March 31, 2007

Humble but strong leadership

Great leadership, humanitarianism apparent at NIGA gatheringA highlight of the gathering was the heartening presentation of the 2007 Wendell Chino Humanitarian Award, named for the enterprising Mescalero Apache who led his tribe for more than 40 years. Given to Indian leaders who demonstrate a commitment to peace, fair governance, the advancement of intercultural understanding and ease of suffering and injustice, this year's deserving recipient was Ivan Makil, former president of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, a partner with Generation Seven Strategic Partners and Native rights advocate. Makil has been a model of humble but strong leadership; his wealth of experience includes strategic planning, governmental affairs, tribal economic development and leadership training programs, all of which have contributed to prosperity among his people and partners.

Like past recipients of the humanitarian award, including former Morongo Chairman Mary Ann Andreas, Sycuan leader Danny Tucker and Tim Wapato of the Colville Confederated Tribes and first executive director of NIGA, among others, Makil expressed his gratitude by reminding us that leaders who fight for Indian causes do so at the will and expense of their own families. This sacrifice is what makes advocacy of the highest quality, at all levels possible.

“The love and respect we share as Indian people,” said Makil, “is really the foundation that will create the success we have.” Indeed, amid all of the hustle and bustle at NIGA, one could find many examples of the diverse benefits of Indian gaming: strategic partnerships between gaming and non-gaming tribes; an emerging Indigenous Language Institute that touts meaningful consultation with individual communities as their key to success; youth and elder programs that connect generations through public service; artists and craftspeople finding new paths through networking; community leaders sharing knowledge of tribal governance systems; and so on.
Comment:  For more information on the event, see this press release.

Good riddance to Chief rubbish

End is near for Illiniwek merchandiseChief Illiniwek supporters might want to stock up on T-shirts, hats and other items bearing the image of the University of Illinois' retired mascot. They won't be available after mid-June.

The University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign today told vendors to stop taking orders by mid-April for chief-related memorabilia and to stop selling the materials in June.

The university holds the trademark for Illiniwek-related clothing, souvenirs and other materials, and its board of trustees voted March 13 to rescind the chief as the institution's symbol.

Today, the university said in a news release that it and its Atlanta-based licensing agent, Collegiate Licensing Co., "will put retailers on notice that they may not order any additional merchandise featuring the Chief logo, or products featuring the terms 'Chief' or 'Chief Illiniwek' after Monday, April 16, 2007."
Comment:  For examples of how Illini students "honor" Indians, check out this photo gallery.

Eastern counterpart of IAIA

Tribal art school has great potentialArt is a term foreign in the Cherokee language and many other native languages because art does not exist in the Cherokee life view. However, the expression of creativity has long held deep significance and has transcended the mere construction of an art object. The creativity expressed through cultural material in native communities does not reflect a single belief or story or tradition but is the embodiment of native philosophies in the design and use of a particular object.

The Eastern Band of Cherokee believes that art and its production is central to the continuation of our life way to another level. They have recently articulated this belief by collaborating with Southwestern Community College and Western Carolina University to create the Oconaluftee Institute for Cultural Art (OICA). The new institute puts into practice applied theory, practical application and native sensibility to define art for a new century. The idea is not a new one. The OICA is roughly modeled after the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA) in Santa Fe, N.M. The IAIA was developed as an alternative school for problematic native youths. The congressionally chartered IAIA became a premier institution for the rise of contemporary native expression despite its original intent. The unforeseen impact on the local community was even greater. Santa Fe has become known as the art town of the Southwest.

Apache employee of the year

Armed with cleaning tools, she leads charge on dirtEarlier this month Castillo was named The Maids' 2007 Employee of the Year—selected from workers at the company's 166 franchises nationwide and in Canada.

"The purpose of the award," explained Joanne Basden, customer service manager at The Maids International, "is to honor and recognize the one working team member who consistently displays exceptional ability while doing their job."

Castillo stood out for, among other things, her dependability, work ethic and loyalty to the company, Basden said.

Moviemaking at Morongo

Hudson movie to film locallyAcademy Award winners Forest Whitaker and Jennifer Hudson will soon visit Morongo Casino Resort & Spa--in character.

That's the word from tribal officials who confirmed Friday that scenes for the movie "Winged Creatures," starring Whitaker, Hudson, Dakota Fanning, Guy Pearce, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Kate Beckinsale will be filmed at the resort April 9 and 10 and possibly April 11.

More on the Tohono O'odham language

A second expert has confirmed that the language in the Phoenix New Times article about Anna Nicole Smith is reasonably accurate. Again, a great hoax if it is one.

Dueling truths about the Freedmen

The truth about Cherokee citizenship vs. the real truth about Cherokee citizenship. Interesting stuff.

March 30, 2007

Over-the-top Jamestown parody

'Jamestown' by Matthew Sharpe"Jamestown" is a wild, violent, mordantly hilarious retelling of how the first permanent English settlement in the New World came into being, and unlike the version extolled in countless middle-school textbooks, Matthew Sharpe doesn't gloss over its influence on those who were already there. Indeed, the Indians' perspective on the events of 400 years ago is what gives Sharpe's satire such ferocious bite.

Set in the indeterminately near future, a ragtag band of employees of the Manhattan Company (roughly analogous to the colonial-era venture capitalist Virginia Company of London) leaves the city in an armored bus as the Chrysler Building disappears in a cloud of dust. Their mission is to cross the wasteland between New York and Virginia, make contact with the local Indian population and exploit their natural resources. The settlers prove to be as dangerous to one another as the hazards of I-95, but they manage to reach the Chesapeake, establish a camp of sorts and prepare to make contact with the Indians.
Matthew Sharpe's 'Jamestown'A key element of Sharpe's beguiling, but ultimately baffling, satire is to refashion historical figures into contemporary caricatures. Jamestown's leader, John Smith, has become Jack Smith, a mechanic responsible for maintaining the bus; Algonquian chief Powhatan is recast as a lethargic, fat patriarch; Pocahontas (nicknamed "Poke a Huntress," among other, bawdier names), becomes a gabby, sex-starved "irreverent scamp"; her husband, the tobacco farmer John Rolfe, is reimagined as the book's narrator, Johnny Rolfe, the Manhattan Company's designated "communications officer" who is recording the events on his PDA. New to the story is Powhatan's right-hand man, a psychiatrist named Sidney Feingold (sometimes referred to as "Sit Knee Find Gold").

