October 21, 2014

Party City stereotypes Indians

It's that time of year again: Halloween, when faux Indian costumes fly across the Internet. Here's a typical example:

What's that word again when you single out one race for its qualities?

Oh, yeah...racism.

Amazing how people think nothing of mixing occupations and fantasy figures with an ethnic group.

But only one ethnic group. Can you imagine blackface costumes for "African Americans"? Or masks with big noses and beady eyes for "Jews"?

Obviously not. Yet Native costumes are not only conceivable, they're ubiquitous. Which is nothing short of mind-boggling.

October 20, 2014

Berlin play features "naked savages"

Naked Faux Savages and Neo-Racism in Berlin

By Red HaircrowAt the Ethological Museum’s Humboldt Lab in Berlin, the play Captain Jacobsen recently premiered, featuring a performance by the group Das Helmi that culminated with brightly painted and masked dancers provocatively presenting what was supposed to be Natives of the Northwest during a potlatch feast. The dancers writhed intertwined and rode on each other’s backs in what was described as “a naked orgy of naked savages“ by the museum’s outraged former curator of the North American Collection, Peter Bolz (who retired in 2012). Males wore socks that covered their genitalia but most of the young female dancers were naked as they playfully simulated sexual wildness before an audience that included small children.

The play is about the ethnologist Adrian Jacobsen, who traveled to the Northwest Coast to trade with the Kwakiutl, Haida and other tribes, and much of his acquired booty is still at the museum to this day. At its premiere in September, the recreation of his adventures received mixed reviews.

“Part of the audience saw it as an innovative experiment, and part saw it as a form of neo-racism against Native Americans,” said Bolz. “Imagine if representatives of these Indigenous Peoples had been present in the hall. They would immediately leave Berlin under protest and never come back!”

Other opinions were even more harsh. “Lacking in every respect; coarse, anarchic, ironic, absurd” and “stereotypical and done with low skill” said the review in the The Berliner Zeitung. It said the show was representing “the vulnerability of traditional Indian cultures through contact with the ethnologist (Jacobsen), which was interpreted with anarchic humor by Berlin puppet theater, Das Helmi, whose core brand is ‘Nothing is sacred.’”
Comment:  For more on stereotypical plays, see Cry, Trojans! in Redface, Play Portrays Ishi as Rapist, Murderer, and Racism in Bloody, Bloody Jackson.

October 19, 2014

Stereotypes in Little Golden Books

From Debbie Reese's American Indians in Children's Literature blog:

Stereotypes of American Indians in Little Golden BooksIn 1942, Little Golden Books was launched. Among them are several with stereotypes of American Indians and Alaska Natives.

There are 18 Indians shown on these covers (two on the Bugs Bunny one; none on the Roy Rogers and Little Trapper books). Only 2 are female. One of the two females is... umm... Howdy Doody's "Princess."
Dueling comments on this posting:Ruth
I agree with Anonymous. With our eyes and minds of today those books vlrstly show stereotypes. But in those times, it was not viewed / considered this way. Nobody asked themselves if they were stereotyping American Indians or not. Nobody asked if bokks by Countess of Segur were showing stereotypes against little girls. At the time, it was not the case. Your pictures are beautiful and remind me of my childhood. Thank you very much.

Ruth, Another concern with the argument that those depictions were not considered stereotypes "back in the day" but not now is that some people DID recognize the inaccuracies and stereotyping back then, but their perspective was not considered important by the authors and publishers. Their actual voices were silenced even though they were frequently depicted--but they (the Native Americans, Africans and African-Americans, Asians, girls and women, etc.) often did consider those depictions to be problematic.
Comment:  For more of Reese's analyses, see Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims.

October 18, 2014

Racism involved in Upham search?

Misty Upham's Family Claims Racism Involved In Lack Of Police Action To Search For Missing Actress

By Oulimata BaMisty Upham's family has accused Washington authorities of racism and neglect for ignoring their pleas to find the missing Native American actress, who was found dead on Thursday by a search party coordinated by friends and family.
Upham's body was found at the bottom of a 150-foot ravine near a river in a wooded area of Auburn, Washington.

Tracey Rector, a friend of the family and their spokeswoman, told The Washington Post that relatives feel they were blown off by Auburn police and that long-standing racial tensions between local Native Americans and police may have played a role in their lack of concern.

