…a forum for the discussion of political, social and economic issues affecting the indigenous peoples of the United States, including their lack of political representation, economic deprivation, health care issues, and the on-going struggle for preservation of identity and cultural history
Few opinions I’ve expressed on air have produced a more indignant, outraged reaction than my repeated insistence that the word “genocide” in no way fits as a description of the treatment of Native Americans by British colonists or, later, American settlers.
Consequently, Medved has a current egregious example of his genocide denial.
Michael Medved not only denies the genocide from The Massacre For Which Thanksgiving Is Named; he also by having stated “‘genocide’ in no way fits as a description of the treatment of Native Americans by British colonists or, later, American settlers,” necessarily denies the genocide of the Washita Massacre. Consequently, its anniversary fell on Thanksgiving this year.
Michael Medved therefore engages in “the highest form of hate speech and the last stage of genocide.” He insults every deceased American Indian who ever was the victim of genocide, “madden(s), insult(s) and humiliate(s) the survivors,” and does a “double killing” every time he does it.
Genocide scholars classify denial as the highest form of hate speech and the last stage of genocide. Nobel laureate Elie Weisel calls it a “double killing.”
Israel Charny, executive director of the Institute on the Holocaust and Genocide in Jerusalem, explains, “Denials of known events of genocide must be treated as acts of bitter and malevolent psychological aggression, certainly against the victims, but really against all of human society, for such denials literally celebrate genocidal violence and in the process suggestively calls for renewed massacres-of the same people or of others. Such denials also madden, insult and humiliate the survivors, the relatives of the dead, and the entire people of the victims.”
Genocide denial also increases the probability of future genocides. “The black hole of forgetting is the negative force that results in future genocides,” writes Professor Gregory Stanton in The Eight Stages of Genocide.
Nevertheless, denial of the genocide of Native Americans is still very strong. It works primarily through omission; people just refuse to talk about the issue. There was a strong backlash to newspaper editorials urging free discussion of this topic, which were published in 1992, the fifth centenary of the European discovery of the Americas. That denial has continued in the past decade, and deniers try to explain the extermination of the Native Americans as just an unfortunate event.
Even when Native Americans sue the government to reclaim their lands on violated treaty grounds, the courts usually throw these cases out. Moreover, when uranium was discovered in the 20th century in Native American reservations, the US claimed the uranium in the name of national security, without proper compensation.
At the Justice Department, recent scandals have dragged public confidence to an all time low. A special prosecutor is now digging into charges that former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales put political partisanship ahead of the law.
Jodi Rave investigates crimes against Native American women
I swore I’d never repeat this, but read this first.
Because of a strange tangle of laws, because of historical precedent, the Justice Department is responsible for investigating and prosecuting major crimes on most reservations. But as the DENVER POST reported in an award-winning investigative series, law enforcement in Indian country has become quote “dangerously dysfunctional.” The “Post” depicted a place where terrible crimes are committed, investigations bungled, and prosecutions rare. The result: Indian reservations, already some of the poorest and most crime-plagued communities in America, have become what one Navajo official calls “Lawless Lands.” Our colleagues at Expose bring you that story. It’s narrated by Sylvia Chase.
I went to a ceremony in South Dakota seven years ago and was helping get wood, and that’s all I’m going to say about that part. Anyway, an officer was there to participate and helping get wood with me. He told me what a fellow officer said to him before he left after he’d told his fellow officer where he was going and what he was going to be doing.
Indians are not getting the same justice system that you or I get in Denver, or in New York, or in Boston, or Kansas City, or anywhere else. That, to me, is the most egregious element of this. Is that an entire class of people, based on where they live, is not getting the same services that you and I get.
He said his fellow officer said, “Be sure to get you some of that good Indian p—-.”
Maybe that’s what the rapists tell themselves, who go to the reservations to rape. Maybe the people who hate so much that they want just to hurt someone go to the reservations, because they know they won’t get caught, and tell themselves something similar. I don’t know what they tell themselves, but I’m sick and tired of it to the marrow of my bones.
The officer there to participate told his “fellow officer” to shove it or words to that effect, and that’s what the Justice Department needs to tell these violent offenders – shove it, or go to jail when you act on it.
I want you to give all these chiefs of the soldiers here to understand that we are for peace, and that we have made peace, that we may not be mistaken by them for enemies.
A Cheyenne cemetery is in the same direction as where my mother told me she watched gypsies camp through her west window as a girl, about ½ mile from that house. I have reverently walked though that Cheyenne cemetery as early as ten, looking at the headstones and wondering who they were and where they came from. I did not know then, that in that cemetery were descendants from the Sand Creek Massacre.
The Approaching Genocide Towards Sand Creek
Simultaneously, Roman Nose led the Dog Soldiers in battle while Black Kettle strove for peace. Chief Black Kettle was promised complete safety by Colonel Greenwood as long as he rose the U.S flag above him.(1) Black Kettle persisted in his calls for peace in spite of the continuing exterminations and the shooting of Lean Bear.
Lean Bear, a leading peacemaker who had previously met with President Abraham Lincoln in Washington, D.C., was shot from his horse without warning by U.S. troops during a Kansas buffalo hunt. The troops were acting under orders from Colonel John M. Chivington who commanded the military district of Colorado: “Find Indians wherever you can and kill them” (The War of the Rebellion, 1880-1881, pp. 403-404).
Perplexed by the continuing genocide, Black Kettle sent for Little White Man, known as William Bent.Almost prophetic, both agreed in their meeting that a war was about to be born if nothing changed. Black Kettle’s peaceful attempts tragically failed, even though he took his people to Sand Creek, fully expecting peace.His last effort for peace was raising the U.S. flag just prior to the massacre.
“…Though no treaties were signed, the Indians believed that by reporting and camping near army posts, they would be declaring peace and accepting sanctuary.
However on the day of the “peace talks” Chivington received a telegram from General Samuel Curtis (his superior officer) informing him that “I want no peace till the Indians suffer more…No peace must be made without my directions.”
Chivington, the Butcher of the Sand Creek Massacre:
he was fond of saying, and of course, since Indians were lice, their children were nits. Clearly, Chivington was a man ahead of his time: it would be almost a century later before another man would think of describing the extermination of a people “the same thing as delousing”: Heinrich Himmler. [LN477]
“the Cheyennes will have to be roundly whipped — or completely wiped out — before they will be quiet. I say that if any of them are caught in your vicinity, the only thing to do is kill them.” A month later, while addressing a gathering of church deacons, he dismissed the possibility of making a treaty with the Cheyenne: “It simply is not possible for Indians to obey or even understand any treaty. I am fully satisfied, gentlemen, that to kill them is the only way we will ever have peace and quiet in Colorado.”