For the most part, Sharpe hews to what details are known from the historical record. Nearly half of the original Jamestown colonists were self-described "gentlemen" who knew little about surviving in the wilderness. Centuries later, the suit-wearing refugees are no different, derided by the natives as a "pack of weaklings" without "a single skill to live beyond their fortress town up north."
Novel 'Jamestown' is history as parody in an over-the-top styleLife is hard for the reluctant warriors of Manhattan Co., sent by its CEO, James Stuart (think King James I), to plunder the riches of the red-skinned tribe of Powhatan and his daughter Pocahontas.

They have red skins because of the SPF-90 sunscreen they slosh on, not because they are of American-Indian descent. They use bows and arrows and live in huts, but communicate with wireless devices. The centuries collapse madly into each other in this story, and no one seems to notice or care.

Pocahontas is the star of "Jamestown." Her inimitable voice blends Valley Girl (if the valley were the Shenandoah), MySpace chatter, IM-ing, hip-hop, ribald rhymes and "Dear Diary" musings, and her segments are by far the most fun to read.

This is history as parody, black, bloody and biting. Sharpe's over-the-top style is the book's greatest virtue and most self-indulgent vice: Too much of a good thing can be, sometimes, just too much.

Shaming Exxon

Shame pole unveiled on anniversary of Exxon Valdez spillThe toughest part about creating a totem pole designed to mock Exxon Mobil on the anniversary of the largest oil spill in U.S. history wasn't carving the details of dying animals.

No, the toughest part was etching the words "We will make you whole again" from the trunk of yellow cedar, said Alaska Native carver Mike Webber of Cordova.

Webber and others believe Exxon broke that promise, made to Cordova residents by a top company official after the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill, by refusing to pay affected Alaskans billions of dollars in punitive damages.

"It made me so angry it took me a week to carve those words out," he said.
The pole's origin:He didn't balk when the Eyak Native village president in Cordova commissioned him to carve a 7-foot-tall ridicule pole last month.

Webber's Tlingit ancestors carved such poles to embarrass rich people who owed society, but such poles are rare today, he said.
Comment:  I couldn't find a picture of this pole, but here's another shame pole. "The character hanging upside down on this totem pole owes a debt to the village."

Navajos on comic-book movies

Success is a balance of creative vision, exploding innards"Spiderman" (Marvel)

JMP: "Spiderman" helped solidify the notion that comic books can become terrific live-action movies. I just wish Kirsten Dunst didn't play the dreamy, clueless Mary Jane. In her hands, the character was stupid, nothing compared to the comic version of Mary Jane.

"Catwoman" (DC)

JB: Remember that time when Halle Berry made history as the first black woman to win the best-actress Oscar and she gave her speech and cried and it was a bit melodramatic, but touching nonetheless? Well, apparently, as we all found out a year later, those weren't tears of joy.

In fact, Halle was thinking about going to work the next day, and the floods of excrement and bile she'd be wading through on the set of "Catwoman," quite possibly the worst movie to come out this decade.

"Judge Dredd" (IPC)

JB: Wait. Was this a comic? Was it good? Because the movie sure wasn't.

Wayne Newton, Indian boy

Wayne Newton candidly speaks about his careerNewton, performing this weekend at Harrah's Atlantic City, speaks candidly about the peaks and valleys of his long career. The folks in Hollywood should give serious thought to producing a biopic. After all, the man behind the hit songs “Danke Shoen,” “Red Roses for a Blue Lady” and “Daddy Don't Walk So Fast,” once appeared on a mafia hit list in the 1980s. Newton attributes this sad fact to a false connection allegedly reported by the news media when “Mr. Las Vegas” was in negotiations to purchase the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas.

“There was no truth in fact at all,” says Newton, who turns 65 April 3. “(It was) to the point where I had to stay in the hotel with bodyguards for about six weeks because my concern was that if I went home, they would harm my family. … I mean, I'm an (American) Indian boy from Virginia. What the hell do I know about (organized crime)? I was about as far removed from the mafia as anything you could be.”

Peter Coyote's Hopi roots

Actor gives textile back to Hopi peopleCoyote is no stranger to the Hopi mesas.

"Thirty-five years ago, as a confused young man and leader of a commune in California, I wound up on Hopi visiting David Monongye, who was then in his 90s," he said.

"There were no white people in Hotevilla then. I stayed there a couple of months and he taught me some Hopi prophesies, showed me some of the abandoned villages, and allowed me to observe the Hopi way of life.

"I stayed with David and his wife, and I saw the way people came in and out of their house and discussed things. I was hugely impressed. That visit became the moral compass of my life and I've done what I could to be of use to the Hopi people since then, including being involved in the effort to save the N-aquifer."

Zagar to surf the Net

Amazon tribes to get free internetBrazil will offer free satellite internet connections to indigenous tribes in the Amazon as part of its latest effort to crack down on illegal logging in the world's largest tropical rain forest.

"It's a way to open communications between indigenous communities, former slave villages, coconut crackers, river fishermen and the rest of society," said Environment Minister Marina Silva on Thursday after signing an accord putting the internet plan in place.
Comment:  This shows how out of touch the Zagar commercials were. As I said, even "primitive" Amazon Indians know about civilization these days.

Feds slap beneficiaries in face

Cobell balks at feds' offerCobell said that while she should be happy that the government put a proposal on the table, it "is so absurd it cannot really be called a settlement offer."

Cobell said $7 billion is insufficient to settle the Cobell case alone, especially since the money would be paid out over 10 years without interest. But the government wants to use the money to "buy much, much more" than settling her suit, she said.

She especially objected to eliminating future government liability.

"This is in no uncertain terms a license to steal," she said.

March 29, 2007

White skins vs. brown skins

As I said, the 300 trailer clearly juxtaposed the light-skinned Leonidas with the dark-skinned Persian messenger. I also referred to a photo of Leonidas and Xerxes side by side. For those unable to follow URLs, here are several photos on the subject:

Does anyone want to declare that the Spartans have darker skins now? If so, speak up and embarrass yourself further...please.

Skywalk officially opens

Unparalleled views impress tourists at Skywalk public debutThousands of people trekked to this neglected corner of the Grand Canyon on Wednesday to see if the long-awaited Skywalk lived up to the hype.