"The family pleaded for the police department to look for her; they pleaded for dogs," Rector said of Upham, who was reported missing by her father, Charles, on Oct. 6. At the time police said they did not consider the "August: Osage County" actress to be "endangered," The Post reported.

"Unfortunately, it feels like 1950's racism in many ways," Rector added. "The family is concerned that Misty was considered just another Native person and treated as such. Even that is unacceptable. Native lives matter. It doesn't matter what her skin color was."
Was she murdered? Family friend of Django Unchained star Misty Upham claims she may have been the victim of 'foul play' after Juliette Lewis says actress 'feared she would be targeted'

Relatives say uncle Robert Upham organized search party
Believes that she did not commit suicide, suggesting it was an accident
Source, known as Harry, said police were 'derelict' in their search
Her father already posted on Facebook saying police were not helping
Others claimed she may have been the victim of 'foul play'
The 32-year-old was found dead in Seattle woodland by her uncle
Police claim 'no evidence of foul play', she was missing since October 5
Didn't respond to comments that they didn't do enough to look for her
Lewis insists 'this is not a suicide' and calls for investigation into death
Her family claim she fell, they insist she 'would not commit suicide'

By Mia de Graaf and Wills Robinson and Victoria Cavaliere
A spokesman for the family released a statement on Friday evening saying: 'The family wants to make it clear the Auburn police did not help in the investigation or the finding of Misty at all. It was her uncle, Robert Upham, who organized the search party that found Misty.

'The family is concerned that if the police had actually taken their concerns seriously within those first few hours of the report that perhaps she would have been found.

'We are now just waiting on the coroner's report.'

Asked if family and friends could trust the coroner's report, she responded: 'The family has concerns. We are waiting to hear what is stated in the coroner's report but there is a long history of police harassment between the Auburn police and the Native community.

'There's a lot of distrust. And that's founded in the historical trauma experienced by the Native community at the hands of the police.

'And you know, Misty has also experienced harassment at the hands of police so you know, the family is concerned about the circumstances surrounding what happened and why police chose not look for Misty.'
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Misty Upham Dies.

October 17, 2014

Jor-El's lucky Superman guess

This cartoons raises a good point. Jor-El sent the rocket to Earth and assumed the super-baby would grow up to be a wise and benevolent hero. I.e., that the maxim "absolute power corrupts absolutely" wouldn't apply in this case.

In other words, he gambled the fate of an entire world on his understanding of an alien race's psychology. He wasn't an anthropologist and he studied us only through a telescope, but that was enough info for him.

This seems like history's luckiest guess to me. Jor-El's arrogant assumptions could've gone wrong in so many ways. The cartoons suggests a likely outcome.

The equivalent would be if I watched a documentary on a primitive South Seas tribe, then sent them Christianity or television or credit cards to "help" them. My intent was good, so what could possibly go wrong?

At least Abin Sur could claim his ring probed Hal Jordan's mind and determined he was noble and selfless. Although the whole Parallax storyline calls that into question. But Jor-El didn't have any such mind-reading or future-predicting powers.

For more on Superman, see Racist Superhero Comics in Cracked and Superior Powers Don't Change Society.

October 16, 2014

Misty Upham dies

I tweeted about the disappearance of Misty Upham over the last week. Here's the sad outcome:

Coroner’s Office Confirms Body of Native Actress Misty Upham Found

By Levi RickertFriends and family of Misty Upham gathered on Thursday night after the county coroner’s office confirmed the body found earlier in the day was that of the 32-year-old actress.

Charlie Upham, father of the actress, was asked to identify his daughter’s body and he did so.

A search party discovered her purse, which contained her California driver license, about 1:00 p.m.–PDT Thursday afternoon within walking distance of the apartment Upham left on the evening of Sunday, October 5, 2014.

The three-person search and rescue party, which included her uncle, Robert Upham, then tied a rope to a tree to climb down a 150-feet ravine and discovered her body near the White River in Auburn, Washington. The two others in the search party were Robert J. Kennedy and Jeff Barehand.

The party then called 911.

Upham left her sister’s apartment on her own freewill and vanished into the night. Even though Upham’s family wanted the Auburn Police Department to exert more effort in finding her, the police department did not mount an effort in finding her since she left on her own freewill.

So the family mounted their own search and rescue parties find Upham. By Thursday some two dozen members of the American Indian community, including three tribal council members of the Muckleshoot Tribe, formed small groups to attempt to find her.

