July 23, 2014

Tribes drop Nugent over racism

The following news item caused a flurry of activity:

CdA Tribe Books Controversial NugentThe Coeur d’Alene Tribe of American Indians—itself a target of a recent racism—has booked racist rocker Ted Nugent for a public concert next month at the tribe’s landmark North Idaho casino. The decision is stirring controversy for a tribe that has proudly involved itself in human rights causes and contributed thousands to fight racism. Nugent sometimes wears an Indian headdress on stage, coming close to ridiculing American Indian culture, and mocks those campaigning to change names of sports teams that use words like Redskins and Savages. The legendary rocker, who also is on the board of the National Rifle Association, has a “long history of racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, animus towards immigrants, and propensity to use violence-tinged language,” Media Matters reported earlier this year. That came after Nugent called President Obama a “subhuman mongrel” and referred to him as a “chimpanzee”/Bill Morlin, SPLC HateWatch.The invitation didn't last long once it was publicized:

Idaho Indian Tribe Drops Ted Nugent Citing Rocker’s Racist Legacy

By Bill MorlinLess than seven hours after being asked about the racist legacy of rock entertainer Ted Nugent, the Coeur d’Alene Tribe of American Indians this evening cancelled a scheduled performance next month by the controversial performer.

Tribal officials sounded completely caught off-guard earlier in the day when Hatewatch called and asked why the tribe–with a sterling record of combating hate and standing up for equal rights–had booked Nugent.

Heather Keen, the public relations director for the tribe, announced the decision that Nugent’s scheduled for Aug.4 was being abruptly cancelled.

“Nugent’s history of racist and hate-filled remarks was brought to Tribal Council’s attention earlier today” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Keen said in a statement e-mailed to media outlets.

“The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has always been about human rights–for decades, we have worked individually and as a Tribe to make sure that each and every person is treated equally and with respect and dignity,” the statement said.
Native American Tribe Cancels Ted Nugent Concert Over Unbelievable Racism

By John PragerA Native American tribe, which had booked Nugent at a casino, says it was not thinking about Nugent’s bigotry when the booking was made. “Unfortunately, when we booked him, we were looking at him from an entertainment perspective, as an 80s rock ‘n roller, who we thought folks might enjoy,” Laura Stensegar, executive director of marketing for the Coeur d’Alene Tribe’s Cour d’Alene Casino, said.“We take the comments and concerns of our community very seriously and we apologize to anyone who was offended by the idea that we would promote these kinds of attitudes. We will do our best to avoid such mistakes moving forward.”

“We adamantly do not want our casino to be used as a venue for the racist attitudes and views that Ted Nugent espouses,” Stensgar said.

Chief Allan, Chairman of the tribe, said “We know what it’s like to be the target of hateful messages and we would never want perpetuate hate in any way,” in a one-sentence statement.

Heather Keen, the public relations director for the tribe, told Hatewatch that, “Nugent’s history of racist and hate-filled remarks was brought to Tribal Council’s attention earlier today” by numerous outlets. “The Coeur d’Alene Tribe has always been about human rights–for decades, we have worked individually and as a Tribe to make sure that each and every person is treated equally and with respect and dignity.”

Poopy Pants dislikes "unclean vermin"

Naturally, Nugent didn't appreciate being canned:

Ted Nugent lashes out at ‘unclean vermin’ after Idaho Native American tribe cancels his concert

By David EdwardsConservative rocker Ted Nugent on Tuesday responded to the news that an Idaho Native American tribe had canceled one of his upcoming concerts by lashing out at the “unclean vermin” who made it happen.

“The Motor City Madman” had been schedule to perform for Coeur D’Alene Casino in Worley, Idaho on Aug. 4 until the Southern Poverty Law Center caught tribal officials by asking for a comment on Monday. Later that day, the performance had been canceled.

“I take it as a badge of honor that such unclean vermin are upset by me and my positive energy,” Nugent told Gannett Wisconsin Media on Tuesday. Put your heart and soul into everything you do and nobody can stop you. Sometimes you give the world the best you got and you get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you got anyway.”