It was the first day the public could buy a $75 tour package and walk along the glass-bottomed bridge for an unprecedented view of the world's best-known abyss. Only media and VIPs got a sneak peek last week.

The consensus of dozens of visitors who stepped off the glass platform, most wide-eyed, smiling and somewhat unnerved, was that it was hard to access, pricey, not quite ready for prime time and, yet, an unparalleled experience of a lifetime.
Comment:  When they pave the road, open the visitors' center, and lower the price to $10, then I'll consider going on the Skywalk.

Stillaguamish eyesores

Casino sign is too tall?  Too bad

State rules don't apply to tribe's signs along I-5An electronic sign and two billboards flanking I-5 near Arlington are too big and too close to exit ramps to pass muster with state transportation officials.

The state can't do anything about it, though, because the advertisements are on land owned by the Stillaguamish Indian Tribe.
Comment:  Even if this is legal, it's not a good idea.

Tantoo drinks and talks

Coffee with Tantoo Cardinal...Tantoo leans forward and accepts the tobacco, "Everyone knows how stoic, yet primitive but somehow not that intelligent we were. So when I first began, I surprised people on the set with how I expressed myself."

They offered her a role and immediately she broke a cliché. "The script said something about the action of my Indian character and it struck me. I am hitting them with a totally different perspective. They never saw this truth before; this truth has kept me going." In her early work every issue had to be addressed, "from the script, to how they wanted me to act, and even to the way we as Indians worked on set."

Hall of Fame Warrior

Warrior to be inducted into Women's Hall of FameDella Warrior, a member of the Otoe-Missouria Tribe, will be inducted into the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame today.

In 1989, Warrior was the first woman elected to run her tribe. She went on to serve as president of the Institute of American Indian Arts, a tribal college in New Mexico, from 1997 to 2006.

Pix of my Phoenix trip

NIGA in Phoenix, AZ--March 26-28, 2007

March 28, 2007

Pop-culture report from Phoenix

National Indian Gaming Association (NIGA) Concludes 16th Annual Trade Show with Award Ceremony Honoring Former Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community President Ivan MakilLast night, Ivan Makil, former President of the Salt River PimaMaricopa Indian Community in Arizona and a lifelong Native rights advocate, was honored with the National Indian Gaming Association’s (NIGA) 2007 Wendell Chino Humanitarian Award.

Wendell Chino served 43 years as Chairman of the Mescalero Apache Tribe in New Mexico and is remembered for his leadership and humanitarianism. After his death, NIGA created the award that carries his name.

The award ceremony, which was a highlight of “Indian Gaming ‘07’--NIGA’s 16th annual meeting and trade show--was hosted by actor Adam Beach (Saulteaux). Beach began the evening by welcoming Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano. Beach also welcomed veteran Native actor Wes Studi (Cherokee) as a special evening guest.

“The heart and soul of the tribal and state relationship has to be a mutual respect and giving real meaning to the phrase government-to-government relationship,” noted Napolitano, as she reminisced about her years in public service and her support of the Native peoples of Arizona.
Comment:  Victor Rocha, owner of, and I attended this event Tuesday night. We sat at a table with Adam's wife Tara and executives from the Aruzé Gaming company. She filled us in on Adam.

As MC, Adam was his usual funny, charming, goofy self. Tara noted that he's always this way; there's never a "down" moment around their house.

Adam told the audience how he got the threads he was wearing: a Japanese airline lost his luggage and bought him the suit to compensate. Tara told us that Adam was proud to have tied his first tie for this event.

Adam reminded the audience that his Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee opens in April. He said to check (where I work) for the release date and gave a shout-out to Victor, who stood and waved.

Adam introduced Wes Studi, who's an even bigger ham than Adam is. Wes strutted to the stage and posed like the movie star he is. He and Adam embraced and did some riffs on their old master/young apprentice relationship.

Wes then told a "joke": Three men are walking down a street. Two of them run into a bar while the third one ducks. Adam and the audience puzzled over that one.

After that they got down to the serious business of introducing the award winners. We saw a nice video showcasing Ivan Makil's career and his impact on Indian Country. After the presentation to Makil, Wes and Adam received gifts from NIGA chairman Ernie Stevens, who lauded them as leaders and role models.

During an intermission, Tara told us that she and Adam are moving to New York so Adam can film Law and Order: SVU. They'll be living outside Manhattan and commuting to the city via water taxi. Adam is slated to appear in the last show of the season and then star for (at least) three seasons.

Adam came by and shook hands with the people at our table, including Victor and me. Adam is an old friend of Victor's and he knows me from my association with Vic. In case Adam had forgotten, I reminded him I'm the Indian comics guy.

Finally, Adam returned to the stage and introduced the evening's big act: Smokey Robinson. Smokey looked well-preserved and sang with his usual silky voice, though the sound wasn't great. After a few songs he thanked Indian Country for opening casinos and providing so many places for entertainers like him to work.

Baseball Indians past and present

Native American Prospects Hold Key Between Past and PresentIt was in 1887 when the first American Indian is believed to have competed in the major leagues. James Madison Toy, of partial Indian ancestry played in the American Association League in that year as well as in 1890. Toy preceded Louis Sockalexis, the first officially acknowledged American Indian who competed for the Cleveland Spiders of the National League in 1897 until 1899.

Although Native Americans entered the world of professional baseball 50 years prior to African Americans, who competed in the Negro Leagues, until Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier by signing his minor league contract with Dodgers in 1945, there have been less than 50 Native Americans of full Indian ancestry to compete in the Major Leagues since 1897.

Charles Albert “Chief” Bender is the sole Native American elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame, although Jim Thorpe was perhaps the best-known Native American player of the 20th century as he excelled in multiple sports.

There are, however, many well-known Hall of Famers who are of part Native American ancestry such as Johnny Bench, Willie Stargell and Early Wynn.

At long last, the drought of notable Native American future hopefuls in MLB may be over.

NEXT Gay Mega Star

Roger Kuhn Wins NEXT Gay Mega Star CompetitionSinger-songwriter Roger Kuhn may not be a household name; not yet anyway. But after winning the first NEXT Gay Mega Star competition this past weekend in New York, he’s well on his way to breaking into the big time. Kuhn’s musical style is undefinable but unforgettable; a blend of folk-country-alternative with a soaring vocal range uniquely his own. Without a doubt, he defies easy stereotyping—a gifted gay artist of Creek/German heritage from North Dakota who calls New York City his home.

