments certainly were evident throughout the convention center as well.  There were animated conversations all around, and people seemed exhilarated to be meeting and talking.  And while I expected bloggers to be typing away on keyboards or cell phones during the caucuses and panels, I only saw a bit of that.  Almost all participants were focused and attentive to the discussions at hand.  

I was curious about internet use on the rez.  How accessible was it, and was it an effective organizing tool?  Caucus participants felt that providing internet access on the rez was a positive goal, though poverty is a very real barrier.  One man said, “In Pine Ridge (SD), the people couldn’t afford a computer even if they had wi-fi.”   Another man suggested that, as in Africa, the rez could become telephonized so that computers wouldn’t be as necessary, especially considering the remoteness of many households and the ruggedness of the terrain.  

Caucus participants noted that voter turnout on the rez can be boosted through combining voter registration with other regular tribal functions such as dances and food distribution days.  Lind said that she would like to have at least one online contact on every reservation.  

The primary reason cited by folks in the room for low voter turnout on the rez was disillusionment with politicians who have consistently ignored them.  Some candidates in districts adjoining reservations simply do not venture there to campaign. Indns (blog speech) need representatives who know them.  The best solution, said Lind, would be “Native Americans running for office.  That’s how we’re going to change things.”

Thanks Susan for the nice write up!

How To Rape A Woman And Get Away With It

( – promoted by navajo)

This title is not an exaggeration or misstatement, although I really wish it were. I did not go to Netroots Nation to learn that it was possible to rape a woman, right here in the United States and walk away with absolutely no consequences to the rapist. But that’s what I learned in a panel discussion on Friday morning.

Come over the fold and I’ll tell you exactly how this happens – and you can take an action, a small first step towards ending this nightmare.

How to rape a woman and get away with it – a step by step guide:

NOTE: this method works best for white perpetrators.

1. Go to an Indian reservation.

2. Choose your victim.

3. Rape her.

4. Leave the reservation.

At this point the police may get involved. This is not a problem for the rapist at all; in fact, it is kind of an additional rape of the victim, a two-for-one violation. Let me illustrate how the police investigation will likely go down:

A rape victim sits on a Indian Health Services clinic bed as the police discuss the situation:

Tribal officer to local white police: The perpetrator is white, I don’t have jurisdiction. Do you?

Local police: Nope, the victim is Native American. I don’t have jurisdiction. How about you Mr. State Trooper?

State Trooper: Not my problem. According to Public Law 280 I have no jurisdiction. This is a tribal or federal matter.

Tribal Officer: But there aren’t any FBI agents on the reservation right now.

Local police: Well, the victim will just have to wait until one comes.

State Trooper: This Indian Health Service clinic doesn’t even have a rape kit, so there won’t be any forensic evidence.

Local police: I guess this is the end of it. (Tips his hat to the rape victim) You have a nice day ma’am.

Tribal officer, Local Policeman and State Trooper exit.

Victim: Isn’t anyone going to do anything?

Indian Health Service physician assistant: Hey, I can give you some ibuprofen before I send you home!

Georgia LittleShield, Director of Pretty Bird Woman House knows all about this. It happened to her daughter years ago. The rapist is free, has never faced charges and is on the reservation – where he can encounter and threaten his victim. No consequences, not a single one.

Let me tell you something: perpetrators, predators and sex offenders know all about this! They target Native American women! They travel to reservations to choose their victims! It is rape tourism, right here in Oklahoma, South Dakota, Alaska and any place where the confusing mess of jurisdictional issues allow perpetrators to hide.

Are there even words to describe this evil?

There is something you can do right now to help:

Use Amnesty International USA’s form to contact the newly appointed Director of Indian Health Services Robert G. McSwain and tell him to make sure IHS has free rape kits available for victims of sexual assault – CLICK HERE TO CONTACT IHS DIRECTOR ROBERT MCSWAIN

Join Amnesty International’s Stop Violence Against Women Campaign

Small things, but it is a start.

Get Informed:

Read/Download the original Amnesty International Report: Maze of Injustice and the recent updates.

Visit Pretty Bird Woman House website and read the amazing story of how this women’s shelter was helped by the netroots!

A Brief Personal Note

I know there are other issues of great importance. I know we must elect Barack Obama President of the United States of America. Our top short term policy priority must be to end the illegal war in Iraq. Our top long term priority must be to halt global warming.  

But, like torture, this is simply evil. It must be stopped.

Our panel on this topic at Netroot Nations was a failure. We only had at most fifteen people there. The topic is one most people prefer to avoid and I did not promote it enough.  

But we have to speak up. We must. This is not a case where we simply teach Native Americans how to blog and suddenly they have their own voice to speak on these issues. Many reservations have only very limited internet access – pretty much only dialup. They don’t even have computers in most cases!!

Someone has to help give these women a voice. Amnesty International has done a tremendous amount of work on this. But we need more. Please, help me with this. Spread the word.

As a result of this diary I

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Netroots Nation Panel: Pretty Bird Woman House w/Video

( – promoted by navajo)

Navajo asked me to post this video here. I wasn’t expecting to take any footage at this panel here in Austin, but I felt I had to once the panelists started talking. The panel and its report are titled, “Maze of Injustice: The Failure to Protect Indigenous Women from Sexual Violence in the USA”. It was very very moving.

Links to:

Pretty Bird Woman House

Amnesty International Report

Update by navajo:

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Tinekkia Williams-Three Legs, Amanda Flott and Georgia Littleshield
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Georgia waving to SallyCat; Sally was responsible for a massive clothing drive for Georgia’s shelter.

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BetsyNY; Pretty Bird Woman’s House personal dedicated blogger

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AndyT, who had the brilliance to organize this, introducing the panel
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myself :: navajo, Tinekkia and Georgia

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Road2knowledge-Liberation…Free from Ignorance

http://www.mexica-movement.org/

Our history, our people, our Identity. Learn the true history, study and confront the lies. Mexicamovement presents it in this way. In honor of our ancestors,the ones who died, the ones who fought to survive; we are descendents of that 5%that survived the biggest genocide in the history of humanity that began on that day of 1492.

We fight this battle with knowledge, education in a Indigenous point of view. We recommend books that are filled with information, not perfect but good. THese books are to creat and develop ourselves to being able to defend ourselves in an intelligent way, in honor of our ancestors and for our furture. We offer this to you, the children of Anahuac (so-called western hemisphere).