“By all indicators, I don’t think they actually qualify as people, but there has always been a lunatic fringe of hateful, rotten, dishonest people that hate happy, successful people,” he continued. “I believe raising hell and demanding accountability from our elected employees is Job One for every American. I am simply doing my job.”
Nugent: His Haters Are 'Unclean Vermin' Who 'Don't Qualify as People'Natives and others offended by Nugent's comments have taken to the rocker's Facebook page and are giving him an earful:

"I'm Native American. I listened to your music in high school. I've seen you in concert many times. My son, who was five at the time, and I met you at the Traditional Bowhunters Show twelve years ago in Kalamazoo, MI. You bent down to talk to him and gave him a pick. I am very offended and am so disappointed in you --- I'm one of those 'unclean varmin' you spoke of. I will no longer attend your shows, or listen to your music. I'm sure my son, who is now 17, will be disappointed in you as well since you've been an influence when it comes to playing guitar and hunting."

"If this page is something that Mr. Ted Nugent can read, I would say to your face that if all of the stupid quotes attributed to you actually came from your mouth, that it should be stapled shut. Children don't need another example of how ignorant, hateful, vain, and reprehensible adult citizens of this country can be...play your music, but leave out your half-baked commentary."

"Ted should just play guitar and sing. Leave his personal political views to himself. He also needs to remove that tacky, cheap warbonnet replica that he wears during his shows. The warbonnet is a very spiritual part of our culture where the privilege to wear it is earned. It is offensive when a person outside of our culture wears one ... disrespects it. Our culture is not a costume."
Ted Nugent fires back at 'vermin' who want Oshkosh show canceled

Start of a trend?

Other tribal gaming enterprises are starting to join in:

Tacoma casino cancels Nugent shows, citing racismEmerald Queen Casino will cancel two Ted Nugent concerts that were scheduled August 2 and 3 over allegations of racist remarks by the singer.

Puyallup Tribe officials said the decision came after learning that Nugent has said racist remarks.

"The first amendment gives people the right free speech, but I think racism is intolerable and not acceptable here," said Puyallup Tribal Council Vice President Lawrence W. LaPointe. "We’ve been getting lots of complaints from the community and other organizations."

"I don’t want to take away his right to say what he wants to say, but we don’t need it here."
Ted Nugent’s Upcoming Shows at American Indian Casino Face Scrutiny after Idaho Cancellation

By Bill Morlin“[The] decision by the Coeur d’Alene suggests Nugent may need to double-check his standing in Indian country,” the Indian Country piece said.

Devin Burghart, the Seattle-based Vice President of the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights (IREHR), applauded “the courageous decision by the Coeur d’Alene Tribe to cancel” the performance. He said his group was encouraging “all other venues to follow the lead of the Coeur d’Alene Tribe and think twice about allowing Mr. Nugent to use their stages to promote his snarling brand of hatred and bigotry.”

But Burghart stressed that the “burden of addressing racism and bigotry shouldn’t fall onto the tribes.” He said it falls on everyone, “particularly the white fans of Mr. Nugent and the many predominantly white-owned venues where he is scheduled to perform” to challenge his racism.
Yep, he's a racist

Ted Nugent’s most-enduring record a monotone of racism and hatred

By Shawn VestalHe compared his hometown of Detroit to “Return of the Planet of the Apes.” He said Barbara Boxer “might want to suck on my machine gun.” Nugent has called Hillary Clinton names I can’t print here. He once said, when asked if he knew any hard-working black Americans, “Show me one. Show me one.” He called rappers “big uneducated greasy black mongrels.”

His record of bigotry is so vast–and so frequently given a media microphone–that it was surprising to hear the Coeur d’Alenes had booked him. If nothing else, there was a clear failure to Google. But the tribe and casino corrected course quickly, and they’re putting their money behind it: they’re refunding ticket buyers’ money. The tribe will also presumably have to pay a fee for the cancellation, though that’s still being worked out, a tribal spokeswoman said.

Perhaps the cable news channels could follow the tribe’s lead and uninvite The Nuge now and then. No one who is so bigoted consistently gets such a large and approving public megaphone, and though Nugent–like all good self-pitying zealots–considers himself a media victim, the truth is that he gets an enormous amount of more or less respectful coverage because he’s such good copy.
Comment:  Most of the articles didn't mention Nugent's wearing of a Plains headdress in his concert. That alone shows how ignorant and dismissive he is of Indians.