With representatives of “Music With a Twist,” Sirius Satellite Radio and Ultra Records serving as judges, Kuhn blew them away with an acoustic rendition of his song “What’s Your Name” followed by an a capella performance. By Sunday, he had moved into the final round of competition where he was named NEXT Gay Mega Star.

More books on codetalkers

Children's Books on Navajo Code TalkersFor younger readers, The Unbreakable Code presents a part of history that will not be found elsewhere. For older readers, a thoughtful, critical teacher could use Code Talker paired with Warriors: Navajo Code Talkers, and lead her students in comparing the experiences of the code talkers with those of Indian young people serving in the military today. Why do Indian young people continue to go to war in far greater proportion than any other ethnic group? What other options do young people of color have to get access to education and jobs? In the context of war, colonialism and racism, what kind of philosophical and ideological mentality did the U.S. government create against the Japanese people? How is this kind of mentality fostered and demonstrated against Arab and Muslim peoples today?

Glorifying war under any circumstances is wrong; and the mutation of “warriors” into “soldiers,” “human beings” into “monsters,” and “friends” into “enemies” is an ongoing problem that needs to be addressed.
(Excerpted from Debbie Reese's American Indians in Children's Literature, 3/26/07.)

Anna Nicole hoax confirmed?

At a party in Phoenix Tuesday night, an Arizona Indian gaming official declared that the Native love child story was a hoax. She didn't offer any evidence that it was a hoax, but presumably she's in a position to know. So there you have it, for what it's worth.

March 27, 2007

Minorities in LONE RANGER #2

Another critic writes about Tonto and Black Bart, the characters introduced in #2:This ain’t your grandfather or father’s Tonto. No more friendly Indian sidekick; the man readers meet here is dark, dangerous, bitter, and a damn sight more familiar with dealing out death than Reid. The changes make what was once a stereotypical character into one more three dimensional. Why Tonto saves this young white man’s life is a mystery but one Matthews will hopefully explore. Finally, there is the character of Black Bart. It is a logical stroke of genius for Matthews to make the character match his name. A name that was once something corny--instilling images of black hatted, mustachioed villains from silent movies--instead becomes something darker and far more terrifying. Bart is intelligent, conscienceless, and devoted to his heartless work.Let’s be more specific than this critic was. Tonto kills and apparently scalps the criminals who ambushed John Reid. While they undoubtedly deserved punishment, Tonto didn’t know anything about their conflict with the lawmen. He assumed they were evil and slaughtered them for it.

To reiterate, Tonto wasn’t acting in self-defense. He killed the villains in cold blood. This is called murder, people.

So Tonto has become a stoic, savage warrior a la Turok or Scout. In other words, a stereotype. Congratulations, Dynamite Comics, for returning us to the thrilling days of yeasteryear: the racist 1950s.

Meanwhile, Black Bart is a black man who apparently skins people alive if they cross him. In other words, both the minority characters are cutthroat murderers. So much for diversity in comics, eh?

Yeagley attacks Youngblood again

'Apocalypto' actor's ancestry questionedSo far, the questions over Youngblood's ancestry haven't been enough to derail plans by First Americans in the Arts, a nonprofit group that honors Native American accomplishments in entertainment, to award him its outstanding new lead actor award at its Beverly Hills soiree on April 14, but David A. Yeagley is not giving up.

"He has no Indian blood in him that anyone can validate," Yeagley said. "[Comanche] officials got scooped up in the thrill of claiming a movie star."
The specifics:"I never heard of this guy until this movie came out," said Rodney Tahchawwickah of Cache, Okla., who noted that Youngblood didn't show up at Preston Tahchawwickah's funeral two years ago.

Dawn Tahchawwickah of Dallas, Preston's daughter and Rodney's half-sister, described Youngblood as "only a family friend," adding, "He is nothing to my father."

Youngblood told The Times that Preston Tahchawwickah was not his biological father but his ceremonially adoptive father. Regardless, Youngblood said, "I am Comanche. I'm not going to go into names. My tribe knows it. That is all that needs to be said."

LONE RANGER sells out

Apparently kiddies love this mindless violence. Dynamite Entertainment has announced that the initial print run for LONE RANGER #1 sold out.

Hey, why not have the Lone Ranger battle a horde of bloodthirsty Indians? I bet that would sell out too.

It's fair to say that this take on the Lone Ranger is a sell-out--in more ways than one.

Trading sovereignty for casinos

Oh Sovereignty, Wherefore Art Thou?Charles J. Dorame, Chairman of the New Mexico Indian Gaming Association in an op-ed piece in the Albuquerque Journal, even bragged about the sovereignty the tribes of New Mexico are willingly and gladly surrendering to the state. He wrote, "The proposed compact amendment significantly increases the level of state oversight. For example, state gaming representatives would have access to expanded slot data and the slot machines themselves, to slot accounting systems and to raw, unadulterated data."

He then unabashedly threw sovereignty out of the window with, "The amendment also would require each tribal regulatory authority to submit an annual compliance report to the state and to maintain all records relied upon in preparing the compliance report for review by the state gaming representative. In addition the state would have the right to request any additional documentation and to conduct its own inspection of the Gaming Facility, Class III Gaming activity, individual gaming machines and all records related to the Class III Gaming of the Tribe." Phew! He could have turned over the keys to all of the bathrooms while he was at it.

Reporting on the Freedmen vote

The Cherokee-Freedmen Story:  What the Media Saw• In general, the Cherokee-Freedmen story was reported as a classic clash between oppressor and victim. Missing were nuance, historical perspective, and a context within which to understand the contemporary significance of the story.

• Spokespeople on both sides of the issue had their say in the news reporting, and but opponents of the amendment (Freedmen president Marilyn Vann and attorney Jon Velie) generally were quoted before Cherokee officials (Principal Chief Chad Smith and spokesman Mike Miller).

• Both issues of racism and self-determination were discussed, but the racism theme figured more prominently (that is, sooner) in the story than the self-determination theme.