Misty Upham Confirmed Dead: Family Identifies Body, Meryl Streep and Melissa Leo Express Grief

By Scott FeinbergUpham's cause of death has not yet been determined. On Oct. 10, her father told THR that Upham suffered from bipolar disorder and was off her medication when she disappeared, leading him to believe that she may have been suicidal. On Thursday night, however, Rector said the family felt differently: "The family has stated that, after seeing the body, they still do not feel that Misty Upham committed suicide."

Rector also indicated that the family is enraged at the Auburn Police Department for what they say is a lack of assistance in the search to locate Upham. "First and foremost," she told THR, "the family wants everyone to know that the Auburn police did not help with this situation at all. They refused to help. When she disappeared on Oct. 5, the family knew something was seriously wrong—it was out of character for her to be gone so long without being in touch—and they repeatedly went to the police, who insisted there was no cause for concern."

There is apparently a history of hostility between the Auburn police and the Muckleshoot Reservation, on which several thousand Muckleshoot reside, that falls largely within Auburn. According to Rector, "Robert Upham led the search with the help of the Muckleshoot tribal community."

Auburn police did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the hours after the news broke, there was a huge outpouring of grief via social media from Upham's friends, fans and colleagues. Additionally, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively obtained comments from two of Upham's most prominent costars, August's Meryl Streep and Frozen River's Melissa Leo.

Streep, who played the matriarch of the family for which Upham served as a caretaker in August: Osage County, wrote, "So so sad to hear this news—all our thoughts are with her family and with her beautiful spirit." Leo, whose character collaborated with Upham's to smuggle illegal immigrants from Canada into America in Frozen River, wrote, "Such a loss... so sad, so so sad."
Comment:  As you may know, I wrote a few articles about Misty and her movies. We were casual friends, and I attended one of her Hollywood events with her.

She called me "Grinch" and I called her "Grinchette," since she could be as contrary as I was. Good-bye, Grinchette.

October 15, 2014

Ban "Redskins" at Vikings game?

Native Americans plan to mount largest-ever Redskins protest at Vikings game

By John Woodrow CoxNext month, the Washington Redskins will fly to a state with a governor who has called their mascot racist, drive to a university with a president who wants their moniker changed, arrive at a stadium built with the help of a multimillion-dollar tribal donation and be greeted with what organizers hope is the biggest-ever protest of the team’s name.

Minnesota Native American leaders, student organizations and other activists have been preparing for weeks to stage demonstrations outside the University of Minnesota’s TCF Bank Stadium, where the Redskins will play the Minnesota Vikings on Nov. 2. Organizers say Native Americans from at least seven states intend to join.

The game will probably draw even more attention after Native Americans on both sides of the issue made public appearances at Sunday’s game in Arizona. Before kickoff, more than 100 protesters marched outside the stadium as, not far away, a pregame party was held for Native Americans who support the Redskins. The team tweeted a photo of a Zuni family dressed in Redskins gear, and, during the game, Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly was shown on TV wearing a Redskins cap as he sat next to team owner Daniel Snyder.

Snyder has vowed to keep the name, which he contends honors Native Americans. The team has cited polls showing that a majority of Americans—and even a majority of Native Americans in one 10-year-old survey—do not find the team name offensive.

Opponents of the name hope the Nov. 2 protest will be much louder.
Minneapolis investigates banning Redskins name

The city’s attorney will say whether Minneapolis can prohibit the team’s name and mascot

By Ethan Nelson
After shaking up University of Minnesota administrators and other policymakers, the controversy surrounding the Washington Redskins has moved downtown to City Hall, where elected officials are mulling a ban on the NFL team’s name.

Because of a City Council vote earlier this month, the city attorney will investigate whether Minneapolis has legal authority to ban the football team’s name and logo when it plays the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium on Nov. 2.

Though the attorney’s office will provide its opinion by next Wednesday, some city leaders aren’t confident they can take legal action.

“I have my doubts,” said Cam Gordon, who represents the University and surrounding areas on the City Council.

He said there might be issues with the ban violating freedom of speech. And at a council committee meeting late last month, the councilman called the issue a “minefield.”
Groups press U to take on NFL, ban DC team's mascot from stadium

By Alex FriedrichThe University of Minnesota isn't using all its legal leverage to block the use of the Washington Redskins' name and logo at the university's stadium, say critics who have been pressuring the franchise to change its name.