Anyway, let's hope this is the start of a trend. Nugent may have played his last concert at an Indian casino.

For more on Ted Nugent, see Nugent "Tomahawk Chops" Mascot Critics and Nugent's Implied Death Threat.

July 22, 2014

Mascots create hostile learning environment

Missing the Point

The Real Impact of Native Mascots and Team Names on American Indian and Alaska Native Youth

By Erik Stegman and Victoria Phillips
Much of the recent debate has centered on issues such as economics. Many fans and media commentators have debated the cost of changing the name for the team and the league. Others have focused on the “legacy” and memories that fans will lose with a new name. And perhaps the most referenced issue is the team’s supposed lack of racist or derogatory intent. But too much of the debate misses the point. It is not just about a name, a logo, a business, or a matter of intent. Racist and derogatory team names have real and harmful effects on AI/AN people every day, particularly young people.

AI/AN students across the country attend K-12 and postsecondary schools that still maintain racist and derogatory mascots. Research shows that these team names and mascots can establish an unwelcome and hostile learning environment for AI/AN students. It also reveals that the presence of AI/AN mascots directly results in lower self-esteem and mental health for AI/AN adolescents and young adults. And just as importantly, studies show that these mascots undermine the educational experience of all students, particularly those with little or no contact with indigenous and AI/AN people. In other words, these stereotypical representations are too often understood as factual representations and thus “contribute to the development of cultural biases and prejudices.”

These are some of the many compelling reasons why major professional organizations have already weighed in. For example, the American Psychological Association called for the “immediate retirement of all American Indian mascots, symbols, images, and personalities by schools, colleges, universities, athletic teams, and organizations” nearly a decade ago. Similarly, the American Counseling Association passed a resolution in 2011 calling on their members to advocate for the elimination of these stereotypes where they are employed, and the American Sociological Association called for the elimination of AI/AN names, mascots, and logos in 2007.

The need to eliminate these derogatory representations and stereotypes is urgent and long past due. Racist team names and mascots provide a misrepresentation of AI/AN people that masks the very real and continuing hardships that these communities endure today. For example, AI/AN communities struggle with poverty at nearly double the national rate, have some of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country, and suffer from extreme health disparities. Perhaps most disturbing, suicide is the second leading cause of death for AI/AN youth ages 15 to 24—a rate that is 2.5 times higher than the national average.
How Washington's Football Team Creates A Hostile Environment For Native American Students

By Amanda TerkelMuch of the debate over whether to keep the Washington football team's name has centered around whether it's actually offensive to Native Americans. Owner Dan Snyder has searched high and low to find American Indians who aren't put off by the term "Redskins" as justification for keeping it.

But according to Erik Stegman, an author of a new report on Native mascots and team names, that discussion misses the point.

"This entire debate is being spun in the wrong direction, and it doesn't really matter whether or not one Native person you talk to supports or doesn't," Stegman said in an interview with The Huffington Post. "When you have kids in schools who are getting harassed, who are feeling a lack of self-worth because they themselves have become a mascot for someone else, I think that's really what the point is all about. We need to stop having this debate over which Native people are offended because it's a ridiculous debate."
And:Native students face more challenges starting out than non-Native individuals. For Native young adults ages 15 to 34, for example, the suicide rate is 2.5 times higher than the national average. These communities also have some of the country's highest rates of poverty and poor health and lowest educational outcomes.

"So they're starting from a really challenging place," said Stegman. "And when they have to go to school every day and see their culture and their communities boiled down to a logo or a mascot, and when ... those are actually used against them in negative ways, it's pretty hard to understand how that contributes to their ability to learn successfully."
One student verifies what the research says: that mascots cause harm.

If You Want To Understand Why Mascots Like ‘Redskins’ Are A Problem, Listen To This 15-Year-Old Native American

By Travis Waldron“For as long as I can remember, I’ve always gone to my high school football games, and once I got into high school, it made it that much more fun being on the field,” Brown said Tuesday. “But there has always been one game I dreaded going to. One of our school’s biggest rivals is the Calaveras Redskins. Calaveras has always had an obscene amount of school pride, but little do they know how damaging their routines are, not only to the Natives in attendance, but most likely to the Native Americans who attend their own school.”