March 26, 2007

"The Equestrian" glorifies conquest

El Paso confronts its messy past

A naming controversy over a statue of a brutal Spanish conqueror grips the Southwest city.When organizers officially unveil the world's largest equestrian statue late next month—the very time of year when Oñate and his band of 500-odd settlers entered the region—it won't carry the explorer's name. Four years ago, in an attempt to quash the project, Native American activists successfully persuaded the El Paso City Council to name the statue "The Equestrian."Dueling perspectives:The Native American activists who demanded that Oñate's name be withdrawn argued that he was a brutal conqueror. And no one disagrees with them. From almost the beginning, New Mexico, the site of Oñate's settlement, was a disappointment to the Spaniards, and not long after they arrived, disgruntled and mutinous soldiers began to prey on the local Pueblo Indians.

Before the first year was out, the Indians of Acoma rebelled and killed 11 Spanish soldiers, including Oñate's nephew. Oñate's response was swift and harsh, wiping out their village, killing hundreds of men, women and children and famously severing one foot of each adult male survivor.

Sculptor John Sherrill Houser, who worked 10 years on the Oñate statue, says his goal was never to honor the man as an individual. "People think monumental sculpture is supposed to glorify heroes," he told me, "but I wanted to find a figure to represent a stage in history. It's not a value judgment but a way to make people aware of the past."
Comment:  Are you kidding me? A huge statue of a man astride a horse is inherently ennobling. There's nothing neutral about it.

If you want to represent history, show Oñate butchering an Acoma Indian. Then tell people there's no value judgment and you're just depicting history the way it was.

You'll never see the non-Native majority sanction such a statue. Why not? Because this is all about glorifying Hispanic heroes--despite the sculptor's disingenous remarks.

See Best Monuments to Topple for more on the subject.

First female Navajo surgeon

Navajo woman makes medical historyLori Alvord would not look conspicuous in her hometown of Crownpoint. Her story, however, is certainly quite unique.

The first female Navajo surgeon, she expected to become a teacher, and corralled her younger sisters at desks to lecture them. Alvord returned to the Four Corners recently, saying it felt good to be home when she spoke in front of nearly 100 people at Fort Lewis College.

"The future I could see as a child is not the future I have today ... but in some ways I have fulfilled that particular dream," she said.

Alvord serves on the faculty at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire as an assistant professor of surgery and the associate dean for student and minority affairs. She practices medicine at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Hanover, N.H., and has written a book detailing her experiences. The book is titled "The Scalpel and the Silver Bear."
Navajos vs. Western medicine: After medical school, Alvord became acutely aware the modern health care system fit poorly with Navajo culture.

For one, many Navajos mistrusted hospitals because so many people died there, often from undiagnosed or misunderstood diseases such as tuberculosis. Physical examinations required people to strip naked, a potentially traumatic experience for Navajo people, whose culture does not encourage nudity in front of strangers, said Alvord. Finally, there was no time or space set aside for them to bring in sacred objects or say prayers.

New codetalker novel

Author says code talkers a `great irony' of American historyIn his young-adult novel, Bruchac, who will speak about his work Tuesday at the Air Zoo and the Kalamazoo Public Library, tells the fictional story of 16-year-old Native American Ned Begay. Caught in a nonfictional crossfire of words, during a time when thousands of Native American children were stripped of their language and forced to speak English, Ned later uses these banned words to help create a unique and indecipherable code for transmitting and receiving military messages.The biggest writing challenge:Bruchac said the Native American response to the book has been extremely positive because it tells the story from a Native point of view “and shows our culture and traditions can play a role in the modern world and don't have to be left behind.”

The biggest challenge for Bruchac was keeping the “voice” of his novel's characters true to themselves.

“To write it from a Navajo perspective when I'm not a Navajo was a big risk,” he said. “Fortunately, many Navajo people who read the book prior to publication said they thought I had the voice right and that I told the story respectfully. ...

“People often write about others without really knowing them. They base everything on their own imaginations and presumptions. That's why it's so important to me that I stay as true as possible to whatever culture I'm writing about.”

Details of Mad Mel's outburst

Sharp-Tongued Gibson Takes Teacher to SchoolLauren Robeson, the editor in chief of the Daily Sundial, CSUN's student newspaper, told E! News that Estrada asked Gibson how much research he had done and named several experts on Mayan culture and asked whether he had read any of their books.

According to Robeson, Gibson said that he was familiar with one of those authors, had visited the ruins, seen the murals and was up-to-date on his Mayan history.

Then, Estrada told him that his portrayal of the Mayas as bloodthirsty fans of human sacrifice was "inaccurate and exaggerated." (Meanwhile, event organizers kept lowering the professor's microphone, apparently hoping to avoid a scene, Robeson said.)

To which Gibson supposedly said, "Oh yes, and you are a f---king troublemaker, so f---k off."
Comment:  See Mel Goes Ballistic--"Lady, F**k Off!" for more on the story.

Alexie wows film fest

Alexie stands tall at Native film eventRemember this name: Sherman Alexie.

He was the keynote speaker at last week's Native American Film Fest Gala, and I have never been so impressed by an "insightful comic" since the first time I saw Lily Tomlin in the early 1980s.

Speaking without notes or hesitation, Alexie took the nearly 350 guests on a Space Mountain ride of laughs, nostalgia, empathy, awakening--and more laughs.

He spoke of his ethnic background as a Spokane/Coer d'Alene American Indian ("with a little white mixed in, but we don't talk about that") growing up on the Spokane (Washington) Indian Reservation "in a first generation HUD House."

Crying over Alexie's new novel

History's shock treatmentFew writers grab you by the emotional throat quicker than Sherman Alexie, and he doesn't let go until the end. Actually, not after that, either. "Flight," his first novel in a more than a decade, does it again, taking off with the pace of a rocket, or more accurately a time machine, and landing right on target, in the molten bull's-eye of the human heart.

Under the influence of one of the few characters who sticks with him, a seductive Seattle street kid named Justice, [protagonist Zits] enters the bank lobby with guns in his pockets and looks around for targets of his fuming despair. Then we enter a really wild ride--a "flight" through history as old as the Indian wars and as new as the aftermath of Sept. 11. Zits inhabits the bodies of an FBI agent, an Indian scout, a flight instructor, a street drunk, as all of them play out history's endless cycles of loss, betrayal, rage and revenge.

I won't spoil the ending. It is so unexpected, yet earned and deserved. But I will tell you, right here in the pages of a public newspaper, that I cried at the end. Tears streaming down. Cried like a father and a mother and a child and a baby. And after you read "Flight," if you tell me that didn't happen to you, too, I'll say you're lying.