Timexicah. Yaocuicatl

Recap from the Native American Netroots Caucus

( – promoted by navajo)

This is a diary that I will fill in later.  It is a place for this morning’s caucus attendees a place to post their individual recaps in the comment section.

I am in a session right now about GOTV and talking to your neighbors.  I will try to post my recap a little later.

We had a wonderful session this morning. All the attendees had something important to contribute and we were all energized as a group.

Forced Sterilizations of Indigenous Women

( – promoted by navajo)

The sterilizations of indigenous women were covert means of the continuation of the extermination policy against the Indian Nations. At least three indigenous generations from 3,406 women are not in existence now as the result. The sterilizations were not unintentional or negligible. They were genocide. What would the indigenous culture and political landscape be now? One can only imagine, but the sterilizations like the relocations – were forced.

First, the forced sterilizations must be seen in historical and a more modern context.


Leonard Crow Dog and Richard Erdoes. “Crow Dog.” pp. 6-7.

Only when we saw them building roads through our land, wagons at first, and then the railroad, when we watched them building forts, killing off all the game, committing buffalo genocide, and we saw them ripping up our Black Hills for gold, our sacred Paha Sapa, the home of the wakinyan, the thunderbirds, only then did we realize what they wanted was our land. Then we began to fight. For our earth. For our children. That started what the whites call the Great Indian Wars of the West. I call it the Great Indian Holocaust.


Native American Women and Violence

Native American women experience the highest rate of violence of any group in the United States.
A report released by the Department of Justice, American Indians and Crime, found that Native American women suffer violent crime at a rate three and a half times greater than the national average. National researchers estimate that this number is actually much higher than has been captured by statistics; according to the Department of Justice over 70% of sexual assaults are never reported.

Here’s a historical example of violence against Native American women during this general time, to complete laying the foundation.


Anna Mae Aquash

On February 24, 1976, Aquash was found dead by the side of State Road 73 on the far northeast corner of the Pine Ridge Reservation, about 10 miles from Wanblee, South Dakota, close to Kadoka. Her body was found during an unusually warm spell in late February, 1976 by a rancher, Roger Amiotte.[2] The first autopsy (reports are now public information) states: “it appears she had been dead for about 10 days.” The Bureau of Indian Affairs’ medical practitioner, W. O. Brown, missing the bullet wound on her skull, stated that “she had died of exposure.” [1]

Subsequently, her hands were cut off and sent to the Federal Bureau of Investigation headquarters in Washington, D.C. for fingerprinting. Although federal agents were present who knew Anna Mae, she was not identified, and her body was buried as a Jane Doe.

On March 10, 1976, eight days after Anna Mae’s burial, her body was exhumed as the result of separate requests made by her family and AIM supporters, and the FBI. A second autopsy was conducted the following day by an independent pathologist from Minneapolis, Dr. Garry Peterson. This autopsy revealed that she had been shot by a .32 caliber bullet in the back of the head, execution style.[3]

The general historical foundation being laid, I ask what would the population of indigenous people be now, approximately three generations  after the forced sterilizations?


Genocide or Family Planning?

According to the GAO report, 3406 Native American women between the ages of fifteen and forty-four were sterilized between 1973 and 1976.


The Scythe and the Scalpel:

Dissecting the Sterilizations of Native American Women in the 1970’s

In the old days, genocide used to be so simple. Such things as biological warfare used to keep Indians warm with small pox infested blankets furnished by the United States government, and the only thing barren and infertile was the land set aside for reservations.In the 1970s, genocide became a little more complex.
Biological warfare invaded the reproductive rights of Native American women, making their wombs as barren and infertile as reservation land. The sterilization policies during this time perpetuated the genocidal tendencies that have made the eugenics movement a viable legacy of terror in the biological history of Native Americans.

Next, the specifics of who uncovered the forced sterilizations and why that conclusion was reached are vital. The dark moment of discovery came from a Choctaw- Cherokee physician named Connie Uri.


Kurt Kaltreider, PH.D. “American Indian Prophecies.” p. 71.

A Choctaw-Cherokee physician, Connie Uri, uncovered this program (large-scale sterilization) when she was asked by a young Indian woman for a womb transplant.


The Indian Health Service and the Sterilization of Native American Women

A young Indian woman entered Dr. Connie Pinkerton-Uri’s Los Angeles office on a November day in 1972. The twenty-six-year-old woman asked Dr. Pinkerton-Uri for a “womb transplant” because she and her husband wished to start a family. An Indian Health Service (IHS) physician had given the woman a complete hysterectomy when she was having problems with alcoholism six years earlier. Dr. Pinkerton-Uri had to tell the young woman that there was no such thing as a “womb transplant” despite the IHS physician having told her that the surgery was reversible. The woman left Dr. Pinkerton-Uri’s office in tears. 1


Kurt Kaltreider, PH.D. “American Indian Prophecies.” p. 71.

She (Connie Uri) scoured the records of the BIA-run Indian Health Service Hospital in Claremont, Oklahoma, and discovered that 75% of the sterilizations were nontherapeutic. Many of the women did not understand the true nature of the surgery, thought it was a kind of reversible birth control, or even signed the consent forms while groggy from sedation after childbirth.


A Look at the Indian Health Service

Policy of Sterilization, 1972-1976 by Charles R. England

The hospital records show that both tubal ligation and hysterectomies were used in sterilization. Dr. Uri commented: “In normal medical practice, hysterectomies are rare in women of child bearing age unless there is cancer or other medical problems” (Akwesasne Notes, 1974: 22). Besides the questionable surgery techniques being allowed to take place, there was also the charge of harassment in obtaining consent forms.

In addition, Montana also had instances of forced sterilizations.


The Indian Health Service and the Sterilization of Native American Women

Two young women entered an IHS hospital in Montana to undergo appendectomies and received tubal ligations, a form of sterilization, as an added benefit. Bertha Medicine Bull, a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, related how the “two girls had been sterilized at age fifteen before they had any children. Both were having appendectomies when the doctors sterilized them without their knowledge or consent.” Their parents were not informed either. Two fifteen-year-old girls would never be able to have children of their own. 2


Kutr Kaltreider, PH.D. “American Indian Prophecies.” pp. 71-72.

Following Dr. Uri’s lead, Senator James Abourezk initiated a federal investigation of the General Accounting office. The resulting report gave the results of a survey from four out of twelve regions with Indian Health Services hospitals. In a three-tear period, over 3,400 sterilizations were performed; 3,000 of them on Indian women under the age of 44. In not one instance were the women offered consent forms that met the federal guidelines and requirements. About 5% of Indian women were being sterilized –


The Indian Health Service and the Sterilization of Native American Women

Native Americans accused the Indian Health Service of sterilizing at least 25 percent of Native American women who were between the ages of fifteen and forty-four during the 1970s.