Brown, a 15-year-old Native American student from California, told the story of playing against Calaveras High School in a powerful speech about the effects of Native American mascots and imagery in sports during an event on the subject at the Center for American Progress (full disclosure: I participated in a panel discussion at the event; the Center for American Progress is the parent company of this site).

Calaveras games feature stereotypical behavior, Brown said: war paint, drums, buckskin outfits on cheerleaders, and faux-Native chanting. Calaveras’ opponents can be even worse, Brown said, using the “Redskins” nickname to justify all sorts of behavior that makes Native American students and players like him more than uncomfortable.

“All of these actions, along with many more, hurt my heart. With so many around me, I feel ganged up on,” he continued. “At the same time, all of these screaming fans don’t know how offensive they are. Or that they are even in the presence of a Native. Most of the time, they don’t even know that Natives still exist.”
Comment:  For more on the subject, see The Harm of Native Stereotyping: Facts and Evidence.

July 21, 2014

Betty Boop in Rhythm on the Reservation

This cartoon has the usual compendium of racist stereotypes. The worst may be the Tonto talk, the teepees, and the complete ignorance of modern life. This cartoon was set in 1939, when Indians were wearing Western clothes, working in factories, and enlisting in the military. They weren't dressing in buckskins or blankets and beating tom-toms.

July 20, 2014

Burgas reviews Drums Along the Mohawk

Comic-book critic Greg Burgas reviews Drums Along the Mohawk--the original novel, that is, not the movie made from it. Some excerpts:

Trade Paperbacks, Older Editions, and Miscellaneous for October 2012

By Greg BurgasDrums Along the Mohawk by Walter D. Edmonds. 592 pgs., Little, Brown, and Company, 1936.

This has to be one of the earliest examples of a popular book being quickly turned into a movie, as John Ford’s adaptation of it (with Henry Fonda and Claudette Colbert) came out in 1939, just three years after publication.

It’s a pretty good book, remarkably modern, and pretty exciting. Edmonds has a keen eye for the detail of the Mohawk Valley in New York, probably because he was born in upstate New York.

Edmonds is good with a large cast, too–Gil and Lana are the stars, but there are plenty of others, too, showing the many different kinds of people who lived and worked during this traumatic time.
He includes a summary of the Native portrayls:Similarly, you can’t really write a book about the Mohawk Valley and not write about the natives in the area. Edmonds does a pretty good job with this, too--one of the main characters, Blue Back, is an interesting and complex character. In fact, Edmonds is even-handed about the Indians throughout--yes, they’re the main villains in the book, and the characters speak of them in disparaging terms, but Edmonds himself takes a fairly neutral tone--some Indians are allied with the settlers, after all, and Edmonds realizes that each of them has their own motivations. He even gives us a character who is raped by a Tory and later flees into the woods, where she’s found by an Indian, who takes her home and marries her. He treats her well, so when the soldier later reappears and promises to marry her, she basically tells him to fuck right off. The worst part of Edmonds’ writing about Indians is that he always, without fail, describes them as greasy and foul-smelling. He explains why they’re greasy and foul-smelling, but he really hammers home the point whenever he can. It’s kind of frustrating, because it’s weird to read fairly nuanced portrayals of the Indians’ personalities and characteristics while Edmonds is writing about how much they stink. I suppose that Edmonds could be a bit modern, but he was still a product of his times.Comment:  Burgas's final rating for the novel is 7 of 10 stars.

I've seen the movie but haven't read the book. You can read my review of it here.

As I said, the movie also offers Native portrayals that aren't black and white. I gave it an 8.0 of 10.

For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

July 19, 2014

Dislike of immigrants = Manifest Destiny

Who Is the Refugee? Native Americans and Mexicans Lived in California First

By Mark KarlinThose on the buses fleeing for their lives and for food to survive were mostly youth and primarily from Central America. The protests in Murietta continued, with the support of the mayor, for days, even though the individuals in humanitarian need were just temporarily being processed in Murietta and then being moved on to other facilities.