March 25, 2007

Review of LONE RANGER #1

I finally read issues #1-2 of the new LONE RANGER series. Unfortunately, reading them wasn’t much different from skimming them at my local dealer’s. I’ve rarely read such “lite” comics. The creators could’ve told these stories in half the pages.

Here’s what one reviewer had to say about LONE RANGER #1. I concur with his views completely.

The premise of this version of the Lone Ranger:Dynamite Entertainment brings him barreling out of the cultural cobwebs with a grittier, Eastwood and Deadwood inspired re-imagining, placing the usually kitschy character in a west that’s wild due to more historically accurate, sincere dangers, such as the gang of vicious, mercilessly violent law-dodgers as appear in the inaugural issue.The writing:The action of the comic is fast and remarkably violent, the slower scenes sodden with atmospheric heft and relentlessly rising momentum. The downside of such an aesthetic, though, is that the book lacks even one single ounce of subtlety.The artwork:On the other side of the creative coin, artist Sergio Cariello (of Deathstroke and Azrael fame) comes out with (sorry for this) both guns blazing, illustrating like the rising Big Two star he should be. His art is as much Adam as it is Joe Kubert, and the combination makes for a spectacularly visceral blend of the beauteously classic and the grippingly modern. Under his pencil and pen, the western landscape is barren, arid, a true wasteland, and its human inhabitants little more than speech-equipped cavemen, barbarous and tribal, yet still for all of that human and recognizable.The pacing:The entire issue is, at best, a five minute read, though most will probably be hard pressed to break the three-minute mark. Worst of all, when the reader reaches the end and realizes that it is the end, an inescapable feeling of having been cheated out of three dollars for little more than a brief sneak-peek of an epic story is adamantly heartfelt.Conclusion:[W]hile the ride appears to be a viscerally thrilling one it also looks to be a pricey, unnecessarily protracted one, too. There is not, despite popular opinion, only one thing the retelling of a classic icon needs; beyond a contemporary style of action and conflict, it also requires a modern, more elevated use of narrative and naturalistic, effective character interaction, two things that this particular series lacks even an inkling of. Though for those who only wish for cheap thrills and a story that won’t eat up more than a single television commercial-break’s worth of time, then The Lone Ranger is for you!

The Pathfinder trailer

I mentioned Pathfinder a couple of times last year. As you may recall, it's about a Viking boy (Karl Urban) who is raised by a Native tribe and grows up to fight the Viking invaders on behalf of his adopted people.

This movie was scheduled to premiere last year, but it was postponed. Now it's going to be released April 13. It's the first major Native-themed movie of 2007.

Here's the trailer:

Hmm. Looks like Apocalypto meets 300 to me. A highly stylized appearance (lots of monochromatic scenes), ultra-violent, not much genuine Native culture.

Apparently Pathfinder is also coming out as a graphic novel. Judging by the pages posted on the official website, it looks like another "lite" read.

In short, I'm not expecting much except another bloody thrill ride (see 300, Apocalypto, SCALPED, LONE RANGER, etc.). These days, nobody seems to have anything real to say about Natives. All they want to do is project their fantasies onto a Native backdrop.

Still dancing with wolves?

American Indians in Film and Television:  Fighting a Hundred Years “Romantic Discrimination”A while back, we got together a bunch of people who are show runners—these are the people who put together shows on television. And we said, “Everyone in the audience close your eyes and think about your impression of a Native American. And then we followed that up with the question, “What was the main impression you have in your head of Native Americans?” And you want to know what their image was? It was the character in Dances with Wolves.

That’s the problem. We’re still being looked at and perceived as loincloth, eagle-feather wearing, horseback riding individuals. And that’s a perception of a hundred years ago. We have yet to bring them (the studios and networks) into step as to who we are as a people today and the contributions we’ve made to this great country. To me it’s tantamount to genocide; they’ve tried to do away with us mentally and kept us [in] loincloths and feathers.

Video blogs from Moose Factory

Inside the Filmmaker’s Lens...Weeneebeg Video BlogsFrom the screenings at local community centers and the youth workshops, to immersing the guest filmmakers in the Cree culture, Weeneebeg is uniquely, essentially what it claims to be. A film and video festival; an aboriginal film and video festival. Held in sunny, not-so-warm, Moose Factory, Ontario in late winter, when the river is still a road of ice and the snowmobiling is still damn good.

We conclude our coverage with a few words from Paul Rickard, Executive Director of Weeneebeg, and you will be introduced to the filmmakers themselves. Yep, that’s right, we’re sharing with you short video blogs from the talented folks who create the stuff dreams are made of.

Off to Phoenix

I'm off to Phoenix, Arizona, this week for the National Indian Gaming Association's annual convention. Victor Rocha and I will be manning a booth and talking to visitors.

I'll try to keep reporting while I'm on the road. Look for some pictures of the American Southwest in a few days.

March 24, 2007

Is the past past?

The legacy of slavery

The problem:"Slavery was used to justify and reinforce racism and allow it to become endemic [in Europe and the Americas]," he says.

"All of a sudden you have entire peoples seen as sub-human; if someone is sub-human then the slaver is justified in what he does.
The consequences:This is one of the most challenging arguments of the legacy debate: how much can the racism of the past be blamed for the racism, culture or inequalities of today?

Two of the most provocative areas for legacy theory are the caricatures of black male sexual prowess and sporting achievement. The suggestion is that today's stereotypical images were born out of slave owners' preference for the most athletic specimens from among their stock.

Two centuries of these stereotypes and pseudo-science have arguably left a deep psychological scar on society--both in white perceptions of black people and the responses of some black people to that projection.
Comment:  The same applies to the genocide of Native Americans. We classified them as warriors and mystics--i.e., people who were strange and uncivilized. Then we tried to eradicate them because they didn't fit the Euro-American model.

Now we celebrate them as warriors and mystics. Which means we still don't treat them as real people with real problems. We're happiest when they exist only in the fantasyland of movies, cartoons, and sporting events.

Pop culture is the source

Getting the "Indian" out of the Cupboard: Using Information Literacy to Promote Critical ThinkingUnfortunately, it is naive to assume that decades of commentary, discussion and education have managed to eradicate adoption of stereotypes as part of popular culture or as part of the worldview of many young people. Indians are still icons for professional and educational institution team sports mascots, still mythologized as beautiful princesses rescuing noble explorers, and still marketed as knowledgeable in secret ways leading to spiritual redemption. In the years since Disney's 1995 popular animated film, Pocahontas (Schumacher), "Native American princess" Halloween costumes have resurfaced, with politically correct "Native American" replacing "Indian" as the operative adjective. A perusal of any local book or music store will yield an abundance of titles geared to non-Indian audiences who seek the knowledge of shamans, healing ceremonies and Native American spiritualism.