Albuquerque, Aberdeen, and Phoenix also shared in “inconsistent and inadequate” medical forms. As was mentioned above, there was a federal investigation.


And Then There Were None by Kamet Larson

Most of the 3,400-plus cases involved women who have been sterilized by Indian Health Service doctors (by specially hired physicians in one-third of the cases) — whether voluntarily or for reasons of medical necessity is unclear, since IHS records blur that critical distinction. Going through three years of files in four of the 52 IHS service areas, federal investigators could find no conclusive proof that the sterilized patients had given their fully informed consent as HEW (which operates the IHS) defines it. For “voluntary, knowing assent” HEW requires a description of what the surgical procedure or experiment is, its discomforts, risks and benefits; a disclosure of appropriate alternatives; an offer to answer questions; and an assurance that the patient is free to withdraw consent at any time without losing benefits. Forms on file in Albuquerque, Aberdeen, Oklahoma City and Phoenix were found to be incomplete on these basic points, inconsistent, inadequate, and “generally not in compliance with the Indian Health Service regulations.” Among the stacks of material looked at were physician complaints that preparing the required summaries of conversations with patients was “too time-consuming.” Had the IHS been as careless with its patients as with its own record-keeping?

What would the population of indigenous people be now? What would the indigenous culture and political landscape be now?  

I don’t know, but one thing is clear to me: the sterilizations, like the relocations – were forced.


Source

“And…if ever we are constrained to lift the hatchet against any tribe, ” he wrote, “we will never lay it down till that tribe is exterminated, or is driven beyond the Mississippi.” Jefferson, the slave owner, continued, “in war, they will kill some of us; we shall destroy all of them”. (Ibid)


sterilizations in the 70’s

The following is a copy of an article by Joan Burnes which appeared in the Lakota Times last August 24th (1994).

– snip –

Emery A. Johnson, then-director of the IHS, told a congressional committee in 1975 that IHS “considered non-therapeutic sterilization a legitimate method of family planning… We are not aware of any instance in which such services have been abused.”

To conclude, this is a video Sigrid shared with me. It says what I want to say in this conclusion.


We shall live again.

I am not a Redskin

( – promoted by navajo)

Last week the Washington Redskins scored a legal victory for themselves and another moral failure for American Judicial system.  Patent and Trademark law and the investment of millions of dollars into a racist name and a stereotyped image assured another few years of denigrating headlines, repeated televised use of an outdated slur, and the continued monolithic pace of American jurisprudence.  

Last week the Washington Redskins scored a legal victory for themselves and another moral failure for American Judicial system.  Patent and Trademark law and the investment of millions of dollars into a racist name and a stereotyped image assured another few years of denigrating headlines, repeated televised use of an outdated slur, and the continued monolithic pace of American jurisprudence.  

The Marshall Model or the Marshall Trilogy form the basis for “federal Indian law.”  http://academic.udayton.edu/…

(I use quotes as the debate within the Native American community over the use of the term Indians remains vigorous, is the use of the term Indian to describe North America’s indigenous people a slur, was Columbus’s folly a proper moniker for the thousands of commnuities of people here prior to the colonization and enslavement of “America”?)

The Marshall Model incorporates the “Doctrine of Discovery” which summarized finds that tribes are domestic dependent nations, pre-existing sovereigns, which are subject to domination because of their inherent inferiority as “savages” (if you ask me this kind of tortured legal logic is barbaric in itself).  Due to the inherent inferiority of the thousands of tribes, the handicap of their race requires the United States federal government to treat the tribes “as a guardian to his ward” (this creates the whole basis for the federal trust situation, where the federal government is supposed to manage the Native’s lands for their benefit [trust law requiring a trustee, trustor, and res or property to be managed by the trustee]).

This “language of racism” (see Robert Williams “Like a Loaded Weapon”) continues to dominate our jurisprudence and our culture.  http://www.arizonanativenet.co…

So how is this language of racism reflected?  Most recently, in U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly decision on the Redskin’s patent and trademark victory.  http://www.washingtonpost.com/…  Here, the Judge found that the litigants ahd waited too long to file a claim, that the term “Redskin’s” was so insulting and racially offensive that it should not be granted the protection’s of copyright laws.

While I need not run through the various races and hypothesize about the outrage that would exist if there existed various football, baseball, and hockey teams named after stereotypes of other races I will list a few of the ones that America feels are accceptable in terms of denigrating the “pre’existing sovereigns”:  The Washington Redskins, the Cleveland Indians, the Kansas City Cheifs, the University of North Dakota “Fighting Sioux”, the University of Illinois “Fighting Illini”…and their associated mascots and cheerleaders.

The UN has protected rights for indigenous people under international law and treaties, which the United States, the world’s leader in protecting human rights (until 2000), has so progressively refused to sign and make itself subject to (See US v. Dann and associated OAS rulings finding that the US failed to give due process and property rights to the Western Shoshone).  

I find it amazing that America, where all property holding slave owning white men who don’t want to pay taxes are created equal, continues both in an abherrent jurisprudence based on racial superiority and continues to justify the disparate treatment of the “pre-existing sovereign” in the role of our “guardian”.

Later this month a decision in the Cobell trial is expected, a trial which has lasted 12 years and found various Cabinet secretaries in contempt and the US continually and historically in violation of their duty as trustee.  Yet in spite of the mismanagement of billions of dollars over a period of 100+ years, the government will find (Judge Robertson) that he doesn’t understand how misappropriating billions of dollars may have benefited the US government (talk about circular reasoning and tortured logic).

It has been less than 100 years since the “First Americans” were granted the right to vote and equality of citizenship.  And today, America denies it has a problem with race.  http://en.wikipedia.org/…  “We are post-racial” it is proclaimed.  Yet yesterday Dan Snyder and the NFL were granted the right to continue insulting me every Sunday.  And tomorrow, the US will steal billions of dollars it owes my peoples.  And the next day we will still be living in poverty on our reservations, lack the funds to build needed jails and judicial systems, and have federal funding for the Indian Health Service cut for a war of choice in which many of us serve.

Canada New Zealand and Australia have all apologized for their treatment of indegenous peoples, ranging from attempts to assimilate to outright genocide.  America has yet to do so.  The Senate, continues to refuse to recognize indigenous Hawaiians as native peoples (mainly upon Republican objection and post racial arguments).  