As part of a series for Truthout that I have been working on, I have been researching the origins of anti-immigrant mania in the US and its relationship to colonization. After all, one of the egregious ironies of a fever-pitched cry to "secure the border with Mexico" to keep out non-US citizens is that the United States is composed of land seized from its original inhabitants–Native Americans. Moreover, as the US pursued its drive across the continent, its lodestar was a philosophy of "Manifest Destiny," born of a belief in the superiority of the white race.
And:To those who protest the meager humanitarian relief granted to young people running for their lives from Central America and Mexico, one can ask if the hatred would appear if the immigrants were white Anglo-Saxons? Because that is what the tectonic war over democracy in the United States has been about for nearly 50 years.

Is the United States only a "democracy" for the kind of people who founded this colonial state (descendants of anglo saxons)? Does it exclude the very people who lived on this continent before it was "discovered" by Europeans–and then seized through near-genocide and opportune purchases by the US?
Comment:  This commentary makes its point implicitly. I'll make the point explicit. The recent hatred directed at immigrant children is racist. It's based on the same fear and loathing behind the "American holocaust" of Native peoples. Euro-Americans have hated brown-skinned people ever since 1492 and they still hate them with a passion.

For more on the subject, see Conservatives Fear Minorities and Republicans: White People Own America.

July 18, 2014

Marshall's daughter: "Change the name"

Op-Ed: Marshalling One Key Vote On An NFL Team Name Change

By Leonard ShapiroAt a tailgate party during the Middleburg spring races, a woman walked up and introduced herself, wondering if I was the same reporter who used to cover the National Football League and the local pro football team for The Washington Post.

The answer was yes, at which point, long-time Washingtonian Jordan Wright told me she was the granddaughter of George Preston Marshall, the original owner of the Washington (pardon the derogatory expression) Redskins when he moved the team here from Boston back in 1937.

We had a perfectly pleasant chat, recalling that many of the same people who used to work for Marshall were still on the job for the team when I covered it in the 1970s. Finally, though, I couldn’t help myself. I had to ask. What about this whole team name controversy, I wondered, fully expecting she’d be soundly in favor of the status quo.

Not so.

“They need to change the name,” she said. “In this day and age, it’s just not right.”
Comment:  Let's see. In the last few days:

  • The blogger who uncovered George Allen's "macaca" joined the team, then quit after his own ethnic slurs were revealed

  • Activists called for a boycott of Redskins sponsor FedEx and tried to raise the issue at a shareholders' meeting

  • Sonny Sixkiller, a major Native pro athlete, called the Redskins name "racist"

  • The Quechan tribe rejected a donation from Redskins OAF, calling it a bribe

  • Musician Drake joked about the Redskins' racism at the ESPYs awards ceremony

  • CBS's people may be the first of many on-air announcers to avoid the Redskins name

  • George Preston Marshall's granddaughter, who should know the original owner's thinking as well as anyone, says the name should go

  • I'm sure glad the Redskins think they're winning the PR battle. If I were them, I'd be thinking of heading for the hills with my tail between my legs.

    Seven major PR hits in a couple of weeks. And that's after the Patent and Trademark Office ruled against the Redskins trademark. If that's winning, I'd hate to see losing.

    In reality, this looks like one of the biggest PR debacles in modern business history. It's a textbook example of how you can suffer bad PR day after day until you're the joke of the industry. In other words, a laughingstock.

    Since he's embracing it so eagerly, this must be Dan Snyder's goal. For some reason, he wants to be known as the biggest racist since his predecessor Marshall. Okay, Dan...you've got your wish.

    CBS announcers may skip "Redskins" name

    CBS Announcers Can Choose To Stop Saying ‘Redskins’ During NFL Broadcasts This Season

    By Travis WaldronEven as the debate over whether the Washington Redskins should change their name continues to escalate, the team has had at least one mostly safe space in which the word Native Americans say is a “dictionary defined slur” is still merely the name of a football team: the broadcast booth. With one notable exception, the league’s broadcast partners—CBS, NBC, ESPN, and FOX—have remained out of the fray about the name.