It is impossible to pretend that the reiteration of these fantasized images of American Indians comes without cost. In 1998, a University of Oklahoma senior, whose major was anthropology/Native American studies, and who had just finished an elective "Native American Film" class, wrote a column in the campus newspaper about her new "remarkable and totally unexpected insight" that "popular culture is where I made my first assumptions regarding Native Americans," and it "shaped my interpretation of an entire race of people" (McFayden, p. 4). It is disconcerting that insight came so late for this university student with her specialized academic major in a state that boasts of the number of tribes within its borders.

Black Crow to replace Captain America?

COMIC URBAN LEGEND: J. M. DeMatteis planned to kill Captain America during his run on the title.It’s true. My last year on the book was one long ongoing saga involving Captain America’s final battle with the Red Skull. It was to reach a turning point with a double-sized CAP #300 in which the Red Skull dies and Cap, after (at the time) forty-plus years of solving problems with his fists, begins to wonder if there’s another way to live his ideals and change the world. In the proposal I presented to my editor, the late, great Mark Gruenwald, Cap was, ultimately, going to disavow violence as a tool for change—essentially rejecting the entire superhero mindset—and start working for world peace. (Keep in mind that this was at the height of the Reagan “evil empire”/cold war period, so it was a pretty radical idea for its day.)

The plan was then to find Cap’s replacement. I toyed with the idea of Sam Wilson, the Falcon, becoming the new Cap ... but (as I recall—and, let’s face it, it’s been a while) I finally settled on Black Crow, a Native American character I’d used in the book, as the new Captain America.

The many excuses for racism

How to Suppress Discussions of Racism
  • "I'm [a member of an oppressed group] and I'm not offended."

  • "It's just a book/film/comic book/TV show!"

  • "Pointing out racism just makes it harder for us to achieve a colorblind society. You shouldn't judge people based on their race."

  • "Minorities can be racist too, you know!"

  • "You'd rather have boringly flawless and politically correct minority characters?"

  • "Since everyone knows those are racist stereotypes, no one takes them seriously anymore and they can't do any harm. You're just missing the joke/clever subversion of the stereotype."

  • "It's not racist, it's historically accurate!"

  • "It's not racist, it's a fantasy!"

Dresses on display

Smithsonian exhibit tells Indians' 'Identity'Each dress in a new exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian has its own unique story to tell.

In all, 55 dresses from 35 Indian nations will be on display through Jan. 2. After that, the exhibit travels to the museum's George Gustav Heye Center in New York City where it will open in fall 2008.

"One of the reasons why the show is called 'Identity by Design' is the fact that as these different tribal groups develop their different styles, (you're) able to look at these dresses and identify what groups they come from," said Emil Her Many Horses, co-curator of the exhibit and a member of South Dakota's Oglala Lakota Tribe. "For example, if I went to a contemporary powwow today, I would be able to say, 'Oh, that's a Southern lady' by the style of her dress."

March 23, 2007

Gibson can't handle truth

Gibson, Professor Trade Barbs Over FilmMel Gibson exchanged angry words with a university professor who challenged the accuracy of his film "Apocalypto" at an on-campus screening. Gibson was answering questions from the crowd at California State University, Northridge, Thursday night when Alicia Estrada, an assistant professor of Central American studies, accused the actor-director of misrepresenting the Mayan culture in the movie. Gibson directed an expletive at the woman, who was removed from the crowd.

"In no way was my question aggressive in the way that he responded to it," Estrada said. "These are questions that my peers, my colleagues, ask me every time I make a presentation. These are questions I pose to my students in the classroom."

Gila River opposes dead bodies

Tribal council against exhibitThe Gila River Indian Community Council has unanimously adopted a resolution instructing its reservation schools to not take students to see the Body Worlds 3 exhibit at the Arizona Science Center.

The council considers the show disrespectful to human bodies. Native Americans have been among the strongest opponents of the show..

The Gila River resolution, adopted in February on a 14-0 vote, said visitation by the community's children "will cause spiritual harm in many untold ways."

Navajo candy kids

Sweet success

Blanding students start chocolate factory, win youth entrepreneurs of the year awardThey've been written up in at least three newspapers, had breakfast at the White House, and met President Bush.

Last week, they were honored by their peers at RES 2007, the Reservation Economic Summit in Las Vegas, Nev., as youth entrepreneurs of the year.

It's safe to say the recognition has not gone to the heads of the young executives at Lickety Split, a candy company run entirely by Native children.

Aboriginals need businesses

Business key to aboriginal success:  reportAboriginal communities must establish successful economies if they ever hope to conquer poverty and social problems, according to new report by a Senate committee—but they'll need a lot of help to make that happen.

In dozens of communities, the committee found "involvement in economic development activities has done more to change the lives of aboriginal people in the last decade than any number of government programs," the report said.
But that's easier said than done:Nick Sibbeston, the committee's deputy chair, said the committee acknowledged that building strong economies on First Nations can be difficult, especially on remote reserves,"where there's apathy, where people are simply not organized and in a position to do business."

"Business requires a higher level of commitment and organization. I would have to say that in some of the bigger centres, they are more apt to have had this training and business culture."

Politicians are ignorant too

Only 'skin in the House

Ariz. state Rep. Tom balances diverse populations, issuesHe's seen a lot in his long career in tribal and state politics, but the only Native American in the Arizona House of Representatives is still sometimes shocked by how little non-Native Arizonans seem to know or care about Natives.

"There are 22 federally recognized tribes in this state, and you run into people all the time who have never been on a reservation," asserted Rep. Albert Tom of Klagetoh, who has represented District 2 for six years. "Even one of my colleagues said to me, 'I saw an Indian once. He was selling beads on the side of the road.'"

Hillerman wins another award

Hillerman, Sides win 2007 Spurs AwardsNovelist Tony Hillerman of Albuquerque and writer Hampton Sides of Santa Fe have won 2007 Spur Awards from the Western Writers of America.

He also won a Spur in 1987 for "Skinwalkers," another novel in the series.