The Longest Walk II was completed this weekend, where issues from the environment to Native Sovereignty and America’s failures to honestly discuss race were raised.  Patricipants walked over 8,000 miles to draw attention to these causes.   http://www.longestwalk.org/ What becomes most apparent when viewing these issues together is that America has very, very far to go.

I am not a Redskin.  I am a patriot, a critic, and Anishnabe.  I am not a stereotype.

Nuevo Plan de Aztlan

Nuevo Plan de Aztlan

WHEREAS, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America honor our Nahua heritage with all our hearts and minds;

WHEREAS, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America honor the sacred call of our Nahua ancestors for peace and justice throughout our Americas; and

WHEREAS, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America recognize La Raza has been struggling with a new wave of racial harassment, discrimination and persecution in our Americas since September 11, 2001.

NOW THEREFORE, We the Chicanos y Chicanos of the United States of America resolve as follows:

SECTION 1.  TITLE

This resolution may be cited as Nuevo Plan de Aztlan.

SECTION 2.  TERMINOLOGY

Nuevo Plan de Aztlan is based on the following terminology:

a) Americanas y Americanos

Americanas y Americanos are all Americans from throughout our Americas regardless of race, color, language, culture, nationality, ethnicity, religion or creed.

b) Aztlan

The concept of Aztlan is derived from the Nahua history of the Mexicas before their southern migration from Norte America into Centro Mexico during the 11th Century.  Aztlan today is a free and sovereign nation of native-born U.S. citizens of Mexican-American and(or) Mexican descent (Indigenas) who consider ourselves Chicanas y Chicanos regardless of where we were born, live or die.

c) Carnalismo

Carnalismo is the love and compassion Chicanas y Chicanos have for each other as carnalas y carnales (sisters and brothers).  Carnalismo is what unites Chicanas y Chicanos as we work for peace and justice.

d) Chicanas y Chicanos

Chicanas y Chicanos are native-born U.S. citizens of Mexican-American and(or) Mexican descent (Indigenas) who consider ourselves Chicanas y Chicanos based on our Nahua heritage.

e) El Movimiento

El Movimiento is the indigenous Chicana y Chicano Movement for peace and justice.  El Movimiento is comprised of numerous academic, athletic, artistic, business, commercial, cultural, educational, political, recreational, social, spiritual, wholistic and other philanthropic networks of Chicanas y Chicanos working for peace and justice throughout Aztlan, our Americas and the world.

f) Nahua heritage

Our Nahua heritage includes our ancestral lands and freedoms and the histories, cultures, traditions and mores of our Nahua ancestors before, during and after their migration from Aztlan to Centro Mexico in the 11th Century.

g) Indigenas

Often called Native Americans or American Indians, Indigenas are all the indigenous peoples of our Americas.  Most Indigenas are of mixed-race lineage like Chicanas y Chicanos.  There are millions of mixed-race Indigenas throughout our Americas and on outlying islands.

h) La Causa

La Causa is for peace and justice, the eternal cause of Chicanas y Chicanos who recognize there can be no true peace without true justice, i.e., the abolition of poverty, racism, sexism and all other injusticias.

i) La Raza

Chicanas y Chicanos can be Black, White, Brown, Red, Yellow and(or) any other “skin color” like the rest of La Raza and human race. The concept of La Raza was derived from a 1925 essay published by Jose Vasconcelos, a Mexican philosopher who called the millions of mixed-race Indigenas with Latin-American and(or) Latin-European ancestors La Raza Cosmica.

Every race, color, nationality, ethnicity, culture, language, religion and creed in the world is represented in La Raza due to the centuries of assimilation, acculturation and miscegenation in our Americas.  This rich diversity is the unifying power, force and strength of Chicanas y Chicanos, and of all La Raza as we grow to know, understand and honor our great heritage.

j) Latinas y Latinos

Latinas y Latinos of our Americas are mixed-race Indigenas with Latin-American and(or) Latin-European ancestors.

k) Racism

·     Racial categories are crude labels based on parentage and(or) physical traits, not sacred or scientific proof of one’s superior or inferior nature like racists believe.

·     Racism is the belief one or more “races” are inherently “superior” to one or more other races.  [Example:  Many Americans believe “White people” are inherently superior to “Non-White people” and that “Black people” are inherently inferior to all other people.]

·     Racism includes the belief “mixed-race” people like La Raza are inferior to those with birth parents of the same race. “Race-mixing” is still condemned by racists today.

·     Indigenas were considered savages (less-than-human) when Europeans first invaded and occupied the Americas.  “Christianized” and(or) otherwise assimilated Indigenas were and still are considered inferior by today’s racists.

·     Racists are not just poor or average citizens, there are wealthy and highly educated racists throughout government and society (white-collar racists) who strive to protect and preserve their privileged status via institutional, industrial and commercial racism.

·     The racist imposition of the colonial English language on Indigenas continues to cause horrendous problems for Chicanas y Chicanos in education, employment and virtually all other aspects of life in the U.S.  Laws, rules and regulations are selectively enforced by local, state, federal and “private” institutions against La Raza, as English becomes a weapon that deprives Chicanas y Chicanos of liberty, equality and justice throughout our lives.

·     Private industry (“free enterprise”) causes havoc for Chicanas y Chicanos by perpetuating racist stereotypes and beliefs about La Raza for profit and gain.  [Example:  Mass media and the “entertainment” industries commercialize racist stereotypes and beliefs about Latinas y Latinos throughout the world, while pretending to be “spreading freedom and democracy” alongside the Pentagon.]

SECTION 3.  STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

Nuevo Plan de Aztlan addresses the alarming attacks orchestrated against Indigenas throughout Norte America since September 11, 2001 (9/11).

U.S. officials are using La Raza as a scapegoat or smokescreen to distract or divert attention away from their heinous war crimes in the Middle East.  According to their domestic propaganda, the “real problem” and therefore actual enemy or threat to national security is Mexicans and other Indigenas “invading” the U.S., not the Pentagon “spreading freedom and democracy” in the Middle East and beyond.  

Thousands of racist media, vigilante, “homeland security” and other hostile actions have been executed against Indigenas since 9/11, as tens of thousands of these indigent men, women and children have been rounded up and herded out of Norte America like cattle.

SECTION 4.  HISTORICAL ANALYSIS

Indigenas have suffered centuries of injusticias including genocide, rape, torture, mayhem, kidnapping, slavery, peonage, poverty, homelessness and groundless imprisonment at the hands of the original European invaders and occupiers of the Americas.  The offspring of these European terrorists expect Chicanas y Chicanos to ignore or forget this true account of their ancestors’ horrendous atrocities against our ancestors, as if these abominations never occurred or mattered.

As English colonialism via the U.S. rapidly evolves into global imperialism, La Raza is increasingly faced with discriminatory law enforcement, housing, education, employment, healthcare, mass media, entertainment and other racist industrial, commercial and institutional policies and practices, especially since 9/11.  The offspring of the European terrorists who originally stole our ancestral lands are guilty of receiving this stolen property but remain in denial, as they continue to exploit, oppress and deprive us of our ancestral lands and freedoms with brute force for their own racist purposes from generation-to-generation.

U.S. racists are now working to outlaw MEChA and other Movimiento organizations, as if well-educated Chicanas y Chicanos are the real problem or cause of “too many Mexicans” and other Indigenas in Norte America today.  These same racists oppose Chicana y Chicano Studies, affirmative action, financial aid, bilingual and multicultural education, ethnic studies, fair housing, equal employment opportunities and all other ways and means of attempting to create level playing fields for La Raza, as if the U.S. only belongs to Anglo-Americans and everyone else is a second-class citizen, at best.

SECTION 5.  MEXICO, CENTRO Y SUR AMERICAS

The 21st Century campaign against Mexicans in the U.S. is also aimed at Chicanas y Chicanos since we are all Nahua people.  Chicanas y Chicanos have a natural, inherent or innate relationship with Mexicanas y Mexicanos because of our common Nahua heritage that is everlasting.

Indigenas throughout our Americas are suffering from these racist attacks too.  We are all being treated as a threat or potential threat to national security by the U.S. government at local, state, federal and international levels.

SECTION 6.  GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

a)  We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America must reach beyond nationalism to establish and(or) coalesce with parallel movements of Indigenas united around our multilingual, multiracial and multicultural heritage throughout our Americas and on outlying islands.

b)  El Movimiento’s mass communication, organization and mobilization initiatives call for Chicanas y Chicanos to join forces with all La Raza against our common exploiters and oppressors because we cannot be free unless and until all La Raza is free.

c)  Economic justice cannot be achieved without social and political justice.  La Raza needs to join with an international union of free and sovereign indigenous nations to work for this justicia as opposed to permitting the racists to continue to exploit and oppress La Raza via commercial, industrial and institutional racism from generation-to-generation without resistance.

d)  This new Union De Las Americas (American Union) must ensure liberty, equality and justice for all Americanas y Americanos so We can all live, work and travel freely throughout our Americas.

e)  The first priority of our new Union is to abolish poverty, racism and sexism in our Americas.

f)  This new American Union must ensure all workers in our Americas receive good jobs and compensation so that all Americanas y Americanos can afford nice homes in safe and secure neighborhoods and communities.  People unable to work will also have nice homes in these safe and secure neighborhoods and communities because no one will live in poverty or homelessness in our Americas except by her or his own choosing.

g)  We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America will ensure our children learn about our indigenous ancestors, at home and in all the schools, colleges and universities of our Americas so they and future generations will know, understand and honor our great Nahua heritage.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America will live our daily lives in accordance with this Nuevo Plan de Aztlan to the best of our abilities.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America will encourage Chicana y Chicano organizations everywhere to review, adopt and incorporate Nuevo Plan de Aztlan into their own missions, goals and objectives so all Indigenas can stand united against the new wave of racial harassment, discrimination and persecution La Raza faces in the 21st Century.

Nuevo Plan de Aztlan

Nuevo Plan de Aztlan

WHEREAS, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America honor our Nahua heritage with all our hearts and minds;

WHEREAS, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America honor the sacred call of our Nahua ancestors for peace and justice throughout our Americas; and

WHEREAS, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America recognize La Raza has been struggling with a new wave of racial harassment, discrimination and persecution in our Americas since September 11, 2001.

     NOW THEREFORE, We the Chicanos y Chicanos of the United States of America resolve as follows:

SECTION 1.  TITLE

This resolution may be cited as Nuevo Plan de Aztlan.

SECTION 2.  TERMINOLOGY

Nuevo Plan de Aztlan is based on the following terminology:

a) Americanas y Americanos

Americanas y Americanos are all Americans from throughout our Americas regardless of race, color, language, culture, nationality, ethnicity, religion or creed.

b) Aztlan

The concept of Aztlan is derived from the Nahua history of the Mexicas before their southern migration from Norte America into Centro Mexico during the 11th Century.  Aztlan today is a free and sovereign nation of native-born U.S. citizens of Mexican-American and(or) Mexican descent (Indigenas) who consider ourselves Chicanas y Chicanos regardless of where we were born, live or die.

c) Carnalismo

Carnalismo is the love and compassion Chicanas y Chicanos have for each other as carnalas y carnales (sisters and brothers).  Carnalismo is what unites Chicanas y Chicanos as we work for peace and justice.

d) Chicanas y Chicanos

Chicanas y Chicanos are native-born U.S. citizens of Mexican-American and(or) Mexican descent (Indigenas) who consider ourselves Chicanas y Chicanos based on our Nahua heritage.

e) El Movimiento

El Movimiento is the indigenous Chicana y Chicano Movement for peace and justice.  El Movimiento is comprised of numerous academic, athletic, artistic, business, commercial, cultural, educational, political, recreational, social, spiritual, wholistic and other philanthropic networks of Chicanas y Chicanos working for peace and justice throughout Aztlan, our Americas and the world.

f) Nahua heritage

Our Nahua heritage includes our ancestral lands and freedoms and the histories, cultures, traditions and mores of our Nahua ancestors before, during and after their migration from Aztlan to Centro Mexico in the 11th Century.

g) Indigenas

Often called Native Americans or American Indians, Indigenas are all the indigenous peoples of our Americas.  Most Indigenas are of mixed-race lineage like Chicanas y Chicanos.  There are millions of mixed-race Indigenas throughout our Americas and on outlying islands.

h) La Causa

La Causa is for peace and justice, the eternal cause of Chicanas y Chicanos who recognize there can be no true peace without true justice, i.e., the abolition of poverty, racism, sexism and all other injusticias.

i) La Raza

Chicanas y Chicanos can be Black, White, Brown, Red, Yellow and(or) any other “skin color” like the rest of La Raza and human race. The concept of La Raza was derived from a 1925 essay published by Jose Vasconcelos, a Mexican philosopher who called the millions of mixed-race Indigenas with Latin-American and(or) Latin-European ancestors La Raza Cosmica.

Every race, color, nationality, ethnicity, culture, language, religion and creed in the world is represented in La Raza due to the centuries of assimilation, acculturation and miscegenation in our Americas.  This rich diversity is the unifying power, force and strength of Chicanas y Chicanos, and of all La Raza as we grow to know, understand and honor our great heritage.

j) Latinas y Latinos

Latinas y Latinos of our Americas are mixed-race Indigenas with Latin-American and(or) Latin-European ancestors.

     k) Racism

·     Racial categories are crude labels based on parentage and(or) physical traits, not sacred or scientific proof of one’s superior or inferior nature like racists believe.

·     Racism is the belief one or more “races” are inherently “superior” to one or more other races.  [Example:  Many Americans believe “White people” are inherently superior to “Non-White people” and that “Black people” are inherently inferior to all other people.]

·     Racism includes the belief “mixed-race” people like La Raza are inferior to those with birth parents of the same race. “Race-mixing” is still condemned by racists today.

·      Indigenas were considered savages (less-than-human) when Europeans first invaded and occupied the Americas.  “Christianized” and(or) otherwise assimilated Indigenas were and still are considered inferior by today’s racists.

·     Racists are not just poor or average citizens, there are wealthy and highly educated racists throughout government and society (white-collar racists) who strive to protect and preserve their privileged status via institutional, industrial and commercial racism.

·     The racist imposition of the colonial English language on Indigenas continues to cause horrendous problems for Chicanas y Chicanos in education, employment and virtually all other aspects of life in the U.S.  Laws, rules and regulations are selectively enforced by local, state, federal and “private” institutions against La Raza, as English becomes a weapon that deprives Chicanas y Chicanos of liberty, equality and justice throughout our lives.

·     Private industry (“free enterprise”) causes havoc for Chicanas y Chicanos by perpetuating racist stereotypes and beliefs about La Raza for profit and gain.  [Example:  Mass media and the “entertainment” industries commercialize racist stereotypes and beliefs about Latinas y Latinos throughout the world, while pretending to be “spreading freedom and democracy” alongside the Pentagon.]

SECTION 3.  STATEMENT OF PURPOSE

Nuevo Plan de Aztlan addresses the alarming attacks orchestrated against Indigenas throughout Norte America since September 11, 2001 (9/11).

U.S. officials are using La Raza as a scapegoat or smokescreen to distract or divert attention away from their heinous war crimes in the Middle East.  According to their domestic propaganda, the “real problem” and therefore actual enemy or threat to national security is Mexicans and other Indigenas “invading” the U.S., not the Pentagon “spreading freedom and democracy” in the Middle East and beyond.  

Thousands of racist media, vigilante, “homeland security” and other hostile actions have been executed against Indigenas since 9/11, as tens of thousands of these indigent men, women and children have been rounded up and herded out of Norte America like cattle.

SECTION 4.  HISTORICAL ANALYSIS

Indigenas have suffered centuries of injusticias including genocide, rape, torture, mayhem, kidnapping, slavery, peonage, poverty, homelessness and groundless imprisonment at the hands of the original European invaders and occupiers of the Americas.  The offspring of these European terrorists expect Chicanas y Chicanos to ignore or forget this true account of their ancestors’ horrendous atrocities against our ancestors, as if these abominations never occurred or mattered.

As English colonialism via the U.S. rapidly evolves into global imperialism, La Raza is increasingly faced with discriminatory law enforcement, housing, education, employment, healthcare, mass media, entertainment and other racist industrial, commercial and institutional policies and practices, especially since 9/11.  The offspring of the European terrorists who originally stole our ancestral lands are guilty of receiving this stolen property but remain in denial, as they continue to exploit, oppress and deprive us of our ancestral lands and freedoms with brute force for their own racist purposes from generation-to-generation.

U.S. racists are now working to outlaw MEChA and other Movimiento organizations, as if well-educated Chicanas y Chicanos are the real problem or cause of “too many Mexicans” and other Indigenas in Norte America today.  These same racists oppose Chicana y Chicano Studies, affirmative action, financial aid, bilingual and multicultural education, ethnic studies, fair housing, equal employment opportunities and all other ways and means of attempting to create level playing fields for La Raza, as if the U.S. only belongs to Anglo-Americans and everyone else is a second-class citizen, at best.

SECTION 5.  MEXICO, CENTRO Y SUR AMERICAS

The 21st Century campaign against Mexicans in the U.S. is also aimed at Chicanas y Chicanos since we are all Nahua people.  Chicanas y Chicanos have a natural, inherent or innate relationship with Mexicanas y Mexicanos because of our common Nahua heritage that is everlasting.

Indigenas throughout our Americas are suffering from these racist attacks too.  We are all being treated as a threat or potential threat to national security by the U.S. government at local, state, federal and international levels.

     SECTION 6.  GOALS AND OBJECTIVES

a)  We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America must reach beyond nationalism to establish and(or) coalesce with parallel movements of Indigenas united around our multilingual, multiracial and multicultural heritage throughout our Americas and on outlying islands.

b)  El Movimiento’s mass communication, organization and mobilization initiatives call for Chicanas y Chicanos to join forces with all La Raza against our common exploiters and oppressors because we cannot be free unless and until all La Raza is free.

c)  Economic justice cannot be achieved without social and political justice.  La Raza needs to join with an international union of free and sovereign indigenous nations to work for this justicia as opposed to permitting the racists to continue to exploit and oppress La Raza via commercial, industrial and institutional racism from generation-to-generation without resistance.

d)  This new Union De Las Americas (American Union) must ensure liberty, equality and justice for all Americanas y Americanos so We can all live, work and travel freely throughout our Americas.

e)  The first priority of our new Union is to abolish poverty, racism and sexism in our Americas.

f)  This new American Union must ensure all workers in our Americas receive good jobs and compensation so that all Americanas y Americanos can afford nice homes in safe and secure neighborhoods and communities.  People unable to work will also have nice homes in these safe and secure neighborhoods and communities because no one will live in poverty or homelessness in our Americas except by her or his own choosing.

g)  We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America will ensure our children learn about our indigenous ancestors, at home and in all the schools, colleges and universities of our Americas so they and future generations will know, understand and honor our great Nahua heritage.

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America will live our daily lives in accordance with this Nuevo Plan de Aztlan to the best of our abilities.

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, We the Chicanas y Chicanos of the United States of America will encourage Chicana y Chicano organizations everywhere to review, adopt and incorporate Nuevo Plan de Aztlan into their own missions, goals and objectives so all Indigenas can stand united against the new wave of racial harassment, discrimination and persecution La Raza faces in the 21st Century.

Voter registration

After reading EricAZ’s post with great interest, I looked at the apachevote site, then the discussion in the Netroots thread (thank you navajo for including that in your comment at dkos). I was hoping to throw this out for more discussion about voter registration on the rez.  

Apachevote presented voter reg. really well. I was hoping to look at their plan for some ideas, but couldn’t get the slides to load. Is it just something with my browser, or did others have trouble, too?

I went looking for some outlines or plans last week and found a symposium and a Wellstone manual, but they weren’t too helpful.

On and off, there’s been various discussions about doing voter registration here, in the Yurok Nation. There were some tentative plans, as I recall, to work with INDN list to do something, but having lives got in the way; and I think that’s sort of on the back burner right now.

The county Dem Chair, wonderful person, has offered to do voter outreach down here. A tribal member is finally representing our district on the Dem County Council! Yay! Problem is, as cacmp mentioned, to work best, voter reg. has to be a community-based activity. Even community members going door-to-door on the political stump probably wouldn’t be too well received. The only alternative that seems feasible is putting up a voter reg. table at what passes for “downtown” around here. We’ll have a Dem booth at the Salmon Festival, but some people shy away because of the partisan focus. It would be awkward to have another voter reg. booth.

So, any suggestions? Is there some organizing pamphlet or tools out there that I missed?

Hope everyone is well,

Susan

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ApachesVote.org Formed To Help Voter Registration

( – promoted by navajo)

Cross-posted from Daily Kos

The White Mountain Apache Reservation is half the size of Connecticut with 10 registered Democrats for every one Republican. A key to winning AZ-01 is to increase the voter registration and turnout of Native Americans on the Apache Reservation and other reservations in the sprawling district.

ApachesVote.org has been formed to help fulfill this important mission. Our step-by-step plan is here. To contribute, please follow this link.. If you only have a moment to post a comment, it would really help to seed our blogs.

We would appreciate feedback from the community on our plan, on how to reach fund-raising sources and how to coordinate with other voter registration groups.  

AZ-01 has been identified as the third most likely district in the nation to fall to the Democrats. The current Congressman, Rick Renzi, will go on trial for corruption and stupidity in October. The Republicans have failed to recruit a good candidate — leaving them with a wacko who is even too far right to fit in at a wingnut convention.

Please give us your thoughts on successfully running a voter registration/voter turnout effort. Of course, every day we make McCain spend in Arizona is a day he is not spending in Virginia.  

Sidekicks and Savages, Part II

In the final paragraph of James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans,   the Delaware sage Tamenund remarks, “The pale faces are masters of the earth, and the time of the red-men has not yet come again.” Despite hopeful signs, in the case of commercially viable movies, that time has still not come.

Although we’ve come a long way from those movies in which whooping, headdress-bedecked Plains Indians are depicted riding around and around circled wagon trains – a myth stolen directly from the performances of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show – the only places you can typically see Indians as more than savages or sidekicks is in films by Indians given attention by the American Indian Film Institute at the American Indian Film Festival, the 33rd annual of which will take place this autumn in San Francisco, and the Talking Stick Film Festival, which debuted two weeks ago in Santa Fe. The Talking Stick Festival opened with Older Than America, a Canadian film by director Georgina Lightning (Cree) about atrocities at Indian boarding schools, and Hopi director Victor Masayesva’s  Paatuwaqatsi – Water, Land, Life.

These festival films aren’t the kind that make it to your neighborhood multiplex. Indeed, although Wes Studi (Cherokee), Gary Farmer (Cayuga), August Schellenburg (Mohawk), Michael Horse (Yaqui), Irene Bedard (Inupiat-Metis), Steve Reevis (Blackfeet), Adam Beach (Saulteaux), Kalani Queypo (Blackfeet), Graham Greene (Oneida), and a handful of others make a living as actors, only a single American Indian has managed to sustain a career as a director – Chris Eyre (Cheyenne-Arapaho), whose premier film was Smoke Signals a decade ago.

Considerable progress has, of course, been made. In the early part of the 20th Century Indian extras were lured to Hollywood and paid with alcohol and tobacco, a reprise of an earlier time when land was stolen the same way. But, by and large, Hollywood continues to present the white man’s Indian.

Ethnicity and cultural distinctions among the tribes and within tribes are blurred. And while clothing and other outward signs are depicted far more accurately than in the past, religious traditions of one tribe are often mushed together with another’s or into a nonexistent pan-Indian worship of the “Great Spirit.” Films about Indians have been, since Edison first played the Hopi Snake Dance in 1893, designed to meet the needs of non-Indians. They have become in ways that much other popular culture is not – even other movies – a part of the nation’s master narrative.

Four decades ago, John Cawelti wrote in The Sixgun Mystique:

“…the Western formula seems to prescribe that the Indian be a part of the setting to a greater extent than he is ever a character in his own right. The reason for this is two-fold: to give the Indian a more complex role would increase the moral ambiguity of the story and thereby blur the sharp dramatic conflicts; and, second, if the Indian represented a significant way of life rather than a declining savagery, it would be far more difficult to resolve the story with a reaffirmation of the values of modern society.” (p. 38)

Moral ambiguity is something with which Hollywood has ever dealt with well only on rare occasions, whatever the subject. The good guys-bad guys formula of popular culture makes everything straightforwardly simple, anti-heroes notwithstanding.

As noted in Part I two weeks ago, there was a shift in the late 1960s with the appearance of two movies, Soldier Blue and Little Big Man, both of them heavily influenced by the trauma of the Vietnam War, and the parallels many Americans, including denizens of Hollywood, saw between that war and what had been done to the indigenous people. These weren’t the only films to take a new approach. But, with the exception of Little Big Man, none of the lead roles were played by Indians even when the characters were supposed to be Indians. This was true of Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here in 1969, with Robert Blake as the hapless Paiute of the film’s title, and When Legends Die, the 1972 film starring Frederic Forest as the Ute rodeo star alongside the drunken Richard Widmark.

Willie Boy received a lot of attention because, like Soldier Blue and Little Big Man, the deeper story related to the angst over Vietnam. The New Yorker critic Pauline Kael despised the movie as a racist testament to collective white guilt.

By the 1980s, the Western movie itself had fallen on hard times. Except for Heaven’s Gate, a critical and commercial flop, followed by Silverado in 1985 and the execrable Young Guns in 1988, in which Lou Diamond Phillips (disputed Cherokee) plays a Mexican-Navajo, there were simply no Westerns of note.

In the early ’90s, the genre was revived with several films in which Indians were a major focal point. These included: Dances with Wolves (1990), white man (Kevin Costner) saves Indians, although not quite as ludicrously as in A Man Called Horse;  Black Robe (1991), French priest (Lothaire Bluteau) goes into the wilderness to Christianize people he knows next to nothing about; Thunderheart (1992), assimilated Indian (Val Kilmer – disputed Cherokee) investigates murders similar to those for which Leonard Peltier is still rotting in prison; Last of the Mohicans (1992), the fifth film version of James Fenimore Cooper’s novel, and the fourth to get the author’s meaning all wrong (Russell Means, Lakota; Eric Schweig, Inuit); and Geronimo: An American Legend (1993),  the Apache scourge (Wes Studi, Cherokee) is depicted in what for me ranks as the best telling of this much-told story of the last campaign of the Indian wars.

For all their defects, each of these films has three qualities that stand out. They are gorgeously filmed, a tribute to the vision of John Ford at the same time they stand as a rebuke to the false image of Indians he popularized in a half-century of Westerns in which he practically rewrote American history. For the most part in these latter films, Indians play the role of Indians and the Indians in each film are differentiated people, with full personalities. But as I said in Part I, it’s all subjective. My friend Barbara Walkingstick (Santa Clara) isn’t willing to give Dances with Wolves a plus in any department, and my friend Tim Kloberdanz (Kiowa) thought it was the best Western he ever saw.  

And then the backsliding began. In 1995, the racist, ahistorical Disney animation Pocahontas debuted. Pauline Strong of the Folklore and Public Culture Program at University of Texas, Austin, wrote that Pocahontas created a New Age princess designed to rid Americans of their feelings of emptiness and embody their “millennial dreams of wholeness and harmony.” To show how far the mighty have fallen, one-time American Indian Movement leader Russell Means, who was the voice of Powhatan, said it was the best movie about Indians ever made. But then some Navajos held a purification ceremony after Means’s role as a shaman in Natural Born Killers (1994).

Three years ago came The New World in which one can only suspect drugs were a large part of the production, particularly when the rewrites were being hacked out. And then, in 2006, came Mel Gibson’s Apocalypto, about which the less said the better.

Three films in which Indians are the main characters Pow-Wow Highway (1989), Smoke Signals (1998) and Skins (2002) remain beacons for what could be. All depict Indians living in the here and now. Within are echoes of our old cultures and of the post-Columbian conquest as well as a true-to-life reflection of the tug-of-war between the traditional and modern which all Indians have faced since the first European offered the first steel blade for a slab of venison. These films go farther than any which have reached the mainstream to explore how we as Indians, in our diverse and often contradictory and self-contradictory ways, try to demystify a world in which buckskins have long since been replaced with denim.  

Smoke Signals has gotten the most attention, deservedly so. The film is based on the wonderful short story, “This Is What It Means to Say, Phoenix, Arizona,”  by Sherman Alexie (Spokane and Coeur d’Alene, which is part of his collection, The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Directed by Chris Eyre, with every Indian portrayed by an Indian. Thomas Builds-a-Fire played by Evan Adams (Coast Salish) is the narrator, another first in a major film for an Indian, something John Ford should have tried in one of his early Westerns. The story is straightforward, in a way, like Pow-Wow Highway a buddy road-trip. Thomas and his friend Victor Joseph (Adam Beach) are off from the Coeur d’Alene reservation in Idaho to collect the ashes of Victor’s estranged father, Arnold, in Phoenix. Thomas tells stories of Arnold (Gary Farmer) that Victor doesn’t want to hear because this alcoholic who abused him and abandoned him as a child. On the other hand, Thomas has fond memories of Arnold, who rescued him from a fire that killed his parents. They remember him quite differently, as we see in the story-telling flashbacks. Ultimately, however, he is able to reconcile himself with to his father.

Many critics have noted the similarities between Pow-Wow Highway and Smoke Signals, even going so far as to hint darkly film plagiarism. But, while she praises both films, Amanda J. Cobb (Chickasaw) trashes the view that the latter is a copy in her essay “This Is What It Means to Say Smoke Signals: Native American Cultural Sovereignty”:

Pow-Wow Highway does an admirable job of  portraying Indians as fully dimensional individual people, rather than a singular, monolithic “idea,” and is told from a Native perspective, but ultimately it is still about Native, and white conflict. … the tension between the protagonists takes a backseat to the overarching conflict between AIM activist Buddy Red Bow and the federal government and police.

Smoke Signals, on the other hand, does not center on Indian and white conflict, but instead focuses on Victor’s internal struggle with his feelings about his father. In fact, white characters play a very minimal role throughout the film. This film is about two young Coeur d’Alene men who tell stories, argue, sing, play basketball, and take care of their mother and grandmother. Although Victor as “the jock” and Thomas as “the nerd,” and even Arnold as the “alcoholic father,” could be considered stereotypes in and of themselves, here they serve to reinforce the humanity and complexity of the characters. That is, all Indian people are not alike, but they do indeed have unique, individual personalities. These two friends are not the Lone Ranger and Tonto; as Thomas Builds-the-Fire jokes in the movie, “it’s more like we’re Tonto and Tonto.”

In 2001, Zacharias Kunuk’s 2001 The Fast Runner made it to the big screen, just barely, without the impact of either Pow-Wow Highway or Smoke Signals, in great part because no attempt was made to connect in anyway to popular culture of non-native audiences. White characters are completely absent from this Inuit film about a tribal legend filled with ghosts and evil spirits.

As can be seen, unlike in the heyday of Westerns, mainstream films about Indians are few and far between and getting more so, which is truly sad given the scores of Indian film-makers whose work has appeared at the two Indian film festivals. Someday, the optimists among us hope, the medium that did so much to destroy the self-image of generations of Indians, will, as the American Indian Film Institute has spent three decades attempting, become a force for reshaping those false perceptions.

Happy 4th of July!

“And remember what you’re celebrating: the fact that a bunch of white, male, slave-owning aristocrats didn’t want to pay their taxes!”

– Dazed and Confused

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