    Could that change this season? Asked about the issue in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said that the network hadn’t talked to announcing teams about using the name during broadcasts, but he indicated that during the upcoming season individual announcers and production teams could make their own decisions about whether to say it, and that the network is cognizant of the ongoing controversy.

    “We haven’t talked to (our analysts) yet,” McManus told THR. “Generally speaking, we do not tell our announcers what to say or not say. Up to this point, it has not been a big issue for us. Last year, it was simmering; now it’s reaching a hotter level. But we probably will not end up dictating to our announcers whether they say Redskins or don’t say Redskins.
    CBS Sports chairman confirms 'Redskins' stance in front of Roger Goodell

    By David Leon MooreCBS Sports chairman Sean McManus again told the media that CBS announcers and production teams will likely be allowed to not use the name of the Washington NFL club this season if they so choose.

    Interestingly, however, this time he said it while sitting on a panel discussion along with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

    July 17, 2014

    Tribe rejects Redskins OAF "bribe"

    Quechan Skate Park Project Turns Down 'Bribe Money' From RedskinsThe Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation (OAF) paid a visit to the Fort Yuma Quechan Tribe in Winterhaven, CA, and the reports relayed to ICTMN describe a meeting that was both bizarre and insulting.

    The Quechan have been planning a skate park for some time; designs are posted to Facebook and some fund-raising activities have been held. An OAF delegation, led by Executive Director Gary Edwards, had come to town to offer funding to complete the project.

    "We respectfully listened to their presentation," said Kenrick Escalanti, President of Kwatsan Media Inc. "But when Gary Edwards referred to himself as a 'redskin' in front of our Nation’s officials, I knew that their visit had ulterior motives."

    The OAF crew presented renderings of the park using a color scheme of burgundy and gold--the Washington Redskins' team colors.

    The OAF essentially offered the Quechan a blank check, proposing to fully fund the skate park. Additionally, the organization would give every Quechan child an iPad for the purpose of learning their Native language. Edwards told those present that accepting the money and gifts would not be portrayed as an endorsement of the name. "You don't even need to say we gave you anything," he said. The OAF added that it has 147 projects in the works, with cooperation of over 40 tribes.

    The Quechan didn't like the sound of any of it.

    "We say no," Escalanti says. "There are no questions about this. We will not align ourselves with an organization to simply become a statistic in their fight for name acceptance in Native communities. We’re stronger than that and we know bribe money when we see it."
    American Indians Refuse Original Americans Foundation Money for Skate ParkIn the meeting, OAF representatives OAF Executive Director Gary Edwards and OAF Director Karl Schreiber claimed they have 147 projects lined up across the country and 40+ in partnership with tribes. He listed amongst OAF supporters the Navajo Nation President Ben Shelly and claimed they had a number of projects being funded there. This despite of a Navajo Nation Council bill adopted on April 10, 2014 opposing the use of the name Redsk*ns. They also referenced the tractor they helped purchase that was mocked on the TV show The Colbert Report by host Stephen Colbert.

    They denied that any of these tribes were required to support the name, a dictionary-defined slur that newspapers like The Oregonian (since 1992) and most recently, The Seattle Times refuse to print instead using the descriptor the “Washington DC team.” Also, on June 14, 2014 the United Churches of Christ, Central Atlantic Conference passed a resolution calling for a boycott of the Washington Redsk*ns by their 40,000 members.

    Mr. Edwards, who claims Cherokee heritage repeatedly referred to himself proudly as a Redsk*n and claimed that, “The opposition is creating the old assimilation policy now being enacted today.” Escalanti said that Edwards appeared to believe that opposition to the slur is purely from White Liberals, despite the persistent opposition of organizations like the National Congress of American Indians which represents the majority of tribal members in the United States and first issued a resolution opposing the name in 1969. And the Native plaintiffs that filed the successful Trademark including lead plaintiff Amanda Blackhorse (Navajo). This trademark case was organized by Suzan Shown Harjo (Muskogee Creek) long-time advocate for changing the name who filed the first trademark case in 1992.

    Edwards final thoughts at the meeting on the threat of white people to the Redsk*ns moniker, “we [Native Americans] need to get stronger because if we don’t THEY will annihilate us! That is my sincere heartfelt belief.” He appears to feel that only by being a mascot for a $1.8 billion team can Native Americans continue to exist in this country.