March 22, 2007

Skywalk won't last

Tourist Skywalk not so grandFor those of us who look at the skywalk and see a huge eyesore, perhaps we need not wait long for nature to take its course.

Delores Honta, a Hualapai tribal member, believes the walkway's lifespan is only 15 to 20 years. "Our ground is very dry. It will not stay together. You're drilling holes and letting hot and cold air into it," she told National Geographic News.

In the same article, Mark Johnson of Las Vegas-based MRJ Architects, designer of the walkway, said that the rock wall, not the walkway's design, is the wild card that could determine the Skywalk's life span.

"At that height, the wall is made of 350 million-year-old limestone--porous material that is highly prone to erosion," the article said.

Millions of years of erosion, of course, is what have created the unspoiled beauty of the Grand Canyon.
Comment:  One good thing about the Skywalk is its lack of permanence. If it doesn't do well or people deem it an eyesore, the Hualapai can remove it.

Of course, Mother Nature may strike first. This has all the makings of a classic tragedy. Indians dare to improve on God's handiwork...Skywalk collapses and falls...Indians are poorer but wiser.

The market for Native Americana

Home of the BraveSome people, Indians as well as non-Indians, will always prefer Ted Perry's version of Seattle's speech to Seattle's. And some will find the Black Elk of John Niehardt's book preferable to the intriguing, complex Nick Black Elk. In other words, some will prefer white inventions of Indians preferable to the real thing. There will always be a market for both nostalgia and fantasy. The cottage industry of Native Americana, formerly the province of hippies and enterprising opportunists has become mainstream and professional. Today in the average chain bookstore in the United States most of the Indian titles are in the New Age section. Well-meaning feminists conduct Indian rituals, and the men's movement has appropriated Indian drumming for their get-togethers. The myth-making machinery that in earlier days made us out to be primitive and simple now says we are spiritually advanced and environmentally perfect. Anything, it seems, but fully human. Over time these cartoon images have never worked to our advantage, and even though much in the new versions is flattering, I can't see that in the long run they will help us at all.

The victory of these new stereotypes and our seduction by them has serious implications for contemporary Indian life. In the old days; by this I mean fifteen or twenty years ago there was a sense of irony and distance between whatever Hollywood, or hippies or anyone else thought of Indian life. That seems to have all but disappeared, and many of us seem to have settled for the jukebox spiritualism of a manufactured image that in truth is just a retooled, updated version of the old movies we all used to laugh at.

Alexie the time traveler

FLIGHT by Sherman AlexieToday Sherman's new book called Flight hits the shelves. Here is the first review of his novel by Publisher's Weekly:

A deadpan “Call Me Zits” opens the first novel in 10 years from Alexie (Smoke Signals, etc.), narrated by a self-described “time-traveling mass murderer” whose name and deeds unravel as this captivating bildungsroman progresses.
Comment:  For another book with a similar theme, check out The Time Traveler's Wife. No Indians, but a husband who jumps through time. Rob's rating: 8.5 of 10.

Leno on Indian trackers

Overheard on the 3/22 morning repeat of the 3/14 Tonight Show:

"An elite military unit made up of Native American Indians is now being used to track down terrorists in the Middle East, including Osama bin Laden. [To Kevin Eubanks] They're using Native American Indians. They're over in Afghanistan right now. They haven't found Bin Laden yet, but they did open 13 casinos."

Racist? Stereotypical? Good for a laugh? You be the judge.

Voyageur on Newspaper Rock

See what our sometime correspondent has to say about this blog in his blog.

Pix of The Berlin Blues

The Berlin Blues at the Autry National Center--March 18, 2007

March 21, 2007

The trouble with comic books

Hero deficit: Comic books in decline

The problem:[D]uring the heyday of the late 1970s, a bestseller from DC or Marvel Comics, two of the biggest publishers, could expect to sell 300,000 copies. These days a similar title would be fortunate to move more than 50,000.

For an industry famous for tales packed full of muscles and melodrama, the situation has prompted an unusual amount of soul searching. The would-be villains are many. Some have blamed the sales slide on cultural upstarts, like video games, manga and the ever-present Internet. Others point to the increased popularity of bookstore-friendly graphic novels, sales of which have recently surpassed traditional comics.

But there are those who have begun to ask more complex questions, like how characters that are 40, or even 70, years old can remain relevant in an increasingly diverse society. This raises one of the oldest and most uncomfortable truths about the superhero genre: its surprising dearth of non-white heroes, particularly black ones.
One obvious solution:[F]or those working in the estimated $400 million mainstream comic business, the homogeneity of heroes is becoming harder and harder to ignore.

Just ask Reginald Hudlin. The writer and director behind such films like House Party and Boomerang and TV shows like Everybody Hates Chris has been frustrated for decades by what he sees as the gross under-representation of black heroes in comics. A comic fan since he was a kid (he owns more than 30,000) and the current writer behind Marvel's Black Panther title, Hudlin is perplexed by how one of the oldest and most "pop" of all popular cultures could remain so whitewashed.

"In every other medium, the most successful concept or product is black. Whether it's music, movies, TV shows: out of the top 10, four of them are black," he says from his office at Black Entertainment Television, where he is an executive. "Who are the biggest movie stars? Jamie Foxx, Will Smith, Denzel Washington, Eddie Murphy. Only in comics are blacks so under represented. Somehow, in this medium people are so out of touch with popular culture that they don't understand that black culture is popular culture."
The industry's failure to implement it:If they're truly unable to recruit younger readers, superhero comics are destined to whither and possibly die within a generation or two. It is entirely possible that our grandchildren will know of Spider-Man or Batman only through other iterations, like Hollywood, cartoons, or video games.

Leopold Campbell, a 34-year-old vice-principal and die-hard superhero fan, has an easy solution: write better stories. Campbell, who has been reading comics since he was "a working-class black kid" in Toronto, says comic fans of all colours get hooked on them for one reason, the addictive nature of serialized storylines--many of which involve complex plots and take years to resolve.

Most black comics, on the other hand, "are insulting to the intelligence," he says. "The problem is, black characters always have to be protest characters... They're always arguing about something or they're always angry, and it always has to do with race. So they're fixed within one specific subject."
Comment:  This is exactly what I've argued in postings on my website and in my PowerPoint presentations. Namely, that comics need to embrace the future with a multicultural perspective.