Unaware of Curtis’s telegram, Black Kettle and some 550 Cheyennes and Arapahos, having made their peace, traveled south to set up camp on Sand Creek under the promised protection of Fort Lyon. Those who remained opposed to the agreement headed North to join the Sioux.
The Sand Creek Massacre of November 29, 1864
Black Kettle and his people had every reason to expect complete safety from their bloodshed after agreements for peace were made and the Dog Soldiers left to join the Sioux. Nonetheless, Chivington’s troops advanced on the Cheyenne and Arapaho near dawn. The sound of those approaching hooves must have sounded ominous.
U.S. soldiers inevitably chased the defenseless Cheyenne and Arapaho by horse and foot with knives and guns in hand. Their victims had to be positioned before ripping off their scalps, cutting off their ears, smashing out their brains, butchering their children, tearing their breastfeeding infants away from their mother’s breasts, and then murdering those infants. The “Bloody Third” soldiers necessarily had to kill the infants before cutting out their mother’s genitals.
The one question I never saw asked in the congressional hearings was, “Didn’t you disgraceful soldiers realize they were family?”
Kurt Kaltreider, PH.D. “American Indian Prophecies.” pp. 58-59:
-The report of witnesses at Sand Creek:
“I saw some Indians that had been scalped, and the ears cut off the body of White Antelope,” said Captain L. Wilson of the first Colorado Cavalry. “One Indian who had been scalped had also his skull smashed in, and I heard that the privates of White Antelope had been cut off to make a tobacco bag of. I heard some of the men say that the privates of one of the squaws had been cut out and put on a stick…”
John S. Smith…
All manner of depredations were inflicted on their persons; they were scalped, their brains knocked out; the men used their knives, ripped open women, clubbed little children, knocked them in the heads with their guns, beat their brains out, mutilated their bodies in every sense of the word…worse mutilation that I ever saw before, the women all cut to pieces…children two or three months old; all ages lying there.
Letters written by those at Sand Creek From Lt. Silas Soule to Maj. Edward Wynkoop, Dec. 14, 1864:
“The massacre lasted six or eight hours…I tell you Ned it was hard to see little children on their knees have their brains beat out by men professing to be civilized….They were all scalped, and as high as a half a dozen [scalps] taken from one head. They were all horribly mutilated…You could think it impossible for white men to butcher and mutilate human beings as they did there, but every word I have told you is the truth, which they do not deny…I expect we will have a hell of a time with Indians this winter.”
Before departing, the command, now the “Bloody Third”, ransacked and burned the village. The surviving Indians, some 300 people, fled north towards other Cheyenne camps.
Medicine Calf Beckwourth sought Black Kettle to ask him if peace was yet possible, but Black Kettle had moved out to be with relatives. Leg-in-the-Water replaced him as the primary chief; so, Beckwourth asked Leg-in-the-Water if there could be peace. Principle chief Leg-in-the-Water responded with these powerful words.
Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” p. 94:
“The white man has taken our country, killed all of our children. Now no peace. We want to go meet our families in the spirit land. We loved the whites until we found out they lied to us, and robbed us of what we had. We have raised the battle ax until death.”(1)
…despite broken promises and attacks on his own life, speak of him as a great leader with an almost unique vision of the possibility for coexistence between white society and the culture of the plains…
TULSA, Okla. – Crimes of hate against American Indians totaled 75 incidents in the nation during 2007, said a Federal Bureau of Investigation report. While the overall number of crimes against Indians mirrored 2006’s 75 incidents, the overall number of hate crimes dipped, according to the report. The federal law enforcement agency culled data from over 13,000 agencies across the nation.
Race remained a strong motivation of hate crimes outranking religious and sexual discrimation. Whites were reported as the largest group of offenders, 3,800, across all racial groups. Over 9,000 total incidents occurred last year that included mainly intimidation in 22 of the 76 incidents involving Indians, the agency said. In the 75 Indians-as-victim race incidents, only 7 of them were committed by other Indians, the report shows.
Oklahoma Indian activist Brenda Golden said the reason Indians figure so highly among race groups for incidents on hate crimes is that natives are historically viewed as scapegoats in the American conscience. “People are gonna prey on the weak,” she said.”And we are weak because of 500 years of oppression.” Golden said that resentment from general society characterizes Indians as receiving ill-deserved social benefits like food, health care and casino dividends. With these misperceptions, others view Indians as prime targets that arise from frustration and other factors. “People think we get all these benefits when don’t,” she said. “And they also associate us with the past…that we killed white people indiscriminately when we were fighting for our land.”
What institutionalized racism against American Indians might have aided the approximately 68 Caucasian individuals to commit hate crimes against American Indians? Furthermore, why might have the approximately 68 Caucasian individuals who committed hate crimes against American Indians “associate us with the past…that we killed white people indiscriminately when we were fighting for our land?”
WHEREAS many Native American individuals across the United States have found Native American nicknames, logos and mascots in sport offensive and called for their elimination;
AND, WHEREAS the continued use of Native American nicknames, logos and mascots in sport has been condemned by numerous reputable academic, educational and civil rights organizations, and the vast majority of Native American advocacy organizations, including but not limited to: American Anthropological Association, American Psychological Association, North American Society for the Sociology of Sport, Modern Language Association, United States Commission on Civil Rights, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Association of American Indian Affairs, National Congress of American Indians, and National Indian Education Association;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, THAT THE AMERICAN SOCIOLOGICAL ASSOCIATION calls for discontinuing the use of Native American nicknames, logos and mascots in sport.
Why might have the approximately 68 Caucasian individuals who committed hate crimes against American Indians “associate us with the past…that we killed white people indiscriminately when we were fighting for our land?”
The misconceived, self-serving concept of American Indian people being universally inclined toward particularly war-like and violent behavior historically allowed for the justification of heinous acts committed against Native Peoples in the name of “civilizing” the so-called “primitives.” By continuing to portray First Nations in this manner via association to the intrinsic aggression and violence found in many sporting activities, this same rationalization is erroneously continued to this day and carries with it serious negative consequences for contemporary Native Peoples.
While it cannot be authoritatively said that the uses in question are a major factor in the phenomenon, according to the United States Department of Justice, American Indian people are more than twice as likely to be victims of violent crime than any other group of Americans. Perhaps even more tragic is that American Indian children and young adults also suffer a much higher incidence of suicide than their non-Native social peers and ethnic groups.
While some or many admit that the rhetoric at the Palin rallies during the election aided threats against Obama, some or many will not admit that violence against Native Americans is made more probable by the institutionalized racism that is American Indian sports teams mascots.
Three men who yelled “dirty Indian” and other slurs at an Indian county commissioner won’t face additional hate crime charges for the September 20 attack in Great Falls, Montana.
Some or many will not admit that violence against Native Americans is made more probable because of the institutionalized racism that is American Indian sports teams mascots, even if it is true – and it probably is.
Hate crime is basically bias-motivated crime. A bias-motivated crime is “a crime in which the offender is motivated by a characteristic of the victim that identifies the victim as a member of some group toward which the offender feels animosity” (Garofalo & Martin 1992). The criminological literature is scarce on hate crime (Berk, Boyd & Hamner 1992). Recent years have seen a movement to collect data and define terms more thoroughly, but with few exceptions, few advances have been made in theoretical criminology. The sociological literature on collective violence (Smelser 1962) is somewhat helpful in explaining hate crime, but much of it is restricted to analysis of related, but different, social behavior like mobs, lynchings, crowds, and riots. As a summation of that literature, three (3) sociological explanations have existed historically, all revolving around the presumed “social” or symbolic status of the victim; i.e., victims being sought out primarily because their social group is seen in some negative light:
1. Group competition over scarce resources (Grimshaw 1969)
2. Long-standing social rituals (Nieburg 1972)
3. Early socio-psychological trauma (Sterba 1969)
These are all explanations of the behavior, not necessarily of the stereotypical thought processes behind the behavior. Although the study of stereotypes can provide useful information (Stephan & Rosenfield 1982), there are a number of other, more important attributes of hate crime that make them more than symbolic…
I’ve again been entreated by numerous people to post the Thanksgiving Diary that I’ve put up here the past four years. I’m reposting a slightly edited version of last year’s entry. For those of you who’ve read it before, I apologize.
• • •
I forced myself to watch the History Channel’s Desperate Crossing: The Untold Story of the Mayflower last weekend. I don’t feel as if I totally wasted my time. Including performances and interviews of some Wampanoags, descendants of the indigenes who saw the Pilgrims make landfall 388 years ago, made the program a good deal more palatable than it might have been.
I would have preferred a bit more about how one reason the Pilgrims were “persecuted” in England and Holland was because of their efforts to get everyone to comply with their own crabbed view of religion. Something they and the Puritans who followed them also did here in America. Not dissimilar from what some modern day others would like to do now. But what an improvement the program was over past efforts.
For the past few years, my wife – who supervises the largest English as a Second Language program in the United States – and I have had numerous conversations with Los Angelenos of various ethnic and religious backgrounds about the turkey they’ll be eating three days from now. Doesn’t matter if they’re originally from Senegal or Guatemala, Belarus or Vietnam, Scotland or China, it’s the same story with all of them: turkey has to be on the table.
Not that it’ll be a traditional turkey dinner with cranberry sauce and yams and stuffing. Trimmings can range from Libyan tajeen to a cold Vietnamese egg soup whose name I’ve forgotten. And everybody’s bird seems to be done just a little differently. Two years ago, I got to taste Thai turkey, which is definitely not for mild palates.
I don’t buy the “melting pot” theory of American history, nor am I a sappy kind of guy. On the other hand, since I had my Thanksgiving “conversion,” I’ve found something distinctly appealing, yes, even uplifting, about this widespread integration of cultures through the medium of food and family get-together.
I love conversation, I love food and I love celebrations. This year, as last, we’ll be celebrating with friends at the Santa Clara Pueblo home of a college friend. A few years ago, I wouldn’t’ve done this.
Because, when I was a child, we never celebrated Thanksgiving. My grandfather forbade it. A white man’s holiday based on white men’s lies, he said. His take on the holiday was no distortion. But his opposition to commemoration was doubly disappointing for me. I was born on Thanksgiving. Actually, November 28. But, that year, 1946, Thanksgiving fell on the 28th, and ever since, it’s been my designated birthday, whatever the actual date.
While other kids, including other kids with Indian roots, celebrated Thanksgiving with all kinds of food, our house might as well have been shrouded in crepe. Based on what made it to our table, I think he may even have told my grandmother to cook less than usual. Nobody grumbled. My grandfather was an honest, principled man, but quick-tempered, and although he rejected almost every other teaching in the Bible, he believed fully in the bit that sparing the rod would spoil the child. We were not spoiled.
We left the South and my grandfather when I was 9. I had half a dozen guests at my first-ever birthday party – on Thanksgiving Day – when I was 12. I was ecstatic. Thereafter, until my senior year in high school, I celebrated Thanksgiving and my birthday with a party. Cake and turkey. It was then, 45 years ago, that I began reading in earnest about America’s historical treatment of indigenous people, including my ancestors.
That year, November 28 again fell on Thanksgiving. But I didn’t celebrate. No party. And that’s the way it was for the next 29 years, during which I reiterated my grandfather’s warning. He had not been mistaken about the holiday being founded on the fruits of mass murder instead of some friendly, integrated get-together.
The Wampanoags who arrived on what many of us were taught in school was the “first” Thanksgiving, were not invited to the feast with the Plymouth Pilgrims in 1621 after having rescuing them from certain starvation. Massasoit and about 90 of his men just showed up. What followed, we are told, was three days of eating and entertainment, much of which included large quantities of beer. The tension was surely palpable. In the sole firsthand, contemporaneous account we have, nobody called it “thanksgiving.” Not long afterward, in an act of raw treachery that was precursor to a thousand others over the years, Captain Myles Standish, military commander of Plymouth colony – determined to make a pre-emptive strike against a non-existent military threat – strode into a Wampanoag village with his men on the pretext of trading. He left with the severed head of Wituwamat, which he stuck on a wooden spike at Plymouth.
The real first Thanksgiving was declared in 1637 by Massachusetts Bay Colony Governor John Winthrop, he of the famous “city upon a hill” speech. That celebration capped off the Mystic, Connecticut, massacre of 400-700 Pequots, southern neighbors of the Wampanoags, remnants of a tribe already deeply wounded by epidemics of smallpox and measles. Survivors were executed or sold into slavery in the West Indies. Proclaimed Winthrop, “This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots.”
The descendants of Massasoit’s Wampanoags who had sat down in 1621 were treated to their own slaughter during King Philip’s War 54 years later. After decades of being pushed off their old lands, the Wampanoag were led in resistance by “King Philip,” known among his own people as Metacom. When the year of fighting was over, his wife and son were captured and sold into slavery in Bermuda. Metacom was decapitated and his head publicly displayed for more than 20 years. Once again, survivors were executed or sold into slavery, with a bounty of 20 shillings offered for every Indian scalp and 40 shillings for any captive able-bodied enough for enslavement.
On June 20, 1676, the governing council of Charlestown, Massachusetts, proclaimed:
“…It certainly bespeaks our positive Thankfulness, when our Enemies are in any measure disappointed or destroyed; and fearing the Lord should take notice under so many Intimations of his returning mercy, we should be found an Insensible people, as not standing before Him with Thanksgiving, as well as lading him with our Complaints in the time of pressing Afflictions:
The Council has thought meet to appoint and set apart the 29th day of this instant June, as a day of Solemn Thanksgiving and praise to God for such his Goodness and Favour…”
That slaughter of “heathens” and the round-up of survivors which followed allowed more European immigrants to squat on what had once been Indian land. It was a theme that kept being repeated for the next 220 years right across America. My own people – Seminoles, an amalgam of Creeks, Apalachees, runaway slaves and “renegade” whites – eventually fought three wars, and kept a few slivers of their traditional lands, although most were force-marched to “Indian Territory,” where their descendants still live today.
Every year, I ranted about these brutal injustices, about the hypocrisy of Thanksgiving, and the fate of the people who suddenly were in the way. And then, 14 years ago, I let it go. Not that I changed my mind about the atrocities that had occurred or the lies that had been told about them. Far from it. Not that I became enamored with the foolish iconography of Thanksgiving, including elementary school displays of construction paper Pilgrim hats and feathered headbands. Not that I did not and do not fully understand the feelings of those who cannot bring themselves past their rage at this celebration which has been given a full platter of historical up-is-downism.
But I got tired of missing out on the celebration and the food … and I missed having a birthday party. And I realized, finally, that I also had missed the point that this holiday can be a healer, a remembrance of our roots but with our eyes on the present and the future. So, this year, as in the past few, I’ll be together with some of my best friends, white, red and black. As we have for several Thanksgivings, we’ll tell the children (and grandchildren) the true story of Thanksgiving.
And we’ll give thanks that we live in a country where remembering the past need not shackle us to it.
The intent to commit genocide at Washita is hidden in plain view, unless key elements are brought together. These are: that the Cheyenne were placed on land where they would starve while promises to avert starvation were broken; that George Bent observed how Civil War soldiers did not harm white women and children by a “code of honor,” while Indian women and children were slaughtered; that Sheridan declared “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead;” and that the War Department did not differentiate between peaceful and warring Indians. Hence, the orders “to kill or hang all warriors.” As the consequence, the intent was to kill all men of a specific race.
We’ll begin with Custer prior to the Washita Massacre along with the fact that the Cheyenne were forced onto land wherein they would starve.
Part 1: The Intent to Commit Genocide
Custer’s tactical errors of rushing ahead of the established military plans and dividing his troops are well known.
On the verge of what seemed to him a certain and glorious victory for both the United States and himself, Custer ordered an immediate attack on the Indian village.
Contemptuous of Indian military prowess, he split his forces into three parts to ensure that fewer Indians would escape. The attack was one the greatest fiascos of the United States Army, as thousands of Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho warriors forced Custer’s unit back onto a long, dusty ridge parallel to the Little Bighorn, surrounded them, and killed all 210 of them.
Yet, what enabled him to get back “on the course” after his court martial in 1867 and his being relieved by President Ulysses S. Grant temporarily in 1876?
The answers to that question are deception, wisely having prevented Washita from being labeled a massacre by halting the slaying of women and children at Washita; thus, sidestepping a full investigation as Sand Creek was (my speculation), and more lies.
Forcing and binding those Native Nations onto land where they could not survive by hunting or agriculture, breaking promises to provide those survival means, and propaganda revolving around the Kansas Raids reset Custer “on the course.” Moxtaveto (Black Kettle) was innocent.
What about the Dog Soldiers, weren’t they somehow to blame? An old Indian joke goes, “When the whites win, it’s a victory; when the Indians win, it’s a massacre.” Let’s look at what occurred amongst the Chiefs after the Sand Creek Massacre and prior to the Kansas Raids to find some answers, in between the “victories” and the “massacres.”
And so, when the Chiefs gathered to decide what the people should do, Black Kettle took his usual place among them. Everyone agreed Sand Creek must be avenged. But there were questions. Why had the soldiers attacked with such viciousness? Why had they killed and mutilated women and children? It seemed that the conflict with the whites had somehow changed. No longer was it just a war over land and buffalo. Now, the soldiers were destroying everything Cheyenne – the land, the buffalo, and the people themselves.
Why? George thought he knew. He had lived among the whites and had fought in their war. He knew their greed for land and possessions – Their appetite for these things was boundless. But they also obeyed rules of warfare peculiar to them. They waged war on men, and only on recognized fields of battle. In the great life-and-death struggle between North and South even then raging in the East, prisoners were routinely paroled and released or held in guarded camps, where they were fed and cared for. And the whites never warred on women and children who were protected by law and by an unshakable code of honor –
Still Black Kettle counseled peace. A war with the whites, he said, could not be won. The newcomers were too numerous, their weapons too strong. Besides, they had the ability to fight in winter when Cheyenne horses were weak and food was scarce… For Black Kettle, Cheyenne survival depended on peace. War could only bring more Sand Creeks, more deaths, more sorrow – One by one the council Chiefs smoked the red stone war pipe, each recognizing the importance of his decision. When the pipe reached Black Kettle, he passed it on, refusing to smoke. But the others took it up, indicating they would fight.
Hence, the Kansas “Raids” were the only means left available to keep what was promised to them: the ability to survive. The land “given” to them was neither harvestable nor huntable. Those “raids” were the last resort of self defense for survival.
Black Kettle miraculously escaped harm at the Sand Creek Massacre, even when he returned to rescue his seriously injured wife. And perhaps more miraculously, he continued to counsel peace when the Cheyenne attempted to strike back with isolated raids on wagon trains and nearby ranches. By October 1865, he and other Indian leaders had arranged an uneasy truce on the plains, signing a new treaty that exchanged the Sand Creek reservation for reservations in southwestern Kansas but deprived the Cheyenne of access to most of their coveted Kansas hunting grounds.
Furthermore, General Sheridan never had any intention of peaceful relations with Black Kettle whatsoever.
Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P. 169.
In his official report over the “savage butchers” and “savage bands of cruel marauders,” General Sheridan rejoiced that he had “wiped out Black Kettle, a worn – out and worthless old cipher.”
He then stated that he had promised Black Kettle sanctuary if he would come into a fort before military operations began. “He refused,” Sheridan lied, “and was killed in the fight.”
In fact, it is owed to General Sheridan himself the “American aphorism,” “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.” It started as “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.”
Whether or not Black Kettle strove for peace or the Dog Soldiers fought, they were all as “good as dead.” The extermination policy set Custer “on the course” to Washita.
Given the War Department’s mandate that all Cheyennes were guilty for the sins of the few in regard to the Kansas raids, there is no question that Custer succeeded in this purpose by attacking Black Kettle’s village. His instructions from his superiors had been “to destroy their villages and ponies; to kill or hang all warriors, and bring back all women and children.”
Part 2: The Approaching Genocide at Washita
Custer was pursuing the snow tracks of Dog Soldiers that would eventually lead to Black Kettle’s village on Thanksgiving Day in a cruel irony. The cruelest irony however, was that Black Kettle and his wife would be slain nearly four years to the day that they both escaped Chivington at the Sand Creek Massacre. Black Kettle’s honesty concerning young men in his village he could not control was of no avail. He and his village were going to be “punished” and broken beyond any immediate or distant recovery.
John Corbin, the messenger from Major Elliot, rode up and informed Custer of two large Indian snow tracks. One was recent. Preparations were then made to pursue the “savages” as covertly as possible. Smoking ceased and weapons were bound to prevent visual or aural detection. In addition, the 7th whispered and paused frequently as they rode slowly towards the future tracks that would lead to Black Kettle’s village. Simultaneously, Black Kettle received dire warnings that he and the others ignored. A Kiowa war party gave the first warning of having seen soldier’s tracks that were heading their direction. It was discounted. Black Kettle’s wife, Medicine Woman, gave another warning that night before the 7th’s arrival of an intuitive nature during the meeting in the Peace Chief’s lodge by firelight. She begged them to move immediately. It too was dismissed. They would move the next day, instead.
Black Kettle had already moved their camp recently, which the returning war party that had helped in the Kansas Raids learned upon their returning. November 25th found this war party dividing into two different directions in order to reach their destinations the quickest. Approximately 139 of them traveled to the big village on the river, while about 11 of them led Custer straight to Black Kettle. A bell around one dog’s neck enabled all the dogs to be located easily by the tribe, and after a Cheyenne baby cried, Custer pinpointed their exact location. He coordinated the attack to begin at dawn from four fronts.
Custer knew their mobility was greatly hampered in winter time; consequently, that was an important element in the “campaign.”
Part 3: The Genocide At Washita
The sensory components of the genocide at Washita in now Cheyenne, Oklahoma must be held in mind in order to capture the entire breadth of it. These are sound, smell, and sight. For example, the shrill crying of the noncombatant Cheyenne women and children, and the yelling of the charging 7th Calvary with their knives and guns would have been beyond deafening. And the fog with gunpowder smoke must have been worse than any nightmare, while the red blood – stained snow and the smell of death permeated the ground and air.
A woman dashed into the village to warn Black Kettle of the coming troopers; he hastily snatched his rifle from his lodge and fired a warning shot for all to awaken and flee. If he had attempted to meet the soldiers and ask for peaceful negotiations, that would have been useless; as a result, he then mounted his horse with his wife, Woman Here After, and tried to escape through the North direction. His horse was shot in the leg before bullets knocked him and his wife off the horse and into the Washita River, where they both died together.
“Both the chief and his wife fell at the river bank riddled with bullets,” one witness reported, “the soldiers rode right over Black Kettle and his wife and their horse as they lay dead on the ground, and their bodies were all splashed with mud by the charging soldiers.” Custer later reported that an Osage guide took Black Kettle’s scalp.
Moving Behind, a Cheyenne Woman, later stated: “There was a sharp curve in the river where an old road – crossing used to be. Indian men used to go there to water their ponies. Here we saw the bodies of Black Kettle and his wife, lying under the water. The horse they had ridden lay dead beside them. We observed that they had tried to escape across the river when they were shot.”
Location of Black Kettle’s death
Warriors, eleven who died, rushed out of their lodges with inferior firepower to defend the village. Simultaneously, the overall noncombatants ran for their lives into the freezing Washita River.
(Taken with permission)
The words of Ben Clark, Custer’s chief of scouts, brought the truth out after Custer distributed propaganda about one white woman and two white boys as having been hostages in Black Kettle’s village. There were no “hostages, a Cheyenne woman committed suicide. Speculating, here is why.
She didn’t want her son mutilated by Custer or a 7th Calvary soldier; she didn’t want her vagina ripped out and put on a stick, worn, or made into a tobacco pouch. So, she killed her son and herself first.
There, as the people fell at the hands of the troopers, one woman, in a helpless rage, stood up with her baby, held it out in an outstretched arm, and with the other drew a knife and fatally stabbed the infant – erroneously believed by the soldiers to be a white child. She then plunged the blade into her own chest in suicide.
(Location of the genocide at Washita, a few yards from Black Kettle’s death)
The 7th hunted them down and murdered them. Although the orders were to “hang all warriors;” it was much more convenient to shoot them. All wounded Cheyenne were shot where they laid.
Osage scouts mutilated women and children. They did a “roundup” of their own by using tree limbs to herd the defenseless Cheyenne women and children back to the village, where the mutilations could continue. Custer halted the slaying of women and children at one point, but he raped them later in captivity.
They (Osages) “shot down the women and mutilated their bodies, cutting off their arms, legs and breasts with knives.”
The 7th captured the Cheyenne and started bonfires. They burned the 51 lodges to the ground. Winter clothing that was depended upon for winter survival was incinerated in the flames, as was food supplies. Weapons and all lodge contents were burned also, including any sacred items.
Finally, 875 horses were shot, thus stripping away their last means of survival and independence.
Dee Brown. “Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee.” P.170
Late in December the survivors of Black Kettle’s band began arriving at Fort Cobb –
Little Robe was now the nominal leader of the tribe, and was taken to see Sheridan he told the bearlike soldier chief that his people were starving – they had eaten all their dogs.
Sheridan replied that the Cheyennes would be fed if they all came into Fort Cobb and surrendered unconditionally. “You cannot make peace now and commence killing whites again in the spring.” Sheridan added, “If you are not willing to make a complete peace, you can go back and we will fight this thing out.”
Little Robe knew there was but one answer he could give.
“It is for you to say what we have to do,” he said.
(It is worth noting also that the Fuhrer from time to time expressed admiration for the “efficiency” of the American genocide campaign against the Indians, viewing it as a forerunner for his own plans and programs.)
The Cheyenne women were “transported” by an officer named Romero to the other officers once they were prisoners at Fort Cobb.
Custer “enjoyed one” every evening in the privacy of his tent. Presumably, he stopped raping the Cheyenne women when his wife arrived.
Custer’s wife, Elizabeth (Bacon), whom he married in 1864, lived to the age of ninety-one. The couple had no children. She was devoted to his memory, wrote three books about him, and when she died in 1933 was buried beside him at West Point. Her Tenting on the Plains (1887) presents a charming picture of their stay in Texas. Custer’s headquarters building in Austin, the Blind Asylum, located on the “Little Campus” of the University of Texas, has been restored.
Jerome A. Greene. “Washita.” Chap. 8, p.169.
Ben Clack told Walter M. Camp: many of the squaws captured at Washita were used by the officers…Romero was put in charge of them and on the march Romero would send squaws around to the officers’ tents every night. [Clark] says Custer picked out a fine looking one and had her in his tent every night.”
This statement is more or less confirmed by Frederick Benteen, who in 1896 asserted that Custer selected Monahseetah/Meotzi from among the women prisoners and cohabited with her “during the winter and spring of 1868 and ’69” until his wife arrived in the summer of 1869. Although Benteen’s assertions regarding Custer are not always to be trusted, his statements nonetheless conform entirely to those of the reliable Ben Clark and thus cannot be ignored.”
The timeline itself along with basic knowledge of the Pilgrim’s religious beliefs exposes the fact that historically speaking, Thanksgiving was literally about gratitude for genocide. Furthermore, the low population counts of the Pequot in more recent years points to how the devastating effects of the English’s, or Separatists’, or Pilgrims’, or Puritans’ crime of genocide almost destroyed the Pequot population. The English, who no doubt formed an American Colony in New England, claimed the land as theirs by the Doctrine of Discovery, which is still in effect today as federal law. To be accurate, the word genocide was not created until 1944 by Raphael Lemkin;nonetheless, the word genocide is appropriate when discussing the near extermination of the Pequot. To be clear, the Doctrine of Discovery legally applied to the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay Colony in New England, but not to the Pilgrims in New Plymouth. What was the difference?
Thus it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags. To the pilgrims, this became their “deed of cession,” authorizing them to seize unspecified acreage.
The Doctrine of Discovery provided that by law and divine intention European Christian countries gained power and legal rights over indigenous non-Christian peoples immediately upon their “discovery” by Europeans. Various European monarchs and their legal systems developed this principle to benefit their own countries. The Discovery Doctrine was then adopted into American colonial and state law and into the United States Constitution, and was then adopted by the federal legislative and executive branches, and finally by the U.S. Supreme Court in Johnson v. M’Intosh in 1823. Johnson is still federal law today and the Doctrine of Discovery is still being applied to Indian individuals and the American Indian Nations notwithstanding its Eurocentric, religious, and racial underpinnings.
It was all the same in both of their usages. There was no difference.
…to find, discover and investigate whatsoever islands, countries, regions or provinces of heathens and infidels, in whatsoever part of the world placed, which before this time were unknown to all Christians… And that the before-mentioned John and his sons or their heirs and deputies may conquer, occupy and possess whatsoever such towns, castles, cities and islands by them thus discovered that they may be able to conquer, occupy and possess, as our vassals and governors lieutenants and deputies therein, acquiring for us the dominion, title and jurisdiction of the same towns, castles, cities, islands and mainlands so discovered;…
However, Roger Williams tried to “make a difference;” in good conscience he stated:
“We have not our land by patent from the King, but that the natives are the true owners of it, and that we ought to repent of such receiving it by patent…” For his radical ideas Williams was expelled from the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1635.”
Now that all that is stated, let us go to the specifics of the timeline.
First, the Pilgrims landed in Wampanoag controlled land in 1620.
Norton, Katzman, Escott, Chudacoff, Paterson, Tuttle. “A People & A Nation.” Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 52-53.
The Pokanokets (also called Wampanoags) controlled the area in which the Pilgrims settled, yet their villages had suffered terrible losses in the epidemic of 1616 – 1618. To protect themselves from the powerful Narragansetts of the southern New England coast (who had been spared the ravages of the disease), the Pokanokets decided to ally themselves with the newcomers. In the spring of 1621, their leader, Massasoit, signed a treaty with the Pilgrims, and during the colony’s first difficult years the Pokanokets supplied the English with essential foodstuffs.
Yet, where were they beforehand and why did they set sail?
Norton, Katzman, Escott, Chudacoff, Paterson, Tuttle. “A People & A Nation.” Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company. p. 52-53.
Separatists were the first to move to New England. In 1609 a group of Separatists migrated to Holland, where they found the freedom of worship denied them in Stuart England. But they were nevertheless troubled by the Netherlands’ too – tolerant atmosphere; the nation that tolerated them also tolerated religions and behaviors they abhorred. Hoping to isolate themselves and their children from the corrupting influence of worldly temptations, these people, who were to become known as Pilgrims, received permission from a branch of the Virginia Company to colonize the northern part of its territory.
Next, there was just one feast in 1621, not a succession of feasts. Why? There was probably only one feast, because “it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags,” and these.
The fact is that to the Puritan, the Native American was the instrument of Satan. For Cotton Mather the Indians were “doleful creatures who were the veriest ruins of Mankind, who were to be everywhere on the face of the earth”; and even Roger Williams, the great friend of the Indians, said they were devil – worshippers.
…the Pilgrims never would have invited the Indians to join them. Besides, the Pilgrims would never have tolerated festivities at a true religious event. Indeed, what we think of as Thanksgiving was really a harvest festival. Actual “Thanksgivings” were religious affairs; everybody spent the day praying. Incidentally, these Pilgrim Thanksgivings occurred at different times of the year, not just in November.
Consequently, the European invasion brought a whole new level of violence to the native tribes,
…But tribal rivalries and wars were relatively infrequent prior to Puritan settlement (compared to the number of wars in Europe)…Neither would have increased if it were not that a colonizing European nation was asserting political jurisdiction, in the name of God, over indigenous New England societies…When thus threatened with the usurpation of their own rights, as native tribes had been threatened years before by them, Puritans came to the defense of a system of government that was similar, in important ways, to the native governments that they had always defined as savage and uncivilized…
and out of that heightened violence came the massacre for which Thanksgiving is named.
William B. Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chairman of the Anthropology department at the University of Connecticut, says that the first official Thanksgiving Day celebrated the massacre of 700 Indian men, women and children during one of their religious ceremonies. “Thanksgiving Day” was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance…Thanksgiving Day to the, “in their own house”, Newell stated.
– small snip –
—–The very next day the governor declared a Thanksgiving Day…..For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won.”
Historically revised events of and after 1621: that the feast was of friendly intent and not a political ploy since “it became necessary for the Pilgrims to enter into a mutual assistance pact with the Wampanoags;” that there were successive feasts which involved the Indians; and that ignore the Pequot Massacre, “For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won..” all hide the truth. Adding to every one of those assertions is Frank James’ suppressed speech that he would have spoken publicly if he had been allowed to do so in 1970.
…Even before the Pilgrims landed it was common practice for explorers to capture Indians, take them to Europe and sell them as slaves for 220 shillings apiece. The Pilgrims had hardly explored the shores of Cape Cod for four days before they had robbed the graves of my ancestors and stolen their corn and beans.
Mourt’s Relation describes a searching party of sixteen men. Mourt goes on to say that this party took as much of the Indians’ winter provisions as they were able to carry.
Massasoit, the great Sachem of the Wampanoag, knew these facts, yet he and his People welcomed and befriended the settlers of the Plymouth Plantation. Perhaps he did this because his Tribe had been depleted by an epidemic. Or his knowledge of the harsh oncoming winter was the reason for his peaceful acceptance of these acts. This action by Massasoit was perhaps our biggest mistake. We, the Wampanoag, welcomed you, the white man, with open arms, little knowing that it was the beginning of the end; that before 50 years were to pass, the Wampanoag would no longer be a free people.
What happened in those short 50 years? What has happened in the last 300 years? History gives us facts and there were atrocities; there were broken promises – and most of these centered around land ownership. Among ourselves we understood that there were boundaries, but never before had we had to deal with fences and stone walls. But the white man had a need to prove his worth by the amount of land that he owned. Only ten years later, when the Puritans came, they treated the Wampanoag with even less kindness in converting the souls of the so-called “savages.” Although the Puritans were harsh to members of their own society, the Indian was pressed between stone slabs and hanged as quickly as any other “witch…”
As difficult as it may be for non – Indians to realize the corruption of American Institutions, such as universities, or to recognize the hypnotic effect of propaganda and hegemony, it may be far more difficult for them to mitigate the shadow side of their own cultural histories. In this chapter a non – Indian (David Gabbard) scholar stresses how vital it is to do so nonetheless, for until a true realization occurs, the United States of America will likely continue its similar intrusions of colonialism in other parts of the world and on other people. He points out that for this realization to take place, we must recognize First Nations scholarship as a set of practices aimed at helping everyone remember themselves and that efforts to discredit that scholarship and the worldviews that it attempts to recover can keep us in a cycle of genocide that will ultimately consume us.
As Native Americans, I know, as they have been telling us, that there are a lot of stereotypes, um, what are some of the stereotypes that you constantly hear about?
A lot of people think that, you know, we’re drunks. That we uh, you know, live on the streets. You know, (that) we don’t have a job and you know that’s a real bad stereotype, because you know, we are, a lot of people don’t realize that we are doctors. We are lawyers, we are actors, we are musicians, and that isn’t portrayed in the media at all.
Perhaps “a lot of people don’t realize” that Native Americans are professionals, is because at least one movie star has this attitude (from 2007).
A new petition demands Mel Gibson apologize to the Mayan community for telling a Mayan scholar, a woman, to “F–k off” during a talk to young filmmakers in California.
– snip –
Estrada said she challenged Gibson’s depictions of bloodthirsty Mayans engaging in sacrificial ceremonies. “I stated a very valid academic question,” Estrada said. “He argues he studies Mayan culture and the representations he provides are authentic. I asked him who his sources were.”
Estrada said Gibson used profanity in his response, although CSUN spokesman John Chandler disagreed.
“F–k off” Gibson said when challenged. Interesting, because if one reads the comments made underneath the video, some of those comments amount to the same thing: “F–k off.” Also, perhaps “a lot of people don’t realize” that Native Americans are professionals, because of this racist American history.
This selected list of publications alone is a clear indication that considerable attention has been paid to proverbial invectives against minorities throughout the world. These unfortunate and misguided expressions of hate, prejudice, and unfounded generalizations are unfortunately part of verbal communication among people, and stereotypical phrases can be traced back to the earliest written records.
– snip –
“To spend money like a drunken Indian” (this text and all others stem from the late 19th century)… “Drunker than an Indian…” He was drunker than an Indian…
– snip –
from Good Indian (1964)
“Heavens to Betsy, the treaty. And all three of their signatures on it. How in the world did you ever -”
Mortimer Dowling allowed himself a self-satisfied leer. “Miss Fullbright haven’t you ever heard the old saying The only good Indian is a dead -”
Millie’s hand went to her mouth. “Mr. Dowling, you mean … you put the slug on all three of those poor Seminoles? But … but how about the remaining fifty-five of them. You can’t possibly kill them all!”
“Let me finish,” Mortimer Dowling growled. “I was about to say, The only good Indian is a dead drunk Indian. If you think I’m hanging over, you should see Charlie Horse and his wisenheimer pals. Those redskins couldn’t handle firewater back in the old days when the Dutch did them out of Manhattan with a handful of beads and a gallon of applejack and they still can’t. Now, go away and do a crossword puzzle, or something.”
The joke centers around the proverb “The only good Indian is a dead Indian,” but the author does not only base his short story on this terrible stereotype, he also alludes, of course, to the other proverbial invective of being “drunker than an Indian.” This is a tasteless, despicable, and racially motivated joke at the expense of Native Americans, and it shows the tenacity of proverbial stereotypes in today’s United States of America.
In many circles, the stereotype of the “drunken Indian” was once all-powerful. It was assumed by some that if you were of aboriginal ancestry, whether you were Métis, Inuit, non-status or First Nation, then you had a drinking problem.
So the racist phrase, that ignores the fact that alcoholism is colorblind, went from: “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead,” to “The only good Indian is a dead Indian,” to “To spend money like a drunken Indian” and “Drunker than an Indian,” and then to “The only good Indian is a dead drunk Indian” in 1964. It is no wonder Baker said on the Trya Banks show, “A lot of people think that, you know, we’re drunks.”
Congratulations are in order for keeping genocidal “justification” alive for so long and then twisting it into a racist stereotype that still lives today. Very impressive indeed, especially in light of the fact that habeas corpus is dead while racism breaths. Well done dominant culture of America with the “blind acceptance of biblical inerrancy.”
We should ‘congratulate’ white America for its achievements, in terms of the accumulation of wealth and power, which has made it the sole superpower. However, I do lament about the cost of the American dream. The price was paid by the thousands that were lynched and the millions that died on the slave ships; and the millions of Native Americans that perished in their own homeland; the blood and sweat of the thousands of Chinese that built the transcontinental railway; the blood price paid by the hundreds of thousands in Philippines, Japan, Vietnam, Central and Latin America and now Iraq. I do not mind the US pursuing its so-called American dream, but should that be at the expense of a world nightmare?
As Moyers pointed out, this “mentality” and blind acceptance of biblical inerrancy, which contributed to the genocide of American Indians during Columbus’ time, has, in many ways, continued and continues to inform U.S. foreign policy, including its dealings with its own sovereign Indian Nations.
Mr. Sproat, who spoke Thursday at a conference on nuclear waste held by the Center for Strategic and International Studies here, said that the inventory of waste would reach 70,000 tons by 2010.
He said, however, that the repository could hold all the waste that has been produced so far, as well as the waste that will be produced by the 103 existing power reactors for the duration of their lives and all the waste from at least the “first handful” of new reactors, if any are built.
That’s easier, if “A lot of people think that, you know, we’re drunks -” isn’t it?
INDN’s List made history this year with 23 American Indian candidates from 11 states and 17 tribes won their state and local elections, which we could not have done without your support.
Denise Juneau (Three Affiliated Tribes), who is the first American Indian woman elected to statewide office in Montana and only the third tribal member ever elected statewide, is the Superintendent of Public Instruction-Elect in Montana, winning 50.68% of the vote, with 99% of precincts reporting. Denise and her staff attended INDN Campaign Camp in 2007, where she was trained on all aspects of campaigning. Throughout the campaign, Juneau faced down anti-Indian rhetoric, and was the first Indian woman to run state wide and face anti-Indian scorn.
We told you about her opponent dismissing her as a “young Indian,” and you responded. Your financial support helped her get out her positive message to the people of Montana, and yesterday, they responded.
This is not just an historic year for America, but for Indian Country as we elected more tribal members to state and local office than ever before. In 2006, we elected 20 American Indians, and in 2008 we elected 23. Because of our efforts at INDN’s List, tribal members are engaged at all levels of government in an unprecedented manner.
Your help and support made history in Indian Country, and in elected offices across our country.
In the South Dakota State House, two Campaign Camp alumni, Kevin Killer and Ed Iron Cloud III, won both seats in District 27, gaining Democratic seats there. They both attended INDN Campaign Camp 2007, and they are both enrolled members of the Oglala Sioux Tribe.
In Pennsylvania, Barbara McIlvaine Smith (Sac & Fox) won after being targeted by Republicans. She won the seat narrowly in 2006, when we first endorsed her, and flipped control of the PA State House to the Democrats. Last night, she was victorious again.
Todd Gloria (Tlingit-Haida) won his San Diego City Council race at the age of 30, becoming the youngest member on the Council, and giving Democrats a 5-3 advantage.
With winners in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Washington and Wyoming, and 23 out of 37 endorsed candidates winning, INDN’s List has an impressive 69% total win rate because of you.
By assisting American Indians with achieving elected office, we are ensuring that issues that affect Indian Country are heard in state legislatures, city halls, and county jails and courthouses across the country.
It was a bittersweet evening as not all of our candidates were successful. We have tremendous respect for our first time INDN candidates who challenged Republican incumbents but came up short.
Our hearts are particularly heavy as we lost 2 excellent advocates for Indian Country, with the losses of Representative Scott BigHorse in Oklahoma and Representative Don Barlow in Washington. They will be deeply missed in their state’s legislative chambers. Scott and Don have been champions of progressive causes and outstanding role models and leaders for all of Indian Country. Unfortunately, they were attacked and defeated for being just that. If they stand again, INDN’s List will proudly stand with them.
Together, we made history. Together, we helped twenty-three American Indians achieve victory. Together, we will do even more in two years.
None of this would have been possible without you, the INDN team, supporting our efforts with your consistent donations. A very special thank you to Forest County Potawatomi Community for their generous investment in the future of Indian Country.
Some people around here know me as the fundraiser for the Pretty Bird Woman House. Since I became involved with the shelter I’ve become more aware of Native American issues in general.
Suppression of the Native American vote has a long history in this country, along with suppression of every other human right in the book.
So it should be no surprise that today reports are starting to come in through Daily Kos diarists too. Right now, there’s a diary on suppression of Apache votes in Arizona on the rec list, and I noticed a comment complaining about general voter suppression on 2 reservations in South Dakota (which is too general to really verify).
So, what I’d like to do is create a separate space for people to report voter suppression and voting machine problems in Indian Country. I’ll then check back periodically (I’m going to leave shortly to volunteer for Obama) on it today.
The goal is to be able to report all these irregularities to Native Vote, which organized Native American voter protection efforts in coordination with Election Protection. At the end of the day we’ll be able to see if there are any patterns if enough people contribut their stories.
Remember, there are two major numbers to call in addition to commenting here if you do have problems, or know of people who have.
Just a reminder:
First, 1-866-OUR-VOTE. This year the Election Protection team has lawyers volunteering to work with Native American voters, if you ask for them when you call. This is thanks to Native Vote.
Second, of course, the Obama hotline is incredibly well prepared. Call 1-877-US-4-OBAMA (1-877-874-6226)
THIS article by Georgia10 has all the relevant information too.
NO MATTER WHO YOU ARE, DON’T GIVE UP!! INSIST ON YOUR RIGHTS!!