    Indian tribe rejects Snyder's offer to fund a skate park

    By Erik BradyKenrick Escalanti's description of the two meetings, which together lasted nearly an hour, open a window on the nonprofit announced by Snyder in March to help Native American causes. Foundation reps told the tribe that they have 147 projects lined up involving about 40 tribes across the country. Escalanti said the reps added that about 100 tribes, including his, have participated in a survey concerning their needs.

    Escalanti said no dollar amount was mentioned, but he said the budget for the planned Quechan Memorial Skatepark is $250,000 and "they offered to build it, like a blank check." Kwatsan Media Inc., a nonprofit that runs a radio station, is accepting donations for the skate park, which will be dedicated to suicide prevention in Native youth.

    "When we told them the skate park would be dedicated to fallen Native youth, you could see their eyes open up big, like they could smell good PR," Kenrick Escalanti said. "And that really irritated me."

    The first meeting with tribal leaders, including three council members, lasted about 20 minutes and the second with Kwatsan Media about 30 minutes, according to Escalanti, who attended both.

    One council member asked foundation reps why the team cares about Native American causes now, Escalanti said. "Edwards said they always cared and this is not an issue of the (team) name," Escalanti said. "He said the reason it comes up now is the team and the NFL have a diversity policy and they are trying to live by that."
    Arizona Native American Tribe Rejects Dan Snyder's Offer to Build Skate Park

    Comment:  They've always cared, but they've never done anything about it until now? Okay, sure. Can you say "hypocritical"?

    Just say no

    Adrienne Keene gives us some background on and analysis of the story:

    Kwatsan Tribe refuses Dan Snyder’s “Blood Money”In the Wednesday meeting, the Executive Director of OAF, Cherokee (WHY do they ALWAYS gotta be my tribe?!?!) Gary Edwards basically offered Kwatsan Media Inc. (Kenrick’s organization) a blank check, saying that they could fund the park, and had partnerships with developers who could build it as well. They brought in one such developer, who showed Kenrick digital renderings of parks, all done up in signature burgundy and gold. While they insisted that they didn’t want anything in return from the community, that OAF didn’t even have to be affiliated, they constantly brought up the fact that they have “147 projects” occurring in “over 40 tribes” throughout Indian Country, and mentioned, again, that damn backhoe that they helped buy for Omaha. Clearly, they do want the recognition.

    Additionally, Mr. Edwards is super confused about who is “the opposition” to the name. He seems to think it’s only white people, and that “we” as Natives are all like him, “proud” to be a “Reds***” (which he called himself repeatedly). He told Kenrick, “The opposition is creating the old assimilation policy now being enacted today,” and even made a reference to The Lone Ranger (definitely the epitome of Native knowledge, right?), “In trying to annihilate our image its like that new Lone Ranger movie with the White Man point a gun at the Indian saying It won’t be long until its forgotten your kind ever existed on this continent.”

    Right, dude, “the opposition” is trying to “annihilate our image”? What about the hundreds of Native peoples passing resolutions against the name? or the fact that Suzan Harjo (a Native woman) has been fighting your trademark since 1969? Or the fact that I have a running list of over 4000 Native peoples against the name? “Our image” if you’re speaking for the white, outsider-created image of American Indians. That is what we’re seeking to destroy.

    But let’s go back to the money, and let’s think about the choice here–a choice that Native peoples in this country have had to make over, and over, and over throughout our history. We have deep and pressing needs in our communities. We have tribal members freezing to death, we have students unable to learn because their schools are falling apart at the seams, we have suicide rates 3.5 times higher than national averages. Because of centuries of colonialism, our communities have limited options. We are bridled by geographic location, federal red tape and bureaucracy, poverty, and any other number of factors. Then, outsiders come in. They offer us cash, in exchange for natural resources, for land, for mining rights, for oil–and our leaders and communities are faced with a lesser-of-two-evils choice.

    Do we take the money even if it is tied to politics and choices that may negatively affect our people further down the road? Of course we would like to think “no”–but it’s not that easy. And it’s a choice we shouldn’t have to make.