St. Paul attorney Larry Leventhal, a board member of the National Coalition Against Racism in Sports and Media, contends that the team's use at a Nov. 2 game between the Minnesota Vikings and Washington at TCF Bank Stadium violates the university's stadium lease agreement with the Vikings.

"What we're observing is an apparent effort by the university to kind of give lip service to what the contract says," Leventhal said.

University officials have said they can only ask the Vikings not to use the controversial name and logo in connection with the game.

But Leventhal said the lease does give the university officials some legal power.

He said use of the logo and name "Redskins" violates this section of the contract:The Vikings shall not take any action or use any language in its use of the Facilities that might reasonably be expected to offend contemporary community standards, such as use of words regarding sexual acts, defamatory language, or language that might denigrate any class or group of people.Coalition members say many Native Americans and others find the "Redskins" name racially offensive and therefore subject to the clause.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Navajo President Sits with Snyder and Natives Protest Redskins in Phoenix.

October 14, 2014

FedEx pressured to drop Redskins

Tribal chief: No FedEx until Redskins change team name

By Eliott C. McLaughlinA Native American chief has asked all tribal employees to refrain from using FedEx until the Washington Redskins changes its team name.

"Until the name of the NFL team is changed to something less inflammatory and insulting, I direct all employees to refrain from using FedEx when there is an alternative available," Osage Nation Chief Geoffrey M. Standing Bear penned in his directive to all employees.

The tribe also issued a news release saying that Redskins owner Daniel Snyder "chooses to stick with a brand which dictionaries define as disparaging and offensive. FedEx chose to endorse that brand through their sponsorship of Mr. Snyder's organization."

It concludes, "The Osage Nation chooses not to use FedEx services. We encourage other tribal nations to consider similar actions."
VizExplorer, a gaming company that does business with tribal casinos, is also halting its use of FedEx in Indian country.

Then there's this:

FedEx Votes Down Proposal To Drop Sponsorship Of ‘Redskins’ Stadium, Citing Some B.S.

By Eric GoldscheinOne major sponsor has finally made its collective feelings about the name public, via a motion at an annual shareholder’s meeting. Via Bloomberg:FedEx Corp. (FDX) shareholders rejected a proposal from the Oneida Indian tribe to “drop or distance” its ties to the Washington Redskins, including sponsorship of the team’s stadium.

The motion involving the National Football League was presented from the floor of the shipping company’s annual shareholder meeting in Memphis, Tennessee, today after FedEx won the right from federal regulators to omit it from its proxy materials. The Redskins have been under pressure to change their name from a group of Native Americans who argue it’s offensive.
The vote wasn’t even close, with 228.6 million shares against the proposal to change the name and 203,521 shares for it. Though FedEx would neither confirm nor deny whether this vote was for a binding proposal, the author of the Bloomberg article told SportsGrid that this “wasn’t a non-binding proposal.”
The column's conclusion:Sponsors can put as much distance between themselves and the name as they want, but until they cut ties altogether, they are complicit in continuing the usage of a slur for a football team. They might not have to stand up and defend it for themselves like Dan Synder does, but their implicit support should not go unnoticed.Comment:  For more on the subject, see FedEx Criticized for Sponsoring Redskins and FedEx Targeted for Sponsoring Redskins.

October 13, 2014

Navajo president sits with Snyder

Deadspin was the first to report perhaps the most interesting aspect of Sunday's Redskins game:

Disgraced, Soon-To-Be-Former Navajo Nation President Attends 'Skins Game

By Barry PetcheskyAs part of his campaign to convince you that his team's name isn't racist, Dan Snyder took in today's game with Ben Shelly, president of the Navajo Nation. Once again, Dan probably should have done a little more research.

Shelly is technically still president, but not for much longer. He got absolutely trounced in August's primary election, finishing seventh.

Shelly's a lame duck, and he'll be out of office on Jan. 14 when the new president is sworn in.

Many other news outlets picked up this curiosity and ran with it:

Daniel Snyder watches Redskins-Cardinals with the Navajo Nation president

Controversial Navajo Nation president and his wife join Washington Redskins owner in his VIP box at NFL game--as protesters gather against 'racist' name outside

Snyder is currently in a legal battle with the U.S. Patent office which cancelled his trademark last June calling it 'disparaging to Native Americans'

Before Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals, about 100 gathered outside of University of Phoenix stadium to protest the Redskins team name

Shelly finished seventh in August's presidential primary elections, and will be vacating office in January

By Ashley Collman
Shelly's decision to back Snyder makes him a minority in his tribe, which voted last April to formally oppose the Redskins name, 9-2.

Shelly has faced controversy ever since he entered office in 2011, when he was accused of stealing thousands of dollars from the tribe to benefit himself and his family members.

Those charges were eventually dropped when Shelly agreed to pay back the $8,250 he was accused of taking.

He also went behind tribal leaders backs to partner with Snyder previously, to sponsor a golf tournament with the NFL team owner's Original Americans Foundation (OAF).

When other Native American groups found out about OAF's sponsorship the day before the event, a few pulled out.
Not just a mascot

But Shelly wasn't just slouching in his chair looking embarrassed to be a sellout:

Shelly says he talked business with Snyder

By The Associated PressNavajo Nation President Ben Shelly says he talked business with Redskins owner Dan Snyder at Sunday's NFL game and not about the ongoing debate over the team's name and logo.

Shelly said Monday that he and Snyder spoke about expanding an agreement the tribe made with the team earlier this year.

The Redskins entered into a licensing agreement with Navajo Arts and Crafts Enterprise for the sale of tribal jewelry, rugs, sand paintings and other items at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.

Washington waived the licensing fee for the tribe and is working to open the agreement to the other 31 NFL teams.

Shelly talked to Snyder about other possible initiatives, including construction of an indoor sports pavilion on the reservation and funding for the Navajo Code Talkers Museum.
A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Navajo President Explains His Game Time Activities

By Levi RickertPresident Shelly met with Dan Snyder to discuss expansion of the licensing agreement to the other 31 NFL teams across the country.

“We have an enormous opportunity to bring more business to Navajo craftsmen and artisans,” President Shelly said. “This licensing agreement with the NFL has opened the door for new jobs and economic development for the Nation.”

“We were there on a mission,” President Shelly said, adding that the meeting between the Navajo Nation and the Washington NFL team was about more than football.

Director of the Navajo Nation Division of Economic Development, Albert Damon, has worked on the licensing agreement between the Navajo Nation and the Washington NFL team from the start of negotiations.

“This licensing agreement allows for growth of the Nation’s cottage industry for developing arts and crafts,” Damon said. “The Redskins offered first and the NFL issued the licensing agreement.

“Now we’re after the other teams,” he added.
Mocking Snyder's efforts

But people aren't buying the Shelly administration's spin:

The Redskins are trying really hard to convince you the team name isn’t racist

By Big SandayYou guys, the Washington Fightin’ Snyders are really, really trying hard to convince you that their team name isn’t racist. In fact, some of their best fans are even Native Americans so, you know, NOT RACIST! This new, odd push comes at a time when the outrage over the team name still simmers but remains in the background thanks to Roger Goodell’s ineptitude and other recent revelations over domestic violence in the league. But there’s the team, right there, making a big push during today’s game at Arizona to convince that you’re wrong about that team name.

Even though the Navajo Nation joined the fight to make the team change their name six months ago, television cameras caught Gun Slinger Snyder hosting Ben Shelly, the president of the Navajo Nation, in his box at the game. But before anyone thinks this is some sort of breakthrough, the Redskins invited various Native American groups to a pregame tailgate and Shelly has faced criticism from many in his own tribe for his seeming indifference to the team name controversy and even stirred up a feud when a Native American gaming group withdrew from a golf tournament meant to raise scholarships because the Redskins were a primary sponsor.
And more:

A cartoon by Ricardo Caté of "Without Reservations":

And one by Jack Ahasteen, political cartoonist for the Navajo Times:

Critics also had a field day with the photos of Snyder and Shelly in the owner's box. My effort below was one of several:

Comment:  For more on the subject, see Natives Protest Redskins in Phoenix and Redskins Fans Show Their "Respect."

Natives protest Redskins in Phoenix

Protesters March Against Redskins; Snyder Still Wooing Natives

By Jacqueline KeelerAt least 150 protesters, led by Amanda Blackhorse--the lead plaintiff in the trademark lawsuit that led to the cancellation of billionaire NFL owner Dan Snyder’s trademarks on the Washington football team’s name--gathered to protest the name Redskins in Glendale, Arizona, during Sunday’s NFL football game, Cardinals vs. Redskins.

The protesters began with a prayer led by Tohono O'odham elders and marched to University of Phoenix Stadium where luminaries like poet and writer Simon Ortiz (Acoma) spoke to the crowd about racism, colonization and against the use of Native people as mascots.

When Blackhorse spoke to the crowd, she said, “We are not here to fight amongst ourselves. We are not here to call them names or anything like that. We are here to raise awareness."

ICTMN reported in an earlier story that Zuni Tribal Governor Arlen Quetawki Sr. would attend Sunday’s game as Snyder’s guest. Quetawki was allegedly given at least 250 tickets by Snyder for tribal members to attend, including Navajo students and staff from Red Mesa High School (whose mascot is also the Redskins).

Tears of Protest at Redskins Game and How Dan Snyder Caused Them

By Nicolet Deschine ParkhurstAs protesters marched on Maryland, a street north of the UOP stadium, game attendees were walking towards the stadium. The group chanted sound bites such as “Humans are not mascots,” “What do we want? Respect. When do we want it? Now,” “Hey-hey-ho-ho, redface has got to go,” “Game over for racism,” and “R-word is a dictionary defined racial slur.” This is because cognitive dissonance can shake up a person’s preconceived notion with new information that they may not have considered before, making a person rethink and potentially challenge their own position and way of thinking.

During the rally, the speakers – including Blackhorse and renowned Acoma poet and writer Simon J. Ortiz – touched on different aspects of the mascot issue, including the current legal environment surrounding the team’s trademark, and the history behind the 40-year fight and national efforts to educate the public.

Dennis Welsh, a councilman from the Colorado River Indian Tribes in Arizona and California, and treasurer of the National Congress of American Indians, explained how the issue is deeper than the team’s name.

He drew the links to racism, colonialism and the structure of oppression, and emphasized the negative impacts on the self-esteem of Native youth, and protecting Native culture and identity.

Our goal was to raise awareness, and we did, on national television to millions of viewers as reporters took note of the protest and controversial name.There were fans from the Cardinals and Washington teams who gave fist bumps, thumbs up, and spoke words of encouragement. One particular Washington fan engaged in a civil, educational exchange with advocates and later said he supported the cause, but that he wasn’t aware of the controversy until recently.
Comment:  For more on the subject, see Navajo President Sits with Snyder and Redskins Fans Show Their "Respect."

Free stuff on Columbus Day!

As I tweeted:

A Columbus Day sale would make a good stunt for a Native performance artist. Tell a sales clerk that it means stuff is free for the taking.


In the great man's "honor," here's my annual reposting of my soon-to-be-classic posting from 2009: Columbus tweets about his 1492 voyage and "discovery":

Columbus twitters

Also, my 1994 essay from the early days of my Native interest:

This Ain't No Party, This Ain't No Disco: A Columbus Day Rant

October 12, 2014

Rise of Indigenous Peoples' Day

Why Columbus Day is becoming Indigenous Peoples' Day:

Taking the Columbus Out of Columbus Day

By Rev. David FeltenAny claim that one might have to Columbus having been a noble explorer worth honoring with a Federal holiday is eclipsed by the reality of the inhumanity he visited upon his fellow human beings. It's long overdue that more of us get serious about doing something different with Columbus Day. Of course, any attempt at removing it from the roster of federal holidays would literally be making a federal case out of it--and retailers would likely cry foul over a lost opportunity to offer their wares at "Blowout Columbus Day Prices!" Along with those who, despite reality, can still deny the holocaust and those who would howl over historical revisionism, there are many challenges. Accusations of anti-Italian racism, anti-Catholic bigotry, and treasonous un-American activities are sure to be heard. But how does celebrating a fabricated and corrupt idol benefit the cause of Italians, Catholics, or the integrity of Americans' shared history?

But there are signs of change: this year marks both Portland schools and the City of Seattle's decision to celebrate "Indigenous People's Day" on the same day as Columbus Day. They join the cities of Berkeley, Minneapolis, and other municipalities across the country who have either replaced Columbus Day altogether or introduced an alternative Indigenous People's Day. These trail blazers are the first step in what will likely be a prolonged effort toward redefining an observance that needs way too many asterisks and footnotes to justify why it is still celebrated.

"Columbus Day" may very well be with us for yet another eighty years and beyond, but that's not to say that, over time, it can't be transitioned into a new kind of observance, a teachable moment of repentance and wide-eyed honesty about our shared past and hope for the future.

Indigenous People's Day (formerly known as Columbus Day) is likely to be a threat to those who claim the ideology of American Exceptionalism as their doctrine and faith--but what is more exceptional than honesty, repentance, and committing to a future of treating others with the dignity and respect due every human being? America might not be grown up enough to handle it, but hopefully, before another 80 years passes, Christopher Columbus will be a footnote to Indigenous People's Day (and not the other way around).
Salt in the wound: Why it’s time to move on from Columbus Day

By Joe GousseFor the vast majority of Americans, Columbus Day is a day to which they look forward. It’s a day off. A much needed reprieve. But for native people, it’s a solemn reminder of the great cost at which our present existence has come. It’s reminder of a history steeped in bloodshed and atrocity—after all, Columbus wrote freely in his diaries about the peaceful nature of the first natives he encountered and how “easily” they might be enslaved.

While the rest of us celebrate a day to watch Monday night football, or get some extra yard work in before the first frost, native people are left to consider the weighty reality of this nation’s history.

So where does that leave us as a society? Does it even matter? Should we do away with Columbus Day in its entirety? The answer, surprisingly, is no. A cogent solution is to reappropriate Columbus Day as “Indigenous Peoples Day”—which a number of cities across the U.S. observe—or “Native Americans Day.”

Honoring native people and culture in place of Columbus isn’t a cure-all. It doesn’t come close to healing gaping, historic wounds. But then again, nothing can. What observance of this day does do is properly refocus the spirit of the holiday. It creates something of utility from which we can stand together and honor the traditions of a people who have called these lands home since time immemorial.
Some details on how the designation came about in Seattle:

The Rise of Indigenous Peoples Day

By Matt RemleOn October 6, 2014, in a packed Seattle city hall council chambers room, the Seattle city council voted unanimously to rename the second Monday in October, the federal holiday Columbus Day, to Indigenous Peoples’ Day for the city of Seattle. The room erupted in emotion with loud cheers, the sound of drums and the sight of overjoyed, smiling and crying faces followed by an impromptu singing of the AIM song in the halls of Seattle city hall.

The Seattle city council vote followed the previous weeks unanimous vote by the Seattle school board to both establish the second Monday in October as a day of observance for Indigenous Peoples’ and to make a board commitment to the teaching of tribal history, culture, governance and current affairs into the Seattle public schools system.

The origins for both the Seattle city council and Seattle school board resolutions date back to 2011, when I was attending an Abolish Columbus Day rally in downtown Seattle. As I was listening to the beautiful songs of a local canoe family, I started thinking about South Dakota and their successful effort to change Columbus Day to Native American Day. That night I decided to contact members of the Seattle city council, as well as, my local State Legislatures to see if they might be willing to do something similar on either the City or State level.

To my surprise, the following morning I got a phone call from Washington State Senator Margarita Prentice and proceeded to have a long conversation about the genocide brought by Columbus to our Native relatives in the Caribbean and how she would love to sponsor a resolution on the State level. She simply asked that I draft a resolution and seek support from area tribes first before she would sponsor the resolution.

Elated, I immediately contacted Theresa Sheldon and Deborah Parker from Tulalip, who were both policy analyst for the Tulalip Tribes at that time, and whom currently sit on the Tulalip Board of Directors, to let them know the news. They agreed to take the resolution to the 2011 Affiliated Tribes of Northwest Indians annual conference and put the Indigenous Peoples’ Day resolution before the conference for a vote. The resolution was unanimously approved, and although the resolution ultimately did not succeed on the State level, the seeds of the Indigenous Peoples’ Day resolution for Seattle were sown.
Comment:  For more on Columbus Day, see Obama's Columbus Day Proclamation and Winning the War on Columbus?

Redskins fans show their "respect"

As usual, Redskins fans showed how they "honor" and "respect" Indians:

As one critic put it:My hometown football team sure loves to honor Native Americans. Our fans are so respectful of Native American culture that some of them showed up to the game in Arizona today in traditional red face and headdress. Indigenous people must feel so honored by this display. I am so glad we honor Native Americans like this right before Columbus Day. Native Americans should be thanking us for honoring them like this instead of complaining about REDSKINS.My version of this image:

Comment:  For more on the subject, see Navajo President Sits with Snyder and Natives Protest Redskins in Phoenix.