    In Kwatsan’s case, this skate park isn’t just about having a place for kids to skateboard. It’s tied into suicide prevention and awareness, creating a space for the community to reflect and talk about the issue as well. So here’s a billionaire (Edwards mentioned in the meeting that Snyder is a “billionaire over again”) offering to build the park now, creating that space immediately, saying they don’t need their named tied to it or even to be mentioned.

    But Kenrick said no. They escorted the OAF team off the reservation quickly, not letting them hang around, not welcoming them, not letting them feel they were doing something “good” for the Indians. That act is one that needs to be applauded.

    Drake "jokes" about racist Redskins

    Drake takes a shot at the Redskins name in ESPYs monologue“Now look, some rough words in football this year,” Drake said. “Riley Cooper said some things. Richie Incognito said some things. I just want to stress that there’s no room for racism in the NFL—unless you own a team in Washington, D.C. Then it’s a go.”Drake Jabs at 'Racist' Washington Redskins Name While Hosting ESPYs

    July 16, 2014

    Stereotypical Studi in Planes: Fire and Rescue

    The reviews for Disney's Planes: Fire and Rescue all seemed to agree on one thing:

    The most WTF moments of kids' flick Planes: Fire & Rescue Windjammer (Wes Studi), an Apache helicopter, speaks in a broad, Native American accent and, fireside, tells a confounding legend about coyotes and a car that ate its own tires. The insensitivity of the stereotype aside, does this mean that at some point in Cars/Planes history, a bunch of imports chased the native vehicles off their own land?Planes: Fire & RescueThere’s a female air tanker named Lil’ Dipper, and a character that surprised me to see. He’s called Windlifter, an old fire truck that does this Native American broken English voice. It’s strange that we keep talking about the Washington Redskins changing their name because it’s offensive, but there’s a character like this in a Disney movie.REVIEW: "Planes: Fire & Rescue"Windlifter’s pseudo-Native American mumbo-jumbo comes across as distatefully stereotypical.Comment:  I gather the helicopter's name is Windlifter, not Windjammer.

    For more on the subject, see The Best Indian Movies.

    July 15, 2014

    Ralph Lauren's fetishistic Native collection

    Earth to Ralph Lauren: American Indian Iconography is a Hotbed for Scandal

    By Abe Sauer[T]ailing the football team is a wagon train of scandals involving celebrities and brands criticized for recently using Native American headdresses as fashion accessories. These cases make Ralph Lauren's ongoing obsession with using Native American headdress iconography all the more confusing. Is the brand just begging to be added to the criticism?

    Those who have found themselves apologizing for the misuse of Native headdresses include music icons Pharrell and Gwen Stefani. Chanel "deeply apologized" after its headdress scandal and Victoria's Secret "sincerely apologized" after a similar event. Even lesser-knowns have come under fire, such as the daughter of Oklahoma's governor.

    One would think that after all of the media attention, it would be common sense to avoid a fashion statement that clearly is an insult to a large group of people. But apparently Ralph Lauren doesn't read the news, because the brand has a whole new collection so heavily reliant on American Indian iconography that it almost seems fetishistic.
    Comment:  For more on the subject, see Kanye's T-Shirts Feature Indian Skulls and Humboldt Republic's "Chief Life" T-Shirts.

    July 14, 2014

    Update on Indigenous Narratives Collective

    A Native American Comic Book Industry

    By Rich JohnstonINC Comics was founded by Arigon Starr and Teddy Tso at the Phoenix Comic Con in 2011, along with several other Native American comic book artists and creators. They wanted to get a group together to collaborate and strengthen the presence of Native people in the comic book world/industry

    In 2012, Lee Francis came on board as publisher and they produced their first collaborative publication, INC’s Universe. This past April, they released their first teaser issue, Tales of the Mighty Code Talkers, a preview of their 70-page graphic novel featuring 6 original stories of Native American Code Talkers, from World War One to Korea. They will release this in October of this year and expect to produce two additional titles before the end of the year: Pueblo Jones and Kaui (Indigenous Fairy Tales).

    They are currently working with a number of Native American artists and creators and are currently developing a number of other titles for 2015.
    Comment:  For more on the subject, see INC's Universe #0 and Indigenous Narratives